Our Readers Write: City should give nominees more details

You'd think that with a City Council Election coming up in March, the city website would mention that we are in the middle of the nomination period for candidates (Nov. 15 – Dec. 10). However, there is nothing on the front page of the city website under "Current News & Events." There is no mention of the nomination period on the Elections page in the City Council section. There is no mention on the "News & Announcement's" page for the City.

Hello? It makes you think that perhaps the purpose of the city's website is only to benefit the City Council incumbents' chances.

I'd like to share with the challengers some pointers that I experienced when I ran two years ago. If your sample ballot Candidate Statement (which you cannot change once filed) contains quote marks, you may be threatened with having it rejected. I quoted something from the city's website in mine. It's not listed in the guidelines, and the county clerk never heard of this restriction, but having quotes in the statement is one of those unwritten "secret" city rules.

If, because there are no instructions or examples, your signature-gatherer signs with a time after the "at" instead of the city name on your nomination paper, your nomination will be rejected. Luckily, he was able to come to City Hall and fix it in time.

The city clerk may say that in order for your sample ballot statement to be translated into other languages, you will be charged approx $800 for each language. Beware. After much consideration about paying to have it translated into Korean, I only paid for English. I was subsequently puzzled that on the county's website, lavote.net, the sample ballot was translated into many languages as PDF files available for download at no cost to me.

Good luck (you'll need it)!

Vance Haemmerle

La Cañada Flintridge


Threat of lawsuit enough to force changes

I read with interest the article in the Nov. 18 edition about the drug-sniffing dogs at La Cañada High School ("Board to review, revise search policies"). Like Mr. Iversen, who is referred to in the article as a 22-year public defender, I am an attorney who believes strongly in the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment falls squarely among our most cherished rights.

Having said that, I do not believe that Mr. Iversen's threatened lawsuit against LCUSD would achieve much beyond the needless expenditure of the District's already-scarce resources. The administrators appear to have learned their lesson and they acknowledge that the proposed policy revisions are poorly-drafted and unworkable. So, if the point of the lawsuit would be to force changes, then that point has been achieved.

I, like Mr. Iversen, believe that the students should know their rights. But, the explanation of those rights must be presented along with the perils of substance abuse and drug trafficking, as well as an appreciation of the tough jobs that law enforcement and school administrators have in protecting students on campus from these scourges. We have known far too many talented, intelligent LCHS students who have fallen off track because of their dependence on drugs that are readily obtained from other students on campus.

The use of dogs to sniff for illegal substances is not itself unconstitutional, or even unduly burdensome. They can and are used lawfully at airports, border crossings and even other school districts in California. They should continue to be used at LCHS, but in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

We need to preserve and enhance LCUSD's resources, not waste them on an unnecessary lawsuit.

Don A. Hernandez

La Cañada Flintridge


Two birds, one stone

Why not substitute peafowl for turkeys? They're interchangeable in Washington and Sacramento.

James Short

La Cañada Flintridge

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