MAILBAG: Don't exacerbate safety problems

It is 7:30 a.m. as I start to write. About an hour ago, the police barricades on Lowell Avenue came down (“Blaze is 22% contained,” Sept. 2).

We would like to commend the brave Glendale firefighters and others who have worked so diligently and bravely in getting the fire cut down. Yesterday they set backfires on the top of the ridge adjacent to the Skyview Estates above Markidge, and it worked.

Also, we would like to thank the Glendale police for yeoman work in protecting emptied homes, and trying to keep unnecessary traffic to a minimum.

We condemn, on the other hand, all those lookie-loos who came in to get a thrill from watching the smoke on the hillsides. One person came from Alhambra! Another on his way home to Simi Valley came by to see the fire, but he had lived here 15 years ago, so he felt he had the “right” to see what was happening in the old neighborhood.

For a while there was a steady procession of cars going up Lowell Avenue, and turning around at Day Street after the occupants had had their sick thrill. Emergency vehicles were slowed in getting up the street on several occasions.

We suggest all those lookie-loos watch the next disaster on TV from the comfort of their easy chair, and keep out of the way of those working to save lives and property. It’s a better view anyway.



Teachers should get extra prep time

Ever since I began teaching in Glendale in 1989, teachers have been required to report to work two days before students start. Usually the two days are filled with wall-to-wall meetings in the mornings and one afternoon, leaving only a few afternoon hours on the last day for teachers to submit photocopies, get books, write agendas on the board, arrange desks, clean up their room, write up lessons, look over e-mails, etc.

It’s an impossible task, which is why some teachers out of the goodness of their hearts come to work earlier than required. Even though they don’t get compensated, they need the time to get ready.

It’s a shame that it took a tragic event, the Station wildfire, to force delaying school for a few days and offer a rare opportunity for teachers to receive extra time to mentally and otherwise get properly ready for their students (“Local schools remain closed,” Sept. 2).

Let’s hope the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education and the Glendale Teachers Assn. examine the possibility of having teachers arrive a week before students all the time, regardless of the air quality issues. It’s in the best interest of everybody.



Editor’s Note: Crosby is chairman of the Hoover High School English department and author of “Smart Kids, Bad Schools: 38 Ways to Save America’s Future.”

Commentor got mood wrong

I missed the famous town hall meeting with Rep. Adam Schiff in Alhambra. Thanks to Bill Trzeciak’s community commentary in the Glendale News-Press (“Reasonable people must speak up,” Aug. 31) I got a picture of it.

His opinion is that the organized pro-reform progressive community were all reasonable, good and decent people (which included “members of the Burbank Democratic Club”). On the other side, there were “these empty vessels of despair,” “nuts,” “these disrupters, socially marginalized and economically desperate and wholly underinformed things” with “brownshirts state of mind” — to quote a few of the invectives piled up against the people who dared to speak up against the party line.

Because the author talks about Germany, here is a refresher: Hitler’s “brown shirts,” similar to Mussolini’s “black shirts,” were political groups organized in communities by the political party in power and were fully supported and financed by the state.

Thank God that last time I checked the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was still in the books.

Trzeciak should win the contest of the most unfair community commentary.



Where’s the broadcast coverage?

I tried to find some TV coverage this weekend of the fire above my house in La Crescenta (“Blaze is 22% contained,” Sept. 2).

Flames are shooting up 50 feet in the air, it’s visible all over Los Angeles, but I couldn’t find any local TV broadcast. I found a rained-out Little League Game, infomercials, etc.

We have major disaster and little information from our local channels. And news directors can’t figure out why the ratings for their newscasts keep going down.

I bet we will have 100% coverage of Michael Jackson’s burial today. By the way, not a peep from President Obama about this major disaster.


La Crescenta

Davis almost kept his governor seat

Lynn McGinnis (“Editorial went after wrong elections,” Aug. 27) said that “In October 2003, we recalled Gov. Gray Davis.” As Tonto, being once again misdirected, asked the Lone Ranger, “What do you mean we?”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the recall election by a slim margin, meaning nearly as many voted for keeping Davis in office — not much of a “we” at all.

McGinnis also claims that “voters have continued to reelect the same state senators and Assembly members who got us into this fiscal crisis.” Actually, because of term limits, there is regular turnover in Sacramento, likened to a revolving door, which works against thoughtful deliberation by seasoned legislators.

One thing doesn’t change, however — we are a majority Democratic state and our Legislature reflects that. Unfortunately, because of the super-majority requirement for fiscal legislation, the minority Republicans can continue to block needed policy changes.

I do agree with McGinnis that more people should vote — taking 2003 as an example, that year we had about 15 million registered voters, out of almost 22 million eligible voters.

But beyond that, we need to fix the system so that the majority party, having won the election, gets to enact the legislation for which we voted them into office.



Do not get rid of the crossword puzzle

For years and years and years, I’ve been a faithful reader of the Glendale News-Press. The content has seemingly shrunk and my interest has waned, except for the crossword puzzles!

Now, please tell me they haven’t gone the way of columnist Patrick Azadian! I have noticed that the sizes of the ads have increased, but hopefully this does not mean that they are usurping the crossword puzzle space! If so, I submit that this will raise a reader ruckus!

Thanks for paying attention!



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