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LOOKS LIKE THE HIGHWAY

Marc Haefele’s
piece “Beyond
Bernie” [Comment, March 15–21]
accurately foretells that Bernie Parks’ 15
minutes of fame are up. It’s time for him to go. Crime is up, cop morale is
low, Mayor Hahn does not support him, and cops are leaving in droves for other
jobs. Folks have grown tired of his “my way or the highway” management style
and are ready for a change. Los Angeles is badly in need of a new chief who
will enjoy the respect of the cop on the beat as well as that of the citizenry.
A new chief who is serious about reform and who will move the LAPD forward without
having to be forced to make changes at gunpoint would sure be nice.

So the question now is: Who is the right person to take over the reins of
the LAPD after Parks’ requiem? Although Haefele suggests some future hopefuls,
he overlooked one bright star within the department who could just pull it off.
Deputy Chief Dave Kalish, who oversees LAPD functions on the west side of town,
has long been recognized by a variety of communities as a very progressive,
forward-thinking police manager. He currently enjoys the widespread support
of rank-and-file patrol cops, as well as that of significant Westside groups
including Jews, gays, Asians, African-Americans and Latinos. Some may remember
him as the affable LAPD spokesman who calmed the city’s fears during such high-profile
incidents as the shooting at the Jewish Community Center and the murder-suicide
of Phil and Brynn Hartman. Kalish’s progressive credentials would ensure a commitment
to fulfilling the LAPD’s Consent Decree, as well as moving the department into
the 21st century.

Our future choice for chief of police should be based on substance, not style.
We need to go with someone who can really make a difference, not waste our time
once again with politically advantageous poster boys who are all talk and no
action.

—Adrian Rivera Ramos
Los Angeles

NOT TO MINCE WORDS

Marc Cooper is so full of shit howling about some moderate
Republicans out there changing the state as he chokes his chicken over “ruthless”
Davis and the “shell” of the California Democratic Party. It was idiots like
him who rallied around Nader and allowed Bush-Cheney to steamroll over the country
and the Constitution. Davis may not be perfect, but he can kick conservative
ass. The GOP wants crybabies like Cooper screaming Chicken Little over
Davis. I can’t wait to vote for Davis for president, because, since Clinton,
there is no one else strong enough to take on the GOP.

—Sam Park
Van Nuys

BUT DECEPTION IS AN ART

Thanks for Charles Rappleye’s detailed yet succinct article
on Enron in California [“High-Wire
Dreamin’,” March 15–21]
. However, Enron was less than it appeared to be
in many ways, and one of them was overlooked in the article. The “state-of-the-art
trading floor” you mention may have been mostly a façade, as noted in the Weekly’s
“Back Story” column a few weeks ago. In case your readers missed it, the link
is: https://www.click2houston
.com/hou/news/stories/news-1248368
20020222-130220.html.

—Mike Allen
Glendale

WHEN NERD MEETS N*E*R*D

Re: “N*E*R*D
Want Theirs” [March 15–21]
. Alec Hanley Bemis should have included joining
the bandwagon on overhyped albums as one of the things onetime nerds use to
“mask their inadequacies.” Except the nerds, in this case, are every music journalist
I’ve read who’s reviewed this particular album. Bemis described an album that
shows an “ear for texture” and has “great beats, psychedelic flourishes and
whirring keyboards.” What it doesn’t have is any good songs. Just riffs (and
hack riffs at that) masquerading as songs. Instead of singing, there’s whining
within a limited range. No melodic or harmonic (remember chord changes?) innovation.
This is a shake-your-booty record and nothing more. It has absolutely no use
outside a club.

I didn’t buy the record, but I almost did because of the hype. My money was
saved by a listening station at Tower. If you don’t want to make the trip, download
this crap for free. Just don’t believe the hype.

—Michelle Murray
North Hollywood

PICTURE IMPERFECT

I thought Judith Lewis’ piece on Norah Vincent [“Review
This Book or Else,” March 8–14]
was right on, although I would have nailed
Vincent a little harder on her distinctive lack of logic. (Her Salon
piece using shark attacks last summer as a metaphor was a classic piece of idiocy,
as shark attacks were actually down and are so infrequent as to be representative
of nothing.) However, I take issue with Geoff Grahn’s illustration for the piece,
which was cheap and unimaginative, and detracted from what was otherwise an
excellent piece of commentary.

—E.F. Tracey

New York City

FORGET UNMARKED — TRY
NONEXISTENT

Paul Cullum’s article on the series of BMW shorts directed
for the Internet by various filmmakers [“The
Hired Hand,” March 8–14]
had its interesting parts. His reference to John
Frankenheimer’s “signature car chases” in the film French Connection II
was one of them — particularly as there are no car chases in that film. Because
William Friedkin’s The French Connection had just won an Oscar
for the editing of its signature car chase, Frankenheimer set himself the challenge
of making an even more suspenseful sequel without staging any car chases at
all. In the course of the film, Gene Hackman does chase after an Arab,
a tram, a couple of cute girls, several Frenchmen and a yacht — all on foot.

—Chuck Stephens
Los Angeles

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chuck Stephens is a freelance film writer and occasional
contributor to the
L.A. Weekly.

PREDICTABLE IF JUSTIFIED

In “The Grim Weeper”
[A Lot of Night Music, March 8–14]
, Alan Rich, justifiably perhaps, disparages
the overuse of the somewhat indelicate term “slush pump” by a former L.A.
Times
music critic in reference to the work of Tchaikovsky. He tags him
with the cardinal fault of “predictability.” Yet Martin Bernheimer, it seems
to me, like his estimable successor, Mark Swed, largely reviewed each piece
of music on its own terms and rarely revealed his own predilections, whereas
Mr. Rich has never had any compunctions about letting us know which composers
are among his favorites — Mozart, Schubert, Adams, Ligeti, etc. — and rarely
has positive things to say about others, such as Brahms, Bruckner, Glass, Carter,
etc. In that sense, the general tenor of his reviews can often be seen as quite
“predictable” (and often, too, they may be just as negative as those of Bernheimer,
whom he regularly criticized for hypernegativity).

Still, the enthusiasm and perceptiveness Mr. Rich brings to his work are evident
week after week, and a delight to many of us who read him.

—Jamie Kinzer
North Hollywood

THE AIR, HOT AND FRAGRANT

Regarding Brendan Bernhard’s Considerable Town item on
the effects of advertising and poetry [“The
Poet and the Ad Man,” March 15–21]
: Rex Wilder is blowing it out the ptootie
hole. Two years ago, a giant billboard on Lincoln Boulevard in beachside Los
Angeles with a quote from Charles Bukowski in simple black and white resulted
in the sale of hundreds of Bukowski’s books. The billboard was paid for by a
group called Poets Anonymous. The advertising of quality literature can work
when the advertisers believe in the product and present it in an intriguing
manner.

—Guy Joyce
Los Angeles