June 28, 2001
Your article did an excellent job of explaining the divergent views in the San Fernando Valley concerning the proposed busway ("Taking on the MTA," June 15).
A number of residents and groups in the West Valley do not want the busway in their residential areas for the same reasons as those in the East Valley: noise, pollution, visual blight, parking and traffic congestion, and pedestrian safety; all of which will impact the quality of life in many residential neighborhoods.
We must explore another very positive alternative. The existing bus lines across the Valley can be upgraded using additional buses, some being scheduled on an express basis. This is quietly known as Transit System Management (TSM) and can be accomplished at far less cost to the taxpayers than the proposed busway. The result would be improvements on a number of both east-west and north-south routes, and would benefit the entire Valley.
We should urge our elected officials and the MTA board to further explore the expanded TSM option.
Alan Bronte, Valley Glen
It is entirely possible to complete the east-west San Fernando Valley busway in a way that will benefit the entire region without disrupting the vibrant Orthodox Jewish community situated around Chandler Boulevard. Reading Wendy Madnick's piece, one could get the erroneous impression that this won't be possible. In fact, the process will not be completed without community input and every effort is being made to accommodate the community's concerns. Furthermore, state-of-the-art safety features will, as required by state and federal law, make the busway as safe as any motorized traffic route.
My hope here is that the busway may be completed, as soon as possible, for the benefit of all concerned. For that to happen, the question of what exact route is best and how the project may best be designated to fit into the community must be answered through a process that involves the entire community; a process that my office will do everything possible to facilitate.
Sheila James Kuehl, California State Senator District 23
I am a longtime board member of the Silverlake-Los Feliz Jewish Community Center. The article about the JCCs' so-called reforms ("JCC Board Approves Major Reform," June 22) contained statements so out of touch with reality that they made me wince with sadness. The community here is extremely upset about the closing of the after-school program. To suggest, that the decision was "generally well received" is a lie.
The program's supposed underenrollment could have been solved by advertising and recruitment efforts. Without that program, I fear the center will lose most members after children move beyond nursery school age.
Larry Gordon, Los Angeles
Having done an extensive analysis of Jewish Community Center (JCC) membership in both Los Angeles and Seattle, we were astounded to learn that the board of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) has chosen to model the entire Los Angeles center system based on the one-and-a-half centers in Seattle.
The rate of Jewish household JCC membership in Los Angeles was more than double that of Seattle. Even more dramatic was the difference on impact of JCCs on Jews who are not JCC members -- Los Angeles households were six times more likely than Seattle Jewish households to have attended a JCC program in the past year.
The JCCGLA board might want to reconsider its major reform model or, conversely, be explicit that it wants to move towards lower JCC membership rates and drastically reduced center usage.
Bruce Phillips, Pini Herman, Phillips and Herman Demographic Research
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