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Firsthand look at ugly political tactics

Normally, as the wife of an elected official, I would not take the extraordinary step of writing a letter to the editor to respond to a news story. And normally, my family would not take the extraordinary step of bringing action against a blogger for libel (“Website removes claims about Gatto,” Oct. 28).

However, the tactics of my husband’s opponents during this campaign have been so over-the-top, that I believe we must take the steps that are necessary to protect our family and its integrity.

During the course of this campaign, we have seen our family car smashed up with a baseball bat and paint poured all over it. We have endured a cameraman following us around with an obsession that was shocking even to veterans used to rough-and-tumble politics.

My husband’s female staff had to seek a restraining order against someone who threatened them, just so they could go to work and do their jobs. And we have seen extremist blogs feed the fire by posting nasty, untrue stories with alarming regularity. Each day, the stories’ tenor and pitch would get more extreme, and more grounded in fantasy.


We as a society often lament that civil discourse has left politics. We are saddened by the fact that few politicians discuss issues, and instead go for deceptive personal attacks. We mourn the fact that good and decent people do not want to run for office.

After enduring almost a year of vandalism, harassment, threats and stories designed to be as outrageous as possible, I understand these concerns more than ever. I would hope that civilized people speak out and tell the perpetrators of these tactics that they are wrong.

The idea that these over-the-top tactics could become part of the political norm is deeply troubling to me, and I suspect, most families across the country.

Danielle Gatto


Silver Lake

Be wary of golf course developer

Clearly this is best described as the hottest ticket item in the foothills since the toe-to-toe with the mega-corporate giant Home Depot.

The community came out on a rainy night, numbering more than 100, and despite many previous heated meetings on the same issue, maintained a very composed and respectful posture. Still, there can be no mistaking the message that rang loud and clear, from both sides (“Two sides mull golf course,” Oct. 23).

The Verdugo Hills Golf Course remains one of the only places, for many decades, that our youth can learn to play golf. The establishment of this property as a family recreation center, possible tennis courts, hiking trails, biking trails, perhaps even a playing field for soccer and a clubhouse for senior events would be used with vigor by Glendale, La Crescenta, Sylmar, Sun Valley, La Tuna Canyon, Lake View Terrace and of course Sunland Tujunga. The importance and value of making that a reality for our future generations must not be underestimated.

Look where we live — arguably one of the largest metropolises in the country. What are we doing as a society when we give our youth absolutely no retreat, on top of a questionable education? What kind of message does that send to them?

Wonder why L.A. churns out a record number of dropouts, and our youth detention is high? While the developer cries foul, stating that the course has not turned a profit, local golfers cry even louder that they’ve not been able to buy a beer, a longstanding golfing tradition. And prior to that, the owner had apparently “let it go,” taking absolutely no care or effort to try to turn a profit.


It is not in his best interest to do so, and he doesn’t. His goal is strictly entitlements to make the value soar. If he accomplishes that, it will be impossible for community activists to secure the funding needed to purchase.

Rest assured that while anyone in the community spends time “talking to the developer,” be sure to keep eyes wide open what’s going on while talking. This is not the first time this community has danced with the big boys and it is not a new tact either.

While making friends and debating other possible solutions, one and all are too busy to notice that the green light is given for, guess what, the 229 homes asked for in the application. While I, as a local mom, really appreciate the candor and amicable attitude of the new owner, I plead with the community to not be fooled by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Tiger Woods, where are you?

Tomi Lyn Bowling


Editor’s note: Bowling is the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council first vice president for community improvement, and is the chairwoman for the council’s Land Use Committee.