Whistling in the Wind

Whistling in the Wind I just read the article by Jeffrey Anderson regarding the Engineers and Architects Association [“Union of Scofflaws,” Dec. 9–15], of which I am a member. It is very true the depiction of Angel Calvo being a salesman. Myself and others here at LAX brought to the union’s attention the appearance of mishandling of city money by the head of the IT department. We stuck our necks out supplying information that over $10 million was spent without City Council knowledge to pay for contractors who were either close friends of the head of the IT department or friends of friends. Both the mayor and Laura Chick are aware of the issues we raised. But it seems the union is only concerned with getting more members and higher wages, both of which increase their bank accounts. Some of us have talked quietly about contacting another union, such as Teamsters.

Name withheld

Crocodile Tears Marc Cooper’s otherwise thoughtful, if unpersuasive, case for sparing Stanley Tookie Williams falls apart when it comes to discussing the death penalty and race [“Tookie’s Inhumanity,” Dec. 9–15]. First, Cooper suggests whites and blacks are murdered in equal numbers without acknowledging that blacks are only 12 percent of the U.S. population. This means, according to U.S. Justice Department statistics, that African-Americans are six times as likely as whites to be victims of murder. Also, Cooper talks about the race of the victims of those executed over the past 30 years but dares not address the race of the actual killers executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Since that time, non-Latino whites have committed about 40 percent of the murders but were 60 percent of those executed. If anyone has cause to complain, it is white killers. But I’ll save my tears for the 600,000 innocent victims of murder in the United States since 1975.

Michael Paranzino Kensington, Maryland

Quid Pro No Thank you, Marc Cooper, for your wonderful articles on gambling in California [“All In With the Bad Boy of Poker,” “Blackjack’s Death Count,” Dec. 9–15]. That this wonderful article ended with an advertisement for Camp Hellmuth tells what this was really about — a huge promo for Hellmuth. Don’t you have some responsibility to tell the readers what perks and comps you were given in the process of writing this article?

Dr. Eric Geffner Los Angeles

Editor responds: Neither Marc Cooper nor the editors had any advance word that there would be an ad for Phil Hellmuth’s poker camp in the same issue as Cooper’s cover story. We paid for Cooper’s expenses out of our editorial budget, which is completely separate from our advertising department. We assigned the piece because Phil Hellmuth is a cultural icon worthy of our editorial attention, and we regret that the ad’s placement has called into question the legitimacy of an excellent story. There was no quid pro quo. The Age of the Beholder How disappointing that Woody Allen [“Still a Working Stiff,” Dec. 16–22], whose work I nonetheless always enjoy, thinks that an “older” actress is in her 30s, while Foundas declares the male Woody Allen is living proof that 70 is the new 40. Oy!

Mirette Ghanem Toronto, Canada

What Could Have Been Thank you to Harold Meyerson for his comments on Senator Eugene McCarthy [“An Ambivalent Hero,” Dec. 16–22]. “Clean Gene” was the honest-politician oxymoron in the flesh. I’ve always wished Bobby Kennedy had stayed out of the race in ’68 just to see if McCarthy could have become president that year. What a different history the U.S. would have had!

Jeanne Hastings Folsom

Revealing Reviews While I appreciate that you guys give a full-page review to a movie that is going to pass through Los Angeles so quickly that most people will never even have heard of it, Ella Taylor’s review of Michael Haneke’s new film Caché really needs to tone down on the spoilers. Had I not already seen the film, I would have been miffed as to why she gives away the fact that it never reveals the identity of the mysterious filmmaker. Part of the shock and effect of the movie is lost by knowing this bit of information. It is revealing the who done it of a who-done-it. I would add that Haneke is well aware and intentional in his pup-peteering. Like David Lynch, who has similar interests, there is a lot of manipulation going on in the film either between characters or with the director and the audience. We see this in the first five minutes of the film when we realize we are watching a videotape, and that the sound we are listening to is not exactly in temporal relation to the image we are watching. Caché is about manipulation as much as it is about class consciousness.

Johnnie Lieske Mar Vista

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