Critical Thanking

Kudos to Greg Burk on his Blackmore’s Night review [Live
in L.A.
, February 11–17]. He is the finest practitioner of critical
wordsmithery currently plying his trade in Los Angeles, and possibly the only
one who actually likes the music he so deftly describes. Imagine, a music critic
who actually knows something about music. Thanks, Greg.

—Adam Landers

Bad Sensation

Thank goodness talented lawyers like Greg Jessner [“Who’ll
Stop the Reign?”
February 4–10] are willing to forgo huge salaries at white-shoe
firms in favor of lower-paying government gigs . . . protecting us from vicious
It’s a shame that your sensationalized account of his work and use of his picture
could make him — and others like him — a lot less motivated to do so in the

—Jordan Sollitto
Los Angeles

Grains of Truth

The article “Reason
to Wheeze”
[January 28–February 3] does not report the reality and truth
about ethanol. As a California Green Party member and a biofuels businessman
for the last 20 years, this is what I know to be true about ethanol and California.
1. Total vehicle emissions today with ethanol-blended gasoline measured by the
state are approximately 400 tons per day less than they were when MTBE
was banned in 2002.
2. All of California saw its best air quality this summer. While ethanol might
not be all the reason for good results, it’s certainly not hampering success.
3. The price of ethanol over the last five years has consistently been about
30 cents cheaper than California gasoline. Adding more ethanol extends a chronically
short fuel supply and puts downward pressure on prices. We need more diversity
of fuels, not less.
4. California can produce over 3 billion gallons of ethanol, creating over 60,000
new jobs and $5 billion worth of investment in new clean technology.
5. A waiver from the Clean Air Act would likely produce more pollution and increase
prices. Promotion of the waiver flies in the face of the state’s goals to increase
fuel diversity and decrease petroleum consumption.
6. Anyone who tells you that we can’t have clean-burning renewable fuel in our
gasoline either has not done their homework, is corrupt, has an interest in
competing products, or does not have an open mind.
We sent a man to the moon over 30 years ago. Surely we can add renewable ethanol
to gasoline and clean the air.

—Neil Koehler
Davis, California

William J. Kelly responds: Ethanol made
from corn ultimately is unsustainable. Ethanol
adds to summertime emissions of hydrocarbons,
which form lung-damaging ozone. (It does
cut carbon monoxide emissions, but the
state already has met the health standard
for that pollutant.) Meanwhile, Midwest corn
is grown with pesticides and fertilizers
made from finite natural gas and oil
that pollute the Mississippi River. The
real way to reduce air pollution from
cars is to create new jobs by
increasing gas mileage, building a real
public transit system, ending the sprawl
that makes Californians auto dependent, and
getting electric or fuel-cell cars on
the road powered by wind, solar and
other forms of truly sustainable energy.
As to air quality last summer, the
lower level of smog was due to
cooler-than-normal weather.

Barking Up the Liberal Tree

Obtaining accurate and impartial news has become something of a lost art. Growing
up in Los Angeles, I’ve found my media outlets dominated by a leftist movement
that has become increasingly intolerant of other POVs. I, myself, am not a conservative
but I like to view all sides of an argument in order to make an informed decision.
I would appreciate it if your publication would at least make an attempt to
be less partisan and more objective. I realize I may be barking up the wrong
liberal tree, but one can ask.

—Brandon J. Hart
Sherman Oaks

How is it that most right-wingers (including myself) despise Bush and Arnold,
yet Harold Meyerson continues to mislabel those charlatans’ proposals as “right

—Arie Leavitt
West Los Angeles

Now Playing

As a postscript to “The
Next Four Years: A Survival Guide”
[January 21–27], I’d like to add this.
The film titles vying for the “Best Picture” Academy Award could easily have
been not only Oscar nominees but also a commentary on President Bush’s first
term in office. To wit:
Finding Neverland — a fantasy story about WMDs in Iraq.
The Aviator — a tragicomedy featuring a faux-flyboy on
an aircraft carrier whose memorable line is, “Bring ’em on!”
Million Dollar Baby — a war that goes over budget
and needs to be renamed the “Trillion Billion Million Dollar Baby.”
Ray Troops deployed without a “ray” of hope for bringing
them home for years and years to come.
Sideways — where truth, civil liberties and the Geneva Conventions
have gone under the Bush administration.
Unfortunately for us and the rest of the world, the bad political movie playing
in the White House will continue to run for another four years, long after the
Academy Awards ceremony. Wake me when it’s over.

—Karen D. Myers
Eugene, Oregon

LA Weekly