Kotkin's Comments Offensive

I am appalled and offended by Joel Kotkin's "Brain Drain" commentary of Jan. 25. His ignorance, xenophobia and blatant racism are apparent. As a third-generation Jewish resident of Los Angeles, and as a first-hand beneficiary of the cultural diversity of this city, I can attest to the invaluable role that immigrants have played in making L.A. a place of opportunity and social enrichment.

Kotkin quotes Mark Eshman as implying that the Iranian immigrants who came here somehow destroyed or diluted the Jewish community. But many Iranians who came here after the fall of Iran are Jewish!

The diversity of this city is its strength. Where else can you have fresh tortillas for breakfast, soul food for lunch, matzo ball soup for a snack, and Korean barbecue for dinner? Where else can you enjoy the art, culture and cuisine of every nation on the planet?

Kotkin indicates that all the smart people are leaving Los Angeles. I am an attorney and urban planner with graduate degrees from UC Berkeley and UCLA. My work and social activities provide ample opportunity to interact with people from nearly all parts of the city. I find no indication that Angelenos are lacking intelligence. Indeed, if anything should be troubling Los Angeles residents, it is the cowardly and racist attacks of those who would scapegoat minority groups for social problems and use cultural differences to drive a wedge between communities. I left Los Angeles for 10 years and recently returned to find it to be an even more interesting, more diverse, more cosmopolitan city than when I had left.

My grandmother was born in this city in 1911. She traveled the world and always swore that Los Angeles was the greatest place on Earth. She recently left the city, but only because she passed away at the age of 87. She was a very smart woman.


Los Angeles

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.