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
First of all, Michael McKinley does excellent work with youth from the neighborhood. Second, I’m not on the board of Sunset Junction. Third, I have not received one call or message from the Weekly since the last negative story you printed. I would also like to know when will the Weekly devote time to all the wonderful work that is going on in the neighborhood, or highlight the success stories of youths who are making a difference in their communities as a result of their involvement in our youth programs. When this becomes the focus of your stories, please call me at El Centro del Pueblo. We have plenty to highlight for you.
—Sandra L. Figueroa-Villa
In his article “Problems on Parade” [September 1–7], Douglas Sadownick alleges the death of Frontiers newsmagazine publisher Bob Craig “opened up the way” for the magazine to run a story critical of Christopher Street West, the group that organizes the gay parade and on whose board Craig served. This statement is insulting to Bob Craig’s memory, incorrect and ironic since it was Frontiers, not Sadownick, who broke the story in the first place. Why didn’t Frontiers, the L.A. Weekly or any other local publication run a story sooner? I can only speak for Frontiers, and our reasons were traditionally journalistic ones: lack of sources willing to go on the record and no paper trail to prove allegations. The recent board resignations finally gave us — and, in turn, other newspapers — a way to begin writing about CSW’s problems. Craig’s goal as a board member (and even after he had resigned from CSW) was to make sure that every year the gay community had a parade of which it could be proud. But that never stopped him from criticizing CSW’s actions. To suggest the story was somehow hushed up because of Craig’s past presence on CSW’s board seriously misrepresents his beliefs as both a magazine publisher and as a community leader.
Editor-in-chief, Frontiers newsmagazine
I am the freelance journalist who broke the story about CSW’s shortcomings in Frontiers newsmagazine. I therefore feel qualified to make some observations about the recent article on CSW that appeared in your paper, in which Douglas Sadownick demonstrated appalling disregard for journalistic integrity. If his objective as a journalist was to be fair and accurate, he failed.
In hours of discussions over the past three months with West Hollywood officials, not oneof them has told me the city desires to take control of the parade and festival. Rather, while wisely leaving that door ajar in the event such intervention becomes necessary, each has expressed reticence about the idea, Jeff Prange included. Prange’s quote was stripped by Sadownick of its context, and therefore, its meaning. Not fair, not accurate.
Financial records three and four years old were held up as proof of fiscal malfeasance and irresponsibility. While it is fair to watch such things, Sadownick failed to mention that no current board member (all current members came to the board within the past year and a half) has come under suspicion of misusing the organization’s funds. Sadownick spent paragraph after paragraph raising suspicions of financial impropriety, giving no solid evidence and, worst of all, no chance at rebuttal by those implicated. Not one current board member was quoted on current fiscal affairs. Talk about smear! Not fair, not accurate.
In an assertion that the death of Bob Craig opened the way for Frontiers to criticize CSW, and that my article pinned the blame for CSW’s problems on John Capodonno, Sadownick damages his own reputation, not Frontiers’ or mine. Editorial policy at Frontiers is not determined by the publisher, but by the editors. Never have I been pulled from a story too hot to handle. As for Capodonno, I did not blame him in the article for any institutional problems. Rather, by his own statements he showed himself to be unqualified for a leadership role anywhere in the gay community. Sadownick, after promising to call me for background and perspective before writing this article, did not. His claims that editorial policy changed with Craig’s passing and of Capodonno being made a scapegoat are mere supposition, conjecture. Yet they are stated as fact. Not fair, not accurate.
Finally, Sadownick’s choice of sources (former board members and consultants who all have personal agendas that include personal profit and/or power grabs), not to mention his description of the festival, show his own bias. Sadownick ignored a journalistic rule: Provide necessary balance in sourcing. Go to both sides and give balanced coverage to the views. Be fair. His article was long on accusation and innuendo, and short on explanation and defense. Not fair, not accurate.
BONDING WITH THE MAN
Re: John Seeley’s “Convention Casualties” [September 1–7]. I will be forever grateful for the many media representatives who filed first-person reports from the streets of Los Angeles during the week of the DNC. However, it is unbelievable that any media folks would shrug off police brutality. The press is accountable to the public, not to themselves. The sickening and misguided bravado of certain reporters puts us all in danger. How many acts of LAPD misconduct were not recorded because a press person had been incapacitated by baton blows, rubber bullets and/or gas, or had their camera smashed or stolen? How many acts of malice were committed against the public by the police because the press spotlight was temporarily turned off? Who dares say that the press are fair game?