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Letters

IT’S GREENER THAN YOU THINK, MARC

L.A. Weekly and Nation magazine contributor Marc Cooper apparently relishes playing the role of political provocateur. His recent dismissal of the Green Party of California as an election factor [“It’s Democracy, Stupid,” Dissonance, August 15–21] gravely underestimates the party’s established statewide infrastructure and political potential. Apparently Cooper is unaware that the Green Party holds 63 elected offices across California, including the mayoralities of Santa Monica, Sebastopol, Menlo Park and Arcata, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors presidency. In 2002, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo achieved California’s highest third-party vote in 68 years, since the 1934 gubernatorial election. Camejo’s vote total represented a 400 percent increase over the party’s 1998 gubernatorial results. Significantly, the Green Party received unprecedented vote totals across a broad swath of Northern California: From Humboldt County to Santa Cruz County the party captured from 10 to 17 percent of the vote in a dozen counties, including a historic 15.5 percent in San Francisco.

If the Green Party of California chooses to enter into an electoral alliance with another strong, progressive candidate prior to the October 7 recall election, Cooper’s smug assertions about the party’s influence and viability will be put to the test.

—Chris Kavanagh
Green Party of Alameda County

 

Re: Marc Cooper’s article “It’s Democracy, Stupid,” containing “Five Myths About the Recall.” I must seriously object to the myths he and the rest of the press are concocting about Green Party candidate Peter Camejo. As to the legalization of marijuana, it is the press that has pushed this issue to the top of the Camejo “agenda” by quoting out of context from the Green Party platform. Meanwhile, though, arrests of marijuana users are filling our prisons, at an exorbitant cost to society. Camejo wants to stop wasting money on incarcerating Californians for minor offenses and instead invest in education, health care and renewable energy.

Cooper’s attack on Camejo for his support of instant-runoff voting (IRV) is even more ludicrous. Perhaps this just shows how little journalists in this country understand our winner-take-all voting system, and how it severely limits political choices. The electorate, of course, has figured it out, that’s why they don’t vote. IRV is hardly some leftist plot. It is used by Utah Republicans to nominate congressional nominees, at many major universities (including MIT, Harvard, Caltech and UC Davis) for student elections, and by hundreds of jurisdictions, organizations and corporations to elect their leaders. IRV gives the voter more power, since they can express a range of choices without being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Camejo’s plan to institute public financing of elections and create democratic voting processes (i.e., IRV) would reduce wasteful budget spending, free up more money for social investments and increase democratic participation. I think those ideas play to a larger audience than the Venice boardwalk crowd.

—Forrest Hill
Oakland

 

Marc Cooper distorts and trivializes Peter Camejo’s platform, then praises Arianna Huffington for the very things Camejo does stand for — universal health care, adequate education, shifting the tax burden, and public financing of elections.

—Samantha Hadfield
Los Angeles

 

DITTO, JUDITH

“The Unimportance of Being Camejo” [August 22–28] was downright dispiriting. Lewis observed that “Camejo’s straightforward business dealings are beyond imaginable reproach,” and in a time when our state budget is a total basket case, it’s heartening to see the Weekly take notice of a candidate uniquely qualified to address our current fiscal crisis. But then, in spite of this and other praise for Camejo in her article, Lewis nonetheless asserts that no one could possibly care, “if only because there’s just too much else going on.” Camejo might make a fine governor, Lewis seems to suggest, but we’ll never hear him over the din of Schwarzenegger, Huffington and the other media faves. So forget him. He is noteworthy, as the article’s title paradoxically suggests, only for his “unimportance.”

The problem isn’t, as Lewis rightly observes, some conspiracy of “shifty-eyed men in boardrooms paid to excise from reporters’ copy any idea that might defeat the status quo.” It is rather a conspiracy of cynicism, even hopelessness, that the electorate can ever choose something other than bought-and-sold Democrats and Republicans. Where a better option does exist, as it well may in Peter Camejo, I wish Lewis would simply present that option, and not compel us to see it only through the dour-tinted glasses of low expectations.

—Derek Iversen
Los Angeles

GOING ALL THE WAY

Harold Meyerson’s “The Recall Is Not Our Friend” [Powerlines, July 25–31], discussing the party politics of the Gray Davis recall, misses the point. Fiscal responsibility is of the utmost importance. The governor must manage the state like we all have to manage our households and businesses. He deserves to be fired just as any corporate executive would under similar circumstances. In fact, Davis should have resigned.

Stating the good Davis has done does not excuse him from responsibility for our budget crisis. Maybe we should recall the entire Legislature, as they all have contributed to our economic woes. Just because other states are also broke is also no excuse. Maybe those states should recall their legislatures!

Mr. Davis, I’m sorry, but you let us down.

—Jesse J. Smith
Los Angeles

SHELL GAMES

Alan Rich gets it dead wrong when he calls efforts to save the Hollywood Bowl shell “a woefully misguided protest” [“The Lost Lady, Found,” A Lot of Night Music, July 25–31]. For Rich to claim that the Bowl’s main feature, its shell, isn’t a landmark is to deny the obvious. To call it “acoustically lousy” ignores the history of the 1929 structure, which was designed to fix the poor sound of the 1928 structure — the very structure the city now wants to replicate. ‰

 

What the Bowl needs is a restored shell that retains the aesthetics of the structure while making it easier for musicians to do their job. What L.A. Weekly readers don’t need is cheap shots by lazy columnists, namely Rich’s comment that Hollywood Heritage head Robert Nudelman is getting his 15 minutes of fame out of this mess. Nudelman has 30 years of fame for stopping the wrecking ball from descending on the El Capitan, the Wiltern Theater, the Cinerama Dome and much of the rest of historical Hollywood. Let’s hope that he can add the Hollywood Bowl to this impressive résumé.

—Doug Haines
Beverly Hills


UNCOOL

Kristine McKenna’s feature on the Michael Duncan–curated group show “Post-Cool L.A.” [“Can L.A. Get Beyond Cool?,” July 18–24] failed to mention one small fact: Of the 48 local artists Duncan chose to represent our region in his traveling Angeleno survey, he failed to include a single Latino artist. Since your readers tend to have political leanings away from Trent Lott’s side of the aisle, I feel they should have been informed of the show’s subtler persuasions before being encouraged to make their way to Otis College’s exhibition galleries to view Duncan’s version of our art scene.

—Mat Gleason
Lincoln Heights

WEAK MEDICINE

Re: John Payne’s “Feel Better” [August 22–28]. Yes, I was a huge fan of the first two Medicine albums, and no, I do not like the new album. It has nothing to do with “lifestyle” issues. The new Medicine album simply does not resemble anything that made the original band great. Where is Jim Goodall? His drumming was as essential to the Medicine sound as Laner was. Laner should get over himself.

—Ron Karlin
Sylmar

MOTS JUSTE AND UNJUSTE

Re: “Out of Left Field” [cover story, August 29–September 4]. Reporter Jamie Wolf deserves special praise for her in-depth coverage of Howard Dean and his campaign. It is the best personal analysis of Dean — his faults as well as his strengths — that I have read thus far, and I’ve read a lot of them. Great writing, great insight.

—Marc Montefusco
Middletown, Maryland

 

Jamie Wolf criticizes Howard Dean’s choice of words while recounting a story. The word “nonplused” would characterize a perfectly normal and appropriate response under the circumstances described by Dean; Ms. Wolf should make sure she understands words in question before assuming others don’t.

—Alan Jacquemotte
Warren, Michigan


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