This Week's Letters to the Editor

Keep Trails Clean

La Cañada has been characterized as one of the Southland's best kept secrets. I couldn't agree more. There are too many wonderful aspects of this community to list here, not the least of which are the friendly, cordial and considerate people who live here. I especially love the fact that so many of us enjoy hiking and walking around our beautiful town, and that we have a wonderful trail system that allows us to escape from the roadways and the traffic.

Therefore, I remain astonished at the number of residents who seem to believe it is okay to walk their dogs on La Cañada's trails without picking up after them. Though our trails allow us to enjoy the illusion that we live in the countryside, where dogs can roam free and their litter would be scarce by virtue of vastness, in reality we live in an urban setting where a handful of dogs walked regularly on a stretch of trail can turn it into a minefield within a matter of days.

Is it possible that some sections of the trail system have been designated dog latrines? If so, it would be helpful if a sign could be posted to this effect, so we would know to avoid these particular stretches of trail.

Otherwise, I would ask my neighbors and fellow dog lovers to remember that their right to enjoy the trails with their dogs as they prefer stops when it infringes upon the rights of others to do the same. Do they not realize or do they not care that what their dogs leave behind makes walking the trails an unpleasant experience for others?

I admit that it is easier to walk a dog without carrying the means for collecting and disposing of their deposits, but picking up after a dog isn't such a terrible burden, either.

We have a dog that occasionally escapes from our fenced yard, which some of our neighbors probably consider a nuisance. (To our kind neighbors who have tolerated her when she has wandered into their domain and called us to come fetch her, we thank you.) So I am reluctant to cast a stone without acknowledging that dogs can be hard to control. No doubt, some dog owners faithfully carry paper towels and bags, but have faced the embarrassing situation when their dog stops one more time than they were prepared to handle.

But I am not talking about these people. I am talking about the ones I see over and over again, walking with a dog or two, never carrying a bag and clearly not intending to do anything about the litter their dogs leave in their wake.

I suspect you would be just as friendly as other La Cañada residents if we were to bump into one another in the grocery store or the coffee shop, so I certainly don't want to seem shrill and condemning. Instead, I'd just like to gently remind you that others would like to be able fully enjoy La Cañada's trails, too.

Susan Everingham, La Cañada Flintridge

Happy New Year!

Educators believe that every child can learn. Based on recent election results and the proposals coming out of the California Governor's office in Sacramento, it is our sincere hope that, as we begin a new year, the governor and elected officials in Sacramento can also learn. Now is the time for courage, wisdom and a renewed sense of urgency, good will and cooperation to prevail in California politics.

Contrary to what some may speculate, the governor has not had a Hollywood make over recently. What he has undergone is a real life work experience education through the fundamental democratic process. It is called a free and open election in which the people of California voted and rejected his previous policies and proposals.

In a change of heart and mind and with a renewed sense of caring and compassion, the governor has reportedly proposed that the huge fee increase charged university students be reduced, and that the minimum wage paid to the neediest among us be increased by $ 1 an hour. He also appointed a Democrat a member of his staff.

The Governor's change of policy and attitude gives us great hope for the new year. These initiatives are most commendable and demonstrate that our governor is not beyond hope of learning and understanding the reality of life in this land of the free and home of the brave.

There are those who are skeptical of the governor and his new spirit of largesse and compassion. Some point to the forthcoming election and the need for the governor to shore up his popularity by wooing a certain segment of the voters. Judging by his popularity ratings and election results, such skepticism may be justified. However, in the spirit of the New Year, we should not cloud our judgment or take away from the essence of the governor's moves. Let us be gracious, compassionate and understanding and give him the benefit of the doubt and commend him on his new spirit, cooperation and initiatives.

It is most appropriate for all of us, as well as Sacramento politicians, to remember the governor was elected as a result of the deep fears and frustrations of Californians with their Sacramento politicians whose quarreling, inaction and bickering left the state in total shambles and its budget in red ink. The people were disenchanted with a huge budget deficit, free wheeling spending, and the inability of the legislature and governor to sit down and work out a sensible and reasonable resolution to the problems facing the state, its schools, hospitals, peace officers, prison system, colleges and universities and its poor.

The Sacramento gridlock of inaction must change. The governor is reaching out with new proposals, and it is long past due for Democrats to stop throwing rocks and extend a hand and work with the governor for the common good of the people of California. And, it is time for Republicans to stop wringing their hands and pointing fingers at others. It is most prudent and wise for all sides to exercise reason, common sense and good will.

As we embark on the New Year, let us hope that our elected leaders, be they Republicans, Democrats or whatever, resolve to work together for the benefit of California, its children and people. Happy New Year!

Chuck Sambar, La Cañada Flintridge


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