This is in response to “Parks Barks?,” a segment in the OffBeat section of the L.A. Weekly's June 25­July 1 issue. I would like to set the record straight. My comments, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, were made several days after the officer-involved shooting of Margaret Lavern Mitchell. The investigation of the incident was just beginning, and is still far from over. Your article's assertion that I exonerated the officers before the facts were evaluated and investigated is unequivocally false. The Times rightly corrected its misleading headline, which implied that I found the officers had “acted properly” in the shooting. As for the quote attributed to me, the larger issue was about contextual integrity. My statement was initially taken out of context, then later corrected.

Issues such as whether some eyewitnesses' accounts are in line with the Los Angeles Police Department's, or why deadly force was necessary to control the situation, will be answered when the investigation is completed. In your zeal to attack the LAPD, you accused me of “blame-shifting.” This assumption is also inaccurate. My statements highlighted the plight of the homeless and our need as a society to do more for the mentally ill in our community.

–Bernard C. Parks

Chief of Police

Los Angeles




Re: “Beyond the Kiss” [July 9­15], thank you for your beautiful cover. That's one more picture of two men kissing than has appeared on the cover of The Advocate, Genre or Out so far this year. And thank you too for the discussion of gay life in the movies. Hearing two soccer moms go on about Rupert Everett in My Best Friend's Wedding today awakened me from my jury-duty-induced stupor. I've got better things to do than commiserate with het women about their men, and so should the gay men in movies. They should be busy dealing with their own love (and lust) lives, and if that makes the breeders want to walk out, hey, show the movie on an airplane and dare them.

Instead, the gay men we get are generally gay in name only. Fully realized portraits of gay male love, let alone lust, are virtually nonexistent. Everett and his ilk have come to represent the gay man as eunuch: loveless, desexualized fag to Julia Roberts' hag. If this kind of cinematic castration is progress, count me out.

–Jordan Chodorow

Century City



Bravo to a great panel discussion on queer cinema. I have noticed that some gay men over 30 desire to retain a sort of “outlaw status” and work hard to keep that concept alive in their identities, hence this sense of loss over the change in the content and acceptance of current lesbian and gay films. Such films have become more diverse, complex and, ultimately, more universal, as is the case with the female characters in Edge of Seventeen. I think this is called maturity. One can choose to embrace it, or long for lost youth. This is not to ignore the Matthew Shepards of the world, but just look back to the '80s. There was Steven on Dynasty and Rock Hudson with AIDS — that's about it for the mainstream. I am grateful to live in a time when Don Roos can make The Opposite of Sex and get talent of Christina Ricci's and Lisa Kudrow's caliber to participate.

–Michael Matson

Los Feliz



Re: “Grochowski's Tree” [July 2­8], I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your article â on my sculpture piece in Malibu. It has already made a noticeable difference in the number of people showing up to view the work. I wanted to deliver a high-quality work to this city, and made a personal commitment to make it available for a year or longer. Your newspaper has made a wonderful gift to that commitment by letting the people know where the work is located, and you have also recharged my spirit to go forward with my endeavor to place high-quality art work around this city. It's true that I did place it in Malibu, a town with a high-end income . . . [but] if things go well, I will someday be able to place them for free, anywhere I choose. As the article asked, why not place them in the areas that really cry out for some relief?

–Norman Grochowski



What has Norm wrought? Sitting back in NYC not having seen my pal Normy in the flesh for 25 odd years. Not since we bummed through Morocco together. I always knew he'd do great things. Always knew it. Some people talk and you go yeah, yeah, what other dreams can you show me? Norman talks and you believe. Hope somebody buys that “Tree” so my buddy can head East and plant a steel tree for me on West 43rd Street.

We could use a steel tree or two on my block. Fish Hooker would have some shade to ply her trade. Weasel Face could hide amongst the foxes; nobody'd be the wiser. Scank Lady would have a place to relieve herself. Send me the tree, impervious to season or pee. We'll confuse the dogs with its metallic aroma.

Send a tree to NYC.

–Fred Pflantzer

New York, New York



What an interesting culture we live in. We elevate individuals to stardom and as quickly cut them to shreds. We love them when they lavish us with their attention and money, and despise them when they don't. As a former 20-year resident of Hailey, Idaho, I found Nancy Rommelmann's article “Hailey's Comet” [June 11­17] to be a gratuitous display of sour grapes. Bruce Willis' commercial development binge was a boon while it lasted, but Hailey is hardly a bust now. There were empty storefronts before he arrived and there are empty storefronts now, but at least they look a hell of a lot better and they will fill, in time, as they always have.

Are Bruce and Demi heartless egomaniacs who have no regard for the less financially blessed? Hardly. They employed my teenage kids, whose dad worked for Valley Entertainment for several years building some of those buildings. During that time, he was paid more than he'd ever earned in the Valley and had fun while it lasted. When he was killed in a motorcycle accident six weeks ago, Bruce donated the Liberty Theater for Greg's memorial and bought all the flowers.

This weekend, another Bruce Willis premiere opens at the Liberty, Breakfast of Champions. However, this premiere is not a party for stars and starlets or a promotional photo op, but a fund-raising benefit for Greg's family. Greg has a bit part in the film.

Bruce and Demi, thank you. It's been a ride.

–Vicki Starr

Orcas Island, Washington

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