Jesica Santillan’s story is heartbreaking enough from
what little we heard on the news. Nancy Rommelmann’s first-person perspective
[“Grief’s Gravity,” February 20–26]
makes it even more so. Mack Mahoney
should be congratulated for his dogged persistence on Jesica’s behalf. He’s
also in dire need of a revelation that his controlling tendencies alienated
those like Rommelmann who genuinely wanted to help. Much worse are those like
Michelle Malkin and the sender of the desecrated $1 bill. They see and promote
themselves as patriotic Americans, but they’re really blatant or unconscious
xenophobes lacking in understanding and compassion. If they were in Magdalena’s
shoes, and their child was in that position, wouldn’t they — by any means necessary
— go out of their way to save them? But of course they’d sidestep the question,
scoff that they weren’t on trial, and return to their immigrant bashing. Jesica
Santillan was a human being, and every human life is important. Pray that her
story and existence aren’t desecrated as was that $1 bill.

—James Nolan
Los Angeles


I was deeply touched and moved to the point of tears
as I read Robin Davidson’s article [A
Considerable Town: “Wedding Day,” February 20–26]
. I am a gay man who is
thankful that we as a community have been allowed the basic rights of all individuals.
I have friends who drove up to San Francisco to get hitched. When I asked them
how it was, they simply said it was great, and followed up by saying it was
a much needed political statement. I knew what they meant, but I found it sad,
for the act of marriage shouldn’t be viewed as a political statement. Its focus
should be on the two individuals who are coming together to form one flame,
one flesh, one love. Robin succeeded in doing this, and I hope that all who
read this article, whether they are gay, straight, bi, transgender, Christian,
Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Muslim or Mormon, realize that marriage is an institution
based on spirituality and humanity, not gender.

—Jose Estrella
Long Beach


Thanks for your recent profile of John Edwards [“Searching
for the Heart of John Edwards,” February 13–19]
. Once again, the L.A.
has provided more in-depth coverage than the L.A. Times. You
are the conscience of Los Angeles.

The world is a mess. The economy is a mess. The country is divided. We have to understand the policies that got us into this situation to formulate the policies to get us out — as a secure and respected nation. When I look at the candidates, there’s only one with the necessary skill, intellect, temperament and negotiation skills, and that’s John Edwards.

I have no doubt about Edwards’ heart. I was impressed when, at his recent speech in Culver City [A Considerable Town: “The Face Factor,” February 27–March 4], Edwards said that we have a “moral responsibility” to one another — to the millions living in poverty in this country, to the millions of children trying to live without health insurance and to the workers affected by trade policy who are trying to make a living. With Edwards, it isn’t just a program or a populist message; it’s passion. And everyone there felt it.

—Patrick Gilfillan
Santa Monica


Wow. I’m a little surprised and scared after reading
“An American
Family on the Verge” [February 13–19]
. I’m living on the down-low in the
O.C., trying to veil my past by hiding from it. It would really shock the people
I work with [at the mental-health clinic for children] if they found out that
I’m Francis’ niece, because the Aguilars are the kind of people we’re trying
to help. I want to thank you for your candor and for understanding that trying
to overcome the barrio sometimes means denying you’re from there — like in my
case. But in Francis’ case, well, sometimes people are stronger than perceived.

—Irene Leyva


What a revelation to learn that my L.A. experience is abnormal — what with my lack of a prison record, self-induced economic woe and generally smarmy attitude toward everything. Celeste Fremon’s “An American Family on the Verge” series is going to make for some excellent Las Vegas–style bookmaking at the Bleeding Heart Casino. Odds that Luis will be back in prison within 18 months: 3-2. Odds that he will blame his parole officer: 1-1. Odds that sweet little Estephanie will be pregnant by some gangster wannabe before her 15th birthday: 5-4. Odds that budding tagmaster Bola gets tagged by a rival crew: 5-1. Odds that the L.A. Weekly will give similar column inches to describe the struggles of a family without felons, taggers, defrauders of public welfare programs, or crybabies: 100-1. Odds that I won’t have any further interest in the problems of these unremarkable and disappointing fellow Angelenos: dead certain.

—Wayne Resnick
Los Angeles


Ever have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of a 10-week-old
baby in the womb? And see a photo of the baby’s head and where its arms and
legs are growing, and see the blood pumping through the little body? Abortion
is not the solution to teen pregnancy — education is. Killing a living, heart-beating,
blood-pumping baby shouldn’t ever be made fun of [Sitegeist:
“The Abruti Ploy,” February 20–26]
. The right to life is just that — the
right to grow up (in and out of the womb) and become the human being you deserve
to be.

—Sarah Tacoma

Dave Shulman responds: Near as I can tell, this letter has nothing to do with the story, which is about marketing and design. I guess Ms. Tacoma read “Roe v. Wade” in the first sentence and decided it had something to do with abortion. I look forward to her opinion on sentence number 40, which is about coffee.


Although I can’t comment directly on the major content
of Doug Ireland’s article
“A Prayer for Rev. Al” [February 20-26]
, I can say that it contains one
phrase that is a marvel of distortion. Mr. Ireland described the United Bermuda
Party as “a white-led party trying to oust the resort island’s first black government.”

The United Bermuda Party (UBP) was, and is, the first and only major political party in Bermuda that has embraced racial diversity to a degree that even remotely reflects the racial makeup of Bermuda. The UBP is “white-led” in the sense that its current leader, selected by its racially diverse members, is white. During the ’80s and ’90s, the UBP gave Bermuda one of the most revered premiers in its history, a black man who led the government for well over a decade and presided over a period of great economic and political advancement for black Bermudians. The first female premier in Bermuda — a black woman — was a UBP member.

The current governing party, the Progressive Labor Party (PLP), by contrast, is almost entirely black, while the population of Bermuda as a whole is not nearly so. Furthermore, many Bermudians believe that the PLP has gained power by fostering racial divisiveness between the black majority and the rest of Bermudians. A PLP campaign message in the last election openly characterized their black counterparts in the UBP as “Uncle Toms” and whites with “suntans,” apparently for their vision of a united, colorblind Bermuda. So much for Bermuda’s “first black government.”

Finally, the tone of Mr. Ireland’s statement suggests that the primary aim of the UBP is to drive blacks out of power, when they were simply trying to win an open election called by the former PLP leader, in order to continue the highly successful policies of the UBP’s first 33 years.

With all of this in mind, one wonders how hard Mr. Ireland may have spun the
rest of his story.

—Thomas Henry
Los Angeles



There must be some agreement among the editorial staff
that there shall be no acknowledgment in L.A. Weekly of Black History
Month. Everywhere I look in Los Angeles I see blacks, so by your exclusion,
is the L.A. Weekly being fair?

—Jess Harris
West Hollywood

LA Weekly