|The LookOut Letters to the Editor|
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LETTERS:Cleaning Up The Dirt, Crosswalk Stings and School Crisis
February 14, 2000
Thank you for pointing out that if I'd been involved with The Dirt, it
As im shure your awear, I wood be embearassed to unleesh such a Trapesty
I hope whomever rote The Dirt will feal frea to contract me for what
February 13, 2000
I have noticed that there has been no mention on your web page of the
I needed a plumbing part (because my apartment building is undergoing
I grew up less than two blocks from this intersection and I knew that this was an unusal situation. My suspicion was confirmed when I noticed a motorcycle cop posted at the northwest corner of 16th and S.M. Blvd. Then I noticed six or seven other motorcycle cops across the street, next to the 7-11, hiding behind the store's sign. "What could this be?" I thought to myself. Maybe Clinton is in town...or Gore...or maybe Castro. TEN MINUTES later (no joke), after the six cars in front of me eventually made their way on to S.M. Blvd., I realized that what was really happening was a "crosswalk sting".
It was very interesting and disturbing. It works like this: one cop posts
at the northwest corner of the intersection while he watches traffic go
by westbound. At the same time, one or two plain-clothed cops wait for
an opportune time to cross S.M. Blvd. HOWEVER, THEIR INTENTION IS NOT
I say this because I sat and watched these plain-clothed cops actually wait several minutes for traffic to "occur" when there were other chances to cross the street with relatively little traffic. When the light turned green at 17th and S.M. Blvd. a group of cars would approach the intersection at 16th en masse, then the plain-clothed cop would choose to enter the crosswalk as a "pedestrian" so that the approaching drivers would have to make a split-second decision. The cop posted on his motorcycle would then chase down one of the apparent "offenders" or "unsafe drivers". At the same time, another motorcycle cop would mobilize to replace the cop that just dispatched. The system was very efficient. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
While I support efforts to get bad drivers off the road, what is disturbing
As a lifelong citizen of this city I demand that our city law enforcement
February 16, 2000
Your recent article entitled "Take the Politics Out of the School District, New Parents Group Pleads" was a well written account of our parent group meeting, and I appreciate your willingness to cover the event. There are, however, a couple of things I would like to correct and clarify.
The first one regards the number of parents at the meeting. While your article states that there were "more than two dozen parents", the actual number of participants was considerably greater. In fact, 42 people attended the meeting (their names are on the sign-in sheets.)
Among those 42 attendees were concerned parents from all across the district, current and past PTA Presidents, District Advisory Committee Chairpersons, Site Governance members, Presidents and Board members from at least three major Neighborhood Groups, and one member of the Santa Monica City Council.
In short it was a meeting made up of core members of the community. People who care deeply about our schools, and who are looking for new and different ways to create positive change for our district.
My second point is really just one of clarification.
Your article stated that: "The group also listed the qualities it would like to see in School board members. They include: Demonstrating intelligence ("They could be sitting on it," Petz said, referring to current board members), civility, courage, leadership and commitment..."
While the "sitting on it" quote may be technically accurate, out of context it sounds like a mean-spirited comment, when it was intended to be just the opposite.
At the beginning of the meeting we stated clearly that our goal was to look for ways to make improvements, and that we were not there to run down our current board members. In fact, I said that our current board members probably had good intentions.
Later, as we discussed the qualities we were looking for in new board members, someone said "Intelligence". In defense of our current board members, I said that perhaps they were intelligent, but maybe we just weren't seeing it in their public meetings, maybe they were "sitting on it". Hence I wrote down the words "intelligence, demonstrated". My intention was to try and give the current board members the benefit of the doubt, not to make fun of them.
While this may be a small point to some, it is an important point to me.
Yes, I think that the current Board, as a group, is dysfunctional. . Yes, I think we need serious reform of our district and its public process. And yes, I, and others intend to fight hard to see that those reforms are made. But NO, I do not want to fight in a way that is mean spirited. We are all members of the same community, and we must remember that.
If, however, it is telling the truth and speaking out that upsets people, so be it. Being open and honest about what doesn't work, is the first step toward making things better. I encourage everyone to break the code of silence that surrounds this district and begin to say openly the things that they are whispering in private. Because, in the long run, openness and honesty will not "hurt our children", it will save them.
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