As a fellow Wisconsinite I agree with Steve Stajich’s solution to the LA Times dilemma, to follow the example of the Green Bay Packers and have the community buy the paper. I’ve a few rolls of quarters around to invest too.
This clearly would be far better than having our newspaper owned by billionaires and controlled by shareholders. Local ownership hasn’t hurt the Packers over many years, and there are few bailouts during lean times.
Mary Kay Gordon
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The city has many problems concerning basic livability issues. Keeping the streets safe and clean, reducing gang problems, keeping increased development (among which the city is the largest developer and culprit). Current majority incumbents are to blame. Their policies over the last eight years have made these problems worse. We have a chance to support those who have been trying to implement common sense solutions to the homeless and density problems in our city. We have a chance to vote for some new candidates and support those who are actually doing something. Do something different. Vote for change!
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On October 12, 2006 I attended a town hall meeting at the Grant School which addressed the topic of the purchase of 1826 Pearl by the Step Up Program. I was predisposed, if given the chance, to voice serious opposition at the meeting. “Let me get this straight, they want to purchase a residence three blocks from my home to set up a treatment facility for mentally ill youths?” Forget about the danger to me (I can take care of myself)…what about the kids in the local schools, only two to four blocks away?
I did not need to express that opinion, because several of my neighbors did so, repeatedly, with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, some of those same opinions were significantly undermined by untamed emotional outbursts, misdirected accusations and a varying assortment of other inappropriate statements.
Meanwhile, the panel set up by Mr. Lipka, which presented the “pro” side of the issue, was similarly diverse. Mr. Lipka, to his credit, was calm in the face of attack and outwardly neutral in his presentation. A psychiatrist on the panel was likewise professional and factual, providing statistics on the relative lack of risk posed by medicated patients. Yet, another panelist, after hearing several angry neighbors express opposition, stated that he “could no longer sit back and allow these attacks on these young people…some of whom are sitting amongst you now…you’re treating them like pedophiles.” The analogy was shocking and inappropriate. It appeared that his words were more damaging to the patients than any of the angry words originating with the neighbors.
One way or another, I left the meeting with considerably more compassion for these young people than when I first walked in. They are certainly caught in the middle, and they shouldn’t be. The anger of the community was not directed at them, but at the justifiably tired legislators (“where are you going, I haven’t finished with you yet!”) and the panel. And, of course, there was a free microphone and a free audience, and you know what that means…plenty of venting, perhaps derived more from lousy workdays and/or personal issues than the facade of a dangerous neighbor.
But going forward, perhaps greater care should be taken to soften the environment for introductions. Was it really a good idea to have our proposed young neighbors hear all these angry words? The community isn’t angry at these young people, but how can these patients not feel like targets after sitting through that meeting? How much will they trust us now…and in return, how much safer will we feel with them?
If the legislature is going to authorize the sale of 1826 Pearl and if the bank is going to fund it, the discussion is over. For my part, I continue to believe that a site closer to one of the many medical facilities in town would be a more beneficial location for these patients, and perhaps more comforting to the frenzied neighbors. But if that is not to be, then let’s look at the cup half full. Who knows, perhaps these same patients will be our neighbors in a few years for a different reason, related more to their ability to live independently, successfully and with complete freedom, no “monitors” and no “assistants.” After sitting amongst them, I truly wish such success for them, if that is what they choose. Contrary to the harsh words expressed at that meeting, and the unfortunate venting of at least one of the panelists, we do not think you young folks are “bad.” Please understand, there have been those who have gone before you who have dampened and confused our understanding. We are cautious because such people have given us good reason to be. We can get over that, and again, for my part, if you are going to be my neighbor, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I hope you will do the same.
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Two items caught my attention on your editorial/opinions page (10/12-10/18). Michael Meurer asks, “Can we stop referring to the U.S.A. as ’America’ and broaden our vision to encompass all 35 nations of the Americas? Why not?” Because the A in USA stands for America – its part of our official name. None of the other countries use that name. Meurer doesn’t suggest what we should call ourselves to distinguish us from the other countries. United Statesans is awkward. The rest of the world would be confused if the entire hemisphere used the continental name as an identifier. Officially, in this country only, we are Americans.
The question remains, why do those from other western countries want to use the name, rather than be known by their own country name. Is it because they’re embarrassed by their native lands, which are not as prosperous and high-profile as this one? No one in the Eastern Hemisphere asks to be called European or Asian. They identify with their own individual countries. So why should those in this hemisphere want something that is less distinguishing, unless they want to bask in our light? Perhaps, if Chileans, Mexicans, Costa Ricans, etc. loved their countries more, and worked to make them more successful, they would be proud to call themselves what they are.
Finally, the Publisher’s Notebook suggests that the Los Angeles Times does not need to be locally owned because it’s operating just as well with a Chicago owner. I disagree. The LA Times became a great paper because of local ownership, just as all successful papers have done. Outside ownership does not bode well for a city this size – especially when LA is larger than Chicago. Chicago is two thousand miles away, is somewhat less diverse and its population increases are smaller. Even with the heavy emphasis on national and foreign news, the Times is still a local paper with a local perspective. If the larger city believes it needs a larger staff to maintain the quality of the paper, it should not have to answer to smaller minds.
Staff-cutting is always the answer for those whose vision and direction have failed. It doesn’t make things better. More power to Broad and Geffen. We’ve had wealthy ownership in the past. It would be better to have local billionaires in charge, instead of Toddlin’ Town ones.
West Los Angeles