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Light Poles and Potholes Matter in Secession Vote

October 20, 2002

Your poll of voters on the issue of the San Fernando Valley's independence from Los Angeles may show the majority of us against it, but I'm still straddling the divide ("Secession Trails in the Valley for First Time," Oct. 16). Born and raised in Los Angeles, I truly love L.A., but I've spent the past 18 years living in many of the communities that make the San Fernando Valley great -- and presently I live across the street from a light pole broken by an auto accident that occurred in July 2001.

Despite contacting the appropriate bureaus and agencies, more than 14 months later that broken light pole has yet to be replaced, and to me it has come to symbolize the poor service and response that those calling for separation from the city are railing about. That's when the light bulb went off, so to speak.

Tired of all the pro and con secession rhetoric, I boiled the battle down to two options and put my councilman, Jack Weiss, in the driver's seat. I told him: Fix the light by the evening of the coming election and the city will get my vote; leave it in disrepair and I'll support the Valley's liberation. It's an illuminating offer he shouldn't refuse.

William Campbell

Sherman Oaks

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The Valley is as pure Los Angeles as Hollywood or the Pueblo de Los Angeles (Olvera Street) are. I'm so glad that fewer of my neighbors are listening to that hypocritical power-grabbing clique that has continually shot down local improvements even as it chants, "We're not getting our fair share." You don't have to look at this mob very long to see that it's not about "small is better." It's about a greedy small-mindedness not suitable for a great city.

Roger Christensen

Sherman Oaks

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Re "Secessionists Tar L.A.'s Efforts to Fill Up Potholes," Oct. 14: We all have legitimate complaints about the condition of our streets in Los Angeles, but these Valley people are wrong on this one. My experience confirms [interim director of the city's Bureau of Street Services] Bill Robertson's statistics. If you call in a pothole, it gets fixed in a day or so, but if you just complain and don't call it in, nothing happens. However, Robertson should think about making the system more user-friendly, having an interactive Web site or even doing some public service announcements like the city used to do, so more people are aware that they can call in and get a pothole fixed.

Ron Thomson

Cheviot Hills

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Re "L.A. Lags Behind Largest U.S. Cities in Basic Services," Oct. 13: Co-chair of the Valley Independence Committee Carlos Ferreyra is right when he said, "We [the new Valley city] can do better." Take the Chatsworth Library, for example. The old library was torn down over a year ago. Then the property sat with nothing going on. Finally, a contractor was chosen and some basic work started. Several months ago, all work stopped. The contractor has gone out of business. So right now, nothing is being built.

Is downtown even aware that work has stopped? Can the bureaucrats downtown not choose competent contractors? What is their plan to get the library completed, and when? Why can't they learn from those in the Walgreen's chain? They are putting in a new building on Devonshire Street at De Soto Avenue. It looks like that store will be completed in fewer than six months, start to finish. We need local control!

Jerre Reimers

Simi Valley

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