story on Enron’s impact on the California energy market and vice versa
[“High-Wire Dreamin’,” March 15–21] is one of the finest examples of reporting
yet produced on the Enron fiasco (and believe me, I’ve read almost all of it).
For too long now in America, Milton Friedman–esque ideologues have wreaked havoc
on our nation’s consumer-protective regulatory safety net. The end result? Unsafe
airlines, thinly disguised advertising posing as children’s TV programming,
skyrocketing bank fees, corrupt and greedy telecommunications giants that sacrifice
service to emphasize sales, California blackouts . . . the list goes on and
on. In general, the loss of quality, service and choice (the record clearly
shows that, in the long run, deregulation means less choice) has led to a significant
decline in the quality of life for ordinary Americans, all so a handful of multinational
monoliths can afford to pay top executives obscene salaries, bonuses and stock
options, while mid- and lower-level employees slog longer hours for less pay.
Now if only the fourth estate would get off its duff to look beyond Enron to
what’s occurring at other sacred-cow corporations.
THE CONTINUING FEUD
Ella Taylor’s article “Family
Feud” [March 22–28], published by the L.A. Weekly under the guise
of journalism, reeks of supremacist apologia, and my pre-publication letter
to the editors of the Weekly articulating her unprofessional actions
in “reporting” the piece can be found at www.la.indymedia.org.
Here’s the facts. After we threw the doors open, KPFK raised more money in our
last fund drive than ever before in its history. The preliminary structures
we’ve proposed (see www.kpfk.org) around
programming councils, collective formation and internship/volunteer programs
hold forth the promise of unprecedented community involvement. And while the
prospect of community radio seems to terrify Ms. Taylor, it’s too bad she spent
her research period refusing my entreaties to come to KPFK, to see these possibilities
As for her bizarre characterization of me as being in “over my head,” I’ve
run far more complex operations than KPFK in my career, and have more than 25
years of experience in creating/managing/developing many forms of media, including
radio. I’ve not, however, despite Ms. Taylor’s assertions to the contrary, ever
worked in PR.
I walked into a station ruled by fear and intimidation, controlled by an exclusionary
management team, with a staff under siege and drive-time hours controlled by
a few white programmers. I’m leaving KPFK, 68 days later, with a far more diverse
staff in control of its own destiny and featuring drive-time voices that begin
to actually represent the diversity of Los Angeles — not to mention a community
of deeply engaged volunteers who have been welcomed back into the building.
I urge your readers to come on down to the station and see for themselves. And
sure, there’s a great deal more work to be done. But KPFK, and Pacifica in general,
has been liberated into the possibility of its own future, and I’m deeply proud
of the results of my brief tenure.
Former interim general manager KPFK
John Powers writes in “Winona
Forever” [On, March 22–28], “People ask why a ‘millionairess’ like Ryder
would shoplift, but the real question is why Saks’ staff would make it a news
story.” The drastic step by Saks may indicate that Ryder had a reputation for
shoplifting at Saks, and that the store let her get away with it for a while.
Ryder may have gotten too bold, or maybe Saks decided it was tired of being
ripped off by the privileged set, with its sense of entitlement. Or maybe Saks
had to make a big deal of it in order to send a message to others with the same
predilection, to limit its losses and prevent further incidence of serial celebrity
shoplifting. I doubt whether they would have pursued this unless they had hard
evidence of Ryder’s guilt.
New York City
While I wholeheartedly agree with Paul Cullum’s assessment of Jennifer Connelly’s
Piece,” March 22–28], I was a little surprised by his failure to mention
her finest performance to date. Months before she “finally broke a sweat” in
Requiem for a Dream, she gave the performance of her career (hell, of
anybody’s career) in Keith Gordon’s underrated Waking the Dead. This
movie, a combination romance, political commentary and ghost story, provided
Connelly with one rigorous scene after another, and she played every emotional
note in the book perfectly. Failing to mention this role in an appreciation
of Connelly’s range and depth is like writing a piece on Brando that forgets
to reference A Streetcar Named Desire.
Wow, not one but two actual, old-fashioned, unapologetic fans’ homages to
the actresses they love in the same issue of the Weekly — Paul Cullum
on Jennifer Connelly and John Powers on Winona Ryder. Of course, this being
the Weekly, you were obliged to print a lead-footed “rebuttal” by some
doctrinaire feminist academic right next to Cullum’s piece. Too bad. Looks like
it will be quite a while yet before any of your film critics can escape the
long reach of the P.C. drones and backbiters. Until then, there’s always the
lone voice of F.X. Feeney.
Re: Joseph Treviño’s “Unchained Melody: Roquero Heaven”
[A Considerable Town, March 29–April 4]. Great article! As kids, my friends
and I used public transportation to get us around downtown Los Angeles. We would
attend Mass at Olvera Street, then head over to Clifton’s Cafeteria for lunch.
I’m now 23 and proudly work downtown. Despite some of the remarks I hear, the
neighborhood has very much improved. I often catch the Dash on my lunch hour,
and love to explore places I frequented as a child. I actually walked into the
old location of La Cara and was shocked to see that it was gone. (Luckily, it
has relocated.) La Cara was a very important local stand. It kept the Hispanic
community in touch not only with Spanish rock but also with good ol’ classic
rock and even hard rock. I live rock music day in and day out, and I’m glad
that La Cara has been around so long and was able to find a new home.
Some nights I’m in no mood to see a punk show. Other
nights I simply can’t afford the single-digit cover charges and three-buck bottles
of beer so common to such gigs. But even if I found myself forever fired up
and decently funded, I’d still have a rough one deciding which hardcore bands
to check out. You see, this city’s loaded with them. Often, two or more great
bands will play on the same night at different venues, and I’m forced to flip
a coin. So, of course, I found it borderline pathetic that Alec Hanley Bemis
and his hardcore-seeking buddy [“Looking for Hardcore in an Emo World,” March
22–28] settled for some emo-influenced band, math-rocking under spotlights that
blinded the crowd, with “definite hardcore potential.” C’mon, Bemis, real hardcore
isn’t too tough to sniff out in this town. Oh, and by the way, it’s called “slamming,”
—Keith David Hamm
Cool (not): an article about celebrity look-alikes
[“Hollywood at the Edges,” A Considerable Town, March 29–April 4] without
a single photo so we could see them. Jesus, people, wake up down there.