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A new NFL stadium near a run-down school softball field: This is poverty in America

A new NFL stadium near a run-down school softball field: This is poverty in America
The baseball field and other athletic facilities at Morningside High School in Inglewood are in disrepair. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The California section in Sunday’s print edition of the Los Angeles Times offered a seemingly unrelated series of articles — one having to do with lobbyists for the soda industry, one focusing on a dilapidated softball field in Inglewood, and the third describing how many litigants in our courtrooms are not represented by counsel — but that together paint a bleak picture of poverty in America.

Justice simply is not possible without adequate access to counsel. The quality of education cannot depend on the wealth of a neighborhood. The influence of powerful lobbyists cannot be allowed to trump the interests of the poor.

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To alleviate poverty, a multitude of seemingly unrelated actions across many disciplines must take place. We won't end homelessness simply by building more homes, we won’t fix education simply by repairing facilities, and we won’t get rid of lobbyists’ influence only by re-ordering our priorities.

We have to look not only at education, housing and legal aid, but also environmental issues, food insecurity, the safety net, immigration, philanthropy, access to medical care, the changing nature of work, equality of pay and opportunity, diversity, transportation issues and so much more.

David A. Lash, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: As a past president of the Inglewood Unified School District Board of Education, I am disappointed about the condition of Morningside High School’s athletic fields, as described by columnist Steve Lopez. Our student athletes deserve better.

While Lopez accurately described Morningside’s fields, he failed to fairly represent what is truly going on in our school district. Facilities improvements are occurring, although not as fast as we would like to see.

State administrator Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana and the school board have committed to using the $90 million in voter-approved bonds to improve our facilities. Obviously, the plan for Morningside has not been fully implemented, but had Lopez visited Morningside’s indoor swimming pool, he would have seen the repairs made to it.

There is no denying that Inglewood is experiencing a renaissance, but I can also say with confidence that better days are ahead for the school district. I invite Lopez to return and report the good things going on.

Margaret Richards-Bowers, Ladera Heights

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