By the standards Marc B. Haefele seems to be applying in the February 511 City Limits column, he too should be out of a job -- namely, substandard reporting! First, he fails to call and inquire regarding anything he wrote so confidently about. Many of his facts and figures are simply wrong -- disgracefully so. There has, for example, been no "resignation notice." And there was no money "lost" in 1992; rather, a forecast of revenue was adjusted downward -- a routine process distorted via politics, i.e., Zev Yaroslavsky's bid for mayor in 1993.
Second, there is nothing substandard about me personally or professionally, nor about my dedicated staff's work, nor that of other general managers, for that matter. We here in Treasury are simply among the best at what we do -- manage money! Make a few calls to experts and find out.
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Third, no one is "sending [me] packing." In fact, I may stay for a couple of more years to generate another quarter of a billion dollars for our city and implement "my" charter-reform fiscal proposals, adopted by both commissions last year.
--Paul Brownridge City Treasurer Los Angeles
In the February 1925 issue of the Weekly, Bill Kohlhaase wrote in his preview of Keith Jarrett's February 25 performance at UCLA, "His influence? Listen to his recording of Oscar Levant's 'Blame It on My Youth' from Jarrett's album The Cure, then listen to Brad Mehldau's reading of the same song on The Art of the Trio: Volume One. Jarrett controls pianos even if someone else is playing them." I would suggest that Jarrett controls Mr. Kohlhaase's perception of other players, or rather, that Kohlhaase relinquishes self-control and indulges willy-nilly in conjecture. Let me clarify: I have never heard Jarrett's recording of "Blame It on My Youth," and The Cure to me means a rock band of the '80s. The version of that song I know and love is Chet Baker's late, irony-filled vocal version.
Kohlhaase typically disappoints me with his fetishistic reverence for his personal favorites, as with his claim in the same preview that a Jarrett performance "is as close to divinity as many of us will ever get." Easy, partner! We all know Jarrett's a brilliant musician, but not all of us are particularly crazy about his trio output, or even familiar with it.
--Brad Mehldau Hollywood
The Myanmar Embassy's response [Letters, February 511] to your Burma article "Unocal Implicated in Burma Strife" [January 1521] is deeply disturbing. The embassy claims that the Unocal pipeline "has transformed the villagers." Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and the U.S. State Department consistently stated that Burma has one of the most appalling human-rights records in the world, and that that record remains critical. How can the villagers' lives be "transformed" when they are terrorized by their own government, forced into labor, and conscripted as soldiers at age 14? There is no need to fabricate human-rights abuses in Myanmar, as the embassy suggests, because they are a reality.
--Sheila King Woodland Hills
It is refreshing to see the importance rail can have for working-class communities, as outlined in Howard Blume's "Blue Line Blues" [February 511]. The Pasadena Blue Line is just as important to communities like Lincoln Heights and Highland Park as it is to Pasadena, if not more so. Unlike the people who just want to escape the perils of driving the 110 freeway, it is the transit-dependent population who will make up the largest number of riders.
Is rail the biggest enemy of transit riders? Hardly. Considering that the MTA board is dominated by suburban interests, that MTA bus service is being whittled away to other carriers, that there is no countywide bus pass, and that Proposition A and C sales-tax money goes to shuttles in outlying cities that nobody uses, the Pasadena Blue Line is a breath of fresh air.
--Armando Avalos Director at Large Southern California Transit Advocates Cypress Park
Re: Erin Aubry's "Raining on Crenshaw's Parade" [February 511]. Having grown up in Bakersfield, a town where major retailers fear to tread, I was dismayed that we never considered blaming our meager consumer choices on a well-calculated racist plot. I can't imagine â the clothing Macy's has dumped on the Baldwin Hills store is any worse than the ghastly selection offered by the few chains in my hometown. As a result, middle-class Bakersfieldians, in tandem with the Crenshaw population, have been flocking to West Los Angeles for the past few decades on a regular basis, not only to buy clothes, but for furniture, kitchenware, videos and haircuts.
If there is, indeed, money to be made in both Bakersfield and the Crenshaw district, the Urban League should accept Macy's money and use it to extend credit for the opening of small, locally owned clothing stores that would better reflect the tastes and needs of the neighborhood.
--Susan L. Self Los Angeles
Re: Harold Meyerson's "With Friends Like These" [February 1218]. At least Chris Hitchens is no Clinton apologist. He protested when Clinton exercised every Republicrat president's right to murder foreigners in the Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq. (Did Sidney Blumenthal join Hitchens and the rest of the peace-loving left in protest?)
But the Weekly is quibbling over a smaller issue. Apparently, Hitchens values the truth more than loyalty to a friend who lies to his face. Is the Weekly published in service to truth, or in service to the Weekly's political friends? Must news in the Weekly pass through some sort of loyalty filter? How good is loyalty-trumps-truth journalism?
--Mike Binkley Chairman West L.A. Libertarian Party
Regarding Harold Meyerson's article "James Rogan: Rogue Prosecutor" [February 1218], has it ever dawned on Meyerson just how many people of character have accused Bill and Hillary of wrongdoing, and how many people Clinton has gone after to try to keep them quiet?
When all of this is over, you will not have won. Clinton should never have been president, and will forever be remembered as a great speech-giver, womanizer, woman abuser, rapist, liar, con artist, dopehead, draft dodger, cheater and probably worse.
--William E. LeMay Athens, Tennessee
It is too bad that Harold Meyerson and the residents of "Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena" maintain such antipathy against a good man like Representative James Rogan. Apparently, truth and justice don't matter much in the land of the O.J. jury. Indeed, the U.S. Congress needs more men like Rogan! But the country needn't despair, because even if Meyerson and friends are successful in removing this honorable house manager from his seat in Congress, Rogan sure would make a swell attorney general in a Bush-Forbes White House.
--Steve Morris Richmond, Virginia
In last week's Dance Pick, Angelika Nemeth, not Zahra Zuhair, was the performer in the Po Na Na company's photograph.
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