The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Paul's Shortcomings, Half-tales and Inequities and Welcoming Labor

July 1, 2002

Dear Editor,

In Paul Rosenstein's recent letter to The Lookout ("Closed Session Abuses," June 26), he neglected to mention another possible consequence of closed session discussions: It is possible for a Council member to passionately and repeatedly advocate a position in closed session discussions, but subsequently condemn other Council members for advocating the identical position when the matter comes before the Council in a public session.

Nevertheless, I'm glad Paul wrote the letter. Publicly acknowledging one's shortcomings is the first step towards recovery.

Ken Genser
Council Member

June 28, 2002

Dear Editor,

It's not unusual to read various accounts of School Board meetings the next day, and realize that I somehow missed something. But this morning, it seems that you missed something ("Mothers Charge School District with Racisim," June 28).

Although, Ms. Gottfried did cite personal and family experiences as part of her response to the Mothers for Justice charge of racial profiling and inequitable disciplinary policies in the district, her words in no way minimized the repeated affirmations from the Board of Ed, as well as the Superintendent, that these allegations were being taken very seriously.

What Ms. Gottfried did, in fact, was to extend an open invitation to become active participants in the process by joining SMMUSD's numerous District Advisory Committees and attending Board of Ed meetings on a regular basis instead only when you're good and mad. She also voiced an ideal of entire families and neighborhoods working together to effect real, honest, wide-spread change from within the various community systems.

Yet those powerful--not to mention, empowering--suggestions as the first steps toward solutions and resolutions were not deemed newsworthy by the LookOut.

Your article also states that President Brownley and Superintendent Deasy "expressed interest" in the situation.

President Brownley suspended the two/three minute time limitation on public comment for the largest block of speakers I have personally ever seen at the School Board, and also recognized at least one attendee who had not completed the prerequisite speaker's chit--both the rarest of occurrences. Superintendent Deasy restated--several times--a commitment to review all school site policies and protocols. Board Member Pam Brady openly cried. That's a lot of interest. From where I was sitting, it looked more like genuine concern.

And since, as your article stated, "Much of the criticism and frustration was directed at the administration at John Adams Middle school." it might have been interesting to point out that no one even knows what administrative policies are at JAMS right now. With a new principal at the helm, it's a brand new day. The same holds true for SAMOHI.

This in no way minimizes the very painful concerns of the Mothers for Justice. Racism has no place in my life or my home; and definitely not in my schools. If we have these sorts of inequities in the district, then yes, they need to be flushed out and eradicated immediately -- no ifs, ands or buts.

But it's also important to understand how seriously this was taken by both the Board of Ed and the Superintendent, and to acknowledge their general consensus to initiate decisive steps regarding this situation as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this attitude of concern was not particularly evident in your incomplete account of last night's meeting.

It seems rather ironic that an article addressing the issue of equitable justice be, itself, fraught with so many half-tales and inequities.

DK Stanton

June 26, 2002

Dear Editor,

In many progressive cities, including Los Angeles, organized labor is a partner in all government-supported economic development and promotion efforts ("Union Leader Vies for Seat on Tourism Board," June 25).

Throughout the U.S., the federally funded Workforce Investment Boards are required by law to have labor representatives on their boards and committees, which plan for the training and employment development needs of the business community. Good consensus-based planning and promotion can only occur when all interested parties are participants in the process.

These "high road" strategies are regarded as a "best practice" in the economic development field. It's time for Santa Monica to join Los Angeles, and many other cities, in welcoming organized labor to the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, which promotes our tourism industry.

Abby Arnold
(Ed. Note: Abby Arnold is a member of the board of the Pier Restoration Corp. and a candidate for City Council)

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