MAILBAG: Chess park just not worth the money

I always think of the Glendale Chess Park as a black mark against the city and the City Council members who approved it (“A few moves at Chess Park,” June 30).

It cost a ridiculous half-million dollars and is never used for its purpose as far as I can tell.

The facility, which has no restrooms, is there, but where are the players? It's used by the homeless and occasionally by lunch eaters and newspaper-book readers.

That's getting your money's worth?

DON MAZEN

Glendale

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Chess Park idea good, execution poor

As one who played in many of the events at the Glendale Chess Park (and tied for first in its inaugural tournament), my opinion is that the Chess Park was a great idea, but unfortunately the execution did not match the vision (“A few moves at Chess Park,” June 30).

In particular, for some reason the tables were finished with the wrong-size boards and squares. This makes them useless. What's the point of inlaid chessboards (at great expense) if players must bring their own boards?

The hard concrete tables and benches are uncomfortable. Wood benches would be much more inviting.

The park needs better covering from the elements so that people can play even in cool or rainy weather.

The custom-designed lighting elements do not do the job. Better to have ordinary but good lighting, adequate for playing chess, near the tables.

Toilet facilities are needed.

A food vendor is needed.

Do not muck up the park with poetry readings, pop musical performances and the like.

Throw out the hip-hopper teenagers who made it impossible to play chess on Friday and Saturday evenings. There were successful chess events at these times until they were driven out by that bunch. There are endless places for kids to race skateboards or practice hip-hop. There is only one Glendale Chess Park.

DAVID L. AMKRAUT

Los Angeles

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Smokers should leave parks

Amen to Debra Gilmore (“No justification for Nazi comparison,” June 26). She in fact was quite polite in holding back.

I wrote you several years ago about the horrible smoking at a small park on the corner of Adams and Wilson and received a number of letters and phone calls in support of my sorrow for the small children who, I believe, were supposed to reap the benefits of city funds spent for parks.

All the old men are still smoking there. Well, maybe not all, but none should be smoking there. I never see police cars driving around here, but they would probably feel sorry for the old codgers. It's easy to forget that second-hand “old” smoke kills also.

PATRICIA M. VOEGE

Glendale

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Is this really how to run the country?

You know, when you stop and think about it, democracy really is a pretty lousy form of government.

Oh, sure, it sounds good — one man, one vote and all that malarkey, but wait a minute, that's fine for you and me, but what about those weird neighbors down the street?

You know, the ones who let their dog out at night to wander over and leave little presents on our lawns. Well guess what, they have the same vote as we do! Or how about those motorists cruising Glenoaks Boulevard with their stereos so loud they cause our windshields to vibrate when they pull up next to us? Yes, sir, same vote as you and me.

Somewhere I read that 3.7 million Americans actually believe they have been abducted by aliens from outer space! Yikes, that's scary in and of itself, but don't forget, every one of them has the same vote as you and I have!

About once a year, a story comes out concerning an election in Dimwit, Mont., or some such place where a candidate has died prior to voting day and yet goes on to win the contested office — democracy in action. Even the Founding Fathers weren't too keen on the idea — they didn't trust us enough to elect the president directly so they gave us the Electoral College.

Unfortunately, the poor dears failed to anticipate the evil, dark malevolence that has crept up out of the sewers and come to dominate our political system — the Democratic and Republican parties.

Of course, on the other side of the coin you have monarchies, military dictators, religious fanatics, witch doctors and whatever it is they have in Los Angeles at the moment.

Hmm, maybe I ought to just shut up and go watch the fireworks.

RICHARD J. TAFILAW

Burbank


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