Still the Hero: Tom Laughlin as Billy Jack
Re “Billy Jack Is Back at the Los Angeles Film Festival: LAFF restores a drive-in classic to its karate-chopping glory,” by Chuck Wilson (June 18):
I remember this movie very well, and being a Native American, it left a lot of bitterness [in me] toward white people. I grew up in the city, and being teased and taunted by white people was no different than those on the reservation. My parents told me to ignore them as they were ignorant people who didn’t know any better. Now that I’m older and wiser, I can pass these words on to my grandchildren.
—Myrna RedOwl, Omaha, Nebraska
I grew up living in a small rural town drowned in prejudice, and being a Native American, I loved Billy Jack. He was my hero! Billy stood up for the things he believed in without regard to his own health and safety. When I was young, I remember watching the movie and thinking, “If only Billy Jack could come to my town.” The old days have passed, but he has always remained in my heart and soul as a savior. Even though I know it was only a movie, it gave me the faith to go on, knowing that there are people in the world who really do care. I try giving back to my community in co-hosting an annual children’s Christmas party (the only one in the area of its kind). Yes, it was only a movie, but it sustained my faith in the world to this day! Thank you, Billy Jack! Nowa! (Pawnee tradition word for “hello,” “see you later” or “good.”)
—Lily LittleSun Harms, Pawnee, Oklahoma
Re “Ruining the L.A. Marathon: Preachers pressured City Hall to change it. Now the race faces uncertainties,” by Tina Dupuy (June 18):
I appreciate the need for people to make religious services and the difficulty marathon traffic may cause, but it is one day. A day when 200,000 people get together in celebration of sport, and healthy living, and history, and civic pride. Seems wholesome enough, maybe something that religious leaders could get behind. Beyond the pride aspect there are the financial considerations ... 4,000 less finishers with probably 1,000 to 2,000 people who would have come to cheer them on and pay for parking, or ride the Metro, and buy a cup of coffee while they wait. I am sure that the most devout among us would be willing to leave a little early for services, or come to an afternoon mass if it meant that one less person might die from heat exhaustion.
Good grief! Tina has done a nice job of detailing the absolute silliness of the situation. It’s a marathon, for Pete’s sake, and happens one day out of the year! If the people so vehemently fighting against the race took that energy and applied it to, oh, I don’t know, helping L.A.’s homeless, wouldn’t that be better use of their time and energy? What happens when you hold a marathon and nobody shows up?
—Eileen, Long Beach
Tom LaBonge versus Dick Riordan. That’ll be a first! Former head honcho turned lobbyist fights former lieutenant turned councilman ... and where will Frank McCourt fit in this unholy trinity of Catholic contretemps? Tune in next time!
—Dennis Smith, L.A.
I work at the V.A. hospital in Westwood. Any time the marathon occurs it impacts hospital employees who utilize public transportation to and from work. Anybody involved in “planning” this fails to take that into consideration. I lose two hours of MY time every time one of these fringe sports rears its ugly head and makes poorly planned street closures. I can sympathize with those who want to participate but I have to look at it from the point of, how do I serve the vets who are there with a massive reduction of staff due to street closures and poorly planned transport reroutes?
—Hospital worker, Westwood
This is not a silly issue, nor is it just a runners’ issue. Marathons are supposed to be spectacles that promote travel to the hosting city. The McCourts buying the marathon should have meant a more glamorous route, and obviously something that incorporates Dodger Stadium. The mayor and wimpy council don’t understand how to utilize opportunities to promote anything other than themselves. Some church leaders said move it or lose our support, and what happened? They moved it to the detriment of runners and local businesses.
Re “Russian or Armenian Mob Used ‘Model Employee’ Con at PCH ARCO,” by Paul Teetor (June 18):
I was the victim of something like this, also at an ARCO station. I had stopped at the one on Firestone Boulevard just off the 710, heading home. The outside card reader was disabled, so I had to pay inside. The clerk said she’d make the amount for $200, and then when I came in for the receipt it would be updated. I wasn’t too happy about it but there were a lot of people in line behind me (one man standing too close, I felt), and I tried to cover the pad when I punched in my code. This was at night, and it wasn’t until a couple days later when I went to withdraw from an ATM that I saw my balance had plummeted. I contacted Bank of America and they did get on it immediately. They were able to identify that it was a male who had withdrawn the money from various San Gabriel Valley ATMs, and the whole amount was credited back to my account.
I had explained about the outdoor accesses being disabled and they advised me to NOT use the indoor one if that happened, but to go to another station with working outdoor service. I asked them if there was a pattern to this sort of theft and they said they couldn’t comment. This is after one person I originally spoke with asked, “Was this an ARCO station?” before I had finished my explanation. Also: I asked Bank of America if I should complain to ARCO and they said they would recommend it, but I had no luck getting any response ... transferred, then disconnected, etc. Not good business.