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Putting Meaning Back Into Concept of Public Service

I had the recent misfortune to deal with the Los Angeles County government bureaucracy, specifically the county building and safety office located in Arcadia.

I recently called the county building inspector to ask a few questions on a correction notice that was written up on some work that I had done in the county. The secretary who answered the phone said that the inspector was on the phone and also had a call waiting. I asked her to take a message and have the inspector call me, but she gave me an emphatic “No”.

The second time I called the phone rang approximately 20 times and was not answered.

On my third try I was finally able to talk to the inspector. The inspector was not only rude, but would not give me a specific answer on what I had to do to pass inspection. After speaking to the inspector, I concluded that I better take a “guess” on what had to be done and hope for the best.

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On the day that the inspection was scheduled, the inspector showed up, looked the work over for about one minute and then said that everything was approved. The inspector proceeded to spend the next five minutes complaining about his employer, Los Angeles County, and how the county was proposing to cut his salary and benefits. At one point, he said that it was fortunate that he was even able to make the inspection because of his busy schedule.

With the impending county budget shortages and proposed county layoffs, the county supervisors should consider using the situation to put meaning back into the words “public service.”

GREG GERLACH

Temple City

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Old Manor House on Cal Poly Campus

Amid all the fuss and feathers over the Manor House at Cal Poly (San Gabriel Valley edition, Aug. 15) one immutable fact emerges: the structure is 66 years old. Like the older dowager who was a living doll at 16, she tends to become a dowdy frump 50 years later. So it is with the Manor House. The plumbing is tired; the wiring is inadequate for today’s appliances. To update and renovate an old building frequently costs much more than the original construction.

Most of what was done to the Manor House since that time amounts to a lick and a promise. Because of the shortage of state funds, only a few changes were made on the ground floor. Little if anything was done upstairs to the bedrooms and baths.

Way back in 1926, W. K. Kellogg in a fit of spendthrift remorse instructed Myron Hunt, the architect, to complete the house at a reduced figure from the original estimate. This meant eliminating some of the amenities and even short-cutting structural integrity. Result: a room that was to house a billiard table was reduced to a mere sun room. An overheated furnace vent in the dining room caused a fire because of inadequate fire stops. Not that it wasn’t a very comfortable place to live in. My family enjoyed the 16 years of its heyday from 1927 until the Army took over in 1943 during World War II.

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The Army made changes that weren’t all for the better in compliance with federal standards. Exterior paint was slathered over the “Myron Hunt White” plaster that previously turned to pink when it rained. Interior walls were doused with glossy enamel instead of the original oil stain that gave the feeling of Early California decor.

President Bob Kramer had the partition between his office and the breakfast room removed to make more room for his family of six children. President Hugh LaBounty chose to continue at his residence in Glendora until all his children finished high school there. He did move in later with a minimum of furniture and furnishings, largely from private donations.

Though the Manor House is handy to the campus, it’s a mixed blessing for the Suzukis to live there. True, it saves them a commute from their home in Alhambra, and it does give the president a presence on campus. However, it would take a great deal more money than the state has available to make the Manor House a home!

NORMAN WILLIAMSON JR.

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Claremont

Lawmakers’ Responses to Illegal Immigration

I would like to thank some local Republican assemblymen for having the courage to stand up to radical illegal-immigrant rights groups and their legislative stooges by submitting bills addressing this issue rather than ducking for cover and ignoring the problem.

Unlike Assemblywoman Hilda Solis and her ilk, who seem to think that L.A. County taxpayers have unlimited wealth, Richard Mountjoy, Frank Hill and Newt Russell have authored bills that, to me, seem like responsible steps to eliminate the incentives to come to this country illegally.

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Assemblyman Richard Mountjoy’s bills would have denied workers’ compensation to illegal immigrants, forced people to prove their citizenship to get a driver’s license and bar illegal immigrants from attending state colleges and universities.

Bills by Sen. Frank Hill would deny workers’ compensation to illegal immigrants that claim stress injuries when they lose their jobs and require the Department of Corrections to help the INS deport illegal alien convicts.

Sen. Newt Russell’s bills would allow hospitals to report illegal immigrants to the INS and prevent the use of tax-supported job referral agencies without proof of legal residency.

Unfortunately, all but one of these bills were tied up or were killed outright in committee by Democrats that have consistently thwarted any reasonable attempts to stop this invasion and subsequent hemorrhage of tax dollars.

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There is nothing racist, Draconian or extremist about these laws. In fact, if the Legislature was in any way responsible, these laws would have been passed 10 years ago.

I cannot believe that Latino parents support these liberal legislators and illegal alien lobbyists. They and their children will complete for jobs with illegal immigrants.

MICHAEL A. PACER

Glendora

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I was very interested to see the comments of Mr. Gregg Sanders in the Times (Aug. 22) regarding the House Republican Research Committee Task Force on Illegal Immigration hearing in Pasadena. While I commend Mr. Sanders for taking the time to attend the hearing and involve himself in this important issue, I am concerned that his characterization of the hearing and the Republican position on the economy and health care reform is inaccurate.

In terms of the hearing, it is important to emphasize that, as its name implies, the task force focus is solely on illegal immigration. In no way are the task force members interested in “trying to downsize our population,” as Sanders claims. The issue is one of enforcing the law and respecting the rights of citizens and immigrants alike, who are playing by the rules and abiding by the prescriptions necessary in a democracy.

All of us come from families of immigrants. This is not an ideological issue. A recent Field Poll found that 76% of the Californians surveyed thought “illegal immigration” was a “very serious issue.” An additional 17% in the survey identified “illegal immigration” as a “somewhat serious issue.” As elected representatives, such universal concern demands our attention and action.

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CARLOS J. MOORHEAD

Member of Congress

City Worker Salaries in South Pasadena

As a retired South Pasadena police officer, I am writing this letter to rebut Tom Biesek, founding member of the South Pasadena Tax Payers Assn., in his letter to the editor (Aug. 22).

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Tom, get off of your soapbox and give the good citizens of South Pasadena a break. You claim to be the voice of the community at large when in fact you are just the opposite. It is about time you are exposed for the person you really are.

The city of South Pasadena employees are not making great sums of money as Tom would like you to believe. I suggest you check with the department heads to find out why employees leave--higher salaries, that’s why. The Police Department has lost a lot of good and well-trained officers to other cities because of better pay and benefits.

And about the 100 to 150 people who stood in line for an application for the Fire Department, it had nothing to do with the pay It has to do with a person’s desire for that chosen profession. The pay is secondary. Tom, my advice to you is that if you are so concerned about the city, run for office. Better yet, just keep quiet and let things be.

BILL R. MOLINA JR.

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Arcadia


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