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Re: “The Hollywood 10-plus” [City Limits, March 9–15]. I eagerly opened last week’s Weekly and turned immediately to “The Hollywood 10-plus,” the article on the District 13 City Council race. After all, the 13th, to quote the article’s author, “may be the most ethnically diverse district in the city,” and “not the . . . district where you win with George W. Bush’s endorsement.” Great, I thought; after the boring stories in the downtown press that make the elections seem like something to avoid, this should reflect some real debate and some real issues.
Boy, was I disappointed. The article carefully selected only five of the candidates, leaving out the one black candidate, both of the women and the only socialist. There was also almost no mention of what the profiled candidates have proposed as concrete solutions to the problems of poverty, joblessness, racism and police abuse in the 13th. You could have reported, for example, that Wendy McPherson — the race’s only socialist/feminist, as well as a 15-year labor and queer activist — garnered some pretty important union endorsements, from AFSCME City Librarians and AFSCME Council 36, the first such actions for an open socialist in my memory anyway.
The Weekly has a journalistic responsibility to be fair and honest in reporting, and it really failed in this case. I urge you to try again.
Despite Marc B. Haefele’s characterization of my statements concerning the Belmont Learning Complex, I stand by my position that much more was known about the extent of the toxic problems on the Belmont site years earlier than has been widely reported. My position is supported by an objective assessment of the thousands of documents that were reviewed as part of my committee’s investigation of the facts surrounding this tragic project. As just one example of the evidence on this point, I submit the following excerpts from a letter to the LAUSD in May 1990, from the district’s retained outside counsel, David Cartwright:
“This is the most troublesome and problematic oil field in the entire county.”
“The Temple/Beaudry site is not fit for any construction.”
“The Division of Oil and Gas cannot imagine a worse site for a school.”
“The threat of a natural-gas-induced explosion is as likely here as in the Fairfax area.”
As for the issue of mitigation, I stand by my belief that there is no mitigation proposal for Belmont that adequately addresses the dangers of hydrogen sulfide. If I am in error, I prefer to err on the side of the scientists and engineers who state that no tested system — of the magnitude required for the size of the site — for neutralizing the potentially fatal properties of hydrogen sulfide exists anywhere in the world. The prospect of the children from the Belmont attendance area being the guinea pigs is unconscionable. They need and deserve the immediate construction of a safe high school.
City Council candidate
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
Scott Wildman’s use of David Cartwright’s letter is misleading. Cartwright was referring not to the half-finished Belmont Learning Complex project, which did not exist in May 1990, but to a middle school then being proposed on 11 acres at the corner of Temple Street and Beaudry Avenue, where heavy oil-drilling activity had occurred. When L.A. Unified later acquired 24 adjacent acres, district planners canceled the middle-school project in favor of the high school, retaining the original 11 acres for playing fields. Cartwright had no qualms about putting buildings on the 24 acres. Moreover, for better or worse, the Division of Oil and Gas supported moving the school buildings to the “cleaner” 24-acre portion.
DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN HIS BIG CORN-FED MOUTH
Re: “Born Under a Bad Sign” [March 16–22]. Am I the only one thinking that the hugely untalented Lalo Lopez is the one doing the “racial profiling” here? Based on his own admission: a) Mr. Lopez “smell[ed] like beer,” and b) he rear-ended an MTA handicapped-access minibus that had “suddenly” stopped in traffic.
I don’t care if you’re the King of Egypt, if you “smell like beer” (which I think is Lopez’s code for being drunk) and get into an accident, you, my friend, are in deep elephant dung. It’s past time Lopez took some responsibility for his actions and stopped being the “racial victim of circumstance.” He said he extolled the virtues of the CHP to graffiti artists Nuke and Skil, which is kinda hard to believe after he called the cop a “big corn-fed white CHP officer” earlier. I guess if the cop was black or Chicano, it would have been perfectly all right for him to say, “So, who you roll with?” But nooooo . . . he had to be a white bigot.
I am Asian-American, not white, so I have no hidden agenda here — just giving my two cents’ worth.
—Todd Carangan Jr.
HERE TO THERE
Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza, in the Weekly roundtable “A Vision for the City” (cover story, March 9–15], is inaccurate when she laments that there is no public-information campaign about how to use L.A. County’s municipal transit lines and Metrolink interact with MTA service. In fact, one has been available since last summer and can be obtained for free from any MTA Customer Center or by calling MTA Customer Relations at (213) 922-6235. Ms. Mendoza does transit advocacy a disservice by making accusations without having her facts straight.
Southern California Transit Advocates
MAKE THAT “THE MOST INDIANS”
I have just read John Ross’ account of the Zapatista trip to Mexico City [“War Against Oblivion,” March 16–22]. While it was interesting and well-intentioned, I could not help but notice a grave and telling error. It is repulsively ignorant to call Mexico City the most Indian city in the Americas. Obviously, Mr. Ross has not visited Guatemala City or La Paz. I can assure him, having visited Mexico City on numerous occasions and having been born in Guatemala City, that Mexico City cannot compare to the wondrous spectacle that is Guatemala City. I know that Guatemala is a small country, but, hombre, don’t be as blind to Mexico’s “south” as Americans are to Mexico. Verguenza!
—David Gonzalez M.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, Mr. Ross was speaking of the size of Mexico City’s Native American population, not passing aesthetic judgment. Thanks anyway for the travel tips.
LATE (AND STILL GREAT)
In Alan Rich’s “Divine Madness” column [A Lot of Night Music, March 16–22], he calls Igor Stravinsky’s Movements “short but awful,” characterizes the work as one of the “tatters that survive from Stravinsky’s pathetic last years” and likens Stravinsky to a “senile Picasso.” This is absurd, and just plain mean-spirited. It’s also ironic that he would praise the neoclassical Capriccio, a lightweight performance vehicle for the touring Stravinsky, while deriding Movements. If his tastes run to facile bonbons — which Movements is decidedly not — or if he doesn’t understand a work, why not simply say so?
If late Stravinsky works such as Movements, Requiem Canticles, Abraham and Isaac and the Orchestral Variations are tatters, Rich can keep his whole cloth — and paint a happyface on it while he’s at it.