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Letters 

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RECALL: CONSPIRACIES

Re: Bill Bradley’s “Start Packing, Gray” [June 20–26]. Darrell Issa may appear on the surface to be an overzealous American, but a little investigation leads to a lot of questions. For example, the Saudi Bin Laden Group has been operating in Thousand Oaks from the Amgen Building. Amgen is reportedly the world’s largest independent pharmaceutical company. The company uses recombinant-DNA technology using an E. coli bacterial expression system to manufacture some of its products. That procedure could produce a creature like the mutating virus that is causing SARS.

It looks to me like we don’t have to look for the means to make biological weapons in the deserts of Iraq — it seems like people can make them right under our noses and ship them wherever they please. With enough money, they could even subvert the political process in the United States. I think maybe it’s Mr. Issa who has some packing to do.

—Alfred Brock
Canton, Michigan

 

A sitting governor re-elected several months ago has now become such a monster that he must be recalled? Please show more respect for the citizens of California. The take here in Washington, from a former Angeleno born and bred, is that Karl Rove, Dubya’s alter-evil, is behind this charade. For President Bush lost California by over a million votes. To be re-elected he must receive a majority vote in California. Therefore, he and the hidden vice president with the crooked smile, Cheney, brought in their Enron friends to rig the books for the cooked-up energy crisis in California. All the while, Bush and Cheney’s colleagues and political supporters caused their employees to lose their life savings in Enron’s pension funds in Texas.

Removal from office for malfeasance and deliberate budget deficits should begin here in Washington, starting with the White House, not the statehouse in California.

—Harriet A. Fields
Washington, D.C.

 

RECALL: THE DAMNED

How perfectly Harold Meyerson reveals his typically elitist liberal attitudes with his Sartre reference, “Hell is other people.” [“The Recall’s Reach,” Powerlines, June 20–26]. I would suggest, however, that for such doggedly partisan Democrats as Meyerson, the phrase might be best turned as “Hell is other people’s opinions.” How dare someone disagree? Just because Davis cynically didn’t reveal a $35 billion deficit until just 10 days after his election. Such impertinence! Daring to recall Davis just because he is so wildly unpopular. The nerve! Everyone must fight the recall regardless of his or her opinion, but just in case Davis loses, have the ringers on standby? And you call Republicans cynical! This is clearly the behavior of people who stand for nothing other than perpetuating their own entrenched power.

—Tony Blass
Winnetka

 

In the June 20–26 issue, two of your writers, Harold Meyerson and Steven Mikulan [“Fool’s Paradise Lost”], quoted Sartre: “Hell is other people.” Are they having a fight with the editor or something?

—Hank Rosenfeld
Santa Monica

THE UNION DIFFERENCE

Re: Christopher Lisotta’s “NBC’s Nasty Secret” [June 20–26]: Excellent piece, but incomplete; it left out the Union Difference. The fact is, some NBC employees — those represented by unions such as my former employer, AFTRA, and my current one, the Writers Guild of America, West — do indeed receive domestic-partner health and pension benefits. I believe the same is true of NBC employees covered by the collective-bargaining agreements of all the other Hollywood unions as well (DGA, SAG, IATSE). I would also be surprised if the IUE and UE (the two electrical-workers unions representing workers at GE’s fridge and airplane factories) have not also negotiated for similar coverage under their respective benefit plans. Once again, working America is reminded: If you want to be treated like absolute dirt by your employer, just say, “Union No.”

—Gerry Daley
Los Angeles

CREATIVE OR
HAREBRAINED?

In his letter in the June 6–12 issue, Scott Peer bemoans the lack of “creative solutions” in the California budget debacle, but offers only a very simplistic choice. Raising gasoline taxes to the high levels that prevail in Europe would cripple California’s economy and lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. Europe’s high gasoline taxes are a result of the post–World War II impoverishment of that war-ravaged continent: Imported oil was a luxury that was needed to rebuild Europe’s economy, with significant help from America’s Marshall Plan. More to the point, the taxes were designed to work in concert with a long-term plan to rebuild and improve an extensive public-transit system to provide a convenient ‰ alternative to the private auto. To simplistically raise gasoline taxes without a long-term strategy to deal with California’s complex transportation needs is nonsense.

—Matt Richey
Los Angeles

 

STRIP-CLUB NOTES

Re: “Cindy the Sex Sheriff” [Dissonance, June 20–26]. As a former employee and patron of area strip clubs for the past 20 years, I would like to set the record straight regarding a few points in Marc Cooper’s otherwise well-written article. First of all, strippers are not having sex with customers in the bushes outside strip clubs! If some blue-haired, uptight Westside matron living near one of these fine establishments occasionally finds a used rubber dangling in her tournefortia, it is likely the result of some thoughtless, lonely pervert having tossed it out the window of his vehicle after a particularly vigorous lap dance inside the club. The idea that these attractive young ladies are cavorting with club patrons in the dark recesses of some Westside homeowner’s property is patently ludicrous. That they are cavorting with club patrons in the dark recesses of some Westside homeowners’ (and City Council members’) repressed minds is beyond question. Part of my job description, as a club employee, was to walk the girls to their cars after their shifts, nightstick at the ready (only had to use it once) precisely to protect the girls from certain patrons once they had left the premises.

Which brings me to my next point: Most strippers are not prostitutes! Even in the so-called VIP areas of some clubs, if you try to unzip you are promptly informed by the girl herself that going any further than the actual dance is illegal and will not be tolerated by management. Although a little groping is usually tolerated (especially if the customers tip well), outright prostitution is generally frowned upon by the clubs. I’ve heard of girls being fired even for giving a lowly hand job — or, for that matter, coming to work drunk or stoned. I’m not suggesting that sex-for-pay has never happened in these establishments, but that it’s the exception, not the rule.

Finally, I would like to suggest that not all strip-club owners are “certifiable scumbags.” For that, you’ll have to look toward the vice squad and a small minority of the patrons. Indeed, the club owners and the dancers I have known often seem to possess more character and honesty than their shrill opponents.

—Name Withheld
Los Angeles

 

BERNIE ON BARNEY

Re: “Art vs. Science” [Box Populi, June 20–26]. Thanks, Brendan Bernhard. I thought I was the only one who found Matthew Barney an insufferable bore.

—Colombene Jenner
Los Angeles

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