Not Such Fine Lines
I was so glad to read that somebody was finally complaining about the problems at Griffith Observatory [“Shuttle Non-Diplomacy at Griffith Observatory,” September 7–13]. I was one of the people that had been counting down until the landmark reopened and purchased my shuttle tickets a month in advance. I of course did not appreciate the inconvenience of not being able to drive up myself, but I was angrier at the number of lines I met once I arrived. There was an hourlong line to reserve a time to see the planetarium show. There was a line to see the telescope. There was a line to use one of the telescopes on the lawn. After I waited in line to reserve a viewing time, there was another line to get into the planetarium show. There was even a line at the water fountain — I think to avoid waiting in line at the café to get a bottle.
It was then that I realized my mistake at thinking the shuttle system was used as crowd control to ensure only a certain amount of people would be allowed on the premises at any given time. Instead they were happily shuttling up as many people as possible to collect the $8 for the “free” experience. The view was beautiful, but my experience was dreadful. I was actually happy to join the line to reboard the shuttle to get back down the hill.
I was sincerely moved by the “Crossing Hoover” article by D.S. Heimpel [August 24–30]. This was a well-written, touching account of a slice of life for these unfortunate youths who make up a noticeable percentage of our “underclass” society. Even several days after I read the article I was still thinking about it — a credit to Heimpel’s writing style. What a tragic waste of human potential these victimized kids represent. I look forward to reading more thought-provoking articles by Heimpel.
Where’s the Edge?
Since the change in ownership, L.A. Weekly really has ditched its whole cutting-edge, investigative, breaking-major-stories edge. It used to be that European friends couldn’t wait for me to forward stories that broke in L.A. Weekly. I can’t tell you the last time your paper had a story worthy of sharing. If the editorial intent now is to slide back into a local freebie full of infotainment, gossip and ads, shame! I’ll continue to hope, but I’m no longer holding my breath.
Last week’s article titled “Take This Car and Shove It” [August 31–September 6] was totally irrational. If Steven Leigh Morris desires to learn more about the subject he attempted to report on, I’d suggest the following reading materials first: The High Cost of Free Parking, by Donald Shoup; and Parking Requirement Impacts on Housing Affordability, by Todd Litman. These are people who have researched the very same issue for decades, as opposed to interviewing a couple of commuters.
Regarding “Take This Car and Shove It”: Excellent article! Can you find out how many hypocrite board members drive and park cars in Los Angeles while expecting the rest of us to use public transportation? I would be especially interested in knowing whether Planning Commissioner Mike Woo or city planner Thomas Rothmann drive cars. A follow-up story would be great. Thanks!
Mark A. Mendlovitz
For more reader reaction, see the varied comments in the online version of this story — including a response by the author, who writes, “I find it sort of amusing to be labeled a conduit of repugnant, myopic and conservative views, given how I’m a proponent of . . . bikeways, walkways and mass transit.”
Music Writers Wanted
The L.A. Weekly has immediate opportunities for experienced freelance writers interested in covering the Los Angeles music business. Candidates should be well-versed in the machinations of the industry, have reporting experience and be willing to stare unafraid into the belly of the beast. Please send links to writing samples to music editor Randall Roberts at email@example.com. No phone calls, please.
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Thanks for the nice write-up on Brave Combo — one of my fave bands for years. The descriptions of the songs were a bit off, however: the “soulful/rocking” version of the “Hokey Pokey” — that song is always played as heavy, head-banging, metal. And “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” is played as a twist, not rockabilly. The band mixes up a lot of genres, but I’m sure there are other longtime fans out there who will note that the descriptions of those songs were a bit off. But hey — more power to you to get folks in the door!