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Letters: Biking in Santa Monica, Paddleboating in Echo Park

Squeaky Wheeler

These comments are in regard to the story about Santa Monica Critical Mass [“Bike Dislike,” October 26–November 1]. I attended the ride on Friday night, and I think it is a gross injustice for the Santa Monica police to harass bicycle riders on a peaceful, law-abiding ride. We did not cork intersections. We did not cause any problems. We stayed in the right lane on four-lane streets. We did not run anyone over, as many cars have in the area over the years. We didn’t pollute the air. We were cited many times for many petty things that cyclists aren’t usually cited for. One person got a ticket for riding “too slow in the bike lane.” We weren’t drunk. We weren’t looking for trouble. Is it really that big of a crime to experience your city once a month by bicycle?

I don’t understand how a progressive, “green” city like Santa Monica can have so many issues with people riding bicycles in an age of increasing energy prices, global warming, higher population densities and air pollution that chokes the city. If we had all rented cars and driven up in them, adding to the evening traffic and pollution, would we have been harassed? Probably not.

This police harassment has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with trying to scare us away because the people giving them orders are afraid we will scare away shoppers. In fact, we are often cheered along our route. Many of us don’t own cars. Are we not allowed in Santa Monica? Should there be a sign outside Santa Monica that says, “Please stay out of here if you plan on riding a bicycle”? If the city can accommodate thousands of cars, then it can certainly accommodate a few hundred bicyclists.

John Silva

Redondo Beach

Give ’Em the Boats

Thank you for the article “Paddle­boat Economics” [Oct. 19–25]. Otherwise we wouldn’t have known about this blow to L.A.’s livability — taking away the boats from MacArthur-Westlake Park and Echo Park. There has to be a way to pay for these boats, public or private.

When I went to UCLA in the 1950s, we used to take our dates boating on MacArthur Park lake. Doesn’t that show how enjoyable it is for all ages and variety of people? Today, poorer and immigrant kids deserve the same opportunity.

If the boating were closed, then there would be less care taken of the little lakes and they would get dirtier, making the park experience of lesser quality. Mabye the next callous scheme is to drain them! I hope instead the public will make the penny pinchers restore these boats.

Jay Alexander

Los Angeles

Penned-up Rage

What’s up with your recent Holly­wood cover stories? First you do a putrid puff piece on the wildly untalented hack Brett Ratner, then a love poem to Jodie Foster (who hasn’t done a good film in eons). And then Joe Donnelly kisses ass with his fawning portrait of Sean Penn [“With His Own Two Eyes,” September 21–27]. Are you turning into some kind of lame fan magazine?

Penn is really a super bore. He directs dreary, coma-inducing films that no one sees. Worse, he’s turned into some kind of whacked-out big-daddy guru, traveling around the world to dispense his “wisdom.” His infantile screeds on the war and President Bush illustrate why modern-day liberalism is so impotent. In the future, perhaps Penn could consider that it’s inane loudmouths like him who make disasters like George W. Bush possible. And hopefully the Weekly will knock off this pathetic star worship.

Dan O’Neill

Los Angeles

Recommended Viewing

Our senators need to see the movie Rendition. It brings current U.S. practices of kidnapping and torture clearly into focus. The film shows the injustice, pain and counter­productive pointlessness of these policies. Torture doesn’t provide useful information, but it does generate more terrorists. We don’t need another attorney general who can’t distinguish justice from torture.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont, California

Correction

In last week’s review of “Taking Sides,” the leading role was played by Benton Jennings, not Brian as reported. The review also misstated that the production was director Michael Brainard’s first professional directing assignment.


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