By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Regarding M. Guanipa’s letter this week [Letters, September 9-15], let me only say to him, and to kindred souls, that environmentalists don’t have to “contrive links” between global warming and Hurricane Katrina’s severity, at least. Such links exist quite independently of any environmentalist’s desires, or whatever, and if the case is slippery to make, it is mainly because certain people simply do not want to hear it. Over the years now as an essentially compassionate person I have developed a policy I apply to the voluntarily ignorant: If there is something I am morally bound to tell such a person, I tell them once. If they want to hear it, they will hear it; if they want to know more, they will ask me. And if they don’t want to hear it, then la dee dah. Maybe the next poor schmuck who encounters them will have better luck than I did.
Charles R. Hockett
I have been reading L.A. Weekly for almost 20 years and the Katrina-coverage issue was the finest ever. Every piece on the topic was excellent, particularly the articles by John Powers and Lou Dubose. I feel a bit awkward heaping praise in the midst of such a tragedy, but you provided much-needed perspectives and insights not found in a week’s worth of TV news coverage.
I was surprised to read about the possibilities of catastrophic tsunamis [“The Big Difference,” September 9-15] while no mention was made of Los Angeles’ long history of serious floods. Throughout its history, every 10-20 years, Los Angeles has suffered from serious flooding. Devastating floods in 1934 and 1938 broke through levees, killed more than a hundred people, and caused millions of dollars in damage. It was this flooding that led to the concreting of our local rivers. As we’ve seen in New Orleans, and throughout the world, damming and armoring our rivers gets mixed results. In the short run, it saves lives and prevents property damage. This false sense of security fosters inappropriate development in historically flood-prone areas. The development contributes to the likelihood of floods by removing natural permeable areas and replacing them with impermeable surfaces, including roads and parking lots. It’s a vicious cycle that, in the long run, leads to large storms overcoming the levee defenses and causing catastrophic damage. Though it’s too late to steer a lot of inappropriate development out of our most flood-prone areas, the good news is that there are innovative “watershed management” solutions. These new holistic techniques offer multiple benefits: flood protection, and also restoration of natural processes, recreation, enhanced water supply and quality, and much more. Given the lay of the land in Los Angeles, it’s unlikely that we would see floods on quite the scale and duration that have devastated New Orleans. Unfortunately, it can happen here, especially in the light of global climate change and our local history of flooding.
Joe Linton is the author of
Down By the Los Angeles River:
Friends of the Los Angeles River’s Official Guide
(due out October 2005, Wilderness Press)
Watching the Watcher
Glenn Spencer says he is not a racist [“Border Patroller,” September 16-22]; it makes me laugh and vomit at the same time because it’s clear that his campaign is really directed toward Mexican people only. Illegal immigration is not just people coming across the border; nearly half of those who are here illegally are people who have overstayed their visas. And 43 percent of the illegal immigrants who are in our country are not from Mexico. What is mind-boggling is that some of these people like Glenn Spencer will then turn around and tell you with a straight face that they’re not prejudiced and then go even further and insist there’s not a trace of prejudice or other forms of bigotry in the anti-illegal-immigration movement.
Congratulations for putting together the best collection of hurricane-related stories. Some of these, like Marc Cooper’s, offer unique perspectives; but others, such as Tim Wise’s, are nothing but the worst kind of white guilt trip. Mr. Wise ought to see a psychologist. It’s obvious that his self-loathing (as in hating his own white race) is pathological. He seems very comfortable painting people, such as whites and Christians, with a broad stroke: racists, smug, etc. And yet, he doesn’t extend the same “courtesy” to so-called minorities — blacks in this case. White liberals of Mr. Wise’s ilk are blacks’ worst enemies. Why? They patronize them. And when you do so, you are saying, “I’m above you. You need me. Without my help, you won’t get ahead.” Well, as any psychologist would tell you, too much help can be as detrimental as too little help. These black people had been living at government expense for generations. Instead of using government-issued crutches to raise themselves up, they became invalids. And this pattern will only continue thanks to a misguided government that’s going to give them up to $26,500 cash per family! Mr. Wise says that had these been white people, federal assistance would have been quick. Not true! Look at the images from the damage around Biloxi: Most of the people affected were white, and they have raised the same complaints against FEMA, etc., that the blacks in New Orleans did.
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