Fleeing the Scene
Our mailbag was positively stuffed with reactions to Simone Wilson's Dec. 7 cover story, which tackled the alarming incidence of hit-and-run accidents in Los Angeles ("Hit-and-Run Epidemic"). Readers were impressed with the depth of Wilson's reporting — and horrified by its conclusions.
"Great job shining a light on a situation this city needs to address," Brad Lacke writes. "I'm usually not one for your police-beat cover stories, but this one had me alternately aghast and nodding my head in agreement.
"But what do you expect from a city full of solipsism? I fear that the humanity of accepting that you fucked up and paying your debt to society is a lost art. I only hope you don't devote too much ink to the people that are bound to seize the opportunity to write in with rants about illegal immigrants." Don't worry, Brad, we won't!
Cassie Tomlin writes, "Thank you for your cover story this week. ... I'm tremendously frustrated by LAPD's stonewalling the Weekly, and saddened by the lack of resources dedicated to fixing the problem.
"My dad was killed in a hit-and-run while he was cycling in Arizona, although police eventually found the woman who hit him (classic story outlined in your article: She was on meth and didn't have insurance). I'm comfortable knowing law enforcement prioritized his painful death. The driving culture here needs to change before I will ever ride a bike outside Santa Monica or Venice. Not holding my breath."
Anonymous weighs in: "Excellent article on hit-and-run drivers. Twenty thousand are way too many crimes to be committed by people every year. I like [Police Chief Charlie] Beck's suggestion about licensing illegal immigrants so that they won't feel so desperate to flee. Also, billboards reminding drivers that bicyclists share the road and pedestrians are breathing just as drivers are. ... Keep up the good work. This was enlightening."
Frank Mayor has an idea. "There is a simple solution to the hit-and-run epidemic," he writes. "Start installing security cameras at major intersections and in miscellaneous locations. Surely people would prefer to have Big Brother watching than risk their lives when they cross the street and have hit-and-run drivers escape with impunity."
Readers also were irate about the misdeeds of Andrea Alarcon, whose recent missteps include a drunk-driving incident and leaving her preteen daughter alone at City Hall while she hung out at a nearby hotel with a friend ("The Rise and Fall of Andrea Alarcon," by Richie Duchon, Dec. 7).
Writes Angel City TV, "I don't think this woman should be paid our tax dollars while she figures out why she's a drunk, drug addict, felon or for endangering her kid and whatever she's seeking help for. Furthermore there has to be some measure where people in the same family shouldn't be allowed to run this city. I've been to meetings, all these fucks walk around and sit there with an air of entitlement that's disgusting to say the least. They ignore the people and vote without any real consideration for the issues unless it benefits them in backroom deals!"
Marnoyes1 adds, "Anyone who watches our City Council meetings can pretty well understand where Andrea Alarcon's arrogance comes from. This sense of entitlement and being above the law is hurting the stakeholders of our city, who have a hard enough time getting decent representation downtown.
"And think about it. Does someone with the utter disregard and lack of judgment to leave her daughter wandering around City Hall ALL BY HERSELF late at night have the ability or the motivation to look out for the best interests of the citizens of Los Angeles? If you grow up as the child of a politician and they roll out a red carpet leading to your cushy City Hall position, you are likely to have a rather warped vision of the world and how it really works."
Melissa Fargo writes, "Thank you for your article. I'm happy to see someone researching the relationships between those with political power in Los Angeles.
"Ms. Alarcon and the city presented the closure of the Sunset Junction Street Festival as the organization's failure to 'pay its bills.' This was wildly misleading and designed to be exactly that. The city fees went from $23,000 in 2008 (no bill in 2009) to $263,000 in 2010. The city then refused to itemize a bill that was beyond excessive and far higher than any other city street permit fees for similar events in Los Angeles. As a citizen, the behavior of Ms. Alarcon and other city officials is deeply disturbing."
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Correction and Clarifications
In our Dec. 7 story about the Jeffrey MacDonald case, "A Wilderness of Writers," we're mortified to admit that we spelled Joe McGinniss' name wrong. We also referred imprecisely to the agreement between McGinniss and MacDonald. After MacDonald approached McGinniss, the two signed a contract agreeing to share in the proceeds from a book, but MacDonald did not "hire" McGinniss in the sense of paying him to write the book. Also, MacDonald's $325,000 settlement came from McGinniss' insurance company. We regret any suggestion to the contrary.
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