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ANTHONY HOPKINS ON ER

DEAR EDITOR:

It is most unfortunate that Marc B. Haefele, in his apparent eagerness to come up with another sensational story about the King-Drew Medical Center ["Doctor’s Orders," December 24–30], showed not only a lack of understanding of the relationship between the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the Academic Medical Centers, but also of his basic responsibility as a journalist to present fair, accurate and corroborated information. If Mr. Haefele had done even a cursory investigation of the charges brought by the "Imperial Heights 8" and their union representative, he would have quickly discovered that the King-Drew Family Practice Center was not a private clinic owned by Ludlow B. Creary, M.D., as they allege, but instead was a family-practice residency training center, established and operated, since its inception, under the auspices of Charles R. Drew University and the county of Los Angeles. This simple fact of public record negates the underlying premise and subsequent allegations on which Haefele’s story was based, and reveals the actions of the "Imperial Heights 8" — refusing to work at the clinic without receiving additional compensation for resident teaching and service (their basic faculty responsibilities) — for what they were: greedy and insubordinate. Perhaps the real tragedy of this article is that had Mr. Haefele made a greater effort to find out how and why the facts about the King-Drew Family Practice Center were deliberately and maliciously misrepresented by leadership of the university, allowed to be perpetuated by officials of the health department, and used to further the personal agendas of the "Imperial Heights 8" and the Physicians Union representative, he would have uncovered a modern-day scenario reminiscent of Titus — a film that I would highly recommend to him and any of your reporters who think that by hearing one side of a story without any corroborating evidence, they have a clue as to what the actual truth is.

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—Paul D. Juarez, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Charles R. Drew University

EDITOR’S NOTE: The question of who owns the clinic has been disputed in court documents, with no clear results. Haefele’s story accurately described the position set forth in the physicians’ grievance, that the clinic belongs to Dr. Creary. In interviews, Los Angeles County health officials said the county does not own it, but they would not say who does own it. In a lawsuit seeking access to medical records, Drew University contends the clinic belongs to the university. Creary’s attorneys assert that the county owns the clinic and that it is affiliated with Drew. The court, in its decision, declined to rule on the question of ownership, but concluded that Drew University had enough of an ownership interest to obtain records. Creary has appealed.

THE HIGH COST OF PARKING

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: Teresa Rochester and Jorge Casuso’s "Spare Parking, Anyone?" [January 21–27]. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as far as many local residents are concerned. Many of us find Santa Monica’s attitude on the beach-area parking remarkably consistent with its other restrictive, elitist and isolationist policies. A number of people fail to realize that Santa Monica is a separate independent city with its own government, taxes and revenues. Therefore traffic control, street closures, access, federal highway access, parking fees and overall planning are all designed to maximize Santa Monica residents’ way of life. Those policies almost always wind up being a major detriment to all other communities seeking access to the beach area or to transit through the area. The parking issue could be easily handled with some form of compromise. Why not two- or three-hour public parking on the streets surrounding the beach in addition to parking permits for the local residents?

The parking fees charged at the beach public lots are clearly economically discriminatory and serve to maximize every penny of revenue from each lot. It used to be that beach parking lots only charged fees from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Before and after, the lots were free. On weekdays in the wintertime, the lots were free. When fees were charged, they were not exorbitant. Over the years, it seems, the greed factor has crept in. Perhaps this issue will cause Santa Monica to re-address some of its policies toward its neighbors — the rest of California.

—Chris WilliamsVenice

DEAR EDITOR:

I find this situation amusing. The Santa Monica City Council is complaining about an external â agency — the California Coastal Commission — telling it how much it must charge for parking-space rental. Isn’t this exactly the same as mandating how much rent a landlord can charge for living space? And now, this Suzanne Frick dares to try to strong-arm us with threats that restrooms and trash will go unhandled!

What did the council think landlords would do to make up their financial shortages? My family was forced to sell our apartment building because we couldn’t afford the legal costs and restrictions imposed by the now-victimized City Council. What goes around, comes around.

—Martin ShermanSanta Monica

 

NEW AND UNIMPROVED

DEAR EDITOR:

Harold Meyerson’s article on the Democratic candidates ["The Party Line," January 28–February 3] really captured for me the unusual way in which this primary has evolved. Those who agree with the writer’s assessments (Bradley as the big-program/big-government Dem) might have thought Clinton was really campaigning for Bradley in his State of the Union address, not for the "new" Gore. I look forward to a story about the GOP side.

—Bob SykesSan Francisco

 

CHEWY, GOOD-TASTING AND KIDS LOVE ’EM

DEAR EDITOR:

I completely disagree with Oliver Wang’s characterization that being white has hurt the Beastie Boys [Music Reviews, January 21–27]. In fact, it has helped them. Certainly they were accepted by the hip-hop community from day one with their first record. And on the flip side, let’s face the facts about white America. We live in a nation that will more willingly accept its own kind as cultural icons. Those three white faces are an easier pill to swallow for parents and kids, especially outside of the major metros. Not to mention the attitude within record companies that black artists are more expendable than white artists, who are given the benefit of "artist development." Having worked both sides of the dividing line in my 10 years of record-label experience, I’ve seen it all too plainly.

Despite this prevailing attitude, artists like L.L. Cool J, EPMD and A Tribe Called Quest have managed to have careers as long as or longer than the Beastie Boys’. And please give credit where credit is due: The Beastie Boys may have been one step ahead of pop music, but they have taken their best ideas (like "Paul Revere") from hip-hop conventions of the time.

—Brenda J. WalkerCulver City

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