By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
LOOKS LIKE THE HIGHWAY
Marc Haefele’s piece “Beyond Bernie” [Comment, March 15–21] accurately foretells that Bernie Parks’ 15 minutes of fame are up. It’s time for him to go. Crime is up, cop morale is low, Mayor Hahn does not support him, and cops are leaving in droves for other jobs. Folks have grown tired of his “my way or the highway” management style and are ready for a change. Los Angeles is badly in need of a new chief who will enjoy the respect of the cop on the beat as well as that of the citizenry. A new chief who is serious about reform and who will move the LAPD forward without having to be forced to make changes at gunpoint would sure be nice.
So the question now is: Who is the right person to take over the reins of the LAPD after Parks’ requiem? Although Haefele suggests some future hopefuls, he overlooked one bright star within the department who could just pull it off. Deputy Chief Dave Kalish, who oversees LAPD functions on the west side of town, has long been recognized by a variety of communities as a very progressive, forward-thinking police manager. He currently enjoys the widespread support of rank-and-file patrol cops, as well as that of significant Westside groups including Jews, gays, Asians, African-Americans and Latinos. Some may remember him as the affable LAPD spokesman who calmed the city’s fears during such high-profile incidents as the shooting at the Jewish Community Center and the murder-suicide of Phil and Brynn Hartman. Kalish’s progressive credentials would ensure a commitment to fulfilling the LAPD’s Consent Decree, as well as moving the department into the 21st century.
Our future choice for chief of police should be based on substance, not style. We need to go with someone who can really make a difference, not waste our time once again with politically advantageous poster boys who are all talk and no action.
—Adrian Rivera Ramos Los Angeles
NOT TO MINCE WORDS
Marc Cooper is so full of shit howling about some moderate Republicans out there changing the state as he chokes his chicken over “ruthless” Davis and the “shell” of the California Democratic Party. It was idiots like him who rallied around Nader and allowed Bush-Cheney to steamroll over the country and the Constitution. Davis may not be perfect, but he can kick conservative ass. The GOP wants crybabies like Cooper screaming Chicken Little over Davis. I can’t wait to vote for Davis for president, because, since Clinton, there is no one else strong enough to take on the GOP.
—Sam Park Van Nuys
BUT DECEPTION IS AN ART
Thanks for Charles Rappleye’s detailed yet succinct article on Enron in California [“High-Wire Dreamin’,” March 15–21]. However, Enron was less than it appeared to be in many ways, and one of them was overlooked in the article. The “state-of-the-art trading floor” you mention may have been mostly a façade, as noted in the Weekly’s “Back Story” column a few weeks ago. In case your readers missed it, the link is: http://www.click2houston .com/hou/news/stories/news-1248368 20020222-130220.html.
WHEN NERD MEETS N*E*R*D
Re: “N*E*R*D Want Theirs” [March 15–21]. Alec Hanley Bemis should have included joining the bandwagon on overhyped albums as one of the things onetime nerds use to “mask their inadequacies.” Except the nerds, in this case, are every music journalist I’ve read who’s reviewed this particular album. Bemis described an album that shows an “ear for texture” and has “great beats, psychedelic flourishes and whirring keyboards.” What it doesn’t have is any good songs. Just riffs (and hack riffs at that) masquerading as songs. Instead of singing, there’s whining within a limited range. No melodic or harmonic (remember chord changes?) innovation. This is a shake-your-booty record and nothing more. It has absolutely no use outside a club.
I didn’t buy the record, but I almost did because of the hype. My money was saved by a listening station at Tower. If you don’t want to make the trip, download this crap for free. Just don’t believe the hype.
I thought Judith Lewis’ piece on Norah Vincent [“Review This Book or Else,” March 8–14] was right on, although I would have nailed Vincent a little harder on her distinctive lack of logic. (Her Salon piece using shark attacks last summer as a metaphor was a classic piece of idiocy, as shark attacks were actually down and are so infrequent as to be representative of nothing.) However, I take issue with Geoff Grahn’s illustration for the piece, which was cheap and unimaginative, and detracted from what was otherwise an excellent piece of commentary.
New York City
FORGET UNMARKED — TRY NONEXISTENT
Paul Cullum’s article on the series of BMW shorts directed for the Internet by various filmmakers [“The Hired Hand,” March 8–14] had its interesting parts. His reference to John Frankenheimer’s “signature car chases” in the film French Connection II was one of them — particularly as there are no car chases in that film. Because William Friedkin’s The French Connection had just won an Oscar for the editing of its signature car chase, Frankenheimer set himself the challenge of making an even more suspenseful sequel without staging any car chases at all. In the course of the film, Gene Hackman does chase after an Arab, a tram, a couple of cute girls, several Frenchmen and a yacht — all on foot.
—Chuck Stephens Los Angeles
EDITOR’S NOTE: Chuck Stephens is a freelance film writer and occasional contributor to the L.A. Weekly.
PREDICTABLE IF JUSTIFIED
In “The Grim Weeper” [A Lot of Night Music, March 8–14], Alan Rich, justifiably perhaps, disparages the overuse of the somewhat indelicate term “slush pump” by a former L.A. Times music critic in reference to the work of Tchaikovsky. He tags him with the cardinal fault of “predictability.” Yet Martin Bernheimer, it seems to me, like his estimable successor, Mark Swed, largely reviewed each piece of music on its own terms and rarely revealed his own predilections, whereas Mr. Rich has never had any compunctions about letting us know which composers are among his favorites — Mozart, Schubert, Adams, Ligeti, etc. — and rarely has positive things to say about others, such as Brahms, Bruckner, Glass, Carter, etc. In that sense, the general tenor of his reviews can often be seen as quite “predictable” (and often, too, they may be just as negative as those of Bernheimer, whom he regularly criticized for hypernegativity).
Still, the enthusiasm and perceptiveness Mr. Rich brings to his work are evident week after week, and a delight to many of us who read him.
—Jamie Kinzer North Hollywood
THE AIR, HOT AND FRAGRANT
Regarding Brendan Bernhard’s Considerable Town item on the effects of advertising and poetry [“The Poet and the Ad Man,” March 15–21]: Rex Wilder is blowing it out the ptootie hole. Two years ago, a giant billboard on Lincoln Boulevard in beachside Los Angeles with a quote from Charles Bukowski in simple black and white resulted in the sale of hundreds of Bukowski’s books. The billboard was paid for by a group called Poets Anonymous. The advertising of quality literature can work when the advertisers believe in the product and present it in an intriguing manner.
—Guy Joyce Los Angeles
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