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IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS PORK
Thanks to Howard Blume and David Perera for “Rocky’s
Road” [May 25–31], which contains the first mention I’ve seen in the press
about the realities underlying Mayor Riordan and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s
“Genesis L.A.” project. I live in an area that is directly affected by one Genesis
brainchild, the proposed “Pico Plaza.” Thanks to Genesis L.A., private, out-of-state
corporations such as Home Depot and Costco are benefiting from HUD funds and
public grants (i.e., taxes) to force their 450,000-square-foot, 68-foot-tall
big-box commercial facility into our historical residential neighborhood. Furthermore,
they’ve maneuvered around National Environmental Policy Act requirements to
avoid an updated environmental-impact report, despite the fact that a 1992 EIR,
commissioned by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for this
site found dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide, methane and hydrocarbons.
What is laughable about this is that Genesis L.A. is meant to aid “distressed
neighborhoods” with high levels of unemployment, whereas the areas surrounding
Pico Plaza contain primarily middle- and working-class homeowners from diverse
backgrounds, and have low levels of unemployment. Residential-property values
for this area, which have been recovering from the riots and phenomenal crime
rates without city intervention, are expected to decline due to traffic increases
associated with the project. A few hundred low-paying jobs at nonunion establishments
are thereby being traded for economic stability and quality of life in a charming,
historic and diverse neighborhood in the heart of Los Angeles.
Rimpau Neighborhood Alliance
As a longtime contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, it’s a
dilemma I know well: Let the begrudging hacks of the local media misrepresent
your work, or dignify third-raters by replying to them. I can let the inane
ravings of the New Times’ Rick Barrs pass (although not without observing
that, given the magnitude of his abilities, Barrs really ought to think about
renaming his column “The Pinkie”). I feel compelled, however, to respond at
least in some measure to Charles Rappleye’s longer article in the L.A. Weekly
East,” June 8–14].
I did not “extrapolate” that Kevin Gaines was a “gangsta.” Several (that’s
more than three, Charles) police informants have described his criminal activities
on behalf of Suge Knight and Death Row Records, and his involvement with the
Bloods gang has been established by an array of evidence. The allegation that
drugs were being trafficked through Death Row Records also comes from multiple
sources, one of them a police officer who infiltrated Death Row as part of the
federal task force Rappleye mentions.
Rappleye’s assertion that Richard McCauley was the only LAPD officer employed
by Death Row Records does nothing more than demonstrate his incompetence as
a journalist. It’s true that McCauley was the only LAPD officer either honest
or stupid enough to apply for a permit to work for Death Row, but he certainly
was not the only LAPD officer employed by the record label. I could cite numerous
sources for this claim, but I’ll mention just one: Reggie Wright, president
of Wrightway Investigative Services, director of security for Death Row and
Suge Knight’s right-hand man. When he was questioned (at Death Row’s Tarzana
studio) in connection with the McCauley investigation, Wright refused at first
to identify any other LAPD officers who worked for Death Row. Finally, though,
under threat of subpoena, he “reluctantly” provided the names of three other
LAPD officers who had “performed security work” for Death Row, but “was vague
in explaining their actual roles,” according to the LAPD Internal Affairs investigator
who interviewed him. The employment of these three LAPD officers (whose names
I’ll save for later), and a number of others, was “addressed in a separate investigation,”
as the I.A. investigator so prudently phrased it.
All of this information is in LAPD Internal Affairs Report No. 96-1408, a
document Charles Rappleye probably will never see, even though it’s been under
his nose for months. In that same document, he would discover (if he had it)
that the source he used to debunk me — again, Richard McCauley — chose to resign
“in lieu of dismissal” from the LAPD shortly before a trial-board hearing where
he faced six potentially criminal charges, each one related to the lies he told
about his work for Death Row Records. The LAPD didn’t want to risk a public
airing of any of this, and gave McCauley a chance to save himself from public
disgrace by informing him in advance that his lies had been exposed by the sworn
statements of nearly a dozen witnesses.
As to Rappleye’s laughable assertion that my article left the local press
looking “all the stronger by contrast,” what can I say, except “How do you think
you look now, Charles?”
New York City
CHARLES RAPPLEYE REPLIES: I can’t say how I look, but I certainly feel humbled.
After all, if a journalist of my lowly stature, and an incompetent one at that,
can compel Randall Sullivan to document even one of his many lurid allegations,
then I’ve accomplished about all I could dare expect. It’s disconcerting, though,
to see that Sullivan continues to allude to unnamed “police informants,” and
unnamed “evidence,” even as he seeks to defend his reporting on Kevin Gaines.
And if Reggie Wright did say that four cops worked off-duty for his security
squad, that’s still a far cry from the central claim of Sullivan’s ambitious
account, that a “growing cadre of black officers” ran drugs and committed homicides
at the direction of Death Row magnate Suge Knight.
THE BARD UNBEARDED
Terry Morgan wrote in a review of Amy Freed’s new comedy, The
Beard of Avon
[New Theater Releases, June 15–21], that the play was “about the popular
academic party game of questioning whether Shakespeare really wrote all of his
works.” Actually, the question is not one pondered by academics, at least not
academics in the field of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. You’d have to look
damned hard to find an academic in those fields who thinks there is any
reason to doubt Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him. Besides, Amy
Freed has said that her play is not intended as a serious questioning
of the authorship of the works. I wish reviewers would report that.
GOD BLESS THE CHILD
Re: Ernest Hardy’s “Return
to Life” [June 1–7]. If the child knew his music history, or even read the
liner notes of the disc, he would know the sample on “Get It Up” is not the
Jacksons, but rather the Isley Brothers’ “Tell Me When You Need It Again.”
ERNEST HARDY REPLIES: The child apologizes for any inconvenience. I was using
information provided by the publicist and working from an advance CD that didn’t
have liner notes.
ANXIOUS, BUT ELATED
Re: the article about Café R&B [“House Rent Stomp,” June 8–14]. I am so
elated that Brendan Bernhard stumbled upon this deserving band and had the good
sense to write their story. Let’s just hope that now that the secret is out,
the suits don’t come around and muck everything up.
GOOD AS . . .
Jonathan Gold and his Counter Intelligence column are the No. 1 reason many
of us get the Weekly. Great job in getting him back.