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YOU BETTER START SWIMMIN’ OR YOU’LL SINK LIKE A STONE . . .
Re: Howard Blume’s “The End of Times” [March 17–23]. If nothing else, the recent sale of Times Mirror Corp. (parent of the Los Angeles Times) to the Chicagoans should put the final nail in the coffin on the idea of “corporate citizenship.” If even the Chandlers, with their storied connections to Los Angeles, would sell us down the river, then why would you expect any better from ARCO, from Unocal, or Security Pacific, or any of the other names that have put profit first?
And indeed, the purpose of a publicly held corporation — and its fiduciary obligation — is to maximize profits for shareholders. There is no broader purpose.
For the citizens of Los Angeles, it should be clear that civic leadership must come from the public sector. It must come from our elected officials, endowed with tax dollars. Those of us staying here must consciously choose to make our public infrastructure better, and our public spaces more livable, and our schools better financed, even through the fog thrown up by anti-government forces.
The increasingly vital role of the L.A. Weekly will be in local and sustained civic coverage, reminding all of us that we can make this region a better place, if we try to, through our public agencies. Our air and water are cleaner than 20 years ago, and it wasn’t corporate leadership that brought us here.
—Benjamin Mark Cole
In Howard Blume’s story “The End of Times,” he quotes someone saying that there are far too many wire-service stories in the Chicago Tribune. Hmm. On Thursday, March 16, 2000, there are six stories on the first page, and all are written by Tribune staff members; Page 2 contains the Tribune gossip column; Page 3 — a local columnist, a story about the governor of Illinois written by a Trib staff writer, one story from The New York Times and one from the AP; Page 4 — two continuations of stories from Page 1 and another story by a Trib foreign correspondent; Page 5 — two stories from the Trib Washington Bureau staff and four very short stories from Tribune News Services; Page 6 — continuation of a Trib story from Page 1; Page 7 — all Trib staff stories; Page 8 — one AP story and five very short stories from Tribune News Services; Page 9 — local obits; ditto Pages 10 and 11; Page 12 — editorials; Page 13 — op-ed; Page 14 — all Trib staff. Now, this is the Downstate edition rather than a city edition, but I still think you can see that the Trib staff contributes mightily to this paper.
Nor does the Trib, with its stress on local stories, ignore the nation or the world. The main story on Page 1 today is about Taiwan and China, written by three Trib staffers; another story is about affirmative action in California, written by a Trib staffer; another story is about a new species of primates, written by a Trib staffer; of the other two stories, one is about Sears and the other is about child support in Illinois. Four of the six stories are national or international, not local.
CRADLE AND ALL
Re: Peter Moss’ letter regarding your cover story “When the Bough Breaks” [March 31–April 6]. Our grandson, Zelazo, was not “a piece of clothing that stopped being stylish and was discarded.” I am the grandfather who didn’t get a chance to play with his grandson, go fishing with him or celebrate his first birthday. Zelazo was loved, and, while caring for and loving our daughter Elizabeth, her mother and I grieved and felt the pain of the loss of our grandson. He was a sweet, precious baby boy who deserved to live a full life. We love both our daughter and our grandson. It is our hope that if help for those living with mental illness is provided in the community, others may not have to experience our pain and grief.
FULL MOON OVER SEATTLE
In “After Seattle” [March 24–30], Marc Cooper does a good job of capturing some of the momentum coming off Seattle, now building for Earth Day in Washington, D.C., and then the 2000 political conventions. Yes, the Demo cratic Convention in Los Angeles will be another major stop along the road in our journey for justice (then it is on to Prague in September). What is unfortunate is that the L.A. Weekly focused on a few white individuals as the leaders of a movement that will come to L.A.
In the aftermath of Seattle, one of the greatest discussions was about the exclusion of people of color. Here in Los Angeles, a city where people of color are the majority, it is critical that the organizing is inclusive of all of our issues and concerns. The D2K network, in the spirit of Seattle and D.C., is striving to build an inclusive â organizing process. By continuing to promote a few white people, we do a disservice to this incredible movement, which is still in its infancy stage. And by focusing on these “national” players, we undermine the local work that is really the roots of the movement.
THE VEIL OF ALLUSION
Re: Doug Harvey’s recent article “Tactical Embarrassment” [March 24–30]. I would like to request that he write in a way that conveys his point. That’s it. I had a near-impossible time combing through long sentences referencing people, things and adjectives that, in some way, may or may not have been relevant to whatever the article was about. The first three sentences alone reference “Etoys,” “etoy,” “Internet shopping centers,” “deeply pocketed,” “Santa Monica,” “America,” “David-and-Goliath,” “systematic ‘tactical embarrassment strategy,’” “Joey Skaggs,” “Jeffrey Vallance,” “art group,” “shadowy collective,” “corporate identity” and “®™ark.” I don’t pretend to represent any kind of a majority. This is my personal opinion. Or suggestion.
IF THE COAT SHIT, FORSWEAR IT
Kudos to Manohla Dargis for her brilliant “Wild Kingdom” [March 17–23]. Now that all the mainstream glossy publications from Vogue to Vanity Fair have trumpeted the “great fur comeback,” it is fitting that the L.A. Weekly should run this refreshingly honest critique of the carnage that comes with certain fashions. Dargis hits the nail on the head when she refers to the delicate tension between the violence that we inflict on others and our attempts at compassion. Without compassion we have nothing, and without trying we are nowhere.
DISINGENUOUS, WE HOPE
What a fun article Lalo Lopez wrote in the L.A. Weekly on the animated movie The Road to El Dorado [Mexiled, March 31–April 6]. I couldn’t stop laughing, and it made me want to see the movie even more. And I am sure my children will love it!