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THE adage ``if it ain't broke, don't fix it'' is par for the course when it comes to running two city-owned golf courses.

Mayor Richard Riordan, once an advocate of privatizing some public services, believes that union-made is the best way.

Now, he wants to take control of two privately run recreational facilities, the Van Nuys Golf Course on Victory Boulevard and the Westchester Golf Course near LAX, so that the several hundred jobs involved will be union jobs.

Although both courses have been run well and garnered widespread community support, Riordan wants to toss a bone to his new best friend, Miguel Contreras, head of the County Federation of Labor, whom Riordan appointed to the Airport Commission.

It should come as no surprise that Los Angeles World Airports owns both courses.

And unions have been against course operator, American Golf, as unfriendly to labor.

If private contractors were doing a bad job, none of this would matter. But the fact is, American Golf has run the courses well, kept costs down and made major capital improvements. And the firm has even guaranteed about $1 million annually to the city.

The Recreation and Parks' proposal to manage the courses for the airports department makes no such guarantee.

Riordan's plan has hit a sand trap. He should back off the plan and let private enterprise continue operating the two courses.
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 16, 2000

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