The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Schools, Local News and Ethics; Save ATM War Budget for Schools; Save Our Beach from the Solar Web

Dear Lookout staff,

Joanne Leavitt, in her November 16 letter to you, may have a handle on the
school district's air-conditioning situation. But her notion of journalistic
ethics leaves a lot to be desired. Although I have never attended an affair
with Huntley or Brinkley, I did receive a master's degree in Journalism from
UCLA. Never mind that they closed the School of Journalism shortly after

In my ethics class we learned that the press has a responsibility to publish
whatever information it possesses that the public would find useful. The
schools' latest financial crisis is vital information to anyone connected
with the district--students, parents, staff, and the community at large. It
would have been the height of irresponsibility for the Lookout NOT to
publish that information. When the local media worry about how their coverage of the schools--or any entity--will affect the group or individual being covered, we're all in trouble. We want news, not public relations.

The Lookout walks an especially fine line because you are also maintaining
an information site for the school district. Readers are counting on you not to
let that fact affect your coverage of school issues. In fact, I'd like to see you make it clearer that the district's public notices, such as the November 16 article on the superintendent's financial task force, are not written by Lookout staffers.

Local newspapers, I believe, should support the public schools because their
success contributes to the entire community. But that support should never
compromise journalistic objectivity, and I thank you for operating according
to that ethic.

Jean Sedillos
Santa Monica
Dear Lookout,

The Santa Monica-Malibu schools are in a funding crisis, with an
unexpected shortfall of as much as $4.2 million.

I wonder how much the city council will spend on its quixotic campaign
against ATM fees. Why not give up this silly court fight and spend it
on the schools?


Michael Cieply

Dear Jorge:

As I drove home (after the Arts Commission meeting) I realized something about this whole controversy about developing the beach with more sculptures, even though our beach is not "pristine." I have been to pristine beaches, such as Bodega Bay, or Singaraja Beach in Bali or Ke'e Beach on the North side of Kauai.

Yes, these are truly pristine beaches, but there is one thing about
them: I can't go there for a half hour walk before work like I can here
on our beach in Santa Monica! And that is why I feel we need to keep
from developing our beach any further; it may not be a perfect beach but
it sure is nice to be able to go and enjoy the open space of our beach.

Thanks, Peter Davison
Santa Monica

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