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Letters To The Editor

Posted Oct. 1, 2009, 5:00 am

(unassigned)

Dear Editor,

Steve Stajich’s Sept. 24 column addresses two topics. One is a red herring: Are the newer, more immediate modes of communication (SMS, IM, Twitter) critically valuable to society? While he pooh-poohs a fire chief valuing smart-phone applications, SMS emergency notifications (as well as traffic alerts) have real potential and could do a lot of good for our communities. So let’s not conflate misuse or abuse with use. But the other -- do we need to be online all the time? -- is the crux of his column.

While there is a business case for wi-fi on airplanes -- specifically for frequent business travelers -- I do agree with Stajich’s take on texting while driving and otherwise mistaking the map for the landscape. For example, while looking for a local business this afternoon, I caught myself overly focusing on the map on my phone instead of paying more attention to where I was walking; the map app offered real value, but I was mesmerized by the novelty. That will fade with time, as we become more used to these new technologies -- and as we craft social rules for using them in public spaces.

Regardless, perhaps we’re better off heeding the advice of Ram Dass:

"Be here now." Not on the phone, not online, but here. Now.

Heath Row

Fairfax District

Los Angeles

* * * *

Dear Editor,

The City of Santa Monica is about to pay 75 Million Dollars for nothing. The city already own the property called Bergamot Station. It short term leases it to a developer. He runs an art gallery in a converted water heater factory there. It was bought in the 80’s with state money strictly intended for light rail. Hence the very short term lease. The state will demand that 15 Million back if SM buys the proposed Verizon land for the train yard. Verizons sale price is $60 Million Dollars. The City of Santa Monica now plans to buy the Verizon lot for political considerations and not use the Bergamot site. Total cost for playing politics in this case - $75 Million public Dollars. I for one do not wish to foot the bill for the SM City Council and Mayor to earn brownie points with LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. I do not have a spare 75 Million. If you don’t either please help.

Matthew Davies

Santa Monica, Ca.

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