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Flawed Science

Our cover story last week debunked claims that juvenile prostitution is rising at an alarming rate ("Weird Science," by Nick Pinto, March 25). The claims were based on a deeply flawed study, but mainstream media reported the findings as gospel without challenging the methods.

A reader identifying herself as Emily writes: "What makes me sad about this is how much of a setback this study is to become. There are plenty of instances of trafficking, not just in America, and I feel that if the information listed here ends up making its way mainstream (and eventually, it will), then it will be more of a step backward for those trying to fight underage sex trafficking than any lack of awareness could be."

Fiveseasons35 writes: "This is the problem with mainstream media: They claim to be sober and responsible, but they really uncritically trumpet press releases from their favored positions. In this particular 'men are scum and women are victims' area, they are clueless. Remember the breathless story that domestic violence spikes on Super Bowl day? Widely repeated but totally false. Or that huge percentages of college women were sexually assaulted? Again, trumpeted without anyone reading the supporting 'study.' "

"Part of the problem is the MSM's uncritical acceptance of news from favored people like women's groups. The other is that few real reporters are left."

Skyscrapers as Billboards

Tibby Rothman's report that the city is on the verge of approving plans to allow projection of digital ads onto high-rise buildings touched off a lively debate ("Digitally Ad-Wrapped Skyscrapers," March 25). Some readers see the ads as visual pollution that degrades the quality of life. Others think the ads would enrich urban living.

S. Lynne Gomes writes: "Seriously? We are so inundated with advertising in our lives — now we're going to have this, too? Why do we need this? We are being bombarded and distracted by advertising in practically every aspect of our lives. Enough already."

A reader identified as Downeflip writes: "I like this idea. Signage like this makes a place more attractive and adds lighting to streets. Las Vegas or Times Square would be boring if signage and digital ads with large flat screens weren't attractive. Los Angeles might not get that same dense pedestrian activity yet, but if they keep it up and maybe bring the digital signage and architectural lighting down Figueroa to the Convention Center, along with retail, dining, and hotels ... in time, the area will become a major attraction and catalyst to all of downtown."

JDRCRASHER writes: "Restrict billboards to Hollywood Blvd. (between La Brea and Highland), and in South Park (in an area bounded by 9th, Flower, Venice and Cherry). These billboard districts already exist, but encompass a larger area. They just need to be smaller. Then tax the billboard districts, and use the funds for arts programs and other community projects, like what's done in Toronto. Then ban the billboards everywhere else and fine the billboard companies after a certain amount of time when the ban is enacted, for each billboard they fail to take down that is outside the signage districts. In turn, well over 90 percent of the city would be ad-free.

"There's absolutely no excuse, morally or legally, why this can't be done without lawsuits when it has been done in many cities."

Saving Sycamores

Mark Cromer struck a nerve with his story about the prosecution of four activists who tried to save hundreds of century-old oak and sycamore trees in the Arcadia Highlands ("Dead Oak Trees and Court Pleas," March 25). L.A. County bulldozed 249 trees to provide a place to dump natural debris and sediment it's removing from the Santa Anita Reservoir.

"Sometimes being 'green' means actually sacrificing a donor or development project to preserve something that our grandkids might actually value ... like old-growth trees in old-growth–poor Los Angeles," writes Mud Baron. "Supervisor Antonovich obviously cared more for the easily replaceable public works project than the legacy oaks that are now mulch."

Arcadian says: "The crime is spending millions of tax dollars preparing a defensible environmental document for the removal of the oak trees only to have a few individuals use the media for venting instead of mounting a legal challenge to the document. I hope these four criminals use their own money for legal defense on these charges instead of asking for a public defender."

We're Eager ...

... to hear from you, at Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230, or readerswrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.