Donations, Not Payments

In response to David Zahniser’s article on ACORN [“Powered by Payments,” Feb. 9–15]: As a membership-run group of more than 8,000 dues-paying members in Los Angeles, we carefully debated the merits of A.B. 1381. We chose to support the bill because it takes a fundamental step in helping us achieve something we know is crucial to school success: broad parent participation. We continue to hold a position against complete mayoral control, and our initial opposition to the bill was based on a concern that it would take the district further toward its tendency to exclude parents from decision-making roles.

When ACORN members decide on supporting a campaign or initiative, we routinely invest significant time, effort and money to ensure that it is successful. Staff max out their credit cards to cover these costs while they and the members work to raise donations. In the case of A.B. 1381, the mayor’s committee rightly said yes to a request to help cover the costs to allow parents to speak in Sacramento, and to do the large-scale work of informing parents throughout the district. No individual at ACORN made a dime off this campaign, and the organization was only partially compensated for its expenses.

ACORN has worked with UTLA for several years to improve physical conditions and safety at specific schools, reduce the district bureaucracy, increase funding for classroom teaching and pursue other shared goals. We believe that UTLA’s long history of financial support for the efforts of ACORN and other community groups is both honorable and crucial to developing a more independent and powerful voice for needed changes. These contributions allow us to pursue the goals of our membership; they do not determine which goals we will pursue.

Abdullah Muhammad
Chair, Los Angeles ACORN

Martha Sanchez
Co-chair, Los Angeles ACORN

Josephus Copeland
Treasurer, Los Angeles ACORN

What’s Not in a Name

I am astonished that Efren Martinez, candidate for city council in Huntington Park, would make a campaign issue of Mayor Juan Noguez’s taken name versus his birth name [“Name Game in Huntington Park,” Feb. 9–15]. Our family’s full name, Perez Ceballos, was reduced to Perez when we immigrated to the U.S. My sister’s full name, Maria Guadalupe Perez Ceballos, was reduced to Maria Perez. My mother’s full name, Maria de la O (yes, that is her first name) Ceballos Oropeza de Perez, was reduced to Maria Perez. I find Mayor Noguez’s decision to adopt the name Juan Noguez not at all unusual for many immigrants or children of immigrants in this country. It is pathetic to make an issue of this in Huntington Park, with a 90 percent Latino population. My advice to Martinez: Find out what your full family name is. You’ll be surprised that, in fact, it is simply not two words.

Mario Ceballos
(a.k.a. Mario P. Ceballos, Mario Perez, Mario C. Perez, Mario Perez-Ceballos)
Los Angeles

Coming Up Shortsighted

I have never written in response to any reviewer’s comments about a film, but after seeing Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, then reading Scott Foundas’ dismissive review in the Weekly [“The Stasi Who Came in From the Cold,” Dec. 1–7, 2006], I am compelled to do so. Foundas characterizes the film as “dewy-eyed nostalgia” and accuses the filmmaker of “naive optimism.” The film I saw was chilling and disturbing, an intricately plotted examination of the all-too-human nature of bureaucratic evil. All the elements, and most especially the acting, were superbly rendered. It would be a shame if filmgoers forgo the experience of seeing this splendid film because of Foundas’ shortsighted review.

Stan Roth
Los Angeles

Brains and Doody

Regarding Robert Abele’s article on the new Sarah Silverman show [“Can’t We All Not Get Along?” Jan. 26–Feb. 1]: Thank you for finally recognizing the talents of this extraordinary woman. The promo for her show is in itself proof enough that we are once again in the presence of classic comedic genius. She “poops her pants” in a farting contest — wonderful, wonderful! And your writer doesn’t neglect her classic beauty — indeed, if you just waxed her cheeks and forearms you would have Grace Kelly.

Todd von Hoffmann


Some readers have wondered where to get the pizza pictured in last week’s cover image by Anne Fishbein. The pie in question was shot on its way into the wood-fired ovens at Vincenti in Brentwood [“Jonathan Gold’s 20 Best L.A. Italian Restaurants,” Feb. 9–15].

LA Weekly