Threat to democracy
To the editor:
We teach our children that the beauty of the U.S. Constitution is that it provides a series of checks and balances that guarantees against the consolidation of power in any one branch or special interest group. That is the legacy that we share and proudly espouse to the world as evidence that our system of government is the gold standard of democracy, that ours is the path to liberty and freedom in an otherwise oppressive world. In order to maintain that balance, the architects of our government had the wisdom and divine inspiration to include the filibuster as a tool to be used sparingly, but effectively, to insure the minority voice be heard over the din of any majority who’s own rhetoric runs roughshod over the voice of reason and dialog.
The Republican administration and the Republican controlled Congress now threaten to upset that balance of power. They dare to question the wisdom of our forefathers while maintaining that they are the only true patriots. If we allow them to change the formula that has worked for 214 years, I’m afraid our legacy going forward will no longer be considered the gold standard in the fight for a government “for the people, by the people, of the people”, but something far less than that. It will remove yet another brick in the wall of a system once built to protect those less fortunate, and a gold brick at that, one that if removed will slide straight into the back pocket of the special interests standing quietly behind our administration and it’s partisan Senators, whispering in their ears.
Kevin Laffey, Los Angeles
To the editor:
We need to get realistic about Santa Monica Place, or the mall will just stay put and gradually get dumpy.
What’s been proposed gets at some key needs—improving traffic flow, putting parking underground, opening up the space to the surroundings, and making everything more user-friendly.
Ah, but what about the tall buildings—isn’t that the most horrible thing that could happen? Well, no it isn’t. A higher but skinnier building blocks less view and opens up the sky more than a shorter but squatter building.
Can’t the mall be replaced by a low-rise development? Sure, but what would entice someone to invest zillions of dollars tearing down a mall and building a low-rise development? I don’t think they do that anymore.
How the new space will feel and work—how we experience being there, how it integrates the Civic Center, Promenade, and Pier—that’s so much more important than the outside dimensions.
Gerry Wacker, Santa Monica
What’s the rationale?
To the editor:
I’m writing regarding the April 15th fight at Samohi. I’m confused by some of the proposals put forth as responses to the fight. According to the Mirror’s account and according to Ilene Straus, after the fight, requirements that “all students present a Samohi ID when entering or leaving the campus” and “have an ID at all times while on campus” were instituted. I don’t understand the rationale for these policies.
As far as I am aware, the fight at Samohi occurred only between legitimate, ID-carrying students while at lunch on campus. Considering this, what purpose is served by requiring further ID checks? The two seem totally unrelated. If someone who did not have an ID came onto campus and committed a crime, then increased ID checks would seem valuable, but this was not the case. Am I missing something, or is the lack of logic here too obvious to mention?
It was stated that one of the students involved in the fight was drunk. I assume there is already an existing rule at Samohi prohibiting drunken people on campus. More effective enforcement of this rule, on students, staff, and visitors alike might be helpful, but again, this has nothing to do with ID checks.
The underlying assumption of many of the responses to the fight seems to have been to work harder to keep unauthorized people from being on campus. But unauthorized people were not involved in the fight. I feel I must keep repeating this, as it seems to have somehow gotten lost. According to the Mirror’s account, there were no unauthorized students or other people involved. So, restricting campus access to authorized people is not relevant to solving the problem presented by the fight on April 15th. Why, then is this one the primary focuses of the response?
I would love to see some responses or rebuttals to my claims.
Jesse Weinstein, Los Angeles
support Shriver proposal
To the editor:
In response to the recent article in the L.A. Times (May 17) regarding Councilman Bobby Shriver’s proposal to address the critical issues of homelessness in Santa Monica and beyond, I urge the community to support this effort.
I understand the sensitivities on all sides of this issue; it is my hope that recruiting a respected individual to take on the multi-faceted issues of those who are homeless and the impacted communities will re-invigorate the focus needed to address these issues with compassion and resolve.
St. Monica Catholic Parish Community is the spiritual home to 7500 households and we encounter the plight of people who are in desperate circumstances, including those who are homeless, on a daily basis. We do our best to meet their immediate needs, but many require ongoing services of agencies and organizations with counseling, housing and rehabilitation programs. If the efforts in this area are more focused on a regional level, there may be more options for those needing services. I appreciate the efforts and response taken by our city on this issue. Sometimes we need more than committees and commissions—in this case we may need someone to act as a catalyst to spark a creative and compassionate response. Mr. Shriver may not have all the answers, but his proposal does have merit, and I hope the community gives it their support.
Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, Pastor