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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

A Grand Idea for Downtown L.A.

June 08, 2005

Re "Downtown? L.A. Doesn't Need One, " Commentary, June 5: While Joel Kotkin benchmarks our lack of a great downtown against similar growth patterns in Houston, Phoenix and Atlanta, if you asked someone in the Villepine suburb of Paris if he feels represented by the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower, or someone in Monsey, N.Y., if he feels represented by Times Square, he would overwhelmingly say yes. However, if you asked someone in Valencia or Fullerton if he feels represented by the Hollywood sign (our most utilized imagery along with palm trees), the answer would be ambivalent at best.

A redeveloped downtown core would serve to define and image our great city, even though, as Kotkin correctly asserts, the Inland Empire, Orange County and other outlying areas would continue to serve as our centers of job growth.

David Alpern

Long Beach

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If the Grand Avenue project were in Century City or Warner Center there would be little comment. But on Grand Avenue it spurs Kotkin's umpteenth anti-downtown rant suggesting we should envy Houston and pity San Francisco. Whether it's the heart of a polycentric city or not, there are new thousands eager to live there and private money is willing to pay for it. What's the big deal?

Roger Christensen

Sherman Oaks

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