This is the first opportunity I've had to correct a mischaracterization of my participation in the selection of Howard Miller as the chief operations officer of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Your editorial “Another Fine Mess” [October 2228] stated, “After persuading Valerie Fields, the crucial fourth vote on a seven-member board . . . to make Miller the de facto czar . . .” No one persuaded me, or even tried to persuade me. I walked into that Tuesday executive session without a clue that this personnel change would be proposed. My colleagues have told me that they had no advance knowledge, either. Each member of the majority acted independently. Your readers should be aware of the facts.
Los Angeles City
Board of Education
Thank you for Harold Meyerson's beautiful testimony to Stanley Fleishman in “Socrates at Seder” [October 2228]. The kind of good in this world that I care about is represented well in Mr. Fleishman's life and in Mr. Meyerson's testimony. If there is a historic line coming out of the dynamic thinking of the earliest Hebrews and Hellenes, a line that runs through the Enlightenment that envisaged our kind of democracy, it continues on in our memory of those like Stanley Fleishman, a rare individual passionate with ideals.
Thank you again, Mr. Meyerson, and thank you, L.A. Weekly, for your continuing excellent efforts, and thank you, Stanley Fleishman, for living so well. We're all better off because of you, especially so if we remember you.
Just a few details that my cousin Harold Meyerson probably didn't know to mention: It was Stan Fleishman's chutzpah that got him through his early years. He contracted polio at the age of 2, shortly before the accepted standards of treatment were established, and wound up in a full body cast for several years. This was partly the cause of his subsequent physical struggles.
Stan also never forgot an opponent, not the least of which was the staff of the Rampart Police Station, with whom he had frequent run-ins over their abuse of his sex-worker clients, and over whom he was subsequently victorious in a lawsuit when he sued them for lack of wheelchair accessibility (prior to enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act), which pleased him in a way that would likely have not compared to his satisfaction over the recent scandal and investigation. No doubt he was fully aware of those allegations long before they were brought to light. I do believe our vindicated Uncle Stanley is chortling from his grave.
–Claire N. Kaplan
THEATER AT THE FRINGES
Re: “Theater at the Edge of the World” [November 511]. The history of Los Angeles theater is not, as Luis Reyes implies, a history of good intentions that fizzled, but rather an erratic string of Herculean efforts that, each in its own turn, advanced the community to the next level of self-awareness. Reyes' textbook summary left out the flesh-and-blood reality: that a few people stepped forward and took a leadership role to make something happen. Nothing gets done in Los Angeles unless someone champions the cause.
In 1987, the first Fringe Festival was initiated by committed individuals in the local theater community as a direct reaction to the international focus of the 1984 festival. The Fringe's scrappy success created a dynamic interplay with the Los Angeles Festival that was extremely healthy for both organizations.
President, Community Arts
Resources; former director, Fringe Festival/Los Angeles
GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE
Margaret Wertheimer's article on dead Web sites [“Ghostsites,” November 511] was outstanding. I'm curious about one thing, though: Why don't Web-authoring programs (like Microsoft's FrontPage) allow Web authors to set an automatic expiration date on their creation? In other words, after a given period of time, the Web site would just self-destruct. This feature would be valuable when a Web designer can easily foresee that his or her site will be of little or no value after a certain period of time.
Of course, Web authors are not always so insightful. I recall a music-industry page I found a couple of years ago. It was written to promote a new record by the rock band Ned's Atomic Dustbin. The page read, in part, “Ned's new record, to be released on Tuesday,” without ever mentioning the month or year in which that Tuesday had occurred. Eventually I found out the “new” record had been released three years before I arrived at the Web site.
Sometimes I think Web authors confuse the World Wide Web with TV.
–Dave Brett Wasser
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