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
FAINT PRAISE IN
I am writing in regard to Ben Ehrenreich’s article “Sí, Se Puede!” [October 24–30]. As a rider on the route that Ben writes about, I found the article simultaneously compelling and frustrating. While he attempts to highlight the day-to-day of the ride, he unfairly takes out his personal frustrations on Carolina Bank-Muñoz. Carolina served as the “educational coordinator” of her bus and as such was responsible for developing activities and facilitating discussions that helped riders learn from one another. She was also the translator, which accounts for the greater proportion of the time she was on the microphone — had Ben cared to listen, he would have noted that.
Secondly, what Ehrenreich writes off as a PR attempt belittles the fact that people boarded these buses, risking their lives and the lives of loved ones, for social change. Two-thirds of the “staff” on the buses (i.e., the legal team, the educational coordinators and bus monitors) were unpaid volunteers.It is not often that you have Latinos, Asians and African-Americans, Catholics, Muslims and Jews join together to promote change. Ehrenreich’s flippant, semi-sarcastic remarks do a disservice to the true meaning behind the events he witnessed.
I will say this: I feel that Ehrenreich did a good job highlighting the experiences many faced while migrating here. He humanizes the often invisible immigrant and makes the point that we are still here, and that we matter to this city, this state and this nation.
United We Improve
Thanks to Robert Greene for his excellent follow-up article on the Silver Lake community’s response to increased gang activity [“Silver Lake Fights Back,” October 24–30]. I was especially pleased that he chose to portray me as someone who felt it is important to take responsibility for a misunderstanding that occurred.
Mr. Greene left unresolved just one point: Be it the Church of Scientology, the Catholic Church or any other church, the gay, Latin, “hipster” or any ethnic culture, we are operating on no “hidden agendas” in Silver Lake. What I have observed to be true is that our community, since the inception of the Silver Lake Improvement Association (a group I founded in 1989 to confront rampant drug-dealing and gang violence), has united and remained united in furthering the achievement of these goals: “the creation and maintenance of a clean and safe environment and the betterment of our youth.”
And now, with the election of myself and 20 other people of diverse backgrounds and cultures onto the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council governing board, our community has yet another vehicle to bring constructive change. The products of this group in the years to come will demonstrate what a community that “pulls together” without bias can get done to improve conditions for all.
This is a fan letter to Sam Slovick. Thanks for your story on hustling in L.A. [“The Geography of Hustling,” November 14–20]. The distinctions you draw between prostitution and hustling, your locating of some damaged something at the core of what’s being filled up, and your straight-up telling of the story without sentiment — wow, this is a killer combination and a fabulous way to write and report!
With “Pals” Like These
Nikki Finke quotes my “pals” regarding me, false details about my job as Critic-at-Large at Entertainment Weekly, and my supposed refusal to live in L.A. as a reason for declining a TV-critic position at the Los Angeles Times [Deadline Hollywood, “The Queens of Hollywood,” October 31–November 6]. Who are these “pals”? I would like to seek them out, as I’ve always wanted one or two of those. Also, if Finke had really spoken to “pals” or done a lick of research, she’d know that I lived in Los Angeles for four years, when I worked for the late, great Herald Examiner.
New York, New York
Finke responds: Ken Tucker is not as friendless as he may think. And he acknowledged by e-mail that I’ve been trying to reach him for months and months.
Nikki Finke doth protest too much. In her snide piece “The Queens of Hollywood,” she seems to take great pains to second-guess the talent, the hiring — or, in her kind words, the “settling for” — of former Salon staffer Carina Chocano in one of the best and most influential jobs in all of TV critic-dom, Howard Rosenberg’s recently vacated perch at the Los Angeles Times. My favorite sideswipe is her closing lines about “Hollywood” asking whether or not Chocano has Howard Rosenberg’s chops to “push hot button issues.” Over the years, it seemed to be that whenever Rosenberg pushed one of his buttons, hot or otherwise, his column, and the reader, wound up on the wrong floor.
But I digress.
Nowhere in her mean-spirited article does Finke mention that she herself was a frequent Salon contributor at the same time that Chocano was writing for the same magazine (133 hits when one runs Finke’s name through Salon’s search engine).
Do I detect the fermentation of sour grapes that a former colleague got a gig that Nikki — or any entertainment writer, for that matter — might covet? Full disclosure — and giving the new kid on the Times block a chance to actually write something before second-guessing her talents — might be in order.