Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants
The Mayor's "State of the City Address" and "End of an era ..."

April 23rd

As I watched the news today, and the announcement of the Chief's resignation, I could not help but reflect on how Los Angeles was 10 years ago, during "an era" of seemingly extremely high crime, gang war and drive by's, citizens' safety threaten on a daily basis, many residents feelings of alienation from city governance and driving while black was a national crime. Combining all of this thought with the Mayor's State of Los Angeles and "the end of an era" caused me to wonder now if the Mayor's State of the City speech should have concluded " ... and the return of the same old Era?", especially, in light of the "old Daryl Gates" crew raising it's ugly head again in pursue of a second chance at becoming the "good old boy" latest Los Angeles Police Chief. Mistakes forgotten are certain to repeat themselves time and time again until we remember. Too bad ... innocent blood shed happens in wake of hard heads and power seeking public officials who hurt the people who elected them to SERVICE in the first place. Instead of recognizing that they are nothing more than servants to the people, they become political giants over night, making ill decisions, and keep right on going like the "Ever Ready" battery, as though the wrong decisions they make are so insignificant that they are somehow going to hit the correct button and things return to normal. Such victims of circumstances are sure to fall on their own "sword."

For the sake of innocent Los Angeles residents who trusted those they elected to represent them fair and equitably, I hope and pray that we are not headed towards another April 6, 1992. The LAPD Protective League, the Police Commissioners and Mayor Hahn need to walk a tight rope on this one and not try to be too cocky. "It ain't over until the fat lady sings, and she has not arrived on the scene yet!" Also, It would behoove the Mayor to be very careful in his choice of selection for the next Police Chief. I know he does not want to see this city go up in flames, not on his watch, anyways. It seems to me that he has sacrificed too much too soon and has put the future of his legacy as Mayor of Los Angeles upon the stake. This should be food for thought!

I am a 68-year-old African American woman, a 27-year resident of South (central) Los Angeles, and 50-year veteran of California. I remain an involved community activist, who voted for James Hahn, (I am sorry to say), who helped to campaign very hard for his victory, against the wishes of my City Councilman. In doing so, I am reminded that we African Americans came up against some very powerful people in our efforts to elect James Hahn Mayor and without spending any significant funds made a significant contribution towards tipping the political scale. A great disappointment... not just on the Barnard Parks issue and the premature announcement of not endorsing him for a second term, but the Mayor's whole demeanor during the process. Watching him reminded me of a "puppet" on a string, and I thought, God, this cannot be the man I worked so hard to elect!

I have watch this whole facade unfold and I believe that the conclusion of the matter can either serve to polarize Los Angeles city further or help to build strong allies to move Los Angeles forward as one whole city. Which will it be? The ball is really in Mayor Hahn's hand, and ironically enough, Barnard Parks and his coalition very intelligently and wisely, handed it to him unexpectedly. I sure hope that the Mayor and his coalition know how to play ball politically correct and sanely intelligent. They have done nothing along those lines so far, but who knows, maybe they are holding out on us! I will be waiting and watching, just like I am also waiting and watching for George W. to make the same move! However, if I were in Mayor James Hahn's camp, I would INSIST that he go somewhere and SIT DOWN and practice being a positive and effective leader of one of biggest cities in the nation. But, I am not in his camp and I presuppose that doing a sane thing has not entered into the Mayor's mind, nor into the minds of his (puppet show) coalition.

Truly Concerned,

Elizabeth McClellan
Southeast Neighborhood Leadership Development Council, Co-Chairperson