Feel the Ozomatli Joy
Re “On the Road to Burma: Globetrotting with Ozomatli, unlikely U.S. diplomats,” by Randall Roberts (June 25):
I for one am proud to have Ozo representing my country overseas and I don’t care who is paying the bill. It’s not Ozo’s job to rid the world of all evil. There are many walls that divide the people of the world and they’re doing their part to bring down those walls little by little. Kudos to Ozomatli and Kudos to L.A. Weekly for recognizing this great group of musicians!
Ozomatli are a bunch of politically connected hipsters who pretend to represent the barrio. Ozomatli like to talk bad about general issues in the USA but would be afraid to talk about political problems within their own social circle. I would love to see Ozomatli criticize both cronyism and favoritism within both the NEA and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. I would love to hear Ozomatli’s opinions on payola within the music industry. Ozomatli remind me of the politically connected wannabe hipsters of Sacramento that L.A. Weekly wrote about three weeks ago [“Esteban Núñez Case: Bad Little Suburban Boys,” by Christine Pelisek.]
I am an American living in Burma, and I attended this wonderful concert. Not only was the band fantastic, but seeing so many different people brought together by the joy of their performance was inspiring. I am appalled by the online comment that “Ozomatli performed for a bunch of well-connected expats, military brats, etc. ... with a few token disabled Burmese and local hipsters from the Burmese arts community.” Tickets for the Rangoon concert were free and open to ANYONE in the public. The vast majority of those who attended were locals who were neither well-connected nor military.
Burma is a country of amazing people, ruled by a horrific government. That government is trying to hide those people from the world, and trying to keep the rest of the world out of Burma. For someone to say they will not support a band because they played in Burma feeds directly into what the Burmese government wants: for the Burmese people to remain invisible. Thank you, Ozomatli, and L.A. Weekly, for doing your part to make sure that doesn’t happen.
—Rex Frankel, connectingcalifornia.org, L.A.
Re “Envirowimps: L.A.’s Big Green Groups Get Comfy, Leaving the Street-Fighting to the Little Guys,” by Patrick Range McDonald (July 2):
Trying to divide the environmental movement might make for sensationalized reading but does a disservice for readers and activists wanting to better understand the unique challenges of L.A.’s environmental movement and how different tactics, both inside and outside City Hall, can transform L.A. into one of the greenest big cities.
—Sandra Hamlat, L.A. Local elected officials for years bought the builders’ baloney that megadevelopment was the solution to local government’s budget woes. Not so. This faulty, unscientific belief was repeated unquestioned by the mainstream press. It’s been up to us, the independent activists and independent press, to show that the growth emperor was naked, drunk and blowing our money. A landmark study shows that for every $1 that residential development brings in, government then has to shell out $1.16 to service it.
—Miki Jackson, L.A.
Lacey vs. Rainey
Re “Michael Lacey Rips Rainey and Cooper: The truth about the attacks on news editor Jill Stewart and staff,” by Michael Lacey, executive editor, Village Voice Media (July 2):
Who knew the Weekly was supposed to be a doctrinaire organ of left union politics that many forward-looking union leaders don’t even espouse anymore? The old, bitter left just keeps on spewing venom. This from me, who Patrick Range McDonald once referred to as an “old lefty.” (I forgave him — he was young at the time and he’s turned out so well.) Jill made it up to me, by declaring me a “political mutt.” Jill and the other journalists Rainey attacked have committed the ultimate sin: being better journalists than Rainey and his pals will ever be. Funny how not having a doctrine that everything has to be twisted to fit can facilitate that. On the morning I read Rainey’s laughable tirade I sent Jill an e-mail, that said, in part: Have that column framed and display it prominently. By your detractors so shall you be honored.
Allow me to share a few of the many reasons I still read L.A. Weekly: Steven Mikulan’s court stories and his contributions to L.A. Daily, and Christine Pelisek’s often-exclusive cop stories, including her outstanding coverage of the Grim Sleeper serial killer. By the way, you won’t find a better story editor anywhere in Los Angeles than Tom Christie, or a better cultural writer than Jonathan Gold. And there are others. L.A. Weekly gave up its rote liberalism by 2002 or 2003 in favor of pursuing truth, particularly when it gored sacred cows. For all who want to keep up the conversation, I hear the L.A. Coliseum is available. Set a date, and bring your megaphones!—Alan Mittelstaedt, former L.A. Weekly news editor, L.A.
Re “L.A. Weekly best in Southern California Journalism Awards in news, investigative, column, feature and political reporting,” by Jill Stewart (June 15 blog post):
Congratulations on the L.A. Press Club award! Christine Pelisek’s articles brought to light the complete abdication of responsibility by the city, allowing the billboard companies to wreak clutter havoc on our public spaces. Your work was important, even critical, in opening the eyes of the public, starting the dialogue, then moving it forward. You did exactly what a top-notch journalist seeks to accomplish.—Robert Aronson
—Ingrid Mueller, Venice
You started our Billboard War! Congratulations! Won’t you continue to so brilliantly pursue and write about L.A.’s corporate graffiti? Surveying Lincoln Boulevard in Venice brought me/us to the brink of craziness: illegal, illegal, illegal, too high, too gigantic, too close to neighborhoods, ugly, insulting and without benefit to the communities assaulted.