Thanks so much for the Max Gerber photo essay [“Broken Hearts Club,” August 17–23]. Last summer was my first experience as a counselor at Camp del Corazón. What amazing teachers the campers are: Little bodies who have been through so much know intimately that it’s not about the package we come in, but the content. My first afternoon on Catalina in the cabin with 7-to-9-year-old girls is most illustrative of what camp was about: normalizing, belonging, not having to pretend. K., an effervescent 8-year-old, chirped from her top bunk, “I know. Let’s all show our scars! I’ll go first. See, it’s a ‘T’! And here’s my pacemaker down here.” Each girl in turn showed her battle scars, and they all wanted to know which ones we — three adults and one junior counselor — liked best.

Like kids with cancer, kids with heart problems are first kids, with all the normal childhood dreams and desires. What Camp del Corazón offers the campers is a place to let down the guard, bond, feel “normal” and have an unforgettable summer-camp experience. What it offers the staff is a “functional family” for a week that melts your heart, immediate bonding with some amazing, wise beings, good “camp food” and the biggest group hug you can imagine!

Again, thanks for printing such an important article. Thanks, Max.

—Melinda Maxwell-Smith
Studio City



As the mom of a post–Fontan repair of 11 years, I enjoyed the stories and pictures, and have printed the stories for my son to read and relate to.

—Judith Nichols, mom to Bo
Palm City, Florida



I just wanted to say thank you for printing such a wonderful article. It made me smile and cry all at the same time. My daughter is a heart patient and has the same scar seen in so many of Max Gerber’s pictures. I am sure this article meant so much to so many. So once again, thank you, for my daughter, a member of the Broken Hearts Club.

—Crystal Emerson
Jacksonville, Florida




Marc B. Haefele is right to laud Marcia Mayeda, the new director of L.A. County Animal Care and Control [“Nature Matters,” August 24–30]. She is a ray of hope for
the rescue community. Her commitment to investigate the case of felony animal cruelty in Compton Creek is refreshing. Cruelty to animals is, in so many cases, a precursor to violence against humans. That’s why the entire community should be concerned about cases like Compton Creek, and be glad that Ms. Mayeda is ordering the department to take it seriously.

—Shelly Gomez
Noah’s B’ark Pet Rescue
Manhattan Beach



I agree with Marc Haefele’s enthusiastic assessment of the new head of L.A. County Animal Care and Control. I met with Ms. Mayeda and found her to be a professional with a deep commitment to the welfare of animals. Most important, I found her to be a leader willing to work with the communities her department serves to identify innovative strategies and solutions to provide the higher levels of service that many communities are now demanding. It’s refreshing to see the head of a large bureaucracy so open to finding creative, “out of the box” solutions in order to improve public service. I wish her well.

—Jeffrey Prang
Member, West Hollywood
City Council



I want to thank you for your continued support of bringing animal-cruelty cases to the public’s attention. As a Torrance resident, I always like to hear positive information about L.A. County Animal Care and Control. Torrance is still trying to get our own animal-control officers so we can help the animals in our city. Hopefully, in the process, this will help other animals as well, since it will lighten the burden on L.A. County.

—Penny Sotiri



Re: J. William Gibson’s “Buying Time at Playa Vista” [August 17– 23]. While I see Playa Vista’s offer to sell 193 acres of wetland in a generally positive light, I must admit that I am concerned that the developers are more intent on shoring up their eroding financial condition than they are on restoring more of our vanishing wetlands. The 193-acre area that is now being offered for sale by Playa Vista lies above one of the area’s largest underground natural-gas storage fields and should never have been considered a suitable site to build a residential or commercial development. The developer would be better off handing over the title to the Trust for Public Land in order to limit its potential liability for building on such an unsuitable and contaminated parcel.

—Bryan Gordon
Mar Vista


Please extend my gratitude to Mr. Gibson for his article on the Ballona Wetlands and the fiscal catastrophe Playa Capital is finally facing. The denial of Mello-Roos bond funds temporarily put the wind at the back of the demonstrators and activists who have opposed this waste of our open land. Delve deeper, please. You will discover that the same financing entities are responsible for the sweetheart deal that left Belmont stinking like a corpse in the midday sun. To fatten their portfolios, they are trying to perform the same sleight of hand, this time on the last remaining wetland/flyway/open space. (Pick one, please.) Now it appears that may be stopped — thanks, in no small part, to your coverage.

—Stuart M. Chandler
Culver City




Jim Crogan’s “Mum’s Not the Word” [August 17–23] doesn’t begin to tell the whole story of the altercation at Tam’s restaurant in Lynwood — just selective quotes, sensationalism and allegations that have yet to be substantiated. Crogan doesn’t touch on the interesting testimony that took place before Judge Fidler, which portrayed the deputies in a different light; instead, he chose to print isolated comments that paint a negative picture. There is much more to this story, and the Weekly does the county Sheriff’s Department and the public a disservice by printing highly prejudicial, inflammatory articles that bear little resemblance to the facts.

—M. Woolrich




My appreciation goes out to Mr. Falling James, author of “Al’s Bar: Unplugged” [August 17–23], for his colorful and frighteningly accurate description of the most unusual, most peculiar drinking establishment that I have ever personally witnessed. I almost regret that I wasn’t there for the closing. Al’s was a real bastion of countercultural values, a place where everyone should have gone at least once. Thanks.

—Joe Simmons
Panorama City




“For want of a better word, the tacos here just have the right gestalt” [“Notes on the Taco Gap,” by Jonathan Gold, August 10–16]. “. . . the deep flavor, juiciness, sticky-crisp skin — the gestalt — of the best” [“Eat This, Grandma,” by Michelle Huneven, August 24–30]. According to the online Lindamood-Bell™ Definitions and Terminology Resource, gestalt “may also refer to grasping an overall concept without understanding the details relating to that concept. This pattern is frequently seen in children with learning disabilities who have sequential-processing limitations.”

—Julian Davies
Los Angeles



In the capsule review of the Powerhouse Theater’s production of Locked Up Down Shorty’s [New Theater Reviews, August 24–30], the playwright, Mike Petty, was misidentified. Also, for last week’s Clive Barker cover photo, we neglected to credit stylist Francie Paull. Apologies all around.

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