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What Made Max Mermelstein Run? 

Thursday, May 27 2010
Comments
Gus Garcia-Roberts' story on former L.A. actor Brett Tabor's search for one-time drug runner Mermelstein ("America's Cocaine King Hid From Drug Cartels for 25 Years," May 13) inspired a flurry of suspiciously similar raves, almost all of which wanted to know when the film version will be out. Tabor has acquired the rights to the pseudonymous (and now dead) Mermelstein's memoir, and is shopping it in Hollywood. "WOW!" says Morgan. "This Tabor has balls. Make a movie about him."

"Martin Scorsese should definitely make this picture!!!" adds Peter Thompson.

Adam Stein takes Thompson's Scorsese and ups him a DiCaprio: "This article is phenomenal. What a story!! When is the movie coming out?? This is a picture for Scorsese and DiCaprio all the way!!"

"This article blew me away!" says Alex Papas. "What an amazing story! I can't wait to see this up on the big screen!"

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"Who is going to direct it?" wonders Eddie Shinehouse (for real?). "Eric Bana is a good choice to play Max but Sean Penn is better."

"Very cool piece," says Alan Bloom. "L.A. Weekly, nicely done! This seems like a movie you watch and own. When's it coming out?"

"I think Matt Damon should play Max," says Tiffany Blake. "He might have to do something about that NON-Jewish nose but hey ... CGI! Can't wait to catch it on the screen!"

Okay, you get the idea. Oh, hell, let's have one more, from Lennox: "This might be the coolest story ever. Might be ... let's see."

Indeed. We'll let you know if Tabor's dream comes true, and if Max Mermelstein is to be played by Leo DiCaprio or Sean Penn or Eric Bana or Matt Damon. Or not.

In the meantime, all of you major motion-picture producers out there who happen to be reading this, reader Sandy Kelley has provided you a selling point: "Finally, a drug tale that's not just for men and their gangster fantasies!"

PEOPLE ... PEOPLE WHO NEED REAL PEOPLE ...
Rant of the Week, from Guy Michael, re last week's People issue: "I am tired of reading about people that I could give a crap about. I have lived in L.A. all my life and personally I want to read about THE OUTCASTS! The ones who are struggling to make it out here. ACTORS, FILMMAKERS, REAL PEOPLE. Me myself, I tried to throw a horror festival, gathered up all my pennies, and threw one — not one person came. I tried contacting your magazine — not a goddamn response. I know L.A. is jaded and the people are a bunch of abandoned, self-worshiping freaks, but can't your magazine at least once before I friggin' die have one dedicated to real people?"CITY OF

L.A. BUREAU OF TWEET SERVICES
One of our apparently not-real people, Mayor Villaraigosa's director of new media, Adam Cooper ("The Mayor's Twitterer," by Erica Zora Wrightson, May 20), wrote to correct our headline: "While I thought your profile was well-written and accurate, the headline is very misleading in its implication that Mayor Villaraigosa does not tweet for himself.

"The Mayor," Cooper continues, "is a firm believer in the power of new media tools to engage citizens and increase government transparency and responsiveness. He uses Twitter and other social networks to share information and to hear from Angelenos.

"To imply that the Mayor is not responsible for his own tweets could not be further from the truth."

For the record, the Weekly would never purposefully imply that Mayor Villaraigosa is not responsible for his own tweets. Now, if only he could get that pothole outside our office filled.

ON THE BACKS OF UNIONS
Some great, heated letters came in regarding Beth Barrett's story on the LAUSD ("On the Backs of Children: How UTLA's teacher-layoff rules are devastating inner-city L.A. schools," May 13). "An article this erroneous earns corrections," writes Brian McClure. "Teachers choose where to work? Well, yes, insofar as we send résumés and go to interviews like everyone else. Principals have no control? Who does Barrett think hires all these apparently greedy and immoral teachers to begin with? At Uni High, where I teach, I was interviewed by a panel including the assistant principal, department chair, PTSA rep, union rep — even the school secretary was there questioning me. I did not just show up and demand work. And why is it a 'dirty secret' that anyone would wish to work in low-crime areas? Seniority is state law, not a union demand."

Randy Childs: "It's positively Orwellian how union-bashers like Barrett are trying to flip the script and blame UTLA and teachers' unions for layoffs. HELLOOOO! UTLA has been fiercely campaigning against ALL budget cuts and ALL layoffs since day one. UTLA just agreed to five furlough days this year and next to PREVENT the layoffs of 2,100 teachers and PREVENT LAUSD efforts to raise class sizes (again) in response to the budget cuts.

"Barrett begins one sentence with 'When teacher layoffs come ...' as if it were some natural, cyclical event, like El Niño or the flooding of the Nile," continues Childs. "But there is nothing natural about California's skewed tax system, where the richer you are, the less percent you pay, and where HALF of all profitable corporations pay ZERO taxes. Nor is there anything natural or inevitable about the massive economic wreckage caused by the unregulated casino that is Wall Street. Unions like UTLA always get attacked by the likes of Barrett for having 'adult agendas,' but you NEVER hear them criticize the adult agendas of the millionaires and the corporations who deliberately underfund public schools and then find ways to profit off the chaos."

Final word to Mike Day: "Don't blame teachers for wanting to work in an environment where they can be successful. Blame the district for not providing the tools to these schools so they can be successful also."

OUR MAILBOX
As always, we appreciate your letters, with a name and phone number attached. Please write to readerswrite@laweekly.com.

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