In a recent Tribune article ("City's sign rules on masonry prompt fairness protests," Jan. 15) Alex Cousins, a city spokesperson, is quoted on the subject of the city's database of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings, which dates from the 1995.
Cousins states the database "has been known to building owners, lenders and insurers for over two decades."
I take great exception to that statement. I am one of 14 condo owners in a building on Hawthorne Boulevard. The city now has admitted that in 2016, our URM status notification was sent to an old address for the developer in 2006, while also sending notifications to our building on Hawthorne with no unit numbers and were thus undeliverable.
Only by chance did we learn in late 2017 our building was on the list. Three people purchased units that year, not knowing of the URM status because none of us knew.
Today, many Realtors know nothing of the URM list, and many URM owners are still in the dark.
With no financial assistance, the URM status is a financial disaster for our building. Now the city wants us to post placards describing our building as dangerous, while the bridges and buildings in liquefaction zones go unmarked.
We're also asked to sign a contract with the city that will become a lien against our property.
The city should drop the placards and contracts, and work with URM owners so they can successfully update their buildings.
Protect children: Stop for school buses
I am a school bus driver with 24 and a half years behind me. Children are our business.
When children are on our buses, their parents expect us to keep their children safe. Our job and our commitment is to meet those expectations.
I believe the rules and laws of our country were made to help us in that endeavor.
Since school started in September, I have heard that 10 children have been killed either trying to get on the bus going to school or off their bus going home. Three were siblings ... one entire family destroyed.
In our hurry-up world with fast cars and a multitude of distractions, the power of protection that bus drivers have had is being torn away from us. If something doesn't happen we will lose. I could never drive again if I lost one of "my kids" right before my eyes.
Recently, at one of my stops on a two-lane highway, four cars sped by while I tried to get their attention with my horn. No response. One car in the bunch had a pizza delivery light on it. So after I got off work, I went to the pizza parlor to talk to the manager. Not to get a kid in trouble, but to explain why it is so important to obey this law.
It is my mission to keep children safe. So I will share this with as many people as I can. People need to wake up — red lights mean stop.
Lucella Jo Janes
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