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PUSSYCATS AND LAME DUCKS
Re: Marc B. Haefele’s “Alatorre’s
Cat” [City Limits, May 4–10]. I think that 49th Assembly District candidate
Dan Arguello — a young Chicano, Vietnam War veteran and recipient of the Purple
Heart who wanted to get involved in L.A. politics in the ’70s — was smart to
work for Richard Alatorre, the city’s only Latino City Council member. Haefele
takes that fact and builds a guilt-by-association argument that Arguello is
a corrupt politician who, over his entire political career, has taken marching
orders from Richard Alatorre.
This argument would be more compelling if the Weekly had refused to
endorse other politicians — e.g., Bill Clinton — who were associated with criminals
or fugitives (Web Hubbel, Johnny Chung,
Riady, Guy Tucker, et al.). Dan
Arguello has a track record as a member of the Planning Commission, City Council,
mayor of Alhambra and numerous civic organizations. He’s a kind, humble and
pleasant person who builds bridges. I even heard him tell an angry staffer not
to retaliate against the punks in Judy Chu’s campaign who have been ripping
down Arguello signs. Instead, he told him to put his energy into something constructive
— like placing signs on lawns in front of residences least likely to be vandalized.
Sounds like the kind of person we need in Sacramento.
Marc B. Haefele states that Richard Alatorre has resigned from his position
with the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board [“Richard’s
Bracelet,” City Limits, April 20–26]. It is my understanding that, while
he submitted a resignation to Senator John Burton, he has requested that Senator
Burton not accept the resignation until he, Alatorre, is sentenced. Sentencing
is scheduled for July 31. This will allow Alatorre to accrue pension rights
and salary. Thus, the Appeals Board has been wrestling with the idea of assigning
new cases to a felon.
Re: Marc B. Haefele’s “Barking
for Change” [City Limits, May 4–10]. Thank you on behalf of Torrance residents
who are fighting for their own animal-control officers. I am an El Segundo resident,
and I am so thrilled that we no longer depend on L.A. County for animal control.
I wish the best of luck to the residents of Torrance, and hope they will not
have to go through too many election cycles before they get local control of
this essential public-safety function.
Marc B. Haefele’s story on animal control in the city of Torrance would have
been better had it been based on facts. Dean Case, for example, a leader of
the Friends of Torrance Animals (FTA), complains that the county Department
of Animal Care and Control has a “return-to-owners rate for lost pets of less
than 10 percent and a euthanasia rate of over 80 percent.” These numbers are
misleading. During 1999-2000, for example, a total of 781 dogs and 689 cats
were impounded as strays from Torrance or brought to the county’s Carson Animal
Shelter by Torrance residents. Of that number, 471 dogs and cats were euthanized
at the shelter at the request of their owners because the animals were
sick or old and their owners could no longer care for them. Unfortunately, the
FTA chooses to ignore the fact that the vast majority of animals wind up in
shelters because their owners don’t want them anymore.
When we took over the animal-control services, the city of Torrance negotiated
a fee-for-service contract under which our agency keeps all license revenues
we collect in return for free animal-control services. In other words, Torrance
taxpayers have paid nothing for animal control for almost the last seven fiscal
years. Torrance officials estimate it will cost the city as much as $950,000,
just in the first year, to equip and operate a municipal animal-control agency.
Still, if the city wants to operate its own program, we will cooperate in
making the transition smooth. However, to lobby for this change by constantly
denigrating the Carson Shelter, as FTA members do, is unfair to the hard-working
staff at the shelter. Rather than ceaselessly attack the shelter and its programs,
it would be far better for all parties to work together for the benefit of the
—Frank R. Andrews
Los Angeles County Department
of Animal Care and Control
SPIKED, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Regarding Gale Holland’s “Spiked
in Hollywood” [May 4–10]: Has the movie industry really lost its best investigative
journalist because the Hollywood Reporter is afraid to examine whether
cobweb-encrusted gossip columnist George Christy’s cameo appearances in Troop
Beverly Hills and Jury Duty may or may not have been fraudulent?
Trade-paper “news” consists mostly of boilerplate blurbs about what project
has been green-lit or who signed a development deal at what studio, and most
successful trade reporters are young men and women (many with unproduced scripts
in their own bottom drawers) who must develop disturbingly incestuous relationships
with studio insiders in order to score these “scoops.” Dave Robb’s thorough,
zealous coverage of thorny, often obscure but always important issues stood
in stark contrast to the text that surrounded it in the pages of the Reporter.
Readers unfamiliar with the workings of the entertainment industry may not
understand why a single writer makes much difference, but breaking real news
has never been a trade-paper specialty. Mr. Robb was the exception. Gale Holland’s
insightful piece correctly identified his departure as the real tragedy of the
recent controversy at the Reporter.
New York City
Re: “Henry: Portrait
of a Serial Kissinger” [WLS, April 27–May 3]. Christopher Hitchens’ latest
nonsense about Henry Kissinger weaves fact and fiction, and I am appalled that
Greg Goldin so happily accepts his incorrect figures and stats. All of my almanacs
— four of them — confirm, for example, that the number of American dead [in
the Vietnam War] from 1969 (when President Nixon took office) through 1973 comes
to 15,616. Where Hitchens comes up with 32,000, only he knows.
Nixon started withdrawing American troops within his first three months in
office, despite Goldin’s reference to Nixon “extending and widening” the war.
(Presumably, he is referring to the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, both of which
harbored the enemy.) Nixon and Kissinger brought us peace. Better Hitchens,
and Goldin, should target those who brought the U.S. in (e.g., John F. Kennedy)
than those who got us out of it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hitchens claims that he noted 22,000 dead (for Nixon’s first
term and, presumably, for the period of several months between the suspension
of the Paris peace talks and the January 1969 inauguration) in his original
manuscript, and that the inflation of that figure by 10,000 was a publisher’s
THE SINGER NOT THE SONG
Thanks for Doug Harvey’s
“Dismembering Harry Smith” [May 4–10]. When I was an animation student in
New York City in the late ’70s, naturally we had to put in some time with Smith’s
curious work, but there never seemed to be anything in there that I thought
I’d need to make it through this world. I feel like I really should give it
another try — but something tells me it’ll be a letdown after Harvey’s inspired
In my review of
Run-DMC’s Crown Royal [April 13–19], I erroneously confused Fat Joe with
his equally overweight but unequally deceased compatriot Big Pun. So, South
Bronx fans, rest easy. Fat Joe still lives to breathe . . . and eat.