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The Insider 

Thursday, Dec 29 2011
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Hillel Aron's piece about the chairman of the L.A. County Democratic Party, Eric Bauman, had L.A. talking last week ("Eric Bauman's Controlling Hand," Dec. 23). As Aron detailed, Bauman has become a kingmaker who uses his clout to support incumbents. In City Council District 4, he actually led the charge against an attractive first-time candidate, Tomas O'Grady.

Writes Susie Shannon, "I supported and spoke for Tomas O'Grady. He was the best candidate for the job, and I was thankful we had him as an alternative to [incumbent Tom] LaBonge.

"As for Bauman, he has been a very fair chairman at the L.A. County Democratic Party meetings. ... I obviously did not agree with him regarding LaBonge, and I'm not happy with the outcome because I live in the 4th Council District where LaBonge voted against a rent freeze for tenants. But Eric's vocal support on social justice issues, including homelessness, has been much appreciated. If people are swayed to vote a certain way because of Eric's support, then that's their problem. They should listen to both sides and make up their own minds on who the best candidate is for the job."

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Reader Rcruzphoto has a different take.

"This article explains my love/hate relationship with the Democratic Party in L.A.," he writes. "Anyone defending Eric Bauman in these comments wants you to believe candidate sausage-making doesn't exist, but that's exactly the kind of smoke-and-mirrors they want people to focus on rather than what they're actually doing."

An Oldie but Goodie

We were, frankly, a bit surprised to see the mailbag stuffed with hate for food critic Jonathan Gold, who is worshiped by both the epicureans who dine at Michelin-starred meccas and the adventurers who were chowing down on street food before food trucks were invented. But there it was: no fewer than a half-dozen nasty letters.

The source of this critical kerfuffle? Gold's largely laudatory review of Pico Rivera landmark Dal Rae, which he described as "a pulsing, meat-scented wonderland of dark wood and smoked mirrors and shrimp cocktails as big as spaniel pups" ("Ring-a-Ding-Ding," Dec. 23). Sounds pretty sweet to us!

Not, apparently, to some Dal Rae denizens. Among the insults slung Gold's way:

He must be poor. "Jonathan Gold, you don't know class or food, plain and simple," Steven writes. "The people that eat at this restaurant make money in a day then you make in a year [sic]. Maybe because they're smarter."

He doesn't know the "right way" to write about food. "This writer needs to get a new job," Billy announces. "He obviously didn't taste the food I do every week at the Dal Rae. The food is amazing. The atmosphere is incredible. Hey Jonathan Gold, get a new job or learn how to review food the right way!!"

He lacks influence. From Castar06: "Go home, Jonathan Gold. News flash, NO ONE CARES!"

All this over a positive (and saliva-inducing) review? Really, what is with you people these days?

But just when we were about to give up, we received two responses to the nasty responses — from readers who get the appeal of both the Dal Rae and Gold's write-up.

First, from Shannon Ticatch: "The Dal Rae ... is a classic in a city that doesn't typically award a perfectly cooked classic. ... If guests are in Christmas sweaters, it's only because they've chosen to spend their special holiday night out dining at the Dal Rae!"

And, finally, from "Guest": "Who are these people leaving comments? This review is a nostalgic Jonathan Gold love letter not just to the Dal Rae, but to an almost extinct part of Los Angeles history, which miraculously still exists at this spot. He loves the place, in spite of (if not because of) its shortcomings. Yet you posters seem to think he hates it. That is absolutely not the case."

Critical Thinking

It wasn't just the Pulitzer Prize–winning Mr. Gold who took his lumps this week. We also heard from a reader who thinks Film Editor Karina Longworth's list of her 10 favorite films this year was a bit too highbrow ("It's Me, Margaret," Dec. 23).

Writes a critic of our critic, "Where's Hugo or The Descendants? Did you not see these films? Your top 10 list is subjective, not objective. I understand you trying to gain traction for these little-promoted, little-seen movies you include on your list, but you need to be more cognizant of the wider public's tastes. This is a critics-only list appreciated only by critics. The impression is you are trying to impress rather than express."

Adds the presumably 100 percent objective reader, "You got one of them right. I liked Moneyball." Well, glory hallelujah: We say Margaret, you say Hugo. We say "meat-scented wonderland," you say we're jerks. But no need to call the whole thing off: We'll always have baseball.

You Write, We Read

Please send letters to Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or write us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact information preferred.

Corrections

The article "Westside Subway Extension Feud" (Dec. 23) incorrectly stated that trenching, a method of fault testing, had been conducted on the Santa Monica Fault in the late 1970s and found the fault to be inactive. In fact, the fault was evaluated using mapping and other data, not trenching. The data was insufficient to deem the fault active or inactive.

Also, in the article "Eric Bauman's Controlling Hand" (Dec. 23), Bauman was misidentified as a former trauma surgeon; he was a trauma nurse. Finally, the congresswoman present at the Stonewall Democratic Club meeting described in the story was Rep. Diane Watson, not Rep. Maxine Waters.

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