L.A. Weekly’s endorsements for the 2004 election are politically negligent and even shameful [“The L.A. Weekly’s Endorsements,” October 22–28]! While I can expect the Weekly to reflexively endorse the liberal and oftentimes incompetent dinosaurs running for Congress, I am shocked by the endorsement made in favor of Proposition 66. Obviously, the Weekly was scammed like a lot of other voters by a slick ad campaign funded by a selfish millionaire who wants only to spring his criminal son from jail as soon as possible. For the record, Proposition 66 does not send pizza thieves to prison for life, because there is a huge degree of judicial flexibility built into the Three Strikes law as it now exists. The pizza thief in prison for life is a myth perpetrated by the hearts that bleed for serial killers.

Did the Weekly consider that virtually every district attorney and law enforcement official in California, as well as Mark Klaas, Gov. Schwarzenegger and former Gov. Jerry Brown, strongly oppose Proposition 66? Or are those opinions easily dismissed?

I just pray that the Weekly’s thoughtless endorsement doesn’t leave blood on their hands.

—Mark A. Mendlovitz, Ph.D.

Beverly Hills


I sympathize with Joe Donnelly and his barking-dog problem [A Considerable Town, “Ruff Night,” October 22–28]. I wonder who is the more beastly of creatures, the desperate canine who does not, I presume, have the benefit of conscience, or his owner, who does, but allows the barking to continue seemingly without compunction and certainly without consequence. It is incredible to me that those thoughtless few are permitted not only to disturb the peace — iniquity enough in a city overburdened with noise — but to, in many cases, wreak havoc in the lives of their neighbors, whether it be from lack of sleep, consuming indignation or a sense of helplessness.

Our lives should not be tyrannized by dogs. As I write this, the little yapper at the bottom of the hill is beginning his complaint, which will echo in the hills for the next four hours. After that begins, the one next door — whose owner keeps him locked in a cage outside, not beneath his own window, but beneath that of his elderly neighbors — will bark throughout the night. The man himself will sneer and growl when asked politely to control his dog.

—Melinda Smith

Silver Lake


As a 30-year veteran of Ralphs Grocery Company, and as a union member who witnessed many of my fellow employees exhausting their life savings, losing their cars, apartments and homes during our four-and-one-half-month lockout, I find Peter Fletcher’s glib comments about working at Ralphs both insulting and degrading [Best of L.A., “Seven Jobs I’d Love To Have in L.A.,” October 8–14].

The grocery industry is much more complicated than scanning a can of peas and blurting out, “Paper or plastic?”

Every day at work, our staff must focus on financial costs billing, price integrity issues, bookkeeping, inventory accuracy, product freshness, and myriad other concerns. In an industry that serves virtually everyone in the city, and moves millions of dollars of inventory on a daily basis, doesn’t it seem reasonable that the people involved must be dedicated and competent?

What bothers me the most is that I know Mr. Fletcher is a white guy. When he walks into the supermarket, does he see spooks, gooks and spics? Does the fact that an industry that is now dominated by minorities and immigrants set him up for a laugh at our expense?

Regardless, if Mr. Fletcher cares to contact me, I will be more than happy to take him on a tour of my market and prove to him that we work hard, that we also believe in the American dream that our white masters taught us, and that laboring in the grocery industry can be pure hell at times.

He will see women with children at home, fathers who care passionately about their families, and students working their way through school. I promise him that all of the staff members that he insulted will be polite to him (though they may talk about his mama behind his back). It’s a minority thing; he wouldn’t understand. I also promise to buy him lunch and show him respect.

The only problem is that I begin work at 4 a.m., when I am certain Mr. Fletcher is still in bed, yawning and scratching his testicles.

In case we never meet, I promise to remember to respect my master, count the cash when a customer actually uses it, and work like nothing happened. Until then, I’se be his faithful colored boy.

—W. Lee Miller Jr.


Fletcher responds: How you can turn this into an attack on minorities is beyond me. Grocery store workers are white, black, brown — anybody and everybody. You need counseling and really shouldn’t waste your time obsessing on whether I may or may not be white. P.S. I’m union, too, genius.


Due to an editing mistake, the subject of our recent cover story “Brown Dirt Cowboys” was mistakenly identified as Esteban Hills. Hills is not his last name. Esteban requested that we not use his last name.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.