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WILDLY INACCURATE IN DETAIL AND SPIRIT

There are
a number of troubling things about Johnny Angel’s otherwise interesting and
descriptive contribution to A Considerable Town in the May 9 (“Style
L.A. 03”)
issue of L.A. Weekly in which I am misquoted and improperly
attributed.


At no time do I represent myself as an employee of KPFK or its parent, the
Pacifica Radio Foundation. I anchor the KPFK Evening News as a committed
volunteer who believes in KPFK as the only radio station in Los Angeles that
is truly by the people, for the people.

At no time during the private event where we were introduced did I agree to
be interviewed by Mr. Angel.

I was never contacted regarding the accuracy of Mr. Angel’s quotations. Nor
was there ever a call or e-mail to fact check the conversation between myself
and Mr. Angel.

Mr. Angel’s report is wildly inaccurate in both detail and spirit. Mr. Angel
claims that I said the volunteers and staff in the Pacifica newsrooms somehow
compromise our journalistic standards in order to perform the function of gadfly
in today’s society. He claims that I also said the Pacifica audience is “stuck”
in a time when politics was “different.”

I said no such thing.

If I held either of these opinions, I would not volunteer my time and talents
to KPFK. The reason I came to the KPFK newsroom and the Pacifica network in
the first place is that I was drawn to the integrity and courage the reporters
exhibit in covering what more mainstream outlets don’t have the will or patience
to cover.

I take great pride in the diversity of KPFK’s listening audience. Where else
can you find loyal listeners that include everyone from Armenian mechanics in
Glendale to 10th-graders at Fairfax High School, from Mexican short-order cooks
in East L.A. to gay Episcopal priests in Beverly Hills, from Choctaw tribal
leaders to Santa Monica City Council members, from West Coast activists to East
Coast academics? Indeed, it is precisely because we eschew themes such as “Style
L.A. 03” that we engender the trust of our audience.

I believe L.A. Weekly would like to have the same commitment to journalistic
standards and protocol, so I look forward to seeing an acknowledgment and correction
of these oversights in your next issue.

—Jennifer Hodges
West Hollywood

 

THE EDITOR REPLIES: In his Considerable Town article, Johnny Angel identifies
Jennifer Hodges as an “evening news anchor at KPFK,” not as an employee of KPFK.

 

PRISONERS OF WAR

Los Angeles’ drug courts are definitely a step in the
right direction [“High
on Justice,” May 9–15]
. For nonviolent offenders with chronic substance-abuse
problems, drug treatment is a cost-effective alternative to incarceration. Unfortunately,
drug courts are being misused for political purposes. Record numbers of Americans
arrested for marijuana possession have been forced into treatment by the criminal-justice
system. The resulting distortion of treatment statistics is then used by drug
czar John Walters to make the claim that marijuana is “addictive.”

Zero-tolerance drug laws do not distinguish between occasional use and chronic
abuse. The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis into taxpayer-funded
treatment centers says a lot about U.S. government priorities but absolutely
nothing about the relative harms of marijuana. For an objective take on marijuana,
look to Canada. In the words of [Canadian] Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, “Scientific
evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful
than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and
public health issue.”

—Robert Sharpe
Drug Policy Alliance
Washington, D.C.

 

Bruce Shapiro’s article “Alarm
Addictions” [May 9–15]
neglected to answer one question about this country’s
so-called war on drugs that’s always rather puzzled me: Why do you suppose Darryl
Strawberry is popularly considered a junkie scumbag and Robert Downey Jr. a
poor helpless victim with an illness?

—Kevin Dawson
Los Angeles

 

THE END IS DEAR

This is in regard to Scott Foundas’ review of The
Shape of Things
[“Form
and Dysfunction,” May 9–15]
. I guess it’s about two sentences in when Foundas
finds it necessary to tell us there’s “a doozy of a twist ending.” Thanks. There
are too few good films released each year to have one of their endings ruined
by Foundas. When I’m watching that “doozy of a twist ending,” you can be certain
I’ll utter, “Fucking Foundas.”

—Eric Helin
Los Angeles

 

In his scathing review of X2 [“When
Big Gets Bigger,” May 2–8]
, Scott Foundas moans about how little impact
film critics have on comic-book-derived movies. Get over yourself. From where
I stand, listening to the audience produces movies like X2 that the audience
enjoys (go figure). Some people believe that is the point of movie making.

—Doug Rollison
Indianapolis

 

PAYNE AND PLEASURE

I want to thank John Payne for writing an honest review of Madonna’s
American Life
. I personally feel as though it is her best work to
date. It is insightful, personal, emotional — everything an artist’s work should
be. But rather than write a review of the album, critics love to bash her relentlessly
with very little to say about her work.

For 20 years now she has pushed the boundaries of music, sex and the roles
of women in society. She’s not going anywhere until she says she is. Critics
are a dime a dozen, but there’s only one Madonna. I’m thankful that there is
an artist with the balls to say what he or she thinks and feels and truly grows
as an artist.

I thank John Payne and the L.A. Weekly for writing and printing an
honest review. Keep up the good work . . . It didn’t go unnoticed.

—Shaun A. Young
Los Angeles

 

RAH-RAH, SIS-BOOM-BAH

I just finished reading Sitegeist [“Cheerleaders,”
May 2–8]
, and I want to say it has countered nicely for me the coverage
of the USS Abraham Lincoln returning on Good Day L.A. I can usually
trust that show to fill the morning with a lot of useless hooey, but now they’ve
gone “patriotic.” DANG!

—Christina Conway
Venice

 

A HEAD BELOW THE COMPETITION

Have you ever noticed that your headlines are unintelligible?

The Beasts Within

High on Justice

ON: George of the Jungle

A Considerable Town: Paradise Lost

Feed the Goats: Nine Democrats in search of a message

Most other newspapers use headlines that actually indicate what might be contained
in the associated story. Is that too much to ask for the L.A. Weekly?
Or must you be so cute with your headlines that a person has no idea what a
headline actually means? Do you have so much contempt for your readers, or so
little confidence in your journalism, that you feel you must tease and tantalize
people into reading a story, rather than using the headline to let them know
what to expect?

When you change your headline policy, let me know. Until then, I’ll read the
competition, which treats me like a grown-up.

—Robert Moskowitz
Woodland Hills

 

CORRECTION

In our “Style
L.A. 03”
issue [May 9–15], a silk charmeuse ball skirt credited to designer
Eduardo Lucero was in fact made by Goretti.