The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Closed Session Abuses, Don't Point Fingers, Transients and a Transit Nightmare

June 25, 2002

Dear Editor,

Frank Gruber's column (WHAT I SAY: "Thanks for the Ironies," June 24) makes a good point about the abuse of the democratic process that can take place in secret closed sessions of the City Council.

In my eight years on the council, the closed sessions were generally appropriate. State law requires most City Council business to be conducted in public with adequate notice.

There are, however, a few understandable exceptions. Secret sessions are allowed for things like the consideration of lawsuits, personnel evaluations, employee contract negotiations and negotiating the purchase of property. Some of these matters must later be reported or voted on in public, but that is after the basic decisions have been determined. Our City Attorney has been vigilant in making sure the closed sessions follow the law.

Nevertheless, while the Council has the legal right to closed sessions, they are not always required, and the Council can decide to hold the discussions in public. Certainly, it is more efficient to do things in private. Democracy can be a time consuming and messy affair.

On occasion, I participated in closed sessions that on reflection should have been held in public. At times I was able to observe up close and personal why it is so important to have a public government. In private, Council members were able to say and do things that would have horrified the public. It is clear to me that closed governments so easily lead to the abuse of power.

Paul Rosenstein
(Ed. Note: Paul Rosenstein is a former mayor who served two terms on the City Council.)

June 25, 2002

Dear Editor,

I am outraged at the letter "Police no Answer" by Len LaBounty, in which he states that "the solution to violence (in the Pico Neighborhood) is not the police... they are the last step when all other ways have failed. If the people in their own neighborhood cannot teach and instill values and behaviors in their children, the police will never be of any use except to arrest someone..."

To begin with, I am a lifelong resident of the area and am deeply offended that someone would make such an audacious statement as to assume that the violence that plagues the "Pico" neighborhood is rooted in the lack of parental guidance. Does Len have a PhD in Sociology, Psychology or Administration of Justice, or is he just ignorant?

I just want the community to know that our neighborhood is filled with hard working families. Of those families with children I can attest to the fact that there is an abundance of caring parents who instill in their children the fundamental values of community, respect, education and perseverance, to name a few. If Len would take the time to educate himself as to the causes of violence in our community he would not be so ready to point fingers.

Tony Huizar
Santa Monica

June 24, 2002

Dear Editor,

The irony here is that this is the reason I stopped going to the Promenade years ago ("Angry Merchants Call for Relief from Homeless," June 24). I have small children and choose instead to go to Santa Monica Place ("the indoor mall"), which I understand is in the planning stages of becoming the next leg of the Promenade.

I guess I'll have to start driving to the Westside Pavillion! Oh well, this city sure makes it hard for it's residents to spend their money in Santa Monica!

Debbie Ricard
Santa Monica

June 21, 2002

Dear Editor,

As long as I can remember, the traffic in Santa Monica was always manageable, getting somewhere was always easy. If a particular street was in distress, there was another way to go around. Now, however, with "traffic calming" tantamount to roadblocks, sad to say that's not the case here any longer.

And this transit mall concept is an absolute failure! I remember when the thing was being rebuilt, first they struck down those wonderful trees that gave shade all year round. Then they tore up everything to replace them with multicolored materials that really do nothing to improve traffic, save to say you're in a multi-colored zone. The addition of traffic police helped though, but I wonder how much that help must have cost the taxpayers?

Today, after it's all done, traffic police are still required, and now a special traffic detail is being formed and trained for permanent assignment, indicating that the intent of the design has not lived up to its projections, unless of course, the intent was to snarl the whole area making the Downtown an unattractive destination. If this was the true idea, then those who are responsible for this nightmare have won the day.

I'm sorry, I don't need to bother trying to breach the "zone," so I go elsewhere for most everything I need to do. At least when the finger of blame, and shame, points to who did this, and so many of these other capitol projects "they" envision, it will stop at the super majority crowd and their hand-picked, like-minded, cronies who never knew this city's history, and sought instead to lay their shadow over it without regard to the consequences.

And, as "they" seem to have national political aspirations, it will be left up to those of us who remain here to undo everything "they" have wrought on this once fair city! And we shall!

B. Sudovar

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