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Hope for ailing Watts Towers

October 23, 2003

Your intelligently researched Watts Towers article by Diane Haithman ("Officials Take a Close Look at Watts Towers," Oct. 16) told the public that the California Department of Parks and Recreation (towers owner) has brought the city of L.A. (towers lessee for 50 years) to task with specified requirements that can, if performed correctly, reverse the city's decade of refusal to fund the towers' maintenance and repairs.

We send our gratitude to the state officials who listened to our three-year guardianship advocacy for improved towers welfare: Dr. Knox Mellon, chief of the State Office of Historic Preservation; Steade Craigo, state preservation architect; and new chief of California State Parks Southern Division in Los Angeles, Ted Jackson.

We send our thanks also to their two evaluators who studied the towers' condition and to city management for a report which made the state's requirements possible. We thank, too, the source of funds which powered the work. (No one but our determined volunteer engineer, N.J. Bud Goldstone, works on the Towers for no pay.)

If the city completes the state requirements correctly, it will turn around the city's neglect that has produced the active deterioration now in progress. Shards fall from the spires daily, and the invasive, intrusive, huge city amphitheater radiates crack-producing solar heat into the north side of Rodia's masterwork.

Jeanne S. Morgan

Santa Barbara

Jeanne S. Morgan has been chairwoman for the Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts/Guardians since 1958.

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