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
Charles Rappleye’s story on Enron’s impact on the California energy market and vice versa [“High-Wire Dreamin’,” March 15–21] is one of the finest examples of reporting yet produced on the Enron fiasco (and believe me, I’ve read almost all of it). For too long now in America, Milton Friedman–esque ideologues have wreaked havoc on our nation’s consumer-protective regulatory safety net. The end result? Unsafe airlines, thinly disguised advertising posing as children’s TV programming, skyrocketing bank fees, corrupt and greedy telecommunications giants that sacrifice service to emphasize sales, California blackouts . . . the list goes on and on. In general, the loss of quality, service and choice (the record clearly shows that, in the long run, deregulation means less choice) has led to a significant decline in the quality of life for ordinary Americans, all so a handful of multinational monoliths can afford to pay top executives obscene salaries, bonuses and stock options, while mid- and lower-level employees slog longer hours for less pay. Now if only the fourth estate would get off its duff to look beyond Enron to what’s occurring at other sacred-cow corporations.
THE CONTINUING FEUD
Ella Taylor’s article “Family Feud” [March 22–28], published by the L.A. Weeklyunder the guise of journalism, reeks of supremacist apologia, and my pre-publication letter to the editors of the Weeklyarticulating her unprofessional actions in “reporting” the piece can be found at www.la.indymedia.org. Here’s the facts. After we threw the doors open, KPFK raised more money in our last fund drive than ever before in its history. The preliminary structures we’ve proposed (see www.kpfk.org) around programming councils, collective formation and internship/volunteer programs hold forth the promise of unprecedented community involvement. And while the prospect of community radio seems to terrify Ms. Taylor, it’s too bad she spent her research period refusing my entreaties to come to KPFK, to see these possibilities for herself.
As for her bizarre characterization of me as being in “over my head,” I’ve run far more complex operations than KPFK in my career, and have more than 25 years of experience in creating/managing/developing many forms of media, including radio. I’ve not, however, despite Ms. Taylor’s assertions to the contrary, ever worked in PR.
I walked into a station ruled by fear and intimidation, controlled by an exclusionary management team, with a staff under siege and drive-time hours controlled by a few white programmers. I’m leaving KPFK, 68 days later, with a far more diverse staff in control of its own destiny and featuring drive-time voices that begin to actually represent the diversity of Los Angeles — not to mention a community of deeply engaged volunteers who have been welcomed back into the building. I urge your readers to come on down to the station and see for themselves. And sure, there’s a great deal more work to be done. But KPFK, and Pacifica in general, has been liberated into the possibility of its own future, and I’m deeply proud of the results of my brief tenure.
Former interim general manager KPFK
John Powers writes in “Winona Forever” [On, March 22–28], “People ask why a ‘millionairess’ like Ryder would shoplift, but the real question is why Saks’ staff would make it a news story.” The drastic step by Saks may indicate that Ryder had a reputation for shoplifting at Saks, and that the store let her get away with it for a while. Ryder may have gotten too bold, or maybe Saks decided it was tired of being ripped off by the privileged set, with its sense of entitlement. Or maybe Saks had to make a big deal of it in order to send a message to others with the same predilection, to limit its losses and prevent further incidence of serial celebrity shoplifting. I doubt whether they would have pursued this unless they had hard evidence of Ryder’s guilt.
New York City
While I wholeheartedly agree with Paul Cullum’s assessment of Jennifer Connelly’s talent [“Museum Piece,” March 22–28], I was a little surprised by his failure to mention her finest performance to date. Months before she “finally broke a sweat” in Requiem for a Dream, she gave the performance of her career (hell, of anybody’s career) in Keith Gordon’s underrated Waking the Dead. This movie, a combination romance, political commentary and ghost story, provided Connelly with one rigorous scene after another, and she played every emotional note in the book perfectly. Failing to mention this role in an appreciation of Connelly’s range and depth is like writing a piece on Brando that forgets to reference A Streetcar Named Desire.
Wow, not one but two actual, old-fashioned, unapologetic fans’ homages to the actresses they love in the same issue of the Weekly — Paul Cullum on Jennifer Connelly and John Powers on Winona Ryder. Of course, this being the Weekly, you were obliged to print a lead-footed “rebuttal” by some doctrinaire feminist academic right next to Cullum’s piece. Too bad. Looks like it will be quite a while yet before any of your film critics can escape the long reach of the P.C. drones and backbiters. Until then, there’s always the lone voice of F.X. Feeney.
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