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Reader Simple Guy raises two important points. First, while it is true that a disproportionately high number of seniors attended community meetings, this does not necessary mean that the resulting planning responses contain the long term perspective that is required to deal with the ensuing baby-boomer bubble. Often times, the short term interests win out. The point that I am trying to make here is that we need to take a comprehensive long-term look at how our land uses will need to change to accommodate our seniors. And secondly, while the number of older Caucasians will initially be greater than that of the minority communities, this too will change. As our lower income immigrant and minority populations age, their issues will be equally if not more compelling. What is needed is a holistic approach to acknowledging and planning long-term for this tremendous demographic shift and its numerous nuances.

In response to Reader Skip, I have to say that I’m not familiar with the politics of neighborhood councils in Los Angeles. Based on my own work here in San Diego and elsewhere on the East Coast, I can say that while empowerment of neighborhood councils is generally a good idea, especially in lower income communities of color, one of the main challenges is to build trust and make sure that all members of the community are educated and trustful about the local planning process. It is imperative to get the true indigenous leaders involved in the process; otherwise the resulting responses will not address actual needs and will not be taken seriously.

— MIRLE RABINOWITZ BUSSELL

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