Congratulations to the Weekly and to Howard Blume for delving into the dealmakers behind the Belmont High fiasco ["Feeding Frenzy," cover story, March 6–12]. The team of consultants hired by LAUSD are representative of a type that exists in small numbers, and it is rare that so many of them all should work on the same project. Good consultants bring up matters such as conflicts of interest and bill their time accurately, while bad consultants end up worrying about getting paid because their benefactor has retired and nobody in the organization will go to bat for them.

Allow me to expand on how the Planning and Development Department was financed using Community Redevelopment Agency funds. In the late 1980s, when the CRA was in the process of adopting the Hollywood Redevelopment Project, the LAUSD made it clear that it would oppose the adoption of the new development project because, over the years, redevelopment had helped cause the shortage of classrooms faced by the LAUSD. Since redevelopment agencies are required to build low- to moderate-income housing, the LAUSD claimed that these new housing units had created additional demand for classrooms. Not wanting to take on the LAUSD, the CRA handed over millions to "finance" new classroom construction and committed itself to rebuilding certain schools located within redevelopment projects. Now we know that this money was spent on pie-in-the-sky development schemes that will not subsequently improve public education in Los Angeles.

I can only hope — for the sake of LAUSD, the CRA and the public — that we won’t get fooled again.

—Walter D. Beaumont
Los Angeles


Re: "Mayor Overboard" [City Limits, February 27–March 5]. Do you ever wonder why the city only looks east? Mayor Bradley got so involved with promoting L.A. as the capital of the Pacific Rim, he ended up with Henry Hwang and the East West Bank debacle. During the ’80s we marveled at how many of the downtown skyscrapers were bought up by Japanese developers and investment firms. Every one of those investments has come up a cropper. With the current economic situation in Asia, I question why Mayor Riordan is off promoting trade to a region that buys less of our products than our neighbors to the south and north. Besides, Mexico is a far better place to spend your honeymoon. (Acapulco has to be more fun than the Korean DMZ.)

Great opportunities are being missed here. Where are our Latino council members? They should be off cutting deals to help improve their districts, just like Nate Holden does on his junkets to Korea. Miami has converted itself into the Hispanic media and financial center of the United States. Los Angeles, with more Hispanics than any other city in the world save for Mexico City, should be that center. Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula has traded her past in for shiny trinkets from the East.

—Walter D. Beaumont
Los Angeles



If you are going to have Jonathan Gold do your restaurant reviews, at least edit the jerk, so we don’t have to wade palate-deep through his purple prose. Better yet, bring back Bill Stern. He knew the restaurants; he knew the food. You could trust him, which is what you want out of a food critic, not overwriting and pretentious bullshit.

—Gary Taubes
Santa Monica


I was very interested in Jonathan Gold’s mini-review of Safety Zone Café in the February 27–March 5 Roundabout. After a few lines of faint praise, I encountered what can only be described as a mean-spirited rebuttal of Bill Stern’s recent review ["Seoul Food," January 23–29]. Perhaps the tone of the column would have been different if Mr. Gold had reviewed Safety Zone before Bill Stern wrote about it.

I believe your readers are more interested in food writing than in the turf battles between writers.

—C. Gibson
Los Angeles


THE EDITOR NOTES: Jonathan Gold’s capsule review of the Safety Zone Café was abridged from a review of the restaurant published long before Bill Stern’s review saw the light of day.




Please inform that hilarious racist Lalo Alcaraz that the genocide of Native Americans was not limited to the area north of the Mexican border. And tell him to keep up the good work — this white boy thinks his ignorance is a hoot.

—Niles Sager

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