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Mailbag: Pedestrians can’t afford to trust drivers

January 26, 2010

The high rate of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in Glendale in the last decade is indeed deplorable (“A crash course on prevention,” Jan. 16).

In 2001, my then-63-year-old grandmother was struck as she was legally crossing at a lighted crosswalk by someone carelessly making a right turn at a green light.

She suffered major injuries but thankfully survived, and is still with us today.

While living in other states and countries during my military service, I noticed that pedestrians in those places were more careful before they crossed roads.

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They would allow traffic to pass before they crossed, sometimes waiting even if they had the right of way. They simply did not trust drivers the way that we in Glendale seem to.

Though strict enforcement of traffic laws can be effective and is to some degree necessary, the city should work toward educating pedestrians on how to cross roads as safely as possible, particularly when one considers the great results of the Walkin’ Willie safety campaign in the past.

The city should focus more on pedestrian education rather than citing people, both pedestrians and drivers, so heavily that they become frustrated.

KARO GIULAKIAN

Glendale

Keep the term ‘race’ out of the paper

I do not know whether the Glendale Police Department discriminates against Armenian police. But I do know that Armenians do not form a race as the first part of the News-Press article (“Armenian officers sue dept.” Jan. 26) indicates.

They form an ethnic group, as the last part of the article makes clear.

The term “race” has no meaning, certainly no genetic meaning.

It has been used mainly to stereotype people by dividing them into groups and giving them supposedly inherited characteristics.

Various bigots have written about the Irish race, the Jewish race, the Italian race, the African race and so on, in order to claim that members of these “races” are born with certain innate traits that cannot be changed.

More than 100 years ago, Mark Twain wrote a novel, “Puddn’head Wilson,” to demonstrate that race was simply a cultural concept. It’s really time the News-Press and the rest of the world stop using the term.

On the other hand, the claim that the percentage of Armenians on the Glendale police force should match the percentage of Armenians in Glendale is a very bad idea. It has no legal or constitutional support and, if taken seriously, could come back and bite Armenians.

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