Re: “Tapping
the Source” [August 8–14]
. Joe Donnelly’s piece on surfing is a rare gem
of writing, far above the usual fare I read in magazines and newspapers these
days. I am not a surfer (stuck in the waterless confines of Northern Virginia,
sigh), but after reading this gem I feel like I should drop everything and head
west to the Pacific. Such a pleasure. If we could all write like Joe, we’d be
more than halfway to actually communicating with each other.

—Michael Ganley
Arlington, Virginia


I just wanted to comment on Joe Donnelly’s “Tapping the Source.” First of
all, real surfers don’t live in Los Feliz. Second of all, the story was a non-story.
So a kook goes surfing with a couple of big-time surfers. And? Well, yes, it’s
lucky to be a journalist that has these sorts of connections, but this guy doesn’t
seem qualified to write a cover story about surfing. Sorry. But it’s true.

—Olivia Mandel
Santa Monica


It was refreshing to read an intelligently written article about the quest
of surfers old and new. Having been anticipating the release of Step Into
for the past few weeks, I must admit I cringed when I saw it was
the cover story. I avoided reading the article for two days, certain it would
be a whitewash of true surfing and wrought with stereotypic surf lingo no surfer
I know (old or new) actually uses. Instead, the story was presented with an
insightful, intelligent view of the surfer’s search for soul.

Being from central Ohio, I too grew up miles from any surfable waves. I moved
to California to go to college, bought a board and learned to surf. While I’m
not worth photographing just yet, I remain captivated by the dedication of beginners
and pros alike, and the mystical qualities inherent to the search for surf.
Presently, my buddy Albert and I can be seen kookin’ it up at Bay Street, Sunset
and, occasionally, County Line. We may not be much to look at, but like Donnelly,
we continue our biweekly search for the next stoke. Thank you, Mr. Donnelly,
for putting into print what I’ve tried to explain to
countless non-surfing friends.

—Jeremy J. Trimble
Los Angeles


Hey Joe, keep your whining to yourself about how the Pittsburgh within
you keeps you from Nirvana. Growing up with 40 percent unemployment as the breeding
ground’s no picnic, but if you had to run away and go dream in Southern California,
to go find your bliss on a private beach owned and defended by the ruling
class, maybe you should rethink some of the lessons you
left behind.

—David Conrad
Mar Vista


Nikki Finke’s “Barbarian
at the Gate” [August 15–21]
had a nice premise — that there’s a silver lining
for liberals in Schwarzenegger’s campaign because Hollywood-bashing Republicans
will have to cool it somewhat. But her premise is based on a fundamental flaw
— the unfortunate assumption that Republicans or right-wingers possess an ounce
of principled or consistent thought or will somehow be in any way deterred from
hucking the closest rhetorical shitball they can find lying around at any Hollywood
type who dares point out that King George and his court of Dr. Strangelove rejects
are little more than blithering, oil-addled chimps. It doesn’t matter and won’t
matter a whit to these people that their smarmy musings on the academic shortcomings
of the Sean Penns and Susan Sarandons of the world smack of hypocrisy while
they spend their time pimping the very essence of Hollywood vapidity for leader
of the world’s fifth largest economy.

—D. Jay Ritt


As a longtime animal-rights activist, I was moved to tears by Belinda Cooper’s
heartbreaking report on “The
Stray Cats of Tbilisi” [August 1–7]
. The struggles of people like Gia Akhvlediani
and Lexo Khubulava are truly inspiring and heartwarming. But they need our help!
Going to the Web site
to send a donation to the cat shelter, I wondered if any international humane
organizations have taken on the plight of the animals in Georgia and other former
Soviet nations? The help of those of us in more affluent nations could really
make a difference in the lives of these people and their animals.

—Lynn Stevenson
Manhattan Beach


Thanks for the excellent article on how tragedy filters down to even the domestic
animals, those companions so many of us value. Georgia’s efforts are understandable
and not unique. For years, Israel’s only policy for dealing with feral cat colonies
was mass poisoning. As in Georgia, Israel — recovering from war, trying to build
an economy — had no tradition of family pets; it took years before the development
of the Cat Welfare Society of Israel made the fledgling society able to have
enough acceptance to go to local communities with their active programs to TNR
(trap, neuter, return). People like Gia Akhvlediani, with his 30 cats to feed,
are just the beginning of solving the problem humanely. And yes, caring for
animals is part of creating a ‰ society which has respect for the rights
of all.

—Ms. Marty Rauch
Los Angeles


Generally, the Weekly does a marvelous job of featuring local personalities
and places in a way that makes you put down the paper for a second and think,
“Aw shucks, there’s more depth to this place and its many characters than people
give credit for.” This, unfortunately, was not the case in Seven McDonald’s
unbelievably pointless article that for whatever reason chose to highlight the
difficult struggle of three of the most vapid trust-fund brats in Burbank [“Cool
Times,” August 1–7]
. I always said that when the L.A. Weekly turned
into Entertainment Weekly, it would be time to go. Let’s hope al Qaeda
has the Toluca Hills Oakwood apartment complex on their short list. If you need
me, I’ll be in Wyoming.

By the way, if “Cool Times” was a joke, it was very, very funny.

—J. Cole
Silver Lake


Marc Cooper’s press-release-packaged-as-commentary about Arianna Huffington
[“It’s the Governor, Dahling,” August 1–7]
demonstrates that his journalism
ethics are comparable to Dick Cheney’s political ethics. The “sprawling Brentwood
home” that Cooper describes in his press release is the same home where Arianna
hosted a publicity party for Cooper’s book Pinochet and Me. Cooper’s
failure to disclose this and other information about his relationship with Arianna
is about as forgivable as Cheney’s failure to disclose the names of the energy-industry
executives who helped him draft the Bush administration’s energy policy. The
main difference between Cheney and Cooper is that the vice president is a multimillion-dollar
hustler; Cooper is a nickel-and-dimer.

—Lawrence Soley
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Alan Rich is wonderful, the best classical et al. music reviewer we’ve had
in L.A. in 20 years. We’re in desperate need here. For God’s sake, don’t ever
let him go.

—Angela and Richard Mankiewicz
Los Angeles


Well, here we are in election hell with several unbearable candidates. But,
who has the power, intelligence, charisma and lifestyle to be governor of this
state — and needs a job? Bill Clinton! I can only encourage Bill to buy a small
apartment in Lodi and come out here to save us from ourselves.

Rich Bergman



A news item (Citysweep,
August 15–21)
stated that Eric Garcetti served as campaign manager in the
re-election campaign of his father, District Attorney Gil Garcetti, in 2000.
The son’s campaign-manager stint came in his father’s election four years earlier.

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