At last: a positive piece, with a positive photo, on public transit in L.A. Since the Red Line opened, the only pictures seem to have been of train doors opening onto empty platforms. The photo you ran in the January 8–14 issue’s “Fast Track” piece by Mark Cromer showed how it is — not always, but many times each day.
Cromer’s conversion to Metrolink and MTA buses may be recent, but it’s also convincing. The good word about the rail lines has been seeping into print since their performance after the Northridge quake, and last fall an audit told of increased riders and lower costs per rider for the system.
Finally, I would like to counter the complaint that “The Green Line does not go to the airport.” On the contrary, the Aviation Street station is served by a free airport shuttle to and from all the terminals. As I can testify from personal experience of half a dozen trips in the last 18 months, this service is used by both workers and air passengers.
—Robert J. Manners
I think it is wonderful that Mark Cromer has finally discovered mass transit. My only question is, Why did it take him so long? I have been riding an MTA bus from the Pomona area to my mid-Wilshire office for over 20 years. The bus actually reaches L.A. faster than the train, costs less and runs more frequently. The bus is also quieter inside than the train (not as much conversation), and in the early-morning hours overhead lights are turned off to permit some of us a nap on the way in. Reading lights are also available.
However, Mr. Cromer’s article also points to the major flaw in L.A.’s commuter mass-transit system: He has to pay extra for his bus ride. There is no coordination in fares and schedules between the various elements of the system. In fact, some people who ride the train purchase monthly MTA passes, and customers from such lines as the Foothill Company have to purchase fares on MTA buses or pay more for a so-called “joint pass.” Those of us who commute long distances by bus have been overlooked throughout the whole debate over mass-transit fares and schedules.
Maybe if a few more people like Mr. Cromer “discover” mass transit, something will be done to improve the system.
—George H. Morris
Re: “Plebicide” [Powerlines, December 18–24] and “Banana Republicans” [Powerlines, December 25–31]. Harold Meyerson needs to reread his history, including the Federalist Papers. In America, “the people” do not rule, because we were founded not as a democracy but as a constitutional republic. Nobody is supposed to “rule” over anybody; instead, this is supposed to be government by law.
Does Meyerson really think that until the present impeachment movement we had “popular control of our government”? Get real. Bankster control would be more like it.
—Aric Z. Leavitt
Re: Greg Goldin’s “Mall-ywood” cover story [December 18–24]. Few recall the true costs of Hollywood “development.” A lovely piece of Hollywoodland history called the Garden Court Apartments, once the residence of Mack Sennett and Louis B. Mayer and frequented by legends such as Charles Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino, could have been beautifully adapted into a museum, but instead was demolished to give rise to the failed Galaxy mall.
Sadly, we are about to make a similar blunder down on Vine Street with the demolition of the historic Celebrity Theater, making way for . . . you guessed it, another mega-mall, this one just across the street from Pacific Theaters’ equally massive contribution to Mall-ywood.
Before calling in the wrecking ball and firing up more bulldozers, such structures deserve a second look. They are, after all, authentic pieces of the old Hollywood, similar to Old Town Pasadena or the old Gas Lamp District in San Diego, and give Hollywood an identity and charm that’s connected to its celebrated history. Let’s stop adding more casualties to the long list of storied Hollywood landmarks.
Re: Manohla Dargis’ review [“Days of Hell,” December ä 25–31] of Terry Malick’s The Thin Red Line, easily one of the most powerful war movies ever made. I get nauseated when critics miscalculate the intentions of filmmakers. By claiming “Malick has made an amoral movie” by misinterpreting juxtapositions of images of war’s brutality with images of the natural world as Malick’s acceptance of the inevitability of war, she shows that she doesn’t understand the director’s depiction of moral ambiguity — something typical American war movies, including Saving Private Ryan, generally eschew.
Manohla, don’t tell us what James Jones “might” say about the movie, or deliver papal encyclicals on which directors are moral and which are not. Review the goddamn film and — given your fuzzy logic — stay the hell away from sociological interpretation.
Re: “Manohla Dargis’ Hit List” [January 8–14]. Any rag that would rate Out of Sight and There’s Something About Mary above The Thin Red Line isn’t worth wrapping fish in.
I was appalled by the cigarette ad you ran on pages 88-89 of the December 11–17 issue (“If you’re wearing one of these, you better be swimming for a medal”). My husband, who just quit smoking after 50 years (he started when he was 12), has been off cigarettes for 100 days, and he still craves them. Since he quit, he has gained about 12 pounds. He has been very angry about the weight gain, and when I saw this ad, I realized who are being targeted: people who are thinking of quitting and are afraid of gaining weight, or those who have quit and are gaining weight. The ad suggests that smoking is healthy, or at least that it will keep you fit and attractive. This is false and misleading, and a case should be brought against the cigarette company for misrepresenting its product. I hope that there are others who share my opinion and that, given enough pressure, the Weekly will never run this ad again. You should be ashamed.
SNAPS . . . AND CIG ADS
Your special issue “Portraits of L.A.” [Januray 1–7] shows the positive spirit of our community and the positive force the L.A. Weekly should and can be. Kathleen Clark, Dave Shulman and Marty Luko ought to be proud. Even the advertising department goes positive, with the California Department of Health Sciences ad noting the risk of impotence from smoking.
I guess something has to offset the cigarette ads you continue to publish.