More Ozo, Pink Slips and Villaraigosa Misgivings 

Wednesday, Jul 15 2009


Re “On the Road to Burma: Globetrotting with Ozomatli, unlikely U.S. diplomats,” by Randall Roberts (June 25):

As one who has been an activist for human rights in Myanmar for many years, I was pleased to see this article. I am always encouraged when I see journalism that throws light on that country. “Ozo,” I’m sure, brought some much-needed moments of happiness to a [group of] people who could use even more.

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—Jim Roberts (no relation to Randall), Myanmar Country, Specialist, Amnesty International USA

Kudos to the Weekly and Randall for this great article. It is wonderful that our local boys are bringing their message of positiveness to the world.

—Dave Allen, Playa Vista

Yes... a very appropriate cover story.... Finally Ozo gets its due. A quintessential L.A. band becomes ambassador to the world. Set in Burma, the story also provides a much-needed spotlight on this tragic country. This will continue to spread Ozomatli’s ever-expanding fan base. Keep it up guys.

—Maciek, Mar Vista

Well it’s about bloody time, L.A. Weekly! Kudos to the band for doing such great work abroad. Kudos to the Weekly for a wonderful article.

—One of the many lingering Ozomatli fans, Wilhemina, L.A.

Excellent article! A rare glimpse behind the scenes of the tour de force that is Ozomatli, and a sweet change from the same old, rehashed, reprinted, publicity stuff that often accompanies Ozo on tour. For anyone not a “lingering” Ozohead who has read this article and is in any way tempted to check them out, you will not regret the price of a ticket. If music comes from the hearts and souls of the people who write it, then this band reflect not just the aspirations and cultural fusions of our times but, hopefully, the future of post-Bush America.

—Kathy, London, England

Finally! Ozomatli on the cover of the L.A. Weekly! Took long enough. Just when I think that the Weekly stops being interesting, they get back on my good side with this! The band is underappreciated in the City of Angels. Thanks for putting them on the cover and for writing about the good work they do.

—YayaOzoHead, Burbank

Thank you for a great article and thank you, Ozo, for representing the real North Americans. I love the description of the event in the school for the blind and disabled; you brought incredible joy to people who need to have joy. I also really appreciate the discussion of the “gray” areas in our political system. The polarization is not good for any of us. Thanks for a well-written account of an amazing journey.

—Sheri Shortridge, Alamosa, CO

Re “Harder than it Looks: Villaraigosa’s ‘Model’ Schools Bite Back” by David Ferrell (July 7):

Stop the presses! L.A. Weekly yet again finds another reporter to mis-report the facts, insert editorial-like opinions in what should be a news story, and write stories to fit its already-drawn conclusion.

I find it interesting that your story really has no beginning, middle or end, just a meandering look at the mayor’s effort to reform our schools and a very detailed and yet accurate portrayal of the mayor’s attire, I am shocked we didn’t get a description of how shiny his shoes were that day.

And does anyone else find it a bit coincidental that all 10 schools take identical votes on their confidence level of the Partnership at the same time, and make sure to hand it first to Steve Lopez, one of the more unoriginal, lazy L.A. Times columnists? Perhaps, if our “informed” reporter dug around he would find that [of the votes taken], nearly 40 percent (in one case) of the school faculty received pink slips from the district because of the nationwide revenue problem all agencies are facing. Now, not to make light of their vote, but if anyone’s paycheck is being threatened, emotions run high; add to that a teachers’ union looking to score cheap shots anywhere it can and you have the recipe for an unflattering portrayal of any school in America. One call to Steve Lopez and “walla!” another lazy story from the L.A. Times, and an even crasser story from the Weekly. I love L.A!

—Michael, Venice

Good thing Villaraigosa didn’t seize control of all the schools during his first term. Nothing made us prouder in the community, and the mayor more perplexed, than watching the students at Santee Education Complex, one of Villaraigosa’s, lead the student struggle against Monica Garcia and Ramon Cortines’ vicious budget cuts. It’s going to take that degree of militancy to win against the mayor and against the billionaire-backed charter schools. Neither Villaraigosa’s dreams of being a “benevolent dictator,” which leads to the disastrous Arne Duncan route, nor the profit-driven Steve Barr’s even-worse motives to apply failed free-market ideas to pedagogy have worked. Making our schools hubs of civic activity and struggle, with parents, students and teachers at the forefront, seems the only way forward in a state that tasks the poor with the failures of the rich.

—Robert D. Skeels, Barrio Echo Parque

Re “City Attorney Carmen Trutanich in the House” by Paul Teetor (July 2):

I encounter and deal with accomplished, honest and extremely intelligent Latino professionals every day throughout Los Angeles County. I simply do not understand why rather stupid egomaniacs like Delgadillo and Villar are in the political mix. I guess for that same reason that dopes like Janice Hahn and “Nostrildamus” Waxman are elected to office over and over again. An apathetic, easily fooled public.

—Richard, Venice

Re “A French Toast, S’il Vous Plait” by Derek Thomas (July 10):

Derek Thomas desperately needs a crash course in French history. The storming of the Bastille was the work of a volatile Paris mob, not “fed-up peasants.” The revolution of 1780 was not about abolishing the monarchy but about forcing Louis XVI to accept a constitution and a national assembly. He lost his head (3-and-a-half years later) because he was suspected of being in league with the e’migres (counterrevolutionaries). The destruction of the Bastille may have been a significant event — a blow struck against a symbol of monarchical oppression — but the monarchy was not formally abolished until August 10, 1792.

The Weekly has been trumpeting its journalistic excellence lately: Rule 1 should be: get your facts straight.

—Ben Levine, Los Angeles

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