Mirror Errs To the editor: Generally I think Mirror coverage of the Landmarks Commission meetings is incredibly accurate and timely and shows an understanding of many of the complex issues. In fact, I compliment the Mirror on its coverage of Preservation issues in general. However, on occasion, an error does appear. In your issue of March 16 you incorrectly stated that we did not put Zucky’s on the agenda. We did under Future Agenda items towards the end of the meeting. Without prejudice it was added to April’s agenda for discussion. Mr. Rubin spoke under Public Comment. Because those items are not agendized we cannot comment at that time. In addition, it would be incorrect to say that plans MUST go before ARB or Planning first. But on occasion that does happen. A problem is created when a potentially historic property comes before the Landmarks Commission for a demolition permit having already obtained other approvals for a new project. Roger Genser Chair, Landmarks Commission Santa Monica Ed. Note. See Corrections and Apologies, this page. Goodbye and good luck To the editor: Suzanne Frick’s untimely — because too long delayed — departure from her job as head of the city’s planning department gives the city a chance to hire an individual who has a vision, an imagination (not the same), and a willingness truly to seek the input of the residents. One needs only to compare this city to what it was one or two decades ago to see the results of poor planning — or, in some instances, no planning at all. Let’s wish Ms Frick good luck in Long Beach — and simultaneously hope that our crack city council doesn’t blow this one. Ron DiCostanzo Santa Monica Don’t blame society To the editor: Speaking of hypocrisy (see my 3/9/05 Letter to the Editor “Double Standard at City Hall”), Hannah Heineman’s 3/2/05 second page article “Community Workshop Focuses on Gang Violence” demonstrates the lack of accountability among some members of our community. Quoting the Spanish-speaking participants, the larger community’s habit of blaming parents for the behavior of their children “doesn’t take into account the socioeconomic conditions that immigrant families, poor families and marginalized families are experiencing.” The Spanish speakers stated that racism leads to a lack of opportunities for youth which results in “youth that are discriminated against, who don’t identify with society they are living in or their society of origin. They become marginalized in both.” The Spanish speakers went on to say that some Latinos believe that “society wants to punish the Spanish-speaking, Latino and immigrant community, rather than helping them.” The Spanish-speaking participants complained of “the dehumanization of their youth,” “lack of culturally relevant childcare and lack of knowledge of what resources are available,” and a “lack of diversity in teachers so their young people could see their own community reflected back at them.” These Spanish speakers are obviously intelligent people based on the nature of their comments, but they apparently overlook the responsibility each of us has for our own well being and that of the larger community. Learning to speak English while living and working in this country is the surest way to feeling a part of the larger community. The poor Eastern European immigrants entering America on the East Coast at the turn of the 20th century made learning the native language their first priority. Feelings of isolation and that you don’t belong within our society can be greatly reduced by learning to communicate in our nation’s common language, English. My son’s classroom at John Muir Elementary School is full with children from many heritages, and the school’s female principal is Latina, so I do not agree that there is a lack of diversity in our schools. Although I am not sure what the Spanish speakers meant by “culturally relevant childcare,” my other son’s teachers at daycare in SM are Latino, African American, Asian, and Caucasian, which appears to be “culturally relevant” to me. The City of Santa Monica regularly mails to residents and makes available at convenient locations throughout the City, including libraries, informational brochures on various community resources in English and Spanish. It is the responsibility of individuals and residents to become knowledgeable of local opportunities and resources. Despite the fact that poverty and inadequate schools breed crime and contempt for the larger society, there are numerous examples of poor immigrant and minority children overcoming these obstacles. I just spoke with a black gentleman who is a very successful developer in Los Angeles. He started his real estate career in east Texas, not exactly a hotbed of racial equality. He told me being the only black face in the business gave him immediate name recognition, which partly led to his success. This man chose to leverage his blackness to succeed rather than blame the white man for failure. While no expert at gang violence, history shows that many immigrant and minority groups – Jews, Italians, Irish, Blacks, Mexicans, Chinese- have or had organized gangs. The Latino community is no longer a minority in California, so they can affect change by voting and participating at the local level. Perhaps those Latinos already living in America can provide support and guidance to recent Latino immigrants in the community. As a parent, I am learning that I cannot control everything my children do and say, but it seems to me a lack of parental responsibility contributes to juvenile delinquency. I commend the community workshops organized in response to the recent gang-related shootings, but I don’t think blaming society for the criminal behavior of a few is any kind of a solution. Jeffrey Weinstein Santa Monica Corrections and Apologies Charged with preserving what is best and most significant historically and architecturally in our townscape and, in that way, establishing standards for the present and future, the Landmarks Commission plays a vital role in Santa Monica. In that light, it is acutely painful for us to report that the Mirror story on the Commission’s March meeting, which ran last week, contained two significant errors. The Mirror reported that “At the present time, applicants for demolition permits must go before the Architecture Review Board with their plans first, with Landmarks reviewing the applications when the plans for new projects are already in process.” Wrong. In fact, here and now, people seeking demolition permits sometimes CHOOSE to go before the Architectural Review Board prior to their appearance before Landmarks, even though City staff informs them that the right to demolish can not be established until the application for the demolition permit has been heard by the Landmarks Commission. In addition, the Mirror reported that “The Commission took no action on placing Zucky’s on its agenda in the immediate future.” Wrong again. A discussion of Zucky’s was put on the agenda for next month’s meeting. In the first instance, we misunderstood, and in the second instance we simply missed. We regret both the error of commission and the error of omission. And we apologize to the Landmarks Commissioners, all good people and true, for misrepresenting them, and to our readers for misinforming them. Peggy Clifford, EditorNote: see “Mirror errs” letter, this page.
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