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Letters To The Editor:

In the wake of the recent arrests of the killers of Eddie Lopez and Miguel Martin, I find myself laughing out loud at the comments being made by city and SMPD officials. Before there can be any kind of positive interaction between our community and police, there is a pressing issue that the SMPD and the city for some reason refuse to address. Even though it has been brought up numerous times, I still continue to hear about the constant targeting and harassment of our youth of color by the SMPD. This malpractice was no more evident than in the unfair trial and conviction of Matthew Vargas, and the false accusations brought upon Michael Espindola by the SMPD. As long as the SMPD tries to tear our families apart as they did with these two young men by means of terror and power abuse, there can be no positive changes in our relationship with police.

The reactions of several councilmembers to the arrests shows their complete lack of knowledge and ignorance of gangs and youth violence. It isn’t very surprising though since the entire city council has been out of touch with its residents for quite some time now. They exist solely to please the special interest groups which support them, one of which is the Santa Monica Police Officers Association. Being in the streets almost daily, as well as having grown up with gang members, I and many others have realized there is only one true way to end gang violence. As long as we live in a capitalist society that promotes the unequal distribution of wealth and the social oppression of Blacks and Latinos, there will always be gangs and crime. The more we’re forced into “ghettos” by means of housing segregation operating under the age old “separate but equal” ideology, as well as receiving unequal treatment within the SMMUSD, there will be anger and depression amongst our youth of color which in turn leads to gang involvement and ultimately, violence.

David Mendez-Yapkowitz

Santa Monica/Los Angeles

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To the Mayor and the Members of the City Council:

As a Santa Monica resident whose hedge, planted 70 years ago, was grandfathered in by the council’s last action, I must confess I do not understand. Why is the council raising this issue again?

There may be some few Santa Monica residents who disagreed with your last (and we all thought final) ruling on the hedges. Be assured that I and others who applauded your good sense and reserve in your last ruling will oppose you with all the legal means at our disposal should that ruling be overturned. The notion of “a right to public viewership” will, as I’m sure you well know, be laughed out of court.

An overturning of your previous ruling will cost the City of Santa Monica millions of dollars in litigation and will cost your opponents of such an action – taxpaying citizens of our city – time, money and aggravation.

Some few complaints may have induced you to reopen this can of worms, but those complaints would be as nothing against the vehement opposition of those, myself among them, who would understand any revision of the already settled dispute as a betrayal on the part of the city council.

Sincerely Yours,

David Mamet

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During a recent landlord/tenant problem, I came to the City of Santa Monica Rent Control Board, Department of Building and Safety and Department of Consumer Affairs. I want to thank all of those concerned in these fine Santa Monica Departments. My experience with each and every one of them was so pleasant that I felt that I must share it with other residents of Santa Monica. Each of the departments named gave me the support I needed when I really needed it. I drove by City Hall today, February 7, 2007, and was filled with a sense of pride in the city that I call home. I had no idea until this recent conflict how supportive the City of Santa Monica really is to its residents. This is my way of thanking all who helped me and who also renewed my faith in city government.

Josephine McKeown

Santa Monica

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