In your latest yearly phone-book-size special issue [L.A. People, April 21-27], you’ve selectively chosen “the people who give Los Angeles its character,” but you don’t include any poor people or those advocating on behalf of the minions who make L.A. The Homeless Capital of America — not if you exclude Steve Lopez, a dilettante and an interloper on the streets of Skid Row if ever there was one.
Pete White, who spent 10 years as a civil-rights organizer for Los Angeles Coalition To End Hunger and Homelessness: He had the vision, the means and the moxie to found Los Angeles Community Action Network (L.A. CAN), a nonprofit, grass-roots organization that gives the homeless voice, power and opinion. He doesn’t loom large enough for the editors of the Weekly to sit up and take notice of his and L.A. CAN’s considerable accomplishments: stopping the 28-day shuffle, changing the mindset that the poor and the homeless don’t have the wherewithal to organize and take part in the decision-making process, forming alliances with other grass-roots organizations like Strategic Actions for a Just Economy and Figueroa Corridor Coalition.
Zelene Cardenas of United Coalition East Prevention Project and Charles Porter and Leslie Croom: They have worked mightily and successfully to curb the rampant substance abuse prevalent on Skid Row and to highlight the plight of women and children who have been forced to move to Skid Row.
Becky Dennison, co-director of L.A. CAN, and one of the founders and directors of Downtown Women’s Action Coalition: She has spent over 15 years in the trenches and spearheaded two seminal surveys of the women of Skid Row that led to two Needs Assessment reports highlighting the need for programs and services for the new residents of Skid Row — primarily women and children.
Frank Tamborello, a long-term anti-hunger organizer with Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness: He is in the forefront of a major social-justice movement to bring food justice not only to Angelenos but to all Californians.
The editors of the Weekly have looked high and low and found a handful of folks who, in their commendable estimation, give L.A. its “character,” and have missed the folks who give L.A. its heart, soul, and gravitas.
It’s disappointing that even the L.A. Weekly can be so myopic in defining who the “L.A. people” are. Sure, at least it can acknowledge that there is life east of La Cienega, but then it’s still a predominantly white world with the few token black and brown ones thrown in for a colored mix. Why even bother to define the rich cultural, colorful, and significant contributions of so many ethnically diverse peoples, when the best that one can do is to relegate the entire Asian representation to three women. There is no fair or just way to encompass the richness and complexity of this fine city, but maybe this should be your last attempt at portraying “L.A. people” if such blatant condescension is to be expected.
Slow Train Comin’
We want to take a moment to thank Judith Lewis for her comments on Bob Dylan’s performance recently at the Rabobank Arena [A Considerable Town, “A Common Man, Once More,” April 14-20].
All too often, reviewers fall back on tired clichés regarding Dylan’s singing and his “unrecognizable” versions of songs, missing key elements of what makes the Dylan of today great. In Lewis’s article, she notes Bob’s current focus on his vocal performance, the bluesy arrangements of songs both old and new, and the fact that while playing keyboard as he has for the past several years, he is on this tour utilizing an organ tone that treats the songs to a completely new sound. It is clear that she was listening with both an informed ear and an open mind, and her resulting story captures much of what is great about Bob at this current point in his career.
In the Weekly’s story about the two Scott Sterlings [L.A. People, April 21-27], the claims that a journalist called Sterling’s son “a bastard in print” and that the journalist “was fired” are untrue. We regret the error.
In the same issue, Tequila Mockingbird’s MySpace address was listed incorrectly. The correct address is: http://www.myspace.com/tequilaofhollywood