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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Lack of Concern Over West Nile Virus

August 16, 2004

With all the concern about West Nile virus in Southern California, I would think the powers that be would make it easier to report standing water. My husband, a swimming pool technician, services a pool in Northridge. Next door to his client is a green pool, clearly unserviced by any professional, with stagnant water that provides a breeding medium for mosquito larvae. He tried calling the county health department and encountered only a willingness to receive reports on dead birds.

He called Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's office and was given a phone number that was never answered. He went online to the health department website and was only able to report standing water near our home, which is inappropriate, as we do not live in that neighborhood. He gave up, asked the client to report it and slathers on the DEET insect repellent whenever he goes to service his client's pool. Surely our local government can do better than this. Pool techs can be a first line of defense; someone should make it easier for them to do some defending.

Rhoda Blecker

Reseda

It is ironic that at the same time the city of Los Angeles is refusing to eliminate a stagnant, standing water problem that contributes to hazardous health problems on city property, it is establishing fines of $1,000 a day for violators that allow standing water on their property (Aug. 12). For over 10 years my neighbors and I have been attempting to overcome the city bureaucracy and have the street gutters repaired to eliminate the stagnant, standing water and potential hazardous health problems. All to no avail. Now the deadly West Nile virus is here. For years the staff of my council district (previously 6th and now 11th ) has been contacted and been asked for assistance. The latest reply from a staff member of Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski was "to be patient." I think 10 years is being patient. The staff member further advised "to go out and sweep this area every few days." This refusal of city officials to help citizens is absolutely unsatisfactory.

Clark Rennie

Los Angeles

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