We're Totally Awesome

Last week, we had no Comments section. But we had a great excuse: We were too busy filling every last page of the issue with our gigantic tribute to the very Best Of L.A. Which, for the record, was the biggest list of Best Of winners anyone 'round here can remember (435!), and an awesome issue, if we do say so ourselves.

Come to think of it, though, we don't need to say so ourselves. Here's what reader Adriana Baltazar wrote us, echoing the thoughts of many who were kind enough to write in: “Thank you for the Best Of Issue. I'm an L.A. newbie, and it's so hard to find the golden nuggets that I know are here. This is a lifesaver!

You're welcome! And now back to our regularly scheduled programming …

Space Shuttle 1, Trees 0

Our mailbag was stuffed with interesting feedback to Tessa Stuart's Sept. 27 piece about the deceit surrounding the transport of the space shuttle Endeavour from LAX to its new home at the California Science Center (“Endeavour's Ugly Arrival”).

Writes Geoff Ward, “Thanks for the great article on the moving of the space shuttle and the ill-conceived tree removal fiasco. It's a crying shame that no one in city government stood up to say, 'Hey, let's figure out how to mitigate the environmental damage this will create.' I love how you showed that the city wasn't following its own code or its own procedures — which it could've, since we've known for quite some time that the shuttle was heading to the science center. Well done, and thanks.”

Getplanted won't cry over spilled sap: “Take a look around you as you travel around Los Angeles. You will notice millions of trees growing all over the city. The needless loss of one tree is sad, but why get your panties in a bunch over a few hundred trees out of several million?

Julia Tyson knows trees. “You lost me with the oxymoron 'healthy [blue gum] eucalyptus on MLK,' ” she writes. “Non-indigenous, brittle and dangerously prone to limb-drop, they should never be planted in parks, schoolyards or as street trees. Ficus are also terrible street trees. Good riddance to both. The California Science Center promises to plant twice the number of trees it took out. Our time would be better spent holding them to that and making sure they plant appropriately.

And Russ Maheras takes this kerfuffle as an indictment of the whole city. “Los Angeles isn't my hometown — Chicago is — so I really don't pay much attention to the political bickering that goes on between the different local factions,” he writes. “That said, I have observed that the area probably has the largest percentage of activists/obstructionists per capita of anywhere else I've lived in the United States. Such folks are natural impediments to change of any type, and from what I've seen during the three years I've lived in the area, one activist with a lawyer can shut down any project, regardless of how big, how important or how beneficial it may be to the majority of the populace as a whole.

“In your recent article, it was clear to this outsider that, based on the activist tantrums peppered throughout the article and author's obvious editorializing, if the city had consulted with any environmentalists, and if even one healthy tree was to be 'killed' during the move, Endeavour would be sitting on the tarmac at LAX for the rest of eternity.

“The fact is, in the overall scheme of things, 400 trees is nothing. To put it into perspective, tens of thousands of California tree acreage is destroyed by wildfires every single year. When I lived in Chicago during the 1970s, Dutch elm disease was killing 50,000 trees a year, denuding vast swaths of the entire city of beauty and shade. In Delaware during the early 1990s, a severe ice storm rolled through and also destroyed tens of thousands of trees. Yet the indignant cries made in 'Endeavour's Ugly Arrival' were so fervent, one would think the arboreal destruction along the shuttle's transportation route was cataclysmic in scope.

“It isn't. If the follow-up is done right, the trees will be replanted (just as they were in Chicago and Delaware), the shade canopies will return, and there will soon be little evidence that Endeavour ever passed through. Meanwhile, the California Science Center will have one of the rarest and most irreplaceable examples of aviation history in the world. That, my friends, is cause to celebrate, not a cause célèbre.”

The Occupation Continues

Readers also weighed in on Gene Maddaus' story on the one-year anniversary of Occupy L.A. (“The State of the Occupation,” Sept. 27).

OLAnarchist is not a fan. “It's sloppy journalism to assume that the movement has failed, sloppy journalism to assume we ever 'hibernated.' Articles are supposed to be objective and a truthful accurate reflection of a series of events, not this pseudo-reporting littered with the writer's shitty opinion. And some of the people interviewed haven't even been much involved with Occupy L.A. since last winter. Some of their opinions on the movement aren't very valuable.”

Bill Miller sees a bigger picture. “Gene Maddaus' article provides us with an excellent reason why Washington doesn't work — the filibuster,” he writes. “Even when the Democrats had control of both houses, the Republicans could block every measure that Obama proposed by a 40-member blockade. … Occupy Wall Street simply mimics the behavior of the government they love to deplore. As such, they are simply a dysfunctional excuse for a protest movement.

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