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
Kirk D SchneiderWhittier
My question is, what do your readers want, better mass transit for many people now or better mass transit for a few people later? Bus or rail? The folks who argue in favor of rail have never offered a coherent long-term plan for where L.A. should build tracks. Instead, they let fat-cat contractors corrupt spineless politicos into shortsighted, piece-by-piece proposals. The contractors want to build the rail system wrong now so they can be paid again tomorrow to rebuild it right.
The best solution is clear. First, solve the short-term problem. Put more busses on the streets now and let people ride for free. Efficient, free bus transport will significantly empty the streets of cars.
Second, for the middle term, develop a plan for where rails should be laid — probably a hub system like Tokyo’s efficient "spider web." Then build the pieces of that system according to intelligent adherence to the master plan, not according to whose pockets get fattest fastest.
Third, remember this: We live in the last days of a rapidly ending Ice Age. Ice is melting, the sea level is rising. In 500 years or so, most of Los Angeles will lie under water; the City of Industry will be beachfront property. The long-range solution is boats.
William SlatteryLos Angeles
Thanks for shining a light on the Bus Riders Union. Just because an organization starts out great, doesn’t mean it should never be looked at again. I’ve worked for social-justice causes my whole adult life, so it has pissed me off no end being labeled a racist because I support light rail as a part of L.A.’s transit future. Between its weirdness about finances and mind-boggling salaries for its key people ("grassroots" my ass), grossly inflated membership numbers,and stunning instances of doublespeak (director Eric Mann’s public statement in November that the MTA had "met the criteria" of the federal agreement followed the next day by his admission that he really didn’t mean it), this is a group with very little credibility left. I hope the ACLU, the NAACP and Liberty Hill — organizations I deeply admire — will look at the BRU with fresh eyes. Until the BRU is able to make major changes in its goals, its rhetoric and its tactics, it does not deserve their support.
Karen MathewsLos Angeles
Marc Cooper’s story about Bush’s military escalation in Colombia [“Mission Creep,” Dissonance, March 29–April 4] posits an irrationality of purpose to the U.S. mission there. Looking at Colombia only, that would be true. However, the real goal is control of Venezuelan oil. Increased U.S. proximity to this huge energy source, in the minds of Oily Bubba and the Corporate Thieves, translates to guaranteed U.S. access. Never mind that the overall practice of oil dependence — no matter what the source — is itself irrational and doomed to war and other conflagration. Is the U.S. public ready to make the switch to renewable and sustainable? I think yes, and we deserve the courage of leadership not only to say so but to do so. Does anyone doubt we need a change of regimes here in order for that to happen?
I am writing in regards to Marc Cooper’s article "Mission Creep." Instead of advising people to throw out their V.I. Lenin and crack open some Freud, may I suggest that the cynical might pass along the relevant works of Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism and State and Revolution to the youth who may have to fight in these wars that you seem to think are just bad policy and not the need to dominate the markets of the world.
Joseph WagnerSouth Pasadena
Marc Cooper’s story on Colombia and the involvement of the U.S. in the Colombian conflict lacks in research and draws irresponsible and dangerous conclusions. The largest consumer of Colombian drugs in the world can not possibly deny its already terrible contribution to the ills of its close neighbor. Mr. O’Grady says it is beyond him to see how any U.S. involvement would help alleviate things in Colombia. How about starting with some action on drug consumption in the U.S., and dropping the double standard where growing and producing drugs is evil but consuming the, is cool?
Paola LozanoNew York
Re: “It Ain’t Cool” [On, March 29–April 4]. Fine piece by John Powers. I’m very sorry to hear about Henry Sheehan getting let go by the Orange County Register. But I was more amazed that he was even there for that long. Mostly because he’s so good, and the few times I’ve seen that paper (when visiting family in Seal Beach), it’s been, well, if not lame, certainly limping.
—Sally Cragin Fitchburg, Massachusetts
I was put off, to say the least, by John Powers’ article. Undeniably, Harry Knowles is a film geek, and no, he has no life outside of enjoying films, but the man has etched out a symbiotic way of life with the very thing he loves so dearly. If only every human on Earth found such luck.