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READ THE REPORT

I believe in your First Amendment rights, however, they do not extend to the point of lying. Robert Greene’s article “D.A. Man and Me” [February 20–26] maliciously, or with a reckless disregard for the truth, lies when it states that the district attorney investigated me regarding the Xavier Becerra mayoral campaign’s fake Gloria Molina phone message.

If Mr. Greene had bothered to read District Attorney Steve Cooley’s report on the matter, he would have noticed that my name only appears once in the entire report. My name is referenced for the sole purpose of identifying one of the players, who was on leave from my office. I was never the target, or focus, of the investigation! At a minimum, one of your fact-checkers should have read the report before Mr. Greene committed this falsehood to paper.

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I am especially disappointed that Mr. Greene, who is also an attorney, has placed L.A. Weekly and himself in such a tenuous position.

—Nick Pacheco Los Angeles

 

Editor’s note: The District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Nick Pacheco and his organization, CAL (Community Action and Leadership) Inc., were investigated in connection with complaints in 2001 that Pacheco pressured city lobbyists or contractors to contribute to his nonprofit organization. No charges were filed. Several months earlier, the District Attorney’s Office investigated automated campaign phone calls that were placed using equipment leased from CAL Inc. Our story should have said that Pacheco was investigated in the matter involving contributions — not the phone calls.

SELECTIVE MEMORY

Greg Goldin used a quote [A Considerable Town: “Stossel’s Choirboys,” February 6–12] that has been attributed to me over the years that I don’t recall ever uttering. The alleged source of that quote was a 1996 speech I gave to the Federalist Society in which I supposedly said that I stopped consumer reporting because “I got sick of it . . . I also now make so much money, I just lost interest in saving a buck on a can of peas.” That doesn’t sound like anything I’ve said and certainly doesn’t reflect the reasons I shifted my focus from consumer reporting to government programs and lawyers (I shifted because I concluded they do more harm to consumers than business). The transcript of this speech that the Federalist Society supplied does not include the quote.

Your reporter also alleges a “Dumpster-load of falsities.” I’d love to know what these “falsities” are. He isn’t specific. Could he be making them up?

Finally, his lead paragraph says that I was “sipping a vodka tonic.” I wasn’t.

—John Stossel New York, New York

 

Goldin responds: John Stossel is that rare television performer who appears not to like the sound of his own words. If what the Corporate Crime Reporter quoted John Stossel telling the Federalist Society back in September 1996 doesn’t sound like anything he has said, then perhaps what Steve Wilson, one of his early NYC colleagues, recalls him saying about his transformation is more familiar. Wilson told The Nation magazine in January 2002, “I ran into him one day, kidded him about his metamorphosis and asked what had happened. ‘I got a little older,’ John answered. ‘Liked the idea of making real money. So started looking at things a little differently.’”

As for falsities, Stossel knows better. As he does on ABC-TV, so he does here: He edits to suit his argument. Here is the full quote from my article: Stossel, replying to a young man’s remarks about the Enron debacle, said, “There are no big national scams except for Enron. Because markets figure it out. Not the government. Enron is an example of how well the market worked for people. Enron’s stock came tumbling down. When the government fails, we give them more money. So, yes, there are Enrons, but the exception proves the rule.”

As Stossel surely knows, Enron collapsed not due to a stock tumble but because government investigations disclosed accounting fraud, and Ken Lay’s Ponzi scheme was exposed. Most investors lost their shirts, and thousands of Enron employees lost their jobs. That’s “how well the market works for people”? Perhaps we should ask, if John Stossel wasn’t drinking a vodka tonic, what was he drinking?

FELLOW TRAITORS

I just read Steve Erickson’s essay “I Am a Traitor: George Bush and the Treacherous Country” [February 13–19], and all I can say is: brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It put into coherent terms much of the despair and outrage I have increasingly felt over the last three years. I am outraged that the traditionalists have so gleefully dispensed with the Jeffersonian and Lincolnian ideals that Erickson so clearly elucidates in favor of an apocalyptic vision of this country’s role in the world, and I despair that, whether the current administration is ousted this year or four years from now, this country will never again be looked upon in quite the same way. And yet I join Erickson in declaring myself a traitor to one vision of America and a patriot to another, and that I, too, will not acquiesce.

—Jeffrey Stauss Houston, Texas

Steve Erickson’s article is an inspiring breath of fresh air within America’s current polluted climate of political philosophies and ideologies. His courage to confront the advocacy of delusions that come from both the right and left provides an example of clear vision and honest articulation for us all to emulate. He brings to focus the drift towards fundamentalist religious morality that is eroding the value of reason, truth and honesty in American politics and culture. This is an important essay that I feel should be must reading for everyone.

—Michael W. Brewster San Diego

This was the finest, best-written, best-thought-out article on the present American dilemma that I have read. It is good to know such ‰ erudite and appropriate criticism still exists in a country that we all want to love, but now find so far removed from its historical promise. I, too, was a traitor once. In 1943, I enlisted in the Australian Army while still holding a German passport — one marked with a big red “J.”

—Paul Baxter Melbourne, Australia

UCLA LIFELESS

As director of UCLA Live, I would like to offer contrasting information to Alan Rich’s opinion [A Lot of Night Music, February 13–19] that “somewhere in the management of UCLA Live there is a decline of caring about the integrity of the presentation of serious music.”

I acknowledge that Mr. Rich is entitled to his opinion — which seems here to be that only classical music is serious — and will overlook his misquote of my statement regarding the Royal Philharmonic. While I can personally vouch for UCLA Live’s deep commitment to the highest quality programming including and beyond classical music, it’s generally better to distinguish opinion from fact by looking at the record.

In the 2003-04 season alone, an enormous range of events are being offered encompassing dance, spoken word, theater and music — from world to classical to jazz. But if you choose to look only at classical music, UCLA Live is presenting 14 different world-class artists including the internationally renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir, the Grammy-winning Takacs Quartet, violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman and gifted pianist Murray Perahia, among many others.

So the record shows that UCLA Live, contrary to some opinions, is very committed to presenting serious music and cares about its integrity. We’ll stand by that. We have, on the other hand, taken Mr. Rich’s opinion about providing additional program texts to heart. Future UCLA Live concerts will include these whenever feasible.

—David Sefton Director, UCLA Live

PROGRESSING PROGRESSIVISM

Progressives feeling depressed or guilty that we can’t live up to our own ideals by voting for Kucinich because Kerry is the electable one [Open City, February 13-19] should realize that the California primary is the place where we really can live up to those ideals. We can express our “support [for] not-for-profit universal health care, gay marriage, repeal of the Patriot Act, an end to the death penalty and withdrawal from Iraq” with a vote for Kucinich, giving him the delegates Kerry will need in order to secure the nomination. If Kerry does not have all the delegates he needs before then, he will have to give something to get them. That’s how issues get built into platforms, and how progressivism progresses.

—Andrew Christie North Hollywood

CORRECTION

In last week’s Calendar listing [February 20-26] for the Supersuckers show at the Roxy, we erroneously stated that the show was sold out.

Apology

The Weekly sincerely apologizes to the performers, concert promoters, and anyone else upset by the Feb. 20-26 concert listing for the “Sacred Soul” event at the Wilshire United Methodist Church. Although the brief commentary was intended solely as a joke, we recognize it may have offended some readers. For that, we are truly sorry.

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