THREE-PRONGED AND DIGNIFIED
I am both appalled and puzzled by Marc B. Haefele's cheap shot at Governor Gray Davis ["Mean and Cheap," February 1117]. As a longtime advocate for the elderly and the current director of the California Department of Aging, I have waited 20 years for a governor of this state to unveil, in his State of the State address, a plan that begins to address the needs of older persons. Actually, I have overheard several expressions of sheer delight that a governor even said the word aging in his annual address to Californians!
Governor Davis' "Aging With Dignity" initiative represents a bold first step in creating a coordinated aging and long-term-care system that not only encourages independence, self-reliance and personal responsibility but also offers a safety net for those who are vulnerable and can no longer function independently. Aside from being unprecedented, Governor Davis' aging initiative is incremental, innovative and focused on the collaboration of government, business and community. His approach is basically three-pronged: helping older persons remain at home or with their families, rather than in nursing homes; dramatically increasing the availability of innovative community-based alternatives and choices; and enhancing the quality of care for those whose only alternative is a nursing home.
Criticism of the governor for his approach to home-care workers' salaries is misplaced. Gray Davis' record of support for home-care workers is unequaled. He supported increases in pay last year, and is proposing a second increase this year. The past two governors increased home-care workers' salaries only when minimum-wage increases required it, or when counties were willing to pay all of the costs themselves. For the first time, we have a governor advocating for wage increases for these workers and providing state funding for most of the cost, exactly the kind of state-county partnership that the home-care program is designed to be.
FALWELL, ROBERTSON . . . EVIL (AND HE'S NOT JOKING)
I confess that I was a little puzzled by Douglas Sadownick's article on Proposition 22 ["Asleep for Knight," February 25March 2]. Mr. Sadownick says that "Proposition 22 . . . capitalizes on the entrenched Judeo-Christian view most people have of marriage (that it should be protected from same-sex couples) . . ." My wife and I, who are both Christians, don't recall anywhere in our vows or premarital counseling where we were instructed to guard against the invasion of our institution by same-sex couples. Likewise, as I was earning my master-of-divinity degree from the Claremont School of Theology, the theological view that we were to protect marriage against roving gay hordes never came up. A quick review of my exhaustive concordance of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is silent on the subject, as is William C. Placher's A History of Christian Theology and the Oxford History of Christianity. If this is an entrenched Judeo-Christian view, Mr. Sadownick would do theology and Christian history a service by writing a scholarly book on the subject. It's news to me.
Perhaps Mr. Sadownick takes Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell at their word when they say that their views define Christianity. Unfortunately, this is put to the lie by the very picture that illustrates the article -- a same-sex union at my church, All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena. Last I checked, we were still Christians, although I'm sure some have their doubts. And, while many gays may be uneasy with the "heterosexual institution of marriage," as Mr. Sadownick says, many others are passionately seeking out the right to marry -- if they weren't, this wouldn't be an issue, would it?
By the way, All Saints recently held a rally where bishops, clergy and laypeople from the Episcopal, Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran churches denounced Proposition 22. Last I checked, the Methodists and Lutherans were Christians, too, and holding certain entrenched views including God's inclusive love and the mandate to reach out to the oppressed and marginalized. If Mr. Sadownick would take off his blinders, he would see that, even as he decries the lack of active opposition in the gay community, members of the Christian community -- gay and straight -- are rallying behind the effort to defeat this evil proposition.
DOGTOWN BLUES, CHICAGO-STYLE
Re: Joseph Treviño's "Her Last Worry" [February 1824]. The death of Lucy Esquivel, as tragic as it is, should serve as an impetus, not a deterrent, for William Mead Home residents to continue to see the legal process carried out in a timely manner. I know we would be letting her down if we did not. As a former "Dogtown" resident now living out of state, I would like to know where are the elected officials (local, county and state) responsible to the residents of William Mead on the toxic issue? What have they done, and what are they doing, to ensure that this does not happen again? I plan to keep a close eye on the developing events.
Thank you for the piece on Gustavo Cerati ["Electrónica del Corazón," February 25March 2]. These past five or more years have seen a lot of pieces written about the "new rock en español" bands, but none of them was better than Soda Stereo, who broke up too early for most new fans of the genre to really appreciate them. My one complaint about the piece is that it seems that Ernesto Lechner is saying that Soda were a bad band with an unoriginal sound. I realize that Cerati has moved on from his old band, but one thing Soda did not do was stay the same. They may have started off emulating Brit power-pop bands, but they certainly didn't stay there. Cerati didn't force his voice to sound like anyone else, which many other "rock in Spanish" bands do. They didn't keep playing old pseudo-ska riffs as Maná and the like do. Their swan song came not in 1995 with Sueño Stereo, but in 1996 with their Unplugged CD.
Finally, even if you do not understand Spanish, I'd urge you to pick up a copy of one of their earlier CDs (especially Canción Animal). You may be opening up a whole new sonic world. I will be seeing Cerati in Anaheim, and hoping -- perhaps in vain -- that he'll play at least one "old" song.
THE GREAT PUMPKINS
Re: M.M. Lewis' "This Is the Rock" [February 25March 2]. Great article. Original, perceptive, and one of the few I've seen that doesn't imply that Billy Corgan's bald head somehow affects the quality of his music, or that not returning to previous musical styles automatically invalidates the new album.
THE VIEW FROM LOT 49
Just wondering if any of you have bothered to look up at the sky recently. Why have you remained mute on the massive and certainly unnatural jet-contrail activity over the city for the past couple of months? If you provide me an e-mail address where I can send digital photos, I can send you plenty of shots that I hope will convince you that something very weird is going on in the sky.
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