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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

310: It's an Area Code, Not a Status Symbol

June 08, 2005

Re "The Prefix Is In," June 4: For any Westsider who feels status-threatened by losing the 310 prefix, I suggest calling this number: 1-800-GET-A-LIFE.

Steve Bowerman

Sherman Oaks

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Eleven-digit dialing seems to be one of the main objections to an overlay area code. Surely the computer geeks at the phone company can overcome this obstacle. It seems to me that with today's technology, 11-digit dialing should not be necessary when calling a number in one's own area code.

The phone company knows my number (it sends me bills listing all my calls, so it must know), and therefore it must know my area code is 310.

When I pick up the phone and start pushing buttons, if the first button I push is not "1," the equipment should realize that I am not calling out of my area code. If I enter seven digits, the first not being "1," the equipment should be smart enough to realize I'm calling a number in my own area code.

John A. Johnson

El Segundo

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As a former "310" resident who is now a "323" resident, I can assure you that neither my "sense of neighborhood" nor cultural identity suffered negative consequences as a result of my change in area code.

As for the notion that a three-digit area code "says something about you" or the anticipated "inconvenience" of having to dial 11 digits to complete a call, perhaps those who feel that way should note this article ran adjacent to an L.A. Times photo of a Ugandan youth seeking shelter, having fled rebels who are destroying thousands of young lives in violence. What does this say about our culture's priorities, regardless of one's area code?

Mary Rainwater

Los Angeles

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