Re: “Beaching the Cleanup
Plan” [June 20–26]. William Kelly’s article missed the point on the current
controversies surrounding storm-water and beach pollution. The article attempts
to paint the picture of a one-man crusade to overturn the water board’s controls.
This overly broad brush also blames a group of city managers for “rushing” their
local councils into filing court cases against the new regulations. This misrepresents
the facts, as well as underestimates the deeply rooted concerns over the new
unfunded mandates by local elected officials. It is important to correct the
The article cites as evidence city managers authorizing legal action on the
storm-water permit, prior to taking the issue to their city councils. More than
46 cities challenged the rules in January 2003. We scheduled our legal challenge
at a regular open meeting, so that any member of the public would know the city
was moving forward with the litigation and what were our concerns.
The litigation and the “rush” were triggered by the refusal of the State Water
Quality Control Board to hold a promised public hearing on the cities’
grievances. The board notified the cities on December 22 of their refusal and
then waited until the last day to inform the cities. The cities were given until
January 17 to file a legal challenge. Most cities could not schedule meetings
during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, due to scheduling conflicts. The
cities saw this as a deliberate attempt by the board to limit the number of
cities filing a court challenge.
The board’s tactic backfired. Several city managers authorized the litigation,
contingent upon official council approval after the January 17 deadline. This
allowed a handful of city managers to indicate their intent to join the litigation,
if authorized by their city councils. The vast majority of the 46 cities authorized
litigation prior to the January 17 deadline at either regular or special meetings.
This information was provided to the Weekly, but did not appear, in fairness
to the cities.
The Weekly also omitted information provided on the many programs that
the cities are implementing to address very real problems. Examples included
sponsoring legislation to ban Styrofoam cups and containers and pushing the
State Waste Board to study the issue of plastics pollution, a major problem
on the beaches. Cities have also been active in obtaining grants, both state
and federal, to begin addressing pollution issues. These include a small “earmark”
of $450,000 in federal funds targeted for trash on the beaches. Although this
is a small amount, it is a good first-year start, and the cities will be pushing
for more federal funding.
It is truly unfortunate that the Weekly did not want to engage in a
dialogue on the real issues surrounding the current storm-water and urban-runoff
regulations. Preferring to sensationalize the issues and demonizing the opposition
(as being driven by one man) is doing a disservice to your readers.
The L.A. Weekly–referenced article reminds me of the adage “When you
can’t argue the facts, attack the source.” I take personal offense at William
Kelly’s lack of reporting credibility and with the Weekly’s choice to
print such a one-sided article. I spent more than an hour with Kelly, and gave
him some very specific details and reports documenting the problems with the
current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Maybe
you should ask him for this information and educate yourself on these issues.
In the meantime, let me take a few statements, and omissions, to task:
Yes, I am gay and proud of it, but the quote on Curley’s being a “redneck
place” is wrong.
The money spent to date on lawsuits was driven by the regional and state boards’
refusal to hold meaningful public hearings on the subjects.
The USC study given to Mr. Kelly did not create an “acting out of fear” response
by city officials, but gave us all a reasonable outlook on the current NPDES
and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.
Why is there no discussion on the “administration review” of the 30-plus-year
history of the “Basin Plan,” with which Mr. Kelly was provided?
Mr. Kelly’s discussion of the number of beach closures does not mention that
this is a reduction from previous years.
Cities in the L.A. basin have spent millions on the first two NPDES iterations.
We therefore take exception to Heal the Bay’s Mr. Gold’s quote. We have
“done a damn thing.”
As a person living with HIV/AIDS and on disability income, I take offense
at the inference that I am a rich man pursuing a selfish agenda. My “cream-colored”
Mercedes is 27 years old, and I only hope that it will provide transportation
for the rest of my life.
I hope I have made myself very clear. The L.A. Weekly needs to get
responsible; Mr. Kelly’s journalism deserves an award from the National Enquirer.
Signal Hill ‰
Re: Judith Lewis’ “Killing
the Angel in the House” [June 20–26]. I thought the comments made by Brody
Armstrong about Rock n Roll High School pretty damn weird. I attend the school,
and I can’t say that relating to other girls with similar interests to me has
ever been “annoying.” But that’s just me. As for the people running the school
being “Nazi sows”? I have been learning classical piano from Stephanie Bourke
at the school for some years now, and I can’t think of any Nazi-sow moments
— though one time she did tell me to practice a bit more.
Brody Armstrong obviously thinks that she will get into some elitist hard-done-by
rock & roll club by saying such disgusting things about her peers. Maybe
her publicity bandwagon has had a flat tire, and Brody has decided to jump on
the nearest one to save her “career.” Isn’t it sad when people can’t look up
to their peers and say, “Thank you,” but instead toss them aside like yesterday’s
newspaper? I’m appalled that the L.A. Weekly would print such a thing.
As the founder of Brody (real name Bree) Armstrong’s first band (Sourpuss)
and fellow beneficiary of RNRHS’s tutelage, I was extremely disappointed to
read her appraisal of an institution that has done so much to help so many young
women — including Bree — to achieve their ambitions. As someone who has worked
closely with Bree, I have witnessed her incredible knack for creating “butterscotch
moments” with useful people — and for creating a revisionist bio that would
make Stalin blush. Good on her, too. No one wants to read a 5,000-word puff
piece on some middle-class kid who fixates on Courtney Love, do they now?
Why the sour grapes, Brody? Is it not cool for “iconic young women” to have
help from other women? Men in the industry get help from their mates all the
time — what’s the big deal? Do you really think that you sprung, fully formed,
from the head of the rock goddess? Is that what you tell “the kids”? I believe
the appropriate response is “Whatever.”
I resent a foreign journalist creating such a negative image of RNRHS through
a one-sided, biased and inaccurate view of the amazing place that is RNRHS.
Bree would not be in the position she is in today without the networking and
skills she gained at RNRHS. She knows it, and the RNRHS community knows it.
Burlingham, New York
In a piece by Christopher Lisotta about the Supreme Court case Lawrence
v. Texas (“It’s
About More Than Sodomy,” July 4–10, 2003), White & Case was identified
as a Washington, D.C.–based law firm. Though it has a regional office in D.C.,
its headquarters are in New York.