Re "Reaction Mixed to Riordan Reshuffling of Staff," Dec. 1:
Mayor Richard Riordan has yet to make a significant difference in changing the culture of City Hall. Consultants have made recommendations for change and budgets have been cut, but meaningful structural change has remained elusive.
The reason is that the mayor has failed to make a meaningful connection with the managerial staff of the city. Open communication and feedback may be the order of the day in the mayor's office but not outside City Hall among the bureaucrats and managers who make day-to-day decisions affecting citizens. They continue operating largely under the same cumbersome polices and rules that existed when the mayor took office. The only major changes the mayor can take credit for are the changed faces in his office.
Congratulations to Mayor Riordan for appointing Helen Bernstein to serve as his education advisor. His interest in education as a private citizen was certainly commendable, but officially acknowledging support of public schools as the mayor brings that support to a higher and more important level. Bernstein is uniquely qualified to help the mayor identify areas in which he and the city can make a difference in the quality of education our city's children receive.
However, a little research would have shown that Tom Bradley was the first Los Angeles mayor to create the position of education advisor. Mayor Bradley, in the first months of his initial term in 1973, appointed me to serve in that capacity, a position I held for most of the 20 years of my tenure with the Bradley administration. Additionally, he set aside an office for a liaison from Los Angeles Unified School District to the city, so that the district's representative and I had daily contact and interaction.