How appropriate that next to the article by Rick Kennedy discussing what happened to the EV car [“Hijacked by Hybrids,” May 14–20], Joshuah Bearman has an article with the answer [“Greasel, Not Diesel,” May 14–20]. Corporate sharks like Jenna Higgins of the National Biodiesel Board killed the EV car because they couldn’t figure out how to continue earning money from an electric car once it left the dealer’s lot, so they did everything they could to kill the program, including create a hybrid requiring fossil fuels. This way Higgins and her cronies can still reap after-market profits as shareholders in Big Oil.

It would have been a simple task for engineers and scientists to create an engine that runs on water; by separating the two hydrogen atoms from the oxygen atom, we’d have a hydrogen-powered motor with the cleanest emissions ever, since its output would be pure oxygen. But no, that wouldn’t work, because instead of paying around $5 per gallon for hydrogen, every John Doe across the country would fill up his hydrogen-powered car with a garden hose, which isn’t much different from what John Lin, Joel Wolf and J.P. Jenkins do with their vege-powered vehicles.

Higgins even has the audacity to claim that what Lin, Wolf and Jenkins are doing is illegal because they’re not paying fuel taxes. Well, they’re not paying fuel taxes because they’re not paying for their fuel. They’re taking a waste product and making fuel out of it, so no fuel taxes apply. She even has the gall to claim that the efforts of these alternative-fuel pioneers will tarnish the industry and somehow hurt the vege-diesel vehicle. The truth is that Lin, Wolf and Jenkins are actually vege-power’s biggest proponents. It’s Higgins who’ll bring the vege-vehicles to a grinding halt when they don’t prove profitable.

—John Pattison El Monte


Greg Goldin writes with passion and humor about his devotion to Alfa-Romeos [“The Alficionado,” May 14–20], though his description of his reliable ’71 maroon Berlina is at odds with my ’71 silver Berlina, which is always missing a crucial part to keep it running. And the part seems always to be on a ship making its way up the coast of Mexico.

—Lawrence Dietz Santa Monica


I don’t always agree with Marc Cooper, but his column on John McCain as VP candidate [Dissonance, “Let It Be McCain,” May 21–27] is brilliant. Too many liberals who object to this idea forget that Bush’s war chest is likely to crush Kerry unless he does something dramatic. Readers should send this column to their Democratic representatives and party activists now so that the pragmatic and idealistic realignment Cooper foresees has a chance.

—Scott Smith Los Angeles


So Nikki Finke and others suspect Graydon Carter of selling coverage to Hollywood [Deadline Hollywood, “Get Carter,” Web exclusive, May 7–13]? I guess this explains the Gretchen Mol issue from a few years back.

—Andisheh Nouraee Atlanta, Georgia


In “Living on the Verge,” Chapter 1 of Celeste Fremon’s “An American Family” [February 13–19], it states that the Aguilars are the “prototypical American family.” On what planet? The main character, Luis, has violated his parole on more than one occasion for associating with gang members. The mother, Frances, is irresponsible and continues to get pregnant. And one of the boys is a known tagger. If this family truly wants a better life for themselves and their children, why haven’t they moved out of the neighborhood? This is nothing more than a sensationalized story with no backbone.

—Maria Quintero Los Angeles


I am insulted by “An American Family: Jail Time” [April 2–8]. An American family consists of law-abiding citizens — not what Fremon portrays in her story. It’s despicable that she glamorizes the Aguilars’ gang life. They are nothing more than criminals. Fremon could have easily asked the residents of the neighborhood to give her an accurate picture of these thugs. It’s no secret that they and their gang-member friends use intimidation tactics to wreak havoc on hard-working immigrants in the community.

Also, contrary to the depiction of Officer Rudy Chavez, he is the hero of the story. He has taken guns off the streets, made drug busts and arrested gang members. The LAPD’s Board of Police Commissioners even awarded him a commendation for his outstanding work. Having grown up in the community, residents show him a tremendous amount of support.

—Gloria Garcia Los Angeles


In last week’s A Considerable Town article “Agent Provocateur,” Paul Alan Smith was incorrectly identified as Alan Smith. And due to a production error, the band in the photo accompanying last week’s concert pick was misidentified as Death Cab for Cutie. The pictured band was in fact Western State Hurricanes.


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