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FRANKLY

I am flabbergasted that L.A. Weekly published
Steven Leigh Morris’ ill-informed and offensive article
[“America’s Children,” April 16–22]
.

Joe Frank was fired in a rude and repugnant manner after a 15-year relationship
with KCRW and just hours after he had been released from the hospital in mid-February
2002. At the time, his show, “The Other Side,” was about to return to the air
after a six-month hiatus. In fact, KCRW ran a press release announcing the return
of the show.

Mr. Frank’s program was among the most popular at KCRW and the only show honored
with major American broadcasting awards, including a Peabody. Further, Mr. Frank’s
firing had nothing to do with the quality of his work but was motivated solely
by Ruth Seymour’s personal animus, the result of a failed friendship. Unwilling
to acknowledge the truth, KCRW continues to state that Mr. Frank has a “strong”
relationship with the station.

For two years, Mr. Frank remained silent about what had happened to him. After
the recent Sandra Tsing Loh firing, however, he decided to go public and submit
his story to L.A. Weekly. When the paper learned about the Evidence Room
event, Mr. Frank was informed that they had decided to “pass on the article
since the performance would be covered.”

To suggest that Mr. Frank was in any way whining about his fate, and miss
the wild and often self-deprecating humor of his theater piece, is astonishing.
There was nothing self-pitying nor mean-spirited in Mr. Frank’s performance,
although Ms. Seymour certainly gave him a lot of material he could have chosen
to use so that the public might sample the true character of the station manager
of KCRW.

—Michal Story
Los Angeles

 

Michal Story is Joe Frank’s assistant manager.

GEHRY’S DOWNTOWN

Nothing scares me more than the realization that bulldozers may yet again
go through communities in Los Angeles in an attempt to create another city center,
as Greg Goldin alludes to in his article “Bunkum
Hill” [April 16–22]
.

I am embarrassed that Frank Gehry and his group of celebrity cohorts have
not emphasized the need to keep existing communities intact that are north of
Cesar Chavez. Instead, they have prioritized more tourist attractions and entertainment
centers. There should be a realization among city planners, architects, and
religious and civic leaders that there is a vibrant community that inhabits
downtown. This precious community will be adversely affected by the ill-conceived
plans of creating a business corridor, tourist traps, and places for people
to hang out and party after work.

I am especially fearful that the redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles will
destroy the ethnic working class community of Chinatown that is directly north
of the project area. This pedestrian community is a tight-knit group of neighbors
— from new immigrants of Latin America and Asia to African-Americans, Chicanos
and other ethnic groups. We walk to the supermarket, go to churches, read books
at the branch library and eat dim sum together.

Already I have seen houses and apartment buildings in need of inspection that
are up for sale. Longtime friends and neighbors are being evicted or forced
out because of high rents and other forms of progress. The seven-member review
committee, Supervisor Gloria Molina, Councilwoman Jan Perry, the CRA and the
architects need to tread carefully and not re-create another corporate wasteland
and destroy the environs.

—Vi Thuc Ha
Los Angeles

IN DEFENSE OF DARWIN

Steven Kotler’s story “Oh
So Natural” [April 16–22]
, which reviews Joan Roughgarden’s book Evolution’s
Rainbow
, can only be intensely irritating to any student of Darwin and natural
selection. The article states that homosexuality clearly has no selective advantage.
Not true. A case can be made that gay family members contribute to the survival
of their siblings’ offspring, thus increasing the number of copies of the childless
gay persons’ genes in the next generation.

Worse, the article makes the same mistake that a lot of gay-identity theory
makes — it ignores bisexuality. Kinsey 6’s are rare compared to those of us
who are attracted, at least somewhat, to both sexes. In fact, many if not most
gay people do reproduce. Bisexuality is enough to account for a gay trait persisting
in the gene pool (if there really is a gay genetic trait).

It is possible to draw two conclusions when someone observes a trait that
they can’t account for by natural selection: One is that Darwin is wrong and
the other is that the observer isn’t bright enough to figure out the trait’s
selective advantage.

—John Ullman
Seattle, Washington

 

I was very annoyed at how blindly Steven Kotler bought into the nonsense that
Joan Roughgarden was handing out about evolutionary theory and homosexuality.
If this interview is any indication, her book appears to be a classic example
of skewing the facts to support a previously conceived notion.

A case in point is her discussion on sex. According to natural selection,
the main purpose of sex is the transfer of sperm. She counters this fact with
the statement: “Humans have sex all the time, but produce very few offspring
during their lives.” She then goes on to say that this proves that sex is inefficient
as a means of reproduction. She doesn’t consider the possibility that in most
cases people have only a few children because they choose to, not because sex
is inefficient. If the couple in her example did have sex once a week for 50
years, without any form of birth control, chances are they would end up with
more than two children. Sex may have other purposes (she raises tactile communication
as a possibility), but its primary role in nature is still to transfer sperm.

Her discussion of sexual selection is equally inane. Males employ numerous
strategies to attract females, and females choose their mates based on various
criteria, not just one or two traits. It is also important to understand that
the female does not choose the male that has the best genes; the female chooses
the male that she thinks has the best genes and will produce offspring
that will survive and reproduce. The difference is subtle, but significant.

Evolutionary theory does not say that homosexuality is wrong or unnatural.
Homosexuality, on its own, is just not a good strategy for continuation of the
species, and it is in this context that it is sometimes referred to as a biological
dead end. On the other hand, diversity tends to make a species stronger, and
it is quite possible that homosexuality does have a role in society. I hope
Ms. Roughgarden continues to look for answers to the important questions she
is asking; I just feel that these answers will be found within the context of
natural selection. I don’t believe it is time to throw Darwin in the dumpster.

—Bob Wieder
Silver Lake

HEALTH-CARE SCARE

Rick Kennedy’s article [“Demands
of Independence,” April 16–22]
perfectly states the health-care crisis,
as our current generation of spoiled, indolent, over-indulged baby boomers ages.
The health problems of baby boomers will be exacerbated by their addiction to
gas-guzzling Hummers and SUVs whose pollutants will cause baby boomers to need
health care sooner, not later. Furthermore, in the face of rising medical costs
caused by increased pollution, private medical insurance companies are likely
to either jack up rates to prohibitive levels or simply cancel all California
policies.

If baby boomers expect the next generation to subsidize their medical care,
they had better guess again. The next generation will be too busy paying off
education loans resulting from Schwarzenegger’s relentless cuts on higher education,
medical bills, health insurance (if they can get any) and private school tuition
(assuming that the public education system has tanked). They won’t be able to
spare a dime to help aging baby boomers who should have known better to begin
with, and who should have made the appropriate investments and sacrifices when
there was time to do so rather than electing a brainless bodybuilder to lead
them.

—William Joseph Miller
Los Angeles

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