Readers React

Philathropy shouldn't buy you advertising at a school

To the editor: There is nothing new about naming rights; just look around: Ahmanson, Dorothy Chandler, Mark Taper and Wallis Annenberg. The list is endless. So why the fuss over real estate agent Michael Libow's contributions to Beverly Hills public schools and the naming of school landmarks after him? ("Along with his name on Beverly Hills campuses, donor buys controversy," Feb. 3)

Two reasons: its commercial and blatant crassness and its intrusion into public schools.

While Libow's professed philanthropic dedication to his community is to be commended, its sincerity is suspect. I doubt he would have made those donations anonymously.

Let's expose the white elephant in the room: Fundraising is a business dressed up in humanitarian garb. If the greater good, the welfare of our children, requires fundraising, it should be done intelligently, with market analysis, focus groups and pricing. But an overriding question is whether the cost is worth it and whether it serves our children well.

Do we want Libow's persona to compete with those of great renown — the Abraham Lincolns, the George Washingtons, the Martin Luther Kings?

Louis Lipofsky, Beverly Hills

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