The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Walk to School, Get an Education and Eternal Vigilance

March 8, 2002

Dear Editor,

It is not surprising that few Samohi students walk, bike, or bus to school, and that 700 students drive themselves to school in their own cars. ("Some Parking Relief for Hemmed-in Residents," March 6, 2002)

As of 1/9/02, Samohi had 961 students enrolled from outside the district, which is 23% of the student body. This figure only represents those who have obtained permits; who knows how many others are using addresses that do not reflect their actual place of weekday residence.

Although the school district is restricting new permits, all present students and all their siblings are grand-parented into SMMUSD for their entire K-12 education.

Those residents who do not have children in the schools may not think district policies make a difference in their lives, but all of us are affected by the air pollution generated by unnecessary commuting. "Smart growth" policies encourage us to live, work, shop, and go to school in the same community, to prevent the pollution caused by long commutes. Walking, busing, or biking to school not only improves our air quality, it instills healthy transportation habits in children that can last a lifetime.

Abby Arnold
Santa Monica

March 7, 2002

Dear Editor,

Now that the election is over, I will speak my mind.

I reside in the Pico neighborhood, and I received a very nasty and low quality flier on my doorstep condemning Santa Monica College. I later found out that it was people from the Pico Neighborhood Association, my supposed representation.

It got me thinking... what has this group done for the neighborhood? Nothing is the answer. This "group" tried suing the college and lost. Then, they tried going against the college bond, and lost again. They need to take a hint. Santa Monica College is supported by the vast majority of the community.

Attempting to get publicity by blaming a well-respected institution is stupid as hell. Maybe they should enroll in classes at SMC and get a real education. And one more thing... those No on U signs were the ugliest lawn signs I've ever seen in my life.

Brandon Miller
Santa Monica

March 7, 2002

Dear Editor,

I am grateful that Measure U passed by such a wide margin. I live in Sunset Park, and this bond will be good for my neighborhood.

I'm glad that the likes of Richard "soon to be out of office" Bloom could not corrupt the good voters of Santa Monica. Now, we need that 70% of Measure U supporters to vote NO on Richard Bloom when he runs for council. Ken Genser needs to go too.

Keith Washington
Sunset Park

March 7, 2002

Dear Editor,

As a lawyer with a First Amendment background, and without expressing any opinion as to the merits of the new Daily Press, I must say, I'm a bit surprised by the comments of Bob Steele, the senior faculty and ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla. ("Attorneys Roll Out Welcome Mat for New Paper," March 7, 2002)

It is most strange to see someone who is in media, and purportedly a professor essentially suggesting limitations on the First Amendment rights of newspapers!

Maybe a little First Amendment discussion is in order.

First, and most important, the First Amendment would preclude limitations on any newspaper that anyone wants to put out. Diversity of viewpoints is welcome in a First Amendment context. You can put out a newspaper from any viewpoint you want. End of discussion, really.

But, if you want to go beyond that, second, as a practical matter, don't forget:

1. Every newspaper in the world is owned by someone and written by someone. They don't check their viewpoints at the door -- in other words, they all have viewpoints, and presumably the viewpoints reflect their ownership. (Present company included)

2. Anyone can start a paper.

3. No one has to buy a copy of any newspaper.

4. A newspaper won't succeed as a commercial venture unless it finds a public interested in buying and reading it -- which is not an easy task. Many papers have failed -- and we in Santa Monica know that as well as anyone!

5. The credibility of a newspaper depends on various factors, including who owns it, who supports it and how, what its track record is on issues, etc. If a paper is consistently slanted, people will know that and consider it when reading the paper.

6. Public comment about the newspaper is also protected speech.

Unlike repressive countries, where someone uses the "fairness" club to force media to do what the powers that be want, in our country, we are free. That means the press doesn't have to be "fair," as determined by some government bureaucrat, we rely on the diversity of the press instead of regulation - and any member of the press (or any person generally) can say whatever they want. Thank goodness!

Welcome, Daily Press. I may not agree with you, but I'll defend your right to have whatever viewpoint you want, whoever your ownership is.

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty

Michael S. Klein

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