Callous Words

Erin Aubry Kaplan’s Schwarze in the Family” [October 14–20] sent me back several decades. At the Westside Jewish Community Center on Olympic Boulevard, I had volunteered as a lifeguard at its pool and as one of the counselors to the Travel Club, a teenage coed group. One day I saw and heard a woman in a concerned voice ask a staff person the question “There are schwarze here?” I approached, thinking I might attempt to raise her consciousness, for we all make foolish statements which we later wish we hadn’t. When I got close enough, I saw on her bare arm the dark tattooed numbers. I turned away and never spoke, thinking that if the experience of being in those dreaded camps had not inspired an awareness of the universality of humanity, there was probably nothing I could say that would. Neither she nor the many racists, from politicians (whether legislative representatives or members of the LAUSD) to police officers and school administrators, whom I have encountered over the years, deterred me or dampened my goal to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Such is the baggage that must be carried in a society which, as the Jack Nicholson character exclaims in A Few Good Men, “. . . the truth, you can’t handle the truth . . .” That’s America. Ms. Aubry Kaplan didn’t say so, but didn’t anyone say, “Oh, of course, he/we doesn’t/don’t mean you”?

—F. Daniel Gray
Los Angeles

I appreciated Erin Aubry Kaplan’s column and was sad to hear of her experience. I attend an Orthodox synagogue with a few African-American members, and have heard the “S word” numerous times, when they were not present. When I object, I’m usually told that it is not the equivalent of the “N word,” but is neutral, like “African-American,” merely descriptive. I don’t buy it — but that is one explanation for the behavior of some Jews that Erin did not include in her analysis of the painful event.

—Mark Leviton
Granada Hills

Evangelicals for Choice?

The following is in regard to the article “All in the Family” by Lou Dubose [October 14–20].

Please don’t think that evangelical Christians (I am one) are so hell-bent on the appointment of a Supreme Court nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade. I don’t think we want it overturned, at least not within the Supreme Court. We understand that the Constitution shouldn’t be hijacked for any reason. The Supreme Court is not the place for establishing law for the U.S.

Any eighth-grade student would know that the place for laws to be made lies within the states. If it should be a matter that would affect the whole country, then we would have a national referendum to decide the matter. So, why all the concern? Are liberals afraid that the tide is turning and that now conservatives are going to do what they did in establishing a national law out of thin air? Liberals hijacked the Constitution in establishing Roe v. Wade; most of us know that. At least, many evangelicals realize that if the highest court establishes a new law, when another political party or any other ideology gains a foothold and that party overturns an existing law, we could be in for who knows what. If a Muslim becomes U.S. president, we might be in for more than even what we’re dealing with now as it concerns religious beliefs. Roe v. Wade would be a gnat. Do you think we can’t see that? Get a clue. Evangelicals don’t want Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court.

—Connie Burns
Huntsville, Alabama

But We Love the Valley

Now I must confess — I feel like a lurker, a pedophile, no less. Like the guy yesterday with his long-lens video camera across the street from cheerleaders’ practice on the high school field on Valley Circle in . . . oh, wait, you’re not interested in that; it’s not part of your geographical Los Angeles! Sorry, forgot the rule: East L.A., Venice or Hollywood only.

Anyway, yes, a lurker. Outside of a couple of interviews with actual older people and the welcome Harold Meyerson, I slogged through anecdote after anecdote from authors reminiscing with their fave L.A. memory from way back in 1985, 1989 or 1991! Wow, I didn’t even know people were alive back then! Name to the contrary, I suppose the L.A. Weekly never claimed to speak for us over-40 Valley residents. Nope, nothing to see here but chicken ranches.

—Ron Orenstein
West Hills, San Fernando Valley

What About the Young?and Poor?

After reading this week’s Weekly [October 14–20], specifically the blurb on Brent Shapiro, I have to ask myself, Why? Why should I or any of your readers care about Brent Shapiro? What did he ever do, besides hitting the sperm lottery? Were there no other young men and women who died in L.A. during the same week? Was this the only death worthy of reporting? How about all of the ones in South-Central L.A. that go unnoticed? The more I read your rag, the more I think it should be the West L.A. Weekly. Somehow you seem to think that L.A. only exists west of La Brea.

—C. Franco

Hard Times in Venice Town

Thank you, and thanks to Linda Immediato, for “Rocky Times” [October 14–20]. The fact that AIMCO began its redevelopment project a few years ago by applying for demolition permits (which are pending) should be cause enough for Rocky Delgadillo’s office to step in now.

The issues here are a little complex, but good writers like Linda Immediato make all the difference. Thanks again.

—Sara Sakuma

Good Night and Good Bye

I’ll be brief.

I don’t care about George Clooney, and don’t expect to, ever.

—Steve Adams

On the Rocks

Thank you, Linda Immediato, for exposing, in your article “Rocky Times: Lincoln Place tenants protest at City Attorney’s Office” [October 14–20], the key points on the Save Lincoln Place apartments and the residencies of its tenants against AIMCO. We have been fighting for years to get the city to defend us against developers whose motto seems to be “Greed Trumping Humanity.”

In 2002, the City Council approved the developers’ project — but only after ensuring that no existing tenant would be involuntarily displaced from the site. We are being involuntarily displaced. The city attorneys agree that the conditions of the project need to be enforced but say they can’t enforce them. What legalistic nonsense! Why can’t the city attorneys enforce conditions that they themselves created?

The plan that has already been approved by the city includes 144 affordable rental units and says that no existing tenant would be involuntarily displaced from the site. But AIMCO, the owner, is stating that it’s going out of the rental business, and using the Ellis Act to evict all the tenants. How can AIMCO proceed with a city-approved plan that includes housing existing tenants while also evicting them?

We all know that laws are created because those with money donate to election campaigns and pay for lobbyists to push their profit-driven agendas.

Maybe new laws that fairly protect people and are enforceable need to be created.

We, the renters of this city, desperately need elected officials and city attorneys who will stand up to AIMCO and all other developers that seek only mega-profits, act in bad faith, and find all the loopholes in the laws and system that are meant to serve and protect the city’s residents.

Maybe if existing city officials can’t enforce existing laws, the officials should be replaced with those who will do their job to protect the residents of Los Angeles.

Name withheld

All Crossed Up

It is with much regret that I write to you today, on behalf of myself and my co-workers. After much head scratching and disbelief, we discovered there were two numeral 4’s included in the answer to this puzzle [“SNL Folks,” October 7–13]. You can only imagine the looks on our faces. The next steps down this road of crossword trickery will be punctuation marks and emoticons. Perhaps you should call it “CrossNumberWord” . . . or . . . “WordNumberCross” . . . or . . . “CrossRubbish.”

Please cease this semantic devaluation of your usually clever puzzler. If not, you will rank with the lowest of the low-down, no-good, two-bit, dime-store, cattle-rustling chiselers.

—C.F. Jones
Los Angeles

In last week’s feature “Reborn to Rescue,” we mistakenly ran photos of an obviously good guy named Frank Quirarte and not the subject of the story, Matt George. Here’s Matt, who looks eerily like Frank. Our apologies.

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