Re: Judith Lewis’ “What Democracy Votes Like” [January 17–23]. Thanks for covering the voting alternative known as instant runoff voting. It’s nice to read about folks who realize that a “stiff” voting system like ours leads to a stale democracy. Unfortunately, IRV is also flawed, as Ann Arbor and New York discovered. It rewards “strategic” voting (people voting against their true intentions in order to have a candidate “gamed” into office) and can lead to some surprising results.

The better alternative method is called approval voting. In A.V., everyone ranks their candidates, as in IRV, the difference being there’s no runoff. The candidate with the highest overall approval from that first count wins the election. That means there’s no hole in the system to exploit (the runoff), and no second and third rounds. Best of all, it’s easier to explain: Voters just vote as they always have, except now they can vote for more than one candidate.

Kudos to Steve Chessin for his work in reforming the vote. Hopefully he’s wed to enacting a better voting system, not to IRV itself. If so, I expect he’ll be joining Americans for Approval Voting soon.

—Bernard von Nothaus
Santa Monica


Re: “Bondage 101” [A Considerable Town, January 17–23]. I would like to applaud Pleasant Gehman not only for her daringly original selection of date venues/ activities, but for shining a positive light on the BDSM scene. Ms. Strix and Ms. Belladonna prove, time and again, that pro-domination is just that, a highly skilled profession far removed from prostitution. Those of us in the next generation should take note to always maintain the high road despite any pressure or difficulties we may face. Reality check: Talented and reputable dominas never have sex with their clients — they don’t have to.

—Taylor Fallon
Alpha female
Los Angeles


In his blurb on the American Cinematheque’s Technicolor Festival [Film Special Events, January 17–23], Paul Malcolm confuses the lab’s unique printing process with its equally unique photographic process, which was phased out in the mid-’50s. All of the films he extols were actually shot on Eastman Color negative. The degree to which Technicolor’s IB printing process enhances the colors of color negative originals is an ongoing subject of debate among film buffs, as is restoration of material shot with its three-strip process to today’s color negative/positive stocks. Only six films in the current program were shot three-strip: The Thief of Bagdad, The Black Swan, Captain From Castile, The Red Shoes, The African Queen and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

—Rick Mitchell
Los Angeles


Being the ripe old age of 50 and having lived in western Canada since 1979 (though raised in Montreal), it has always amazed me how there is still such a cultural/media/popular bias toward publications and media outlets in the U.S. that breathe in the salt air of the Atlantic rather than the Pacific Ocean. Your weekly is a case in point. Drop the name Village Voice in conversation with nose tilters, and they all nod knowingly. Say you read a great piece in the L.A. Weekly, and they look at you as if your profoundest literary accomplishment has been deciphering the clever subtext to a “Dilbert” comic strip.

I read both on the Web religiously and, to be honest, read and enjoy more articles in your paper/mag every week than in The Voice. Intellectual without being potty-trained in pretentiousness, cultural without needing colonic irrigation, topical while not being stifled by trendiness, the L.A. Weekly is one of the highlights of my literary-cultural surfing each and every week. You do your city proud. Thanks for the provocative reads, and may your writers’ fingers forever be cramped from too many late nights at the keyboard.

—James Muretich
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Hi. Pink-leopard-clad Ian Price here, not Weiss! In the November 1–7 Slush column, contributor Derrick Mathis must have thought my name was Weiss due to his hand-held recorder. It would be very difficult to change my name to Weiss and confuse everyone, especially when there is already confusion due to there being a sports figure and a British actor with the same name. Thanks for mentioning me, though! I’d waited years for the chance to meet the great Rudy Ray. I promise the footage of my meeting with Rudy — including our moment of silence for the late great Lady Reed — will be up soon on my new site, which is under construction: www.queenabouttown.com.

—Ian Price
Los Angeles


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