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Westwood's Future

I am writing in support of the Village Center Westwood project, a project that will revitalize and rejuvenate Westwood Village.

After reviewing the various documents, plans, architect's renditions, and witnessing Councilman Feuer's strong support at the public hearing on Dec. 18, I am even more convinced that this project is worthy of support.

Since relocating to California from the East Coast over 10 years ago, I have watched the deterioration of the Westwood area. I am now a semi-retired physician, having previously served on the clinical faculty of the School of Medicine at UCLA. I continue to visit Westwood four times a week to attend conferences at the School of Medicine.

Seeing with anguish the gradual decay of the area, I can understand when the patients I send to UCLA complain to me how badly they feel about the milieu there. Many of them ask not to be sent there, despite the world-class quality of UCLA medicine.

Westwood Village is filled with boarded windows, empty buildings and chained doors. I do not understand how anyone can claim that Westwood Village is in a satisfactory state.

With the development of the Village Center Westwood project, the Village will be brighter, more traveled, and hence will discourage this phenomenon of unsavory characters moving into vacated areas. I am sure the residents of the surrounding community will appreciate this value.

I only hope that Westwood will not follow New Haven, Conn., where Yale University, another world-class institution, is surrounded by layers and pockets of urban decay. The unsightly neighborhood was a primary reason for me to leave my faculty position after five years and head west.

This is the direction Westwood Village is headed. There are newly proposed projects that do not seem to bring much improvement, and one whose application to the city Planning Commission was rejected twice. By the time these projects reach the stage Village Center Westwood is at today, we will be in the new millennium, and without Village Center Westwood, Westwood Village will only be a home for the homeless.

Unlike other projects that claim the desire to revitalize Westwood but leave their theaters in shambles and their stores empty, the Village Center Westwood team has committed to the revitalization of Westwood Village, and has proved it with the many compromises and changes made to better fit the community's needs and the Village Specific Plan.

A. JAMES DEE, M.D.

West Los Angeles

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