Regarding Harold Meyerson's "Outbreak of Accountability" [Powerlines, April 915], it's a shame that Mr. Meyerson didn't exercise a little less bias and present at least some of Nate Holden's take on community activism, achievements and constituent organization. Carole Segal, a 10th District neighborhood group leader who was referenced in the article, had a story to tell about her concerns about Coalition L.A., and those concerns are reflected by all the existing neighborhood groups in the 10th District that have been served so well by the Holden administration. But she was never fully interviewed.
Instead, Mr. Meyerson, based on a few of her comments, discounted Ms. Segal, acting as if she were some type of Holden pawn sent out to disrupt and degrade the so-called noble Shockley crusade. I know her, and she's simply a working mother who cares about her community. Like myself, she is also an active member of one of the many thriving and successful (in terms of improvements to the community and empowerment of the residents) neighborhood groups that Coalition L.A. and Shockley were completely ignoring. These groups are composed of residents -- not political appointees or local businesses, just regular people.
Our concern is that Shockley's group either doesn't know about our neighborhood groups (which indicates how little he knew about the district) or that he merely wants to replace them. Which makes the prospect of a Shockley victory seem like a corporate takeover of the district, where the whole "company" would be restaffed.
Many of the 10th District's neighborhood groups have been in existence in excess of 10 years. They are all volunteer-run, open to everyone in the neighborhood and working on their own self-selected priorities. Both Ms. Segal and myself have walked the streets this year campaigning for Holden because we like what he and his staff have done for our community, and therein lies the story you missed. Despite the negative press, the residents who are in touch with the council office (those who work along with the present administration to improve the community, as opposed to those who do nothing, and don't understand the limitations of our poorly funded city government, and only complain about lack of services) knew how important it was to re-elect him.
We are afraid of a Shockley victory because it would put someone in office who is completely inexperienced, obviously unfamiliar with the neighborhoods he proposes to rule, and who allies himself with a group -- Coalition L.A. -- that is electing leaders for our neighborhoods and attempting to make decisions for our residents without asking for any type of vote.
The question Ms. Segal and all the other block clubs are asking is, who are these Coalition L.A. people and how did they come up with their agenda? I live in the 10th District, and I was never asked for my opinions. Do members of this coalition even live in the communities they intend to lead? That's probably why one Holden supporter said it sounded like communism, because the Coalition's system would be imposed on a populace undemocratically.
I was disappointed to read Greg Brouwer's "Polaroid Prosecutors" [OffBeat, March 1218] criticizing Nate Holden for giving some community members cameras to photograph illegal signs posted on city property. In the 10th District, where I reside, we have a problem, and Councilman Holden listened.
Perhaps if Mr. Brouwer had asked the parent whose child crosses the street where a speed-limit sign stands covered by these stickers, he'd have changed his view. My neighbors and I have spent our own time taking these signs down, and it is important to us that these individuals be held accountable to their community. If photographing signs that deface our neighborhoods and endanger our children makes us "citizen snoops," then so be it.
The councilman's belief that residents are the "eyes and ears of the community" may reveal why he has been consistently re-elected by his district.
Press deputy for Nate Holden
and 10th District resident
IN CASE YOU HADN'T HEARD . . .
I'm glad as hell I did not read Manohla Dargis' review of Go ["Speed, Baby, Speed," April 915] before I saw it this weekend. I, for one, did not realize that Scott's and Jay's characters were gay until it was revealed later on in the film. Once again, a critic proves herself irresponsible by giving away more than is necessary.
Los Angeles â
THE SOUND OF FOUR KNEES SLAPPING
Although I prefer to see films in their original languages, I completely disagree with Hazel-Dawn Dumpert's sweeping pronouncement that "Jackie Chan's movies in general are simply not funny in English" [New Releases, April 1622]. The first time I saw Twin Dragons, my favorite Jackie Chan movie, I watched it in Cantonese -- a language I don't speak fluently -- without subtitles. It's a tribute to how well told this movie is that I could still follow it. Seeing it again upon its current U.S. release, I didn't notice any missing scenes or butchered re-editing, and since most of the movie's humor is visual, the dubbing doesn't lose any laughs. Twin Dragons isn't great art, and audiences expecting Chan's more spectacular brand of stunt work and globe hopping may be a bit disappointed by this relatively small-scale film, but with its well-honed narrative, emotional undertones and knee-slapping slapstick, Twin Dragons is thoroughly enjoyable Jackie.
"OH HECK! ANOTHER DARNED SIMULATION"
Re: Paul Malcolm's comments on Disney's The Black Hole [Notes From a Video Store Burnout, April 915], the film got its PG rating because of Anthony Perkins' getting killed off-camera by the spinning knives of the robot Maximilian, not for language. This was especially annoying to Paramount, as, in spite of numerous "hell"s and "damn"s and even a simulated nude scene, they could not get the preferred PG for the original Star Trek movie, which was released at the same time.
I just finished Libby Molyneaux's review of SXSW ["South By Shut Up," April 28]. I wish to extend my thanks for the inside scoop on what goes on there. Especially appreciated was the analogy of record-industry folks being the equivalent of "vacuum-cleaner salesmen," which I thought was very humorous and struck the chord of truth. Clearly, humor and a touch of condescension are alive and well-justified in Molyneaux's take on the whole affair. I applaud the effort with gusto, and I offer my thanks for sharing her firsthand experience (even though it's her gig). It's good to have access and insight into what goes on in that Texas-size barbecue.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
AWARDS THEIR OWN REWARD
Having just got back from the 20th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards ceremony, I must congratulate you all -- Charlotte Rae and Chris Wells especially -- on throwing the best party in town. Thanks!
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