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Holbrook Speaks Out and Trusting Police

April 25, 2002

Dear Editor,

I realize it is politically incorrect for me to comment on the recent Samohi student march on the Doubletree Hotel. But, when have I ever been politically correct! ("Rallying Controversy," April 15, 2000)

I am a second-generation Samohi alumnus and the father of three third generation alumni and past president and member of our board of education. I am amazed that school district administrators joined a union organizing march and rally, and that is the truth.

It has been no secret that the Doubletree is a target of the local hotel worker's organizing efforts. I have no problem with school board members and students joining a labor rally. I think it unfortunate that staff got the school district in the middle of the disagreement between the hotel worker's union and the Doubletree.

It troubles me that the spin on the march and rally is that the police over reacted. I guess when you make a mistake it is convenient to say, "Hey it was just a bunch of kids that were walking around and the police over reacted by being there."

Thank you Chief Butts and our Santa Monica police officers for being there. It is your responsibility to keep everyone safe and you did that. The same hotel union has conducted several marches and demonstrations in Santa Monica

Dozens of their supporters have been arrested and Santa Monica residents have had their intersections and streets blocked by these same supporters who promised to follow a march route and stay on the sidewalks. Instead they often deliberately block streets and create gridlock.

My view of hotel union activity and the hotel industry is pretty simple. Let them work it out. I object to our streets being blocked and our kids being pawns in the ongoing organizing campaign.

A final thought, the school district receives thousands and thousands of dollars in rent every year from the Doubletree (it is located on property owned by the District). If the District believes that the Double Tree workers are underpaid, give some of that money to them.

Robert Holbrook
Santa Monica City Councilman

April 25, 2002

Dear Editor,

While I have areas of disagreement with the City, particularly as regards the allocation of police assets in the Pico Neighborhood, aka East Santa Monica, I find them on the whole to be a great organization.

Whenever I've called 911 their response time has been astonishing, and reassuring. While some "activists" have claimed that the police are overzealous in their treatment of youth, I've been witness to many positive, even jovial, exchanges between officers and neighborhood kids.

Let us not forget what a difficult, dangerous job they have; one officer I know was badly wounded on the pier, her father, also a policeman, was murdered.

De LaTorre rants on about the police not trusting "youth." Do the police deserve any less trust than these "youths?" I think Oscar De La Torre is guilty of police "profiling" and that this is no less pernicious than racial "profiling" or any other form of simplistic stereotyping.

Trying to maintain law and order in this town with a politically correct, "progressive" cadre of "leaders" like De La Torre breathing down your neck isn't a job I'd take for all the money in the world. I, for one, remain grateful for the kind and friendly help I've received from our men and women in blue.

Steve Keats
Santa Monica

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