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Contracts in La Mirada

The author of the article "Bush `Privatization' Approach Gathers Steam at Local Level," May 4, is right about one thing in his references to La Mirada, Calif.: It is a "contract city," and there probably are about 75 of them. But these contract cities sign agreements for services with the counties in which they are located, most of them here in Los Angeles County. That is hardly privatization!

It is on this basis that La Mirada acquires its police protection, its fire protection, and the operation of the regional library located in the civic center. The county supplies them, and we pay for them through our tax assessments, as is the case for all of the contract cities.

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It is true that trash pickup is handled by a private firm, but that is hardly a remarkable situation among cities today. Also, Suburban Water Systems provides the water supply to residents and businesses here, but they were doing that long before La Mirada was a city.

Which brings me to the author's final statement in that paragraph: "Officials say La Mirada runs more efficiently than before." Before what? La Mirada started out as a contract city, so we have never had experience providing the municipal services on any other basis. J. Paton Marshall, La Mirada, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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