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I’m not sure whether Lee Condon’s “Bunker Hill Bunkum” [OffBeat, March 17–23] went too far or not far enough. The piece said the L.A. Downtown News “gushed” in reporting that a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) vote made “life a little easier for developers and middle-class residents.” Then your reporter failed to prove that that isn’t exactly what happened.
Although I no longer hold the position, I was managing editor of that particular issue. The Condon piece went on to analyze the CRA’s action as detrimental to low-income residents, as if Downtown News had missed this angle completely. In fact, the ensuing paragraph made clear a 20 percent set-aside for low-income housing had been waived for the Bunker Hill project. No gushing: just the facts, ma’am.
The piece was written on deadline day immediately following the CRA board of commissioners’ vote. Time was short, and because it writes news rather than commenting on the reports of others, Downtown News did not have the luxury of Deputy Administrator Donald Spivack’s perspective, although Kathryn Maese’s piece stated that numerous attempts were made to contact CRA officials.
Elsewhere in the piece, Condon the journalist became Condon the city planner, noting how funds from the sale of the Bunker Hill land in question would be used for urban renewal elsewhere. “That’s right,” Condon wrote. “Seems low-income housing doesn’t fit in on ‘high-quality’ Bunker Hill — but it’s just fine for South Los Angeles.”
I’m no advocate of CRA policies, but Condon’s charge was specious. The funding transfer was requested by Council Member Rita Walters in order to address blight in her district. Some think the best thing is to reconstruct low-income communities rather than scatter residents throughout other, “better” communities. Their concern for the poor is not less than the L.A. Weekly’s, merely distinct as to the medicine required.
I deeply appreciated the endorsement of the L.A. Weekly. I felt that our interview together was quite good, and I thought your questions to me were most perceptive. However, there was one mistake in the endorsement. I tried to make it clear that I had served on the conference committee that shaped the low-cost auto-insurance bill, but that I was not the author. Senator Martha Escutia was the author of this bill, and we worked together as it went to conference. Unfortunately, the Weekly attributed the authorship to me.
Thanks again for your warm endorsement.
44th Assembly District
It has been brought to my attention that you recently printed an editorial reporting on the race between Assemblyman Wildman and Assemblyman Scott, stating that Jack Scott had authored legislation bringing low-cost automobile-insurance pilot programs to Los Angeles and San Francisco counties. This is a misrepresentation of fact. I authored and introduced SB 171 with the intent of bringing affordable automobile insurance to California’s low-income drivers. Implementing this legislation was a tremendous challenge and an intense struggle between the insurance industry and the California consumers I represented. Through the legislative process, my bill was changed from statewide policy to a pilot program for low-income drivers in Los Angeles County. Senator Jackie Speier authored a similar bill that provided a pilot program for San Francisco County.
—Martha M. Escutia
Senator, 30th District
Re: “And the Beat Goes On” by Charles Rappleye [March 10–16]. “A Rampart CRASH officer delivered an unprovoked beating to an unarmed suspect”? Yeah, right. Here is an undocumented illegal alien who was kicked out of the country and had illegally re-entered, again as an undocumented alien. Further, this idiot reportedly ran through a red light, got stopped by the cops, refused to turn his engine off as ordered, then sped away. Why? He says he was afraid he was gonna get busted again and just kept going. Then he slammed head-on into another car, got out of his car and ran on foot. Now his lawyer states: “If you’re running from an officer and he falls down, would you stop and try to challenge him, or would you keep running?” That’s the mentality — keep running. Unprovoked? A suspect? Officer Amezcua should have fired his gun.
VIVE LA GUERRE
A standing ovation to Steven Leigh Morris for giving Martin Guerre its due [“Persecution Complex,” March 3–9]. I saw the â production in Seattle not once, but twice. Bravo! Someone actually gets it.
Finally, a real review. Thanks for the wonderful Martin Guerre piece by Steven Leigh Morris, about the show, about the story and about the performers — in essence, something that a potential theatergoer would find useful. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for having the guts and good sense to stand up for Martin Guerre. Excellent article, excellent show.
It’s bad enough that in the last year reviewers have taken it upon themselves to warn audiences about plot twists and surprise endings without actually giving them away (cf. the reviews of both Arlington Road and The Sixth Sense). Now the L.A. Weekly has gone one step further. I’m sitting in a theater, innocently reading Ernest Hardy’s review of the picture I’ve come to see, Ghost Dog [“Howl,” March 17–23], when all of a sudden I realize that I’ve just been told how the film is going to end! It would be one thing if this were some “rich kid loses bet so that he has to date and clean up the unwashed rebel girl so he can take her to the prom” film, or anything else with Freddie Prinze Jr., where obviously the two are going to fall in love, The End. But Ghost Dog was not such a film.
There is no excuse for this type of irresponsible film reviewing. Or if there’s a good reason to tell us what happens to the lead character in the last five minutes of a movie, I’d like to know what it is. Call me crazy, but I’d rather go into a movie not knowing the fate of the two main characters, or even knowing which two characters are left for the big final showdown. Maybe it’s just me.
Twenty years ago, I threw a basketball at a friend for coming over, after reading the Marvel Comics adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, and blurting out why Luke Skywalker was at the top of Darth Vader’s kidney-donation list. Smack! I hit him right in the face. And he deserved it.
THANKS, WE NEEDED THAT
I would like to commend Peter Braunstein on his excellent story on the Buffy copyright issue [“Vampire Slayers Arise!,” March 17–23]. I myself am a participant in the Bringers and Blackout, and appreciate the publicity you’ve given to the cause. While in the vicinity, I surfed around the rest of the articles, and, in general, thoroughly enjoyed your site. (Pats editors and authors on back.)
Duchess, Alberta, Canada