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
How sad that your investigative paper needed to savagely attack a fellow candidate for cityhood, instead of being forthright and just saying the L.A. Weekly opposes our right to self-determination.
Gene La Pietra — “The Man Who Would Be Hollywood’s King” [October 11–17] — is indeed a titular leader of the Independence for Hollywood movement. The Weekly article was scurrilous and vicious against a citizen who wants, like all 20 of the council candidates, to improve and revitalize our neighborhoods.
Most likely, Mr. La Pietra can withstand your journalism. Most front-runners do.
Our disappointment with the Weekly article was its utter failure to address the decades of deterioration of Hollywood. What is missing from your report is the graffiti that permeates the commercial and residential sections of Hollywood. Your magazine’s tainted report does not speak of the crumbling streets all along our famed Sunset Boulevard. Or the systematic increasing violent crimes against our visitors and neighbors. Cityhood will add up to 96 additional police officers to do this job, without the new city having to raise taxes.
The Weekly should have interviewed the real experts on this issue. Larry Calamine, the staff executive director of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), which studied the fiscal viability of a new Hollywood with an affirming result, has publicly commended Mr. La Pietra on his leadership in this movement. “Hollywood Cityhood would not be on the ballot if it weren’t for the leadership, passion and brilliant attention to detail Gene La Pietra brought to the process,” according to Calamine.
We would appreciate the Weekly’s attention to the problems and issues which are driving Hollywood to independence, rather than an attack on the leader who has made it possible for voters to decide if they want a new government.
Shame on your publication for printing J. Victor Abalos’ lopsided diatribe. Gene La Pietra is a philanthropist who really cares about Hollywood and wants to make it a better place to live. By focusing, negatively, on one of the 21 potential candidates for Hollywood City Council, in an undisguised effort to ruin the secession effort, you have proven that there is no unbiased and balanced reporting left in the media today.
The vitriolic and unsubstantiated comments made by Mr. La Pietra’s detractors overlook the fact that he has silently donated over $2 million to youth programs, that he is planning an innovative after-school program called the Center of the Universe, and that his dance clubs have gainfully provided employment for several years now to many individuals. No one else has brought more attention to the problem of urban blight seen in Hollywood than Mr. La Pietra. If anyone feels they can do a better job at taking care of Hollywood’s needs, then why don’t they step up to the plate and take a crack at it? Batter up!
CAN THE DOUBLE TALK
Re: Marc Cooper’s “Case of Spinelessness” [October 11–17]. Cooper deftly emphasized the overwhelming bipartisan support the president asked for and received to pass his war resolution. “I don’t want to see so much as a single Democrat out there whining that this is ‘George W. Bush’s War,’” Cooper sternly warned. “It’s also Dick Gephardt’s war. And Joe Biden’s. And every other Democrat who is voting . . . to authorize the use of force.” Yet in the very next issue [October 18–24], one needed to look no farther than the table of contents to see the words “Bush’s war” whined once more. And not just by some other unrelated columnist but by the editor whose job it was to come up with a catchy and clever description of Cooper’s latest column. If Cooper was to be taken seriously the week before, and he indeed sounded as if he meant to be, he should probably start writing his own summaries on Page 3 rather than leaving the task to someone who doesn’t read his articles. As is, it looks like the staff of the Weekly is as divided and contradictory as the rest of the left right now.
In response to the October 11–17 edition of the Weekly: I compared Rico Gagliano’s “Busted Megaphone” piece with Matt Duersten’s “Hungry Hearts” piece and wondered if Weekly editors mind having a writer near the tail end of the bell-shaped curve who represents writerly sense share space with one near the top.
Gagliano reports on a confused anti-war protest, led by Ron Kovic and his busted megaphone, a “scene [that] begged to be read cynically.” But the writer used his compassion, nay judgment, to let the reader interpret the protest without forcing his perspective on us.
Which was a far more persuasive approach than Duersten’s juvenile musings on a scene that didn’t seem nearly as significant as the failings of the protest, a solstice celebration. Duersten pasted all kinds of sardonic messages and hyped up all kinds of event flaws to show how superior his judgment is.