* It is naive to think that Mayor Richard Riordan’s plan to add 450 police (or any number of police for that matter) will help reduce crime in Los Angeles (“Riordan’s Budget Expands Services, Adds 450 Police,” April 21). These police are much more likely to stop “safe-looking” guys like me for a minor traffic infraction than actually seek out criminals or get gang members off the streets. If I were a police officer, I’d probably do the same.
Until our society re-establishes a sense of right and wrong in our citizens, and punishment is severe enough to deter crime, no amount of police on the streets will help. Of course one thing Mayor Riordan does realize is that more cops giving out more traffic citations to guys in suits and ties will generate more revenues for the city!
* I voted for Riordan in the belief that we needed a businessman, not a politician, to “turn L.A. around.” So far, I have been impressed with his performance, and believe that his election is the best thing that has happened in Los Angeles for quite some time.
But, I’m getting nervous. When the almighty Times, the self-ordained advocate of every new tax-and-spend proposal ever imagined, deigned to issue the mayor even a backhanded compliment (“A Promising Budget of Measured Steps,” editorial, April 22), I reached for my wallet to make sure it was still there.
How could a good Republican mayor merit even a few words of praise from The Times? It is definitely cause for concern. I hope the mayor is not becoming a politician, or even worse, a Democrat.
DANA G. INGALLS
* So the mayor wants more parking tickets (April 23)! Let him start with Washington Boulevard. During the time the Santa Monica Freeway was down I drove the section of Washington between Western and Fairfax. The street is clearly marked “no parking” between the hours of 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the north side, i.e., the westbound side.
That certainly didn’t stop anyone from parking who wanted to get something from the liquor store, or just park for whatever reason. I saw a number of parking control people standing in groups conversing. Never did I see any tickets on any of the illegally parked cars.
* Anyone who has driven in Los Angeles for any number of years knows that flagrant violation of traffic laws has become the norm: mid-intersection U-turns, running red lights, turning from the wrong lane, blocking intersections--you name it. There are simply not enough police available (or willing) to write traffic tickets.
This takes a terrible toll on society: increased stress, sometimes inducing violent reaction; increased insurance rates due to accidents; increased incentive toward general lawlessness, and lost revenue from unassessed traffic fines.
Why not hire contract traffic officers and increase the amounts of traffic fines to a hefty level? Based on my observations, the $9-million forecast from increased parking tickets would be a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue such a program would generate.
PETER M. APPLETON
* The financial mismanagement of this city never ceases to amaze me. Will a real accountant please stand up. Riordan and the rest of his clan preach ridership, car-pooling, clean air, etc. Yet now they want to increase bus fares and decrease bus lines (April 24). The MTA says don’t blame us, we have not raised fares in six years. It has nothing to do with financial management. I guess the $126-million debt occurred overnight, because none of us saw it coming.
Comparatively, our transportation system leaves a lot to be desired. There are over a million people in this city who rely on bus service every day who cannot afford a higher fare and have no other means of transportation. As usual, our local government wants to take from the poor to correct its mistakes. The problem is that most people don’t have more to give.