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Re: "L.A. on $7.37 a Day" [July 23­29]. A million thanks for one of the best articles I have read in years, an article that managed to put a real, human and dignified face on poverty. Perhaps "poverty" is the wrong word, because while Joanie Murray may not have money, she has dignity and integrity enough to shame our acquisitive souls. Thank you, Celeste Fremon, Anne Fishbein and Joanie Murray, for your honesty.

--David Lewis

Studio City


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Bravo to Celeste Fremon, whose article accurately illustrates the day-to-day struggle of those trapped by our sick city's General Relief system. I too receive G.R., food stamps and all the other horseshit, and live with the paranoia of wondering whether or not I will find myself homeless because I forgot to cross a T or dot an I. God bless you, Joanie, wherever you are, and good luck.

--Robert Stevens

San Pedro



The Welfare Reform Act was a disastrous mistake. It should never have been enacted. At a time when the federal government is planning to give billions of dollars in tax breaks, mainly to the rich and the corporations, because of a record surplus, we are going to take away from the chronically indigent what little help they receive. If there were enough jobs for these people, and if they were mentally and physically capable of sustained gainful employment, it would be less of a hardship, but hundreds of thousands of people who haven't a ghost of a chance of getting a (nonexistent) job are about to be cut off completely without a dime or even the remotest prospect of a salaried position. It is tantamount to a death sentence. It is an incitement to crime, prostitution, drug abuse and mental illness. What are these people supposed to do if they can't get work -- lie down and die? Quietly starve to death? Commit a crime so that they can at least be assured of three square meals a day in L.A. County Jail? To terminate these people's benefits, paltry and inadequate as they are, in a society that can easily afford to continue them, is a brutal and barbarous act, unworthy of a democratic and ostensibly egalitarian society.

--Charles B. Edelman

Los Angeles



Thank God there is the L.A. Weekly to give some reality and much-needed perspective to the ego-driven Angelenos who exist in our two-headed city. There is such contrast and irony in L.A., and I'm glad Celeste saw it and pointed it out in such a poignant way. I will never forget Joanie.

--Heidi Hudson

Los Angeles



Celeste Fremon writes with something that has disappeared from city bureaucrats: compassion. It's unpopular to be poor. And God help you if you're black and female. Rather than cut back entitlements, maybe reorganization of the managers who oversee these programs -- the arrogant boors realize they can get away with mistreatment of the most disenfranchised among us -- is in order.

--Paul Geronimi

Denver, Colorado



People such as Joanie Murray have no business being on General Relief. Joanie quite frankly does not want to work, evidenced by the fact that this 44-year-old woman has amassed a grand total of one year of work experience. Joanie claims, "Domestics is my field." She needs to be informed that one year of employment does not constitute a "field." Joanie's entire so-called job search seems to be concentrated in this field, yet she has not worked since 1993. Maybe it's time for her to start looking in another field. What's wrong with working in the fast-food field?

To Joanie, a job is a "backup," something to fall back on when she can no longer freeload off taxpayers. She purports to be "too old and independent to live with her mother," yet has no problem asking Los Angeles County to support her. Rather than fervently pursuing employment, she occupies her time buying new pantsuits and getting a manicure to "keep her spirits up."

I'm looking forward to November 8, 1999, the day Joanie's benefits terminate. I'm sick and tired of seeing my hard-earned tax dollars handed out to such deadbeats.

--W.H. Adams




Re: "Rogan's Heroes" [OffBeat, July 23­29]. It's called "Free" Republic because the true meaning of free speech is upheld. With 50,000-plus hits per day, it's a bit difficult for one person to monitor every word, even if he tried. Practically every word you liberal socialists utter is offensive to me, and I consider it hate speech, yet no one censors you. Your favorite buzz word, "tolerance," as defined by your ilk, means all beliefs are equally valid; therefore, the beliefs of conservatives are as â valid as yours. Get over it, and stop creating divisiveness among Americans.

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