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Piece of Mind: Snippets from a cluttered mind

September 23, 2011|By Carol Cormaci, carol.cormaci@latimes.com

So much has been happening in the past several days that it’s hard to zero in on one topic this week. Please hang on, if you don’t mind getting a glimpse of a cluttered mind.

First, it occurs to me that, especially with a school board campaign underway, it’s time to address the subject of letters to the editor.

Please believe it when we say we love getting letters for publication. They boost La Cañada’s social and political discourse and have the potential to shape our public policy. If enough people state their cases in a public forum about a law that protects trees over personal property rights, for example, or about the school board’s stance on any given policy, it’s possible that our community leaders might read the rumblings of their neighbors, recognize an issue and make adjustments accordingly.

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Indeed, we love letters so much that we have been known to allow our writers to wax on for up to 350 words (in fact, that is the maximum number in the guidelines that are printed at the top of the Forum page. The limit probably should be reduced to 250). The truth is that the more succinct you can be, the more likely it is that someone will read your letter in its entirety. And the briefer you are, the more letters we can print so that a greater number of views can be aired.

We received many letters this week, most of which came so close to the limit they were tapping on its shoulder. Our copy editor was forced to bring out his snippers and trim, keeping the most important kernels of each message intact. We hope this week’s writers will understand.

One final thought on this subject: School board campaigns have started their letter-writing machines. That’s fine, but if you are an active member of any candidate’s team, please be up front about that in your letter supporting that person so readers are clued in to that fact.

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