WILLIAM MEAD: APPROACHING FULL
I read with interest Joseph Treviño's “Home, Sweet Dump” [January 2127]. By way of information, William Mead Homes was never used as a toxic-waste dump. In addition, only 85 families — versus the 128 claimed by the article — will be temporarily relocated while soil remediation takes place.
Frankly, we think the Housing Authority took the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the residents at William Mead Homes by a) immediately seeking out the Department of Toxic Substances Control; b) putting necessary safety precautions in place; c) partnering with the resident leadership at William Mead to inform the community about the plans and actions the Housing Authority was taking to deal with this issue; d) conducting an exhaustive series of soil tests to determine the level of toxicity; and e) now, permanently remediating the problem.
All these actions will preserve the long-term viability of the William Mead community and the preservation of low-income housing, while providing a safe environment once the full remediation is completed.
–Donald J. Smith
Los Angeles Housing Authority
As a former resident of William Mead Homes now living in Chicago, I was distressed, though pleased, to read “Home, Sweet Dump.” Although it has now been 15 years since we moved out, my family did live there for more than 20 years, and I am particularly concerned about the potential development of illnesses resulting from toxic exposure. After reading your story, I was reminded of the stench in and around the playground where my childhood friends and I used to play football, baseball and soccer. It is too bad that, back then, neither we nor our parents had any idea or recourse by which to address this alarming health hazard. I must admit that while living there, it always boggled my mind as to why the Housing Authority would ever build a housing facility that was locked in by the Department of Water and Power to the east, the railroad tracks to the south, the KeyLite Corporation to the west and a mass industrial corridor to the north. I'm sure it did not matter much to the authority given that poor folks like ourselves would be the future residents.
As a concerned citizen, I'm particularly interested in finding out if a class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of past living residents, as well as current residents. If one has been filed, I would be more than happy to assist in the process. I would be the first to stand in line to make sure that those responsible for creating this unfortunate situation are held accountable for their actions.
In “Growth Is Great” [January 1420], Marc Haefele accuses Playa Vista opponents of making up “factoids,” but his column is as remarkably short on facts as it is long on invective. Where he does support his pronouncements, his arguments betray a superficial grasp of the issues. This is not to say that the angels are all on the other side; the rhetoric has gotten thick in all directions. But when Haefele dismisses the opponents as a bunch of marginal kooks, it should be called to readers' attention that Tom Hayden and Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa are among those spearheading the fight, which has been joined by more than 80 organizations, from Surfriders to Busriders, including many of the most prominent environmental and citizen advocacy groups in the state and nation. It would be a great service if the L.A. Weekly could give this major issue a big layout, air both sides and take it out of the realm of sniping.
Re: “Held Back: The Miserable State of Black Education” by Erin Aubry [January 2127]. It's about time! The article is long overdue. Thank you for giving this article front-page billing, for there are many of us black parents who are so overwhelmed with the lack of care and motivation from educators and administrators alike that we feel helpless. Often we feel as though we speak to brick walls. It's a tiring battle — 46 years long. Our goal in desegregation was equal access to education. What we have today is integration with miseducation.
Aubry's article was right in step with the current talk regarding black education. It was an honest and telling piece of work.
Erin Aubry has a key point completely backwards. Black culture less than any other group clings to the notion that education is the great equalizer. As a teacher in the â LAUSD, I have seen this for years. No other culture that I can think of has the element of actually putting down others who are attempting to achieve in school (“Oh, you're trying to act white”).
Everyone has a right to his own culture in our multiethnic city. But clearly, some aspects of certain cultures are less desirable than others in terms of what it takes to be successful. Cultures that do not stress education (e.g., black), compared to cultures that do (e.g., Asian), are at a distinct disadvantage. The primary problem is not the right of black people to remain black. The primary problem is that, apart from a minority of vocal black parents, the culture as a whole is not fully embracing education as a solution to their problems.
A student can have a quality education in the LAUSD. That's why our schools routinely win national academic decathlons. The key is active support by parents at home. Unfortunately, with a high percentage of blacks born to unwed mothers and the low socioeconomic status of blacks in general, this is a huge problem for the African-American community. Until the family structure is repaired and the black student supported fully at home, we will continue to see a miserable state of black education.
Re: Charles Rappleye's “Good Cop, Bad Cop” [January 1420], I am amazed that Officer Ethan Cohan has been left to “hang” out there for being a Good Cop. I am further amazed that your own local media have not gotten involved. To be sure, if this happened in New York City, Officer Cohan's review board would be thoroughly scrutinized. What a frightening article!
New York City
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
On the cover of your December 1723 issue, you challenged readers to come up with a title for Paul Ciotti's excellent story on plastic surgeon John Ronald Brown. How about “The Doctor Will Saw You Now”? Great coverage of a most bizarre footnote to medical history.
THE (MAT) GRUDGE REPORT
Doug Harvey's art sucks, his writing has a vantage point based entirely in smug pretense, and he dresses worse than Jim Shaw. Yet despite this, his recent review of the ACME show was perfect (except where he apologized for being mean). You should give this anorexic Canadian a pay raise.
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