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Letters to the editor

On bank bailouts; Jonah Goldberg's take on Harry Reid and racism; a strategic vision for L.A.; the mayor and job growth; another payroll snafu at LAUSD; U2 guitarist's Malibu mansions

January 18, 2010

The Times identifies some of the reasons our town has trouble finding its vision.

You rightly say that long-term strategic planning doesn't come naturally to most politicians, but fail to mention that term limits build shortsightedness into the system.

Additionally, in-house expertise has been enticed to leave city employ by the recent attractive retirement package. This loss of historical memory and commitment to municipal excellence is bound to lead to the poor management you bemoan.

Hiring outside consultants is no panacea because, aside from the expense, those folks are not "experts" on Los Angeles until they've spent the time to learn the basics of our history, demography, geography, communities and the workings of our city structure.

Julie Downey

Los Angeles

The writer is a retired employee of the city of Los Angeles.

Teaching is tough enough

Re “L.A. Unified paid $200 million in unbudgeted salaries,” Jan. 14

It does not surprise me that a recent internal audit found that the Los Angeles Unified School District does not do a good job of keeping track of salaried positions.

I have been teaching for the last 33 years in the district; last September, the State Teacher's Retirement System office informed me that the district did not give me a full year's service credit for working last year. (There are also other years in which mistakes have been made.)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to fix a payroll, illness balance or service credit mistake? After countless calls and messages, no one returns calls or fixes the problems.

The district needs to get its priorities straight and use all of its "extra" money to help its employees get what is due them.

Mary Stern Weiss

Oak Park

Malibu views and rock stars

Re “Malibu mansions, the sequel,” Column, Jan. 13

Thank you, Steve Lopez, for bringing The Edge's plans to construct five homes in Malibu to our attention.

What, is The Edge building a home for each member of U2 plus a producer? Are they now planning to write their stirring, soulful music for troubled humanity while enjoying the magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean? Maybe their next album will be found in the "easy listening" section.

Sorry, The Edge, but if you really want to make a contribution to The Earth, please revisit your plans and drastically scale down your eco-friendly design to preserve our fragile habitat.

Although that would still leave me at a loss as to how you can feel the pulse of distressed humanity in . . . Malibu.

Carolin Atchison

Studio City

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