The Front-Row Mayor
Readers reacted powerfully to our story last week detailing that Mayor Villaraigosa had taken $50,000 to $100,000 worth of free tickets from people or entities doing business with the city.
Tina Rocha cut to the chase: "Goodbye, Mr. Villaraigosa. You knew the rules and you chose to defy them. Why would that be? Entitlement perhaps? See ya in the private sector, Tony ... because I'm quite sure you're out. ..."
Reader Woody McBreairty says TV might help: "Villaraigosa is an obvious media freak, he should have his own reality show so he could smile his toothy smile and direct his royal wave to his fans. No wonder the city of Los Angeles is such a mess."
Walter Moore offered a precise analysis: "What makes Villaraigosa's receipt of the tickets — and failure to disclose same — particularly troubling is the benefits the donors have received at taxpayer expense. How many millions of dollars of subsidies, tax breaks and sweetheart deals has AEG received from City Hall? Just so Villaraigosa can sit in the owners' suite at Lakers games?
"Consider another example: You and I, as taxpayers, are subsidizing a special shuttle to take the Dodgers' customers to the stadium. Why? Why should you and I be taxed to provide special treatment for the McCourts?
"Handing an elected official $100,000 worth of tickets is the equivalent of handing him $100,000 in cash. This is a serious violation of ethics laws designed to protect the public from crooked politicians."
Bwunderlick says he is embarrassed: "How exactly is L.A. enhanced, even in the most far-flung, abstract marketing sense, by his presence at the American Idol finale? I'm ashamed for having ever been a supporter of his. He probably won't be punished in any meaningful way other than his political career being over."
Kieran Bergin gave props to our writers, Tibby Rothman and Jill Stewart: "Excellent piece of investigative reporting. Up to the standards I've come to expect from Jill Stewart."
"Anonymous" accused us of standing up for ordinary Angelenos. "Now, it is time for citizens to be prodemocracy, anticorruption and responsible voters. I don't care if he comes up with records and pathetic excuses for taking gifts.
"I am happy that at least L.A. Weekly has an editorial policy that is procitizen."
Finally, commenter Douglas found inspiration in entomology: "If the mayor only spends 11 percent of his time on city issues, then he deserves an 89 percent pay cut. Instead of L.A.'s biggest cheerleader, sounds like he's L.A.'s biggest moocher. The man is a maggot. Is there any wonder downtown smells like urine?"
Compared to the mayor, underground hip-hop producer Madlib is a god, at least if you read the comments on our cover story of last week.
Said Mel: "Madlib is the shit. I just read that he is scoring the music for the upcoming documentary on A Tribe Called Quest that Michael Rapaport is directing. The Beat Konducta is finally breaking into films."
A commenter named Morpheus found the article a "nice interview and an incredibly talented man. Brings out the worst in his rivals and wannabes, because they knock him, when he would only praise them. What is very, very clear is how much Otis loves and respects music. Thanks for a look behind the curtain."
Reader Ur Muva wrote: "The author of the article said something like he has no father to his style but I think RZA definitely has some influence to his style."
Speaking of style, Jim found ours worthy of a biblical reference, particularly sentences like this one: "In a society with a vampiric lust for information, our primitive neuroprocessors still compute in archetypes."
To which Jim said, "This was an awful piece of writing. Jesus."
NASTY FILM, ANGRY RESPONSE
Our review of The Killer Inside Me drew strong responses from women disturbed by director Michael Winterbottom's defense of the film's violence against women.
Wrote Diana: "I feel like American popular culture has descended into this voyeuristic fascination with every possible horrible thing people can do to each other. The director may defend the decision to show this brutality, but what's the opportunity cost of spending resources to do that — you could be doing something productive and positive instead."
Rhonda took offense to the logic behind a statement by Winterbottom. "What I found weird at Sundance was [the suggestion] that by showing violence against women it somehow promotes it," the director told Weekly Film Editor Karina Longworth.
To which Rhonda replied: "Is Winterbottom serious? Go right ahead and make a noir-style piece that depicts (hell, apparently revels in) the explicit, sexualized killing of women. But don't play dumb when people call you on glamorizing and fetishizing violence against women. Asshole."
ROCKIN' AT THE FRINGE
Phyllis Silverberg wrote that L.A.'s first ever Fringe Festival this month was "a wonderful idea, and I'm thrilled it's in L.A. I hope it's getting a lot of support, so they do it again next year."
Elaine Del Valle made us blush. "I just wanted to thank L.A. Weekly for their coverage of the Hollywood Fringe," she wrote of theater critic Steven Leigh Morris' efforts. "I am an out-of-town performer and am so delighted by the quality of shows that I have been seeing here and by the hospitality of the L.A. theaters, press and theatergoing community.
"When I told some of my N.Y. colleagues I was heading here, they called L.A. 'LOST ART.' But if that was ever true, Art has definitely been found and should be flagged on the map in the square mile that has been home to the Hollywood Fringe."
Wait a minute, Elaine. You're from New York?
WRITE EARLY AND OFTEN
Yes, even if you're from New York. (Oh, we love New Yorkers. We went there once, you know.) Top priority goes to letters signed with full names and phone numbers to verify. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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