Don’t Waste Tears on the Good Old Days

Re: “The Westchester I Grew Up In Is Dead,” Opinion, Jan. 3

You may lament losing “the good old days,” but your Westside neighborhood today is far more culturally diverse than “Whitechester” or the John Bircher North Valley neighborhood where I grew up. That’s a good thing, in my opinion. Besmirching a new generation of citizens who possess the skills of the future is just the same old prejudice in a cheap suit.

The city required Playa Vista developers to reserve a small percentage of each condo and apartment complex as controlled-price units, provided at below market rent or price and available only to a limited category of public service employees such as teachers, police, etc., or to senior citizens on fixed incomes. I believe such requirements have become something of a planning standard for residential redevelopment in the city, for obvious reasons. It won’t bring back the neighborhood of your childhood, but may be a small step toward addressing the housing affordability problem across L.A.

David Kay, Playa Vista

Defend Public Education: Support Teachers

Wouldn’t we all benefit by having a qualified nurse in all schools, every day? College counselors assisting in college admissions and financial aid? Librarians assisting in students’ research, college applications and job searches?

LAUSD millionaire superintendent Austin Beutner, a former banker who appears to support privatizing public education thru non-union charter schools, claims LAUSD lacks money for what the teachers and parents demand.

As a teacher and former chair of the science department at Ánimo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood, I must speak out. Our goal is a contract reinvesting in schools, improving our working conditions which are learning conditions.

Walkouts in West Virgina and other states spotlighted truly deplorable conditions that working people face. A broad social movement won solidarity and cut across attempts to divide parents from teachers.

School workers involved students, parents and other workers in the fight. Volunteers gathered food for students who depend on school meals. Churches, community centers and families opened their facilities to students so parents wouldn’t miss work nor find child care. This example is the road forward to victory for all of us.

Mark L. Friedman, San Pedro

Re: “L.A. Teachers Shouldn’t Strike,” Opinion, Jan. 10

I have taught in LAUSD for 11 years. My wife has worked for several charters over that time period. I agree that the quality of a charter varies and is dictated by the quality of its administration and staff. However, LAUSD does not place charters under the same degree of scrutiny and oversight as its other schools. I am astounded by the stories of incompetence and embezzlement occurring at LAUSD charters that I hear during dinner-table conversations. Not all charters are bad, but LAUSD’s oversight of them is lacking.

Furthermore, media outlets are neglecting to report on key issues. Personally, I’d be happy with any kind of raise, but that’s not why I want to strike. I spend countless unpaid hours with my students to tutor them or run club events. The superintendent’s conditions for his “bargaining” mean that newly hired teachers will not have health care coverage. We spend too many hours overseeing the mental, physical and emotional health of hundreds of students each year to allow the district to take away health benefits from future teaching professionals that deserve the same.

Mr. B