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PUBLIC FORUM : BANKS SUING CREDIT UNIONS TO CURB COMPETITION.

Re the banks' lawsuit against credit unions:

Approximately four years ago the management of a nearby medical center approached our credit union to request authority for its employees to use the service of our credit union. These folks decided it would be much more expedient to have their employees join an existing credit union, rather than spend time and resources to start one from scratch - a wise choice.

Banks continue to downsize in significant numbers, removing access to branches and, at the same time, increasing automatic teller machine fees. Where will the financial alternatives come from?

Credit unions are nonprofit cooperatives owned by their members. After all expenses and interest/dividends are paid to members for their deposits, the remaining net revenues are rolled back into the credit union to maintain or increase its financial health. Why? Because our deposit insurance is owned by the credit unions.

And when the insurance fund is decreased, it's the credit unions' responsibility to re-fund the insurance, not Congress. Additionally, a separate comprehensive insurance master bond further protects our members' interests.

Credit unions are positive alternatives in the competitive environment of financial services. We are well-known for low rates on loans and competitive to high rates on deposits. We also provide a personal service that seems to be on the wane elsewhere.

It is difficult to believe that the American Bankers Association, on behalf of banks everywhere, chooses to pursue a stifling of competition in a year when banks have shown such increasingly high record profits.

- Don Alvarez

President and CEO

Sepulveda VAMC Federal Credit Union

Sepulveda

The banks say they want a level playing field with credit unions. I am for it. All the banks have to do is start returning the profits to their customers and stop paying their directors large salaries.

I know of some small credit unions that serve people in areas where there are no banks. The banks are not in those areas because there is no profit in it.

- Thomas G. Suter

Supervisory committee

WESCOM Credit Union

La Crescenta

Speeding tickets

This is in reply to ``LAPD crackdown saving lives,'' Public Forum, Dec. 20:

I disagree that speeding is the No. 1 cause of accidents. A driver going at a speed of 40 to 45 mph in a 35 mph zone in light traffic and good weather conditions is breaking the law by speeding, but is not necessarily a danger to the public.

In my opinion, the No. 1 place for accidents is at intersections. It's a prime marketplace for giving tickets to so many drivers ignoring traffic lights, signs, pedestrians and rights of way.

Instead of giving tickets, maybe they should give some kind of vouchers to the violators and send them to driving schools - private or state-run - at their own expense. But of course the LAPD wouldn't want to forfeit the millions of dollars that go who knows where.

- Guy Sembres

Van Nuys

Magnet schools

In response to Owen W. Dykema's letter (``Magnet school woes not linked to Prop. 209,'' Public Forum, Nov. 17):

Since 1977 the Los Angeles Unified School District has been in the forefront in offering its residents exciting educational choices. One of these choices is the magnet program.

All integration programs, including magnet, were established by court order to address five harms of racial isolation: low academic achievement, low self-esteem, lack of access to postsecondary opportunities, interracial hostility and intolerance, and overcrowded conditions.

The statement that ``Nonwhites could then be given preference to those schools in white neighborhoods and whites to those in nonwhite neighborhoods'' is misleading. Each magnet's openings are determined by its need to maintain an integrated enrollment and by available space.

There are two purposes for magnet programs: First, to provide students who live within the boundaries of the LAUSD, with voluntary integrated education; and, second, to give students the opportunity to experience a more in-depth course of study in their field of interest.

Although Dykema does note that there is ``no question the magnet schools are good schools. They are what LAUSD schools should be, across the board,'' he does not mention that many magnet centers help integrate the school campus, which is designated predominantly Hispanic, African-American, Asian or other nonwhites.

Magnet programs are a successful combination of students, parents, teachers and administrators, of all colors and ethnic backgrounds, who appreciate their school and want to be there.

Far from being ``doomed to failure,'' the LAUSD is successfully addressing the five harms of racial isolation. As for the impact of Proposition 209, we are following a court order and the integration programs are exempt, based upon the wording of Proposition 209. As Lisa Kalustian, a spokeswoman for Gov. Pete Wilson. said, ``The governor has consistently funded desegregation programs and supports magnet schools. . . . Magnet schools operating under court order are protected. They are exempt from 209,'' (Daily News, Nov. 10).

- Theodore T. Alexander, Jr.

Assistant Superintendent

Los Angeles Unified School District

Airborne romance

In a new twist to the Chicken Little saga, San Fernando Valley residents are in a tizzy about couples having a romantic spin, which in some cases includes sex, in a twin-engine airplane flying out of Van Nuys Airport (``Air romance raises residents' ire,'' Daily News, Dec. 24.

I suppose people could be miffed about airport noise, but who came first? The airport got its V-Class authorization, allowing larger commercial aircraft to operate out of the airport, in 1949. If the traffic is as bad as they say, then one would think the noise problem would have been obvious before they moved there - caveat emptor.

But people who think they are on the moral high ground, so to speak, and want to ban the flights due to the unconventional in-flight entertainment, are just plain wrong. For example, Jan Neveu of Encino, is quoted as saying these flights promote ``sexual activity in the air.'' So what? As long as the pilot isn't distracted, why should she care?

And Gerald Silver, another Encino resident, thinks that sex in people's own bedroom is OK, but ``What they do over our heads is the community's business.'' How so?

The sooner people start devoting energy toward something substantive, rather than this foolishness, the better. Nick Edgar, the owner of the service, is fully within (Federal Aviation Administration) and city regulations.

And so, to the prudes who are worrying about other people's little romantic trysts in the perhaps too-friendly-for-their-taste-skies: Just don't look up.

- Robert W. Conti

Los Angeles

I thoroughly enjoyed your charming Christmas Eve story about the entrepreneurial charter pilot who furnishes champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and a private ``bed chamber'' to lovers he flies over the Valley.

It's too bad that the Homeowners of Encino president, Gerald Silver, didn't also enjoy the story. Silver was quoted in the article as saying the flights are ``sleazy'' and that ``what (people) do over our heads is the community's business.''

Silver has been standing in the prop wash too long. He should leave the airborne lovers alone. What passengers do in the privacy of a flying bedroom is not the community's business and certainly not the business of the Homeowners of Encino.

- Walter N. Prince

Northridge

Domestic partners

Angry letters from readers (Public Forum, Dec. 24) protesting treating domestic partners as equals with married partners who work for the Los Angeles Unified School District cite concerns about money to pay for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Fair enough. Why not start excluding from health plans those who smoke, drink, eat too much fat and don't exercise?

IBM, Disney, Apple Computers and scores of other leading mainstream American corporations treat all families equally, including their gay and lesbian employees, and the time has come for the LAUSD to find a way to implement fairness for all its employees, too.

- Marshal A. Phillips

Los Angeles

Moral relativism

Re ``The trap of moral relativism'' by Diana Butler, Viewpoint, Dec. 15:

Contextual ethics, relative or plurality of views: Is it a distinction without a difference, or perhaps a relative difference?

The author states that ``frankly, the shock shocked me.'' Why? It is consistent with ethical relativism to have outrage based on shared belief.

If we are to have ethical absolutes, they should pass the Kantian test of self-consistency. An argument based on the existence of accepted options such as abortion, adoption or abandonment fails that consistency test.

Infanticide, in that context, is but another option. In contrast, the challenge to create an inclusive ethical vision represents a process. I would hope a process that focuses on ideals, however, recognizes the necessity inherent in relativism.

- S.F. Rudin

Los Angeles

Netanyahu defends status quo

I take exception to your editorial of Dec. 23 regarding Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (``Playing the blame game; Arafat is more of an obstacle to peace than Netanyahu.''

You neglected to mention that Netanyahu's government is offering subsidies to encourage people to move to the West Bank. These settlers are fierce partisans, determined to keep the status quo.

President Clinton is 100 percent correct in viewing Netanyahu's policies with skepticism. If it is Netanyahu's intention to keep the West Bank a dismal scene of tanks and armed soldiers, we Americans are under no obligation to approve of it.

- Joan Brandli

Burbank
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 29, 1996
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