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Regarding Judith Lewis’ “404 Host Not Found” [cover story, March 2–8], what the e-commerce suckers have never understood is that the Internet is far more effective in bringing small groups of people together than it is in reaching a mass market. To give an example, for 20 years before the advent of Internet bookselling I had been trying to track down the work of the obscure British novelist Jack Trevor Story, and had succeeded in finding one book; with the help of the Internet, I was able to obtain most of his oeuvre. On the other hand, if I’d wanted to find a Stephen King book, I could have just walked to the drugstore. As far as mass marketing on the Internet goes, it’s as if the travois had been invented after the wheel, then a lot of idiots gave up the wheel because the travois was the latest technology.
In her piece about dot-bomb history and where the Web may turn next, Judith Lewis hit the nail on the head with the novel idea of starting with a brick-and-mortar community, then reaching out over the Web. Internet success comes only with patient nurturing of real-world communities, person by person, brick by brick. The hard way. The old-fashioned way.
Publisher, The Venice Times
Re: “Pro and Condoms” [March 2–8]. If “it saves one life, it’s worth it” was not remotely like my actual reaction to the controversy surrounding West Hollywood’s Proposition A. I do my best to resist such banal and simplistic responses. Amongst what I did, in fact, say in an e-mail response to writer Doug Sadownick was “We fought for mandatory availability of condoms in schools, yet our own WeHo community businesses, patronized by young working-age folk, have not been held to the same standard up until now. It has disgusted me for years.” I also indicated I was sad that this had not worked on a voluntary basis. Not as sexy as the soundbite cliché incorrectly attributed to me by the Weekly.
Now that AIDS is no longer hip or good business, perhaps it should not surprise us that even in terminally correct West Hollywood, what should have been embraced and supported has been vigorously fought.
Re: “Pacoima Reality Check” [March 2–8]. Marc Haefele is simply wrong when he asserts that industrial pollution is more serious than motor-vehicle-emissions-based “generalized air quality” in poor communities such as Pacoima. Across the L.A. basin and in every other metropolitan area, motor-vehicle emissions are far and away the greatest cause of air pollution. If one measured right at the smokestack, some manufacturers’ emissions might overshadow vehicle emissions, but this would probably not be the case even a few blocks away.
Moreover, motor-vehicle emissions are hardly “generalized”; they are concentrated in poorer communities. Carbon monoxide levels are much higher near major sources of emissions, such as freeways, than they are even a few blocks away. Freeways are more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods — notice, for example, how the Westside has relatively few freeway miles (and that the planned Beverly Hills Freeway never got built).
None of this is to say that industrial pollution should be ignored. Fortunately, and unlike car companies, many manufacturers have recognized that reducing emissions is in their own best interest, since emissions represent waste and cost. Reasonable people can also differ on the relative role of zero-emission vehicles, hybrid-engine vehicles, cleaner gasoline and diesel engines, improved mass transit, and lane-use changes in reducing motor-vehicle emissions. But whatever the strategy, we should keep our eye on the automotive/motor-vehicle ball.
Mr. Haefele is a victim of GM’s and the auto/oil industry’s divide, divert and conquer tactics if he thinks EV-1 enthusiasts are the enemy of clean air in the inner city. The development and utilization of electric-vehicle technology will ultimately greatly improve air quality. This technology can also be employed in trucks, public transportation and government vehicles. Do not be fooled by the automotive industry, which has demonstrated time after time it has no interest in improving safety, health or air quality.
Much of Marc B. Haefele’s “well-researched” information on electric vehicles is wrong. I would love to give you a ride in my GM EV-1 to prove the point.
—Michael “31,000 miles without visiting a gas station” Reagan
Marc B. Haefele’s article is wrong about the demand for electric cars. The waiting lists for these cars are incredibly long. Consider the GM EV-1: One TV commercial about five years ago, some print advertising that you needed a microscope to read, and the resulting demand? People continue to wait years to get the pleasure of driving this automotive marvel.
Driving a GM EV-1 compared to other cars is like flying a Boeing 737 in the days when DC-3s were popular. (By the way, I really enjoy driving my EV-1 almost as much as flying my favorite airplane . . . the Boeing 737.) And I can easily drive from Santa Monica to Carpinteria without charging my EV-1.
Drive to Las Vegas? That’s what the 737
—Captain Jeff Church
In her OffBeat article “Immaculate Contraception” [March 2–8], Sandra Hernandez rightly ridicules Roman Catholic Church officials thinking about dispensing the birth-control pill to nuns. Nonetheless, she is wrong about Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, being the “genesis of the notoriously ineffective ‘rhythm method.’” The useless rhythm method predates Pope Paul VI.
Sandra Hernandez ought to be ashamed of herself — not for bashing the church because one of its members suggested the pill for nuns who might be raped, but for calling what’s happening in Colombia a “civil war.” That’s like calling Timothy McVeigh a freedom fighter and the Oklahoma City bombing the first battle in a glorious revolution. The FARC are, despite their leftist posturing, terrorists and mercenaries who grew in power by first defending and then becoming wealthy drug dealers.
BEND A LITTLE
I’m writing in reference to “All-in-One Redux” by Gendy Alimurung [Restaurant Guide, February 9–15]. Ms. Alimurung did a good write-up of a restaurant I’d like to check out in Westwood, but included absolutely no information on how to find this place. I can’t find it in the Yellow Pages or online either. Can you please send me the address and phone number for Dr. J’s Healthy & Tasty? You may want to print it too so others can find this place. Thank you.
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
Sorry for the inconvenience. We decided, in the context of an article primarily about familiar fast-food chains (Koo Koo Roo, Jack in the Box, etc.), to omit addresses. Unfortunately, the one-of-a-kind restaurant in the article (Dr. J.’s, at 1303 Westwood Blvd., Westwood; 310-477-2721) may have been ill-served by our passion for consistency.