Joe Donnelly’s cover story “The Ghosts of Dogtown” [August 24–30] was some of the best reading I’ve found in the L.A. Weekly in my seven years living in Los Angeles. Having grown up in the Midwest, I can attest to the impact the Z-Boys had on Middle America. On my refrigerator today, you will find a picture of me pulling a full tail-tap over the coping on my Wes Humpston Dogtown Skate! Clearly the images of Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and Jay Adams turned skateboarding from “doing 360s on the sidewalk” to “popping aerials and inverts.” Every month, we would mimic the tricks of the Dogtown skaters on our ramps. That is, of course, once we got over the disbelief that these actions were possible.

Thanks for rekindling these images. Now I gotta find the Peralta film from Sundance . . .

—Headplant Eddy Hermosa Beach



Great story on those bad boys of skateboarding; it rekindled my own memories of outlaw skating. Grew up in the Valley — not exactly rich, but not exactly the unsupervised ghetto environment described in your story. Skateboarding in those pre-Cadillac-wheels days was vastly different than today. As high-school-age “Vals” (1969 to 1972), we roamed the coast looking for waves from North County, San Diego to Ventura, and on days when it was flat or we didn’t have the time, we skated.

We eventually all graduated and moved on in our lives, and are now generally successful, middle-class professionals. But we all get a genuine kick out of seeing our sons trying to emulate their skater-heroes of today, all the while razzing us “old” men for our old-school maneuvers, which we still sometimes try to show off to them.

Anyway, thanks for the well-written article that generated this trip down memory lane.

—David Echt Los Angeles



Congratulations on such a fine piece on the legacy and continuing impact of Dogtown. The energy of Dogtown is still being felt today, and for that I am truly grateful. These guys deserve all the recognition they are receiving — recognition that is long overdue.

—Michael Brooke Author, The Concrete Wave Toronto, Ontario, Canada



I just finished reading last week’s cover article on “The Ghosts of Dogtown,” which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t help, however, pointing out a rather silly explanation that Joe Donnelly made regarding the Z-boys’ “localism” at their local surf break, The Cove. He attributes the hassling of non-locals (“kooks”) to some twisted effort to prevent these guys from hurting themselves in the water at an unfamiliar break. Nice try. As anyone who actually surfs would know, the only reason for localism is to keep “outsiders” off your break so you can enjoy it for yourself. Given the seeming rebellious nature of the Z-boys, I’m not sure why he tried to whitewash the localism issue with an explanation that any surfer would deride.

—Glenn Karpf Los Angeles



Joe Donnelly’s piece on the Dogtown and Zephyr team skaters was a strong, comprehensive article. It is sad, though, that the part that struck me most was the apparent nonchalance with which Donnelly described Jay Adams’ assault at Oki Dog. The fact that “a gay couple, one guy white and the other black,” yelled back at Adams and crew seems, in the article, to be more of a crime than the fact that those same guys were “met with typical catcalls” and that one of them was eventually beaten to death by a bunch of homophobic punks. When an incident such as the Oki Dog assault is breezed over in a way that practically endorses this behavior, it makes me incredibly sad.

—Dan Monick Los Angeles



John Powers’ “Do the Bartman” [August 24–30] wasn’t merely droll and devastating, pointed and nastily elegiac, urbanely venomous and unbelievably dead-on, it was also a textbook case for screamingly tight writing, the sort of model even pros envy.

—Marc S. Tucker Manhattan Beach



So Powers says that entertainment journalists are whores . . . This is news? The real story is that the two systems — press and industry — are integrated. Bart did nothing unusual. The stuff and the language described is everyday usage.

—Tom O’Hanlon Los Angeles



What’s wrong with Peter Bart that a little PR couldn’t cure? I can’t believe we live in a society where you can’t use a few swear words to get your employees’ attention. Who cares if you use labels and unflattering words to describe those you work with? What does â that have to do with being biased or unbiased? I’m sure the ever-growing multitudes of former Variety employees are just trying to get back at him.

It’s all about sour grapes these days. Do you really need a reason to get rid of someone who so much as looks at you funny? The answer, obviously, is no.

—Alan Smithee Los Angeles




Hooray for your endorsement of a fresh voice in City Hall! Denise Munro Robb is way cool. What you failed to emphasize, however, was that despite all your hand wringing, this is only a primary election. If nobody gets 50 percent, there is a runoff in six weeks. Therefore, it is all the more important for your readers to get their asses up out of bed this Tuesday and vote for the choice of the L.A. Weekly, Denise Munro Robb. Don’t wait until after work. Wear your “I’ve voted” sticker all day. And tell them whom you voted for and why.

Meanwhile, shame on Harold Meyerson for insisting that we choose among millionaires for local representation. What’s become of his once-progressive values? I can’t believe the Weekly would publish such a weak “dissent.”

—Casey Peters Los Angeles



Harold Meyerson confuses me greatly. One week he lauds Santa Monica for its forward-thinking commitment to the living wage [Powerlines, August 10–16]. The next week he gives his City Council endorsement to a woman who won’t make that same commitment [Powerlines, August 31–September 6]. Mr. Meyerson, if your friend Beth Garfield is such a proven protector of L.A.’s workers, how come she’s so timid about extending a living wage to L.A.’s working poor? It wouldn’t have anything to do with her campaign contributors, would it?

If a living wage is good for Santa Monica, it’s good for L.A. Denise Munro Robb apparently knows that. Beth Garfield apparently doesn’t. Shouldn’t Harold Meyerson tell her?

—Patrick Meighan Los Angeles



Yes yes, thanks to her hubby, Wally, Beth Garfield has great labor support. However, what troubles me about her running the 4th District is her support for the death penalty and other status-quo anti-crime measures. Her stands on these kinds of issues make it clear that she prefers to protect her white homeowner friends over the civil rights of the disenfranchised. It is just that kind of thinking that got us into the LAPD mess we are in today.

—Joe Zefra Los Angeles




I thought Jennifer Price’s long article on the L.A. River [“Paradise Reclaimed,” August 10–16] was fabulous. I hope she makes it into a paperback book that we can put in our backpacks and take along when we go exploring.

—Aggi Raeder Los Angeles

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