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How to Reorganize City Government

October 12, 2002

It was comforting to read Joel Fox's Oct. 3 commentary, "Secession: A Tale of New Cities," and to realize that L.A. secession proponents understand that upward regional consolidation is just as important to achieving better, more responsive and accountable government representation as is the current one-sided effort to delegate local authority downward to neighborhood, borough and smaller-city councils. Today, we are most disenfranchised at the multi-county, regional and individual neighborhood levels.

Fox acknowledges the view that archaic county governments should combine under a comprehensive regional government that is capable of providing necessary regionwide services and of dealing with issues that are too big for any one city or county. He foresees a future regional government ballot initiative. Indeed, further fractionalization at the city level would benefit from the existence of a unifying regional government with an elected parliament or assembly. To many, L.A. is more than a city; it is also an idea, perhaps an ideal. And, to the world, our whole region will always be L.A.

Robert M. Beard

Newport Beach

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I believe that Fox has greatly oversimplified the current situation. His premise about "reorganizing government to make it more responsive to citizens' needs" implies that there is a government in place to be reorganized. Not so in the current situation. From what I have read, the new city government would be made up primarily of people who have had no previous experience at city government and would require on-the-job learning. Given the seemingly constant disarray in which the Valley secessionist movement seems to find itself, I see no reason to believe that the new city government would be any different.

There are those who might say that it cannot get any worse. I wouldn't want to bet on it.

Mel Watson

Mission Hills

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An otherwise interesting and well-written story on Proposition 13's parallels with secession, "Secessionists Taking Their Cues From Past" (Oct. 4) is marred by the statement that businesses supported Proposition 13 with contributions "because many were big property owners with money at stake."

The corporate business community overwhelmingly opposed Proposition 13 and bankrolled the campaign against it. Business leaders feared that if average property owners received tax relief, the Legislature would target them to make up the difference.

Jon Coupal, President

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

Los Angeles

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