With regard to Bill Bradley’s story about L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s ball-dropping on state transit funding [“Sacramento Bites Back” July 27–Aug. 2], the lack of leadership on transit issues is nothing new for Southern California. Had master planning been used, no-transfer light rail between Canoga Park and Long Beach, and Claremont and Long Beach, both via downtown — not to mention LAX-downtown rail links — might even be finished. And higher usage from a master-planned system might have forestalled fare increases. To the extent the mayor is occupied with other issues, like gangs and schools, he’s shown himself to be similar to another politician more concerned with his base than the larger challenges: George W. Bush. Given the carbon footprint of L.A. generally, and of LAX specifically, is it any wonder that the U.S. Olympic Committee passed on Southern California for the 2016 games?
The Grand Scheme
The Grand Avenue Project is even worse than Zuma Dogg indicates [“Eli Broad’s Grand Illusion,” July 20–26]. First of all, there’s the increased traffic it will create. The existing freeways through and around downtown are already at gridlock much of the time, as are the surface streets downtown. Any attempt to increase the capacity of any of these freeways will be horrifically expensive, even if their capacity could be increased. As the Legislature is considering cutting substantial amounts from the transportation budget, these costs would have to be borne by local taxpayers.
Then there is water. We are in the midst of a major drought. The Legislature wants local government to bear the costs of increasing water capacity. There’s no sign the developers of Grand Avenue will be asked to pay the costs of bringing in the additional water their project will require. Once again, the taxpayers will have to pay for this, if it is done at all. In a rational world, local government would put a moratorium on all development until we figure out where the water will come from and who will pay this cost. But this is not a rational world.
Finally, as Zuma Dogg says, we don’t need this development. We’ve seen vanity books, vanity movies, vanity cars, vanity houses. And now we have a vanity redevelopment project, no different except in scale and no more useful than the 16,000-square-foot houses some people want to build.
Stanton J. Price
When speaking of Talk to Me, the latest film by Kasi Lemmons, the best thing that can be said is, “See it for yourself.” Certainly don’t listen to the Weekly’s reviewer, Ella Taylor [“Shock Jockery,” July 13–19]. It is true that Lemmons makes some mistakes in the film, such as the scene where actors Don Cheadle’s and Taraji P. Henson’s characters “high five” each other. (In those days, they would have “given each other five” and slapped each other’s horizontally outstretched hand.) But such errors are due to Lemmons being too young to catch the details that mean so much to black Americans who remember those days.
Taylor refers to the language of the film as “jive-talking shtick,” but that’s because during the 1960s she was riding with Mum on the London Underground. She doesn’t realize that at that time, black American young adults really talked that way.
Talk to Me really speaks to those of us who remember well the social revolution of the 1960s. It doesn’t speak to Ella Taylor, because apparently everything she knows about black Americans before the 1980s she learned watching television shows — particularly the Jeffersons. Her review makes her sound, in the words of George Jefferson, like a real “jive turkey.”
Regarding the Tegan & Sara write-up [Music Pick by Libby Molyneaux, July 20–26]: I don’t like people with names that start with the letter L. I know that’s random and juvenile, kinda like writing a review about a band based on the fact that they are twins. But, whatever. I also don’t like people who shorten their birth names. Libby . . . is it short for Elizabeth? So why would a namby-pamby writer who purportedly knows nothing about a certain live act and offers such insight as the band can’t play their instruments indeed write a review meant to bring people out to said show? One more question: Molyneaux — is that French? Uh-oh, don’t get me started on the French. I don’t like names I can’t pronounce. It makes me feel bad inside. I do like Li’l Libby’s musings when it comes time to line the birdcage, though.
We’ve got more letters at laweekly.com.
Two Gold Stars
I just wanted to say thanks for the good reporting on the following two articles: “Antonio’s Kitchen Cabinet,” by Patrick Range McDonald [July 20–26] and “Eli Broad’s Grand Illusion” by Zuma Dogg [July 20–26]. Your stories are far more informative than most L.A. Times articles. Your writers really investigate and report, which is lacking in so many news media today.
Regarding “Sacramento Bites Back”: I disagree with Bill Bradley’s reason for L.A.’s rail funds being used to bail out Sacramento, and with his analysis of redistricting. First of all, is Villaraigosa the only one who can lobby Sacramento for rail funds? What about all the Assembly members and state senators from Los Angeles? It is their responsibility to fight for that money. Yet you don’t hold them accountable for anything. It’s all Villaraigosa’s fault. Give me a break. Furthermore, this isn’t exactly the first time that Sacramento has raided Los Angeles to balance its own budget. Pete Wilson did it regularly, yet I don’t recall you blaming Riordan. If there is an earthquake tomorrow, I’m sure you’ll blame it on Villaraigosa and Mirthala Salinas. As for redistricting, who says there is a problem besides Republicans and a few lefties who don’t like the fact that more Latinos are winning office? The way we draw our districts is just fine. Now that Latinos are becoming a bigger percentage of the electorate, people want to disenfranchise them by taking away power from the electorate and transferring it to an appointed commission. In other words, backroom politics. Fabian Núñez is only pretending to go along with it, to use it as leverage with Nancy Pelosi. Sorry, but we the people are not going to fall for it.
Karen [Name TK]