<subhead> DARE-ing alternatives


DARE-ing alternatives

Dear ER:

In response in Police Chief Mel Nichols' letter (2-24-00), I believe that we should all take a very serious look at the effectiveness and effects of the DARE program. The celebration of the first eight grade to complete the DARE program from kindergarten coincided with a four year high in drug and alcohol abuse for this age group. I removed my own child from the DARE program when he was in elementary school because I felt the information he was receiving educated children on the details of how to use drugs. Though I'm certain this was not the intent of the police department, the program sends mixed messages to children and the community. As for the suggestion that BCHD fund a program for drug testing, this too is ludicrous. The BCHD would be remiss in their mission to make a healthier community by implementing such a program.

Our children turn to drugs, alcohol, illicit sex and violence when their self-esteem and imagination are in conflict. BCHD would better serve our children by funding programs, manned by mental and physical health professionals to promote self-worth, compassion and tolerance -- no not tolerance, acceptance. "Armed" with these skills, children will learn to be kinder and gentler to themselves and others. Something as simple as teaching deep-breathing exercises could help some kids to get a handle on their rage and avoid getting high to deal with the confusion and self doubt that are normal emotions for young people of middle and high school age. Or maybe BCHD could help fund art, cultural and humanities programs in order to give children an expressive outlet.

Police officers are not in the business of educating children. They are in the business of policing, therefore they should not even be in the classrooms without being accredited educators. Educating children is a fine art and applied science and should be treated with the respect and support that it deserves from the community.

Children don't need programs to teach them about drugs. They know about them. They need programs to teach them about higher ideals. Maybe the DARE program would be much more effective in places like continuation schools or used by courts and school authorities the same way AA is used for people convicted of DWI or DUI. By targeting children with problems of abuse or criminal behavior it would send a message to kids that to get to the point of having the DARE program spell out the rights and wrongs one must have already made some bad choices. And they don't want to go there. Our children are so much more brilliant than we give them credit for. As educators, parents, police officers, community leaders and adults in general don't you think our children need, want and deserve more avenues than "Just Say No." Mr. Nichol's, if your program works, why did it need more than 50 evaluations? And maybe you should be looking more closely at the statistics. The old saying goes something like figures don't lie but -- liars will figure.

Name withheld by request


Dear ER:

Though out California there is a ground swell of support to protect and preserve important parcels of open space. Only in Manhattan Beach is the idea of more native natural habitat so loathed hated and feared. Personally, I don't understand why. The sky won't fall in financially if the site is re-zoned. An open area planted to serve as a landing place for butterflies and birds, with native plants shrubs and trees, requires little maintenance and is naturally beautiful.

Nor do I understand the logic of a Parks and Recreation Dept. Commissioner so adamantly opposed to the creation of something special for all to enjoy. One would think that the entire Commission would be jumping for joy over the possibility of adding more parkland in Manhattan Beach. Voting yes on Propositions 12, and 14 on March 7, 2000 will enhance Manhattan Beach's chance to create a quality and lasting Civic Center area. Once the Metlox-site is paved over it will be lost forever.

Dawn Clifton

Manhattan Beach


Dear ER,

Webster defines "Open Space" as an area free and clear of obstructions. Most English-speaking people would conclude that "open space" is an area free from the ground up. In stark contrast however, the City Hermosa Beach Zoning Code defines "open space" as the roof of a condominium!

Over the years, politicians responded to voter's desire for less density in Hermosa by increasing open space requirements. These requirements would have reduced income for influential realtors in the R2 and R3 zone. So, the city adopted a charade which rendered "open space" meaningless for condominiums. Single family homeowners in the R1 zone did not share in the windfall from the new meaning of "open space," undoubtedly due to their lack of influence.

The contortion of "open space" allows Hermosa Politicians to say one thing and do another, all to appease the condominium developers.

Robert Benz

Hermosa Beach

Nix restrictions

Dear ER,

Early Hermosa was predominately a summer vacation resort. Not until the late '30s did yearly population figures begin to rise. Local government zoning bias varied dramatically throughout the years. As the local population increased, councils of the '50s and '60s favored high-density apartment population to support local business. In 1981, 64 percent of the housing stock was non-owner occupied and 25 percent of the dwelling units were older than 40 years. Hermosa was maturing; housing density and a lack of parking was growing concern as the older housing stock was increasingly being torn down and developed. The opportunity to create new zoning standards to favor less density and more on-site parking had arrived. In the mid-80s the council established standards that increased building unit size to a minimum of 1750 sq. ft. in all but the R-3 zone, established new set back standards, and created the 17 ft. garage set back. These changes dramatically reduced building density: and provided additional on-site parking.

The results of these changes have been positive: Hermosa has provided housing of sufficient size to attract families while also providing smaller, less expensive two-on-a-lot housing configurations.

My hope is threat the present council will act adroitly and continue to reduce housing density and support measures that will maintain well designed on-site parking.

I will not support councilman Edgerton's attempt to reduce build-able housing volume. To do so would discriminate against families. Sam has forgotten that we are a bedroom community.

Gary Brutsch

Hermosa Beach

Our Mistake

Dear ER,

Your article, "Metlox Initiative Qualifies" (Easy Reader, 3-2-2000) suggests a math "story problem" that could have come straight from a seventh grader's homework.

Here's the question: A citizen's group submits 8,508 signatures, of which 5,231 are checked, revealing 1,391 signatures and an additional 352 duplicate signatures. Applying these percentages, what is a reasonable estimate of the total number of valid signatures?

Based on these numbers from your article, a reasonable estimate is 5,673 valid signatures. Yet your reporter somehow gets a number that is smaller, by more than 1,000 signatures.

No matter what side of the Metlox issue your readers are on, they are likely to trust your numbers - and they ought to be trustworthy.

Wendy Carson

Manhattan Beach