To Stage War Plays, or Not to Stage War Plays
One reaction to Steven Leigh Morris' cover story on the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble play cycle about Iraq and Afghanistan ("The War Within Us," August 26) comes from a reader named David. "Great," he says, "do we really need more war plays?"
Beth answers him: "David, when I took my friend to see Nation of Two on opening weekend, he said the same thing. My friend expected preaching for or against the war, the standard fare of war plays lately. He was sorely mistaken and was so taken aback at the honesty of the production, the phenomenal writing, the skilled acting, and the fact that no matter what the backdrop is of the play, the actors and the script tell a story. And these plays tell that story in a beautiful, eloquent, emotionally charged way. So before you judge a 'war play' by its cover, maybe you should try seeing it. You might have your opinion greatly changed."
CORRECTION: We misattributed the role of war widow Sophia in Nation of Two. It is played by Melissa Collins.
POMONA, ALL FIRED UP
Mark Cromer's article "Pomona Cops Dodge a Bullet" (August 12) "paints an inaccurate picture regarding the City of Pomona's contract with the Los Angeles County Fire Department," writes L.A. County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman. "Some facts are in order: In 1992, when the City first contracted with us for our services, they realized savings in the millions. When compared to previous City fire department operations, these savings have continued each year since.
"The City is not 'overstaffed' with firefighters. We staff 10 firefighting units, including six fire engines, two paramedic squads, one quint, and one light force, out of the City's eight fire stations each day. As part of our contract, Pomona residents also have access to many specialized emergency-response resources at no additional cost.
"When Pomona residents need our help," continues Freeman, "they and their local leaders can be confident in knowing that they are not only receiving the most highly trained emergency responders and equipment at their door, but that every dollar is being spent prudently for their protection."
WHO'S BLINDER, STEVE COOLEY OR GENE MADDAUS?
It's an eye-for-an-eye contest: On the one hand is our story by Mr. Maddaus ("Cooley's Blind Eye," August 26), which suggests that the Republican "district attorney accepted laundered campaign money while prosecuting Democratic contributors for the same offense."
On the other hand, reader Jack wonders how much Cooley's fellow attorney general candidate "Kamala Harris paid to have this piece of rubbish printed? The author, Gene Maddaus, is either blinded by partisanship, incapable of research, or simply drank the Koolaide from the Harris campaign. The statement 'Cooley's office would be responsible for investigating phony contributions to a local campaign. But the contributions to his own campaign were never investigated or prosecuted' is so misleading as to be a clear sign of bias. First, anyone with half a legal brain would know that Cooley is not allowed to prosecute a case where he would be the victim/witness — it's called a 'conflict of interest' and it requires recusal.
"Second," continues Jack, "the hit piece suggests that Cooley knew of the illegal nature of Gill's campaign contributions when they were made, or shortly thereafter. That is not the case. Gill's misconduct was discovered by the Fair Political Practices Committee, and if Cooley was in any way complicit in Gill's illegality, then you can be sure the FPPC would have prosecuted Cooley. This is a desperate attempt by a desperate candidate. Harris, once described as 'Female Obama,' has a lot in common with the president: She can talk the talk, but she can't even stumble."
And now, because we are a paper dedicated to balanced ranting, this from a reader going by Stopcorruption: "Finally, someone is reporting the truth about Cooley's corruption. This guy should never be given the privilege to prosecute when he himself should be prosecuted. The taxpayers are paying dearly for his continued internal corruption. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"
BILLY CORGAN, BILLY CORGAN
Music Editor Gustavo Turner's interview with the Smashing Pumpkins frontman, focusing on his spiritual journey ("The L.A. Weekly Interview: Billy Corgan," August 26), generated a lot of interest and commentary.
"What a wonderful story," says the lovely Isis Aquarian (of the Source Family), whereas Todd writes, "I love his music, but Billy is a quack."
Cheo says: "A journey of rediscovery or recovery, excellently well put, Mr Corgan!!! Human beings have a born spiritual need. As a longtime fan I noticed something very uplifting since Machina, and more evidently in Zwan, and being already on that spiritual path, your music elevated me."
But Stickman had a problem with the story: "The stuff about Father Yod is so much more interesting than Corgan's rationalizations for riding the current wave of testicle-less music that I started losing interest quickly after the intro. Led me to some Yahowha13 tunes on YouTube, though, which made up for reading the last few pages."
Dharma thinks it a "great interview! I am impressed how far Billy Corgan has come and I am happy to see he's enjoying making music again. As he said, that's the most important thing — to have a good time.
"I think that's valid for life in general!" adds Dharma, to which we can only agree. But this is America, dammit, and we work here.
AND THAT'S A WRAP
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