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Does county need new government?

January 09, 2007

Re "Region can't fix key problems, official warns," Jan. 4

As we read the words of David Janssen, retiring as Los Angeles County's chief administrative officer, we should not fall into the fallacy of believing that just because we cannot help everyone is reason enough to prevent us from helping someone. Why should we tolerate the reality reported by The Times that chronic homeless people are kept in overcrowded jails without access to medical care? The people of Los Angeles County are not without resources, public or private. Just because it is difficult does not mean that it's impossible. We should not allow our resources to be squandered or allow ourselves to be dulled into hopelessness. There is much work to be done, not just by Janssen's successor and the Board of Supervisors but by those of us who care about these basic quality-of-life issues and expect accountability from our government.

MARSHA TEMPLE

Marina del Rey

The writer is president of the board of directors of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.

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Janssen's call to vest greater management authority in the county chief administrator rings hollow. Under his leadership, child poverty has grown, health services have fallen apart, child welfare is adrift and pollution, urban sprawl and public debt have expanded while development has largely bypassed our core communities.

Fixing county government is a job that will require big changes -- starting with replacing the Board of Supervisors with a single, elected county executive and county legislature. Placing more authority in an unelected administrative officer cannot substitute for real, elected leadership.

ELAN MELAMID

Los Angeles

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Janssen is correct. The problems of L.A. County are too big to deal with. If the supervisors were not so egotistical and intent on retaining their own power, they would see the necessity of breaking the county into smaller working units of one or two new counties. Smaller is better; there is no way such a vast area can be manageable.

CARENE LANDINO

Temple City

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