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History lessons

August 01, 2008

Re "Living with a reminder of segregation," July 27

The legacy of racially restrictive housing covenants is not just in a paragraph at the bottom of a contract, it's also in the makeup of the neighborhoods we live in today.

In neighborhoods where redlining was once company policy, not enough has changed. For the many who don't understand the systemic origins of urban blight in Los Angeles and our nation's other great cities -- job discrimination, discriminatory lending and exclusionary covenants -- it is all too easy to deny our political and communal obligation to invest, include and integrate.

With this in mind, I ask Assemblyman Hector De La Torre to wrestle with our history, not to whitewash it. Exclusionary covenants in contracts should remain there as a reminder of our past. He should be sitting down with the banks, supermarkets and other economic engines to truly expunge this racist legacy.

Hannah Lazarus



Years ago in a class on California government, I heard a professor opine that California had "made it" when it moved to a full-time Legislature. Having watched the machinations, incompetence and occasional malfeasance produced by our full-time Legislature since then, I cannot help but think that my former professor was overly optimistic.

De La Torre's latest attempt to find a reason to justify his full-time job provides an exceptional case in point. While the state remains mired in yet another budget crisis and the economy is a shambles, De La Torre wishes to force taxpayers to spend money to expunge an unenforceable relic from a less enlightened era.

Perhaps we should go back to a part-time Legislature so legislators don't have as much time to find costly, burdensome ways to justify their salaries.

Bob Patterson

Huntington Beach

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