By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
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TELL ME WHAT’D HE SAY?
Howard Blume’s article “Tempting Belmont” [April 7–13] ignored the fact that the Belmont Learning Complex is wrong for the students and for the taxpayers. It is unacceptable to build gigantic, two-story structures with retail outlets on the first floor and classrooms on the upper level for 5,000 students. We need small neighborhood schools, not “factories” or retail outlets for our youth. Belmont’s tasteless, mindless, factory-style design appears to have come from the “Ray Charles School of Architecture,” which was planned to benefit vested interests, not students!
The Board of Education’s majority had no choice but to emphasize the health and safety of children, teachers and administrators and shut down the $200 million-plus bureaucratic Belmont boondoggle. The board must not yield to reckless political agendas, nor be bullied by downtown law firms and high-powered lobbyists into reversing its wise decision to stop Belmont for other locations. Environmental hazards and an inferior learning environment are too big a price for our students and taxpayers to pay.
It is also critical that taxpayers find out who is responsible for this fiscal and toxic fiasco. The first shoe has been wisely dropped. It is imperative that the second shoe be dropped with a full grand jury investigation into this catastrophe.
According to the school district’s inspector general, Don Mullinax, there’s probable cause to believe that at least five state laws were violated by the school board regarding Belmont. District staff knew these laws were being violated, yet failed to inform the board. It is also vital that the grand jury explore how the property was acquired.
While the district’s “culture of finger pointing,” “backside covering” and buck passing leaves even Mullinax asking, “Who is in charge of this project?,” the district attorney, who is in charge of criminal investigations, has failed to aggressively pursue this fiasco. It is time to act! Our own Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved two motions requesting a full investigation.
Now, the Los Angeles Unified School District has the opportunity to focus on affordable, family-student-friendly neighborhood schools which are cost-effective in meeting our children’s needs.
—Michael D. Antonovich
Supervisor, 5th District
The Generations of 1877
In “Street vs. Suite” by Harold Meyerson [April 7–13], the president of Local 1877 is quoted as estimating that “between 98 and 99 percent” of membership in his union is “immigrant.” In the same article, it is noted that, in the mid-’80s, “almost all” of the existing unionized janitors were replaced by immigrants. Now this same group of immigrants is unionized, and fighting to protect their own wages. Doesn’t anyone see the irony in this?
The janitors, like all working people, deserve any benefits they’re able to secure for themselves. However, some sort of tribute is owed to the previous generation of union janitors that many current members of Local 1877 (wittingly or not) themselves helped to undermine.
KISS KISS GANG BANG
I’ve just read Evan Wright’s story “Scenes From My Life in Porn” [March 31–April 6] on the Net. What a smart, touching, beautifully crafted piece. I kept expecting it to roll into some easy homily, and it just never did. Thanks for printing the work of this wise, gifted writer.
Re: Evan Wright’s “Scenes From My Life in Porn.” Wow. What a hard-hitting, thought-provoking piece. When Evan came aboard as entertainment editor of Hustler magazine, it was my lot as executive editor of the Hustler Erotic Video Guideto “show him the ropes” and guide him through the world of adult entertainment. Truth be told, he was a pretty slow learner, but that’s another story.
Evan makes the assertion in his article that he had “achieved rank on the list of the Top 50 most influential people in the adult industry. Granted, I had written that list myself . . . but deception and lies are the essence of pornography.” Apparently, deception and lies are also the essence of Mr. Wright’s style of journalism. I wrote the Top 50 list he refers to in his story.
Hey, Evan, I may be a pornographer and, as such, I’m sure the work I do as a writer is beneath your contempt, but at least I’ve never had to resort to taking credit for another writer’s work. What’s that feel like?
—Michael Louis Albo
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
Further checking with the author and Mr. Albo reveals that while Mr. Albo did, indeed, write the original “Most Influential People in a Porn” list, Evan Wright edited and rewrote significant portions of the list — adding his own name to it — prior to its publication in the January 1999 issue of Hustler.
Evan Wright is very keen, and probably wholly justified, in depicting the Jasmin St. Claire gangbang as a tawdry, thoroughly unpleasant spectacle. This being the case, I’d just like to assert that Club magazine was most definitely not among the “esteemed magazines” covering the event, and anybody who told Evan such was probably jerkin’ his gherkin. There are two reasons for our not being there: For one thing, one of our strictest legal parameters rules out the depiction, especially the pictorial representation, of gangbangs in any form. But the main reason is that we would not touch such a cheesy, crass, nasty stunt with a 50-foot dildo. Watching a distinctly unappealing performer being periodically pelted with regular-guy jism is not our idea of fun and not the kind of thing we’d promote; a general respect for our subjects is one of the things that sets Club apart from, and above, Hustler magazine (we’ve never felt the need to “legitimize” our magazine with incredibly poor-quality campus-rag-standard satire either). Having trawled through Evan’s gory litany of depression and therapy and squalor, I can’t help thinking that his porno odyssey wouldn’t have been half so wretched if he’d been working for us. We have a great time! He should send me a C.V. I’ll give it due consideration — as long as he makes sure he gets his facts right.