The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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The VERITAS about Genser, Living in SMMROVIA and Subterranean Garagesick Blues

July 5, 2001

Dear Editor,

Councilman Genser is mistaken.

In the VERITAS petition news release to which Councilman Genser refers in his July 2 letter, we state the simple TRUTH that he supported the 1992 District Election Plan. His signature along with Tony Vazquez's and mine is written clearly on the notice of intent to circulate the initiative petition.

In signing, he concurred with the text above his signature, which says in part, "No longer will candidates have to belong to slates or compromise themselves to raise large sums of money. Instead they will be able to walk their own districts, meet voters in person and directly respond to voter needs. They will much more often be able to run against incumbents on an equal basis where issues and personal qualities will be more important than entrenched power."

Furthermore, when the City Council considered placing the measure on the ballot for the November 1992 election, Mr. Genser was one of three Council Members who voted in favor of putting it on the ballot. A report in the July 9, 1992 Los Angeles Times documents Mr. Genser's vote, along with references to the support of district elections in general expressed by MALDEF and NAACP.

Secondly, Mr. Genser is mistaken again when he claims that the VERITAS news release suggests that he presently favors the idea. It does no such thing. He is part of the "entrenched power" mentioned in the 1992 petition, so it should not be surprising that he now opposes district elections and term limits as VERITAS proposes.

Irene B. Zivi
Santa Monica


July 3, 2001

Dear Editor,

(Re: Linda Sullivan's letter post July 2)

Housing is not provided as if by magic by the state. It is paid for in one form or another. It is built with capital and hard work, not by the wishful thinking of well intended idealists who wouldn't know the light of day if they saw it.

It's so unfair, after years of hard work and greedy landlordry I still can't afford to live north of Montana, or in Beverly Hills. When you can't afford to live one place you find another. When I was young and didn't have two nickels to rub together I couldn't afford any place so I shared.

Surely there are some that need subsidized housing; shortly before the last recession employers leaving the state identified the cost of housing as one of the main reasons for their exit. No housing, no employees, no business.

However I know a person, who will remain unnamed, who ought to be working... for her own sake as well as the taxpayers'... who will probably sit on her duff for the rest of her life manipulating Community Corp into providing her with fancier and fancier apartments. She'll be getting an Apartment North of Montana, how kind of us.

Enabling people to be disabled as some sort of surrogate career rather then helping them discover their potential. How humanitarian of us! I'm glad they didn't have rent control when I was sitting on my duff, on the dole, feeling sorry for myself. If I had been living in SMMROVIA I'm sure I'd be wearing a diaper again by now, and waiting expectantly for the wet nurse to arrive. How progressive of us!

Sullivan's gibberish is cut from the same cloth as those who complain about the distribution of income. Income is not distributed, it is earned. Though I'm sure the wealthiest one percent do a hell of a lot better job of redistributing income through charities than the government does with taxes.

However disappointing Ms. Sullivan may find it, the majority (64 percent as of 1993) of Americans own their homes. If Ms Sullivan wishes to remain a tenant and perceive herself as a victim of "commodification" I hope she's happy with her choice. That self same "commodification"... for better or worse.....feeds her every day.

Can't figure why the left is feeling so on top of the world these days Gore only got about a million more votes than Bush. If they all think as clearly as Ms. Sullivan Bush is liable to win a second term against all odds.

Steve Keats
Santa Monica


July 2, 2001

Dear Editor,

This is a warning to property Owners and Managers of subterranean garages. There is a little known state law called Proposition 65 which was passed by the Legislature back in the 80's. Its purpose was said to be protection for the citizens of California against exposure to dangerous contaminants in public areas and the work place.

The Legislature, in proposing this to the Voters, made no provision for enforcement but instead allowed any person or group to bring suit against an offending entity under this law and claim 25 percent of any damages assessed by the courts. The damages could reach $2,500 per day for every day of non-compliance.

This Proposition is sometimes called "Bounty Hunter" Legislation because it can be used by opportunistic organizations and individuals to harass entities which may have unwittingly violated the letter of the law because they were never made aware of their exposure to a suit.

Compliance with this Proposition is as easy as posting an ad in a newspaper or a small sign on the premises which warns that certain toxic chemicals are present. The fact that there is no sure way that the Owner or Operator of a subterranean garage can know of this law, puts anyone who has not posted the required sign or published the requisite warning at risk of a suit by an opportunistic person or group.

The best interest of the Public may not be the initial motivation in such a suit, though in court the plaintiff can take the pious stance that it is in the Public's interest. Though the person or group filing a suit may lay claim to 25 percent of the damages, there is a much quicker profit to them in settling the suit out of court and probably realizing ten times the amount of an award and reducing the risk of gaining nothing.

My reason for raising this specter is to alert citizens to the fact that there is such a suit being brought against an organization in Santa Monica and it is of the "Bounty Hunter" variety. This has been indicated by the plaintiff's attorney on two occasions with an offer to settle before the costs of litigation have risen.

I am hoping to have the Chamber of Commerce alert its membership and that the Building and Safety Department will take the initiative to issue some type of notice to applicants and perhaps even the Owners of existing buildings.

James Mount
Santa Monica


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