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
L.A. Weekly’s report on West Hollywood ["Gay Camelot," November 26–December 2] is uncritical and incomplete. Despite progressive social rhetoric, the city is as fundamentally corrupted by moneyed interests as anywhere else, and as closed to opposition candidates as any other political machine. With political fund-raisers hosted by bars and clubs, this is the city that never saw a liquor license it didn’t like. Refusing to enforce its own codes, it has turned residential neighborhoods into perpetual drunken frat parties. This is a far cry from the bohemian scene that existed before. Ironically, the subject of Judith Lewis’ fawning interview, Councilman John Duran, exemplifies the callousness of the city toward those who instead seek a livable urban environment. Good government should not be confused with a position on the political spectrum.
L.A. Weekly really nailed it with the cover image for Gay Camelot. To a surprising number of gay men, West Hollywood is literally a drag. Why? Because its version of the gay lifestyle is so retro. In spite of the many genuinely cool people who live there, a visit to the area reveals a sort of inexplicable insecurity among its gay male populace that unfortunately manifests in what is commonly described as attitude. I suspect this narcissism is rooted in basic human insecurity, the naturally pissed-off result of sexual objectification. Granted, WeHo is pretty. But progressive? Lookism, classism and even a certain racism all seem to remain the order of the day there. That doesn’t add up to progressive in my book. Gay Camelot? More like the same old Village People.
L.A. Weekly’s recent articles on the 20th anniversary of the city of West Hollywood are a great read, but they leave the impression that West Hollywood is some kind of "gay Camelot/paradise." Not everyone shares this opinion.
Although the city has made fine progress promoting some civil rights, it is still a place run by career politicians, some of whom have been in power for all 20 years, and have left much of West Hollywood in ruins. Severe parking shortages, the majority of the population living well below the poverty line, noise, congestion, and saturation of bars are just a few of the problems.
With their strong rent-control laws, virtually no new fair-market rental housing has been built in West Hollywood in 20 years. We are left with crumbling older buildings that landlords refuse to maintain. Moreover, we are now seeing an alarming rate of legal evictions, as landlords tear down old apartments in favor of million-dollar condos for the wealthy. Also, rent control has left some new residents paying fair-market rents of, say, $1,800 per month, while their neighbor in an identical unit may be paying as little as $500 per month. How can this be considered fair under any standard?
Finally, according to the city’s demographic statistics, gays represent only a small percentage of the population. The vast majority of the population are Russians and seniors. Calling West Hollywood a gay Camelot is buying into the city’s PR campaign of making people think West Hollywood is a gay paradise, when it is not.
Editor’s note: James Fuhrman was the self-appointed "ethics watchdog" of West Hollywood until recently, when he announced that he was moving to France. He also had a cable-access show,The Complainer’s Variety Show, devoted to the city.
PIE IN THE SKY
Jonathan Gold may know pork pumps and goat bits, but he missed the mark on the banana-cream-pie query [Ask Mr. Gold, December 3–9]. Fresh bananas, dense "homey" banana pudding, thick layering of real, fresh whipped cream (not, yuck, meringue) resting comfortably on a flaky, thin crust — that’s a banana cream pie! And that’s what you get at the Apple Pan. There’s no need for some chichi restaurant fare; this banana cream pie cannot be topped.
Editor’s note: We don’t believe Pie n’ Burger has ever been called "chichi," and Gold agrees with you about the meringue. As he wrote in his column: "The waitresses . . . are happy to remove the offending meringue . . . And for a small fee, they’ll replace it with freshly whipped cream. Voilá! Happiness can be yours." At the Apple Pan, he always gets the pecan pie.
RIGHT OR WRONG?
I agree with John Powers on the gay-marriage issue presented in his On column "Right-Wing Political Correctness" [November 19–25], but why must he compulsively alienate the vast majority of voters who couldn’t care less about what gays do exceptwhen blatantly circumventing the legislative process in shameless favor of activist judges? Remember, interpretation of law does not include the flagrant denial of it. Also, should Scott Peterson be given a pass because Laci’s annoying little (nearly full-term) fetus was unlucky enough to be on the wrong side of her uterus when she was murdered? Take your time with this one. You have four years to answer . . . starting now!