L.A. Weekly’s report on West Hollywood [“Gay
Camelot,” November 26–December 2] is uncritical and incomplete. Despite
progressive social rhetoric, the city is as fundamentally corrupted by moneyed
interests as anywhere else, and as closed to opposition candidates as any other
political machine. With political fund-raisers hosted by bars and clubs, this
is the city that never saw a liquor license it didn’t like. Refusing to enforce
its own codes, it has turned residential neighborhoods into perpetual drunken
frat parties. This is a far cry from the bohemian scene that existed before.
Ironically, the subject of Judith Lewis’ fawning interview, Councilman John
Duran, exemplifies the callousness of the city toward those who instead seek
a livable urban environment. Good government should not be confused with a position
on the political spectrum.
—Dan Silver, M.D.
L.A. Weekly really nailed it with the cover image for Gay
Camelot. To a surprising number of gay men, West Hollywood is literally a drag.
Why? Because its version of the gay lifestyle is so retro. In spite of the many
genuinely cool people who live there, a visit to the area reveals a sort of
inexplicable insecurity among its gay male populace that unfortunately manifests
in what is commonly described as attitude. I suspect this narcissism is rooted
in basic human insecurity, the naturally pissed-off result of sexual objectification.
Granted, WeHo is pretty. But progressive? Lookism, classism and even a certain
racism all seem to remain the order of the day there. That doesn’t add up to
progressive in my book. Gay Camelot? More like the same old Village People.
L.A. Weekly’s recent articles on the 20th anniversary of
the city of West Hollywood are a great read, but they leave the impression that
West Hollywood is some kind of “gay Camelot/paradise.” Not everyone
shares this opinion.
Although the city has made fine progress promoting some civil
rights, it is still a place run by career politicians, some of whom have been
in power for all 20 years, and have left much of West Hollywood in ruins. Severe
parking shortages, the majority of the population living well below the poverty
line, noise, congestion, and saturation of bars are just a few of the problems.
With their strong rent-control laws, virtually no new fair-market
rental housing has been built in West Hollywood in 20 years. We are left with
crumbling older buildings that landlords refuse to maintain. Moreover, we are
now seeing an alarming rate of legal evictions, as landlords tear down old apartments
in favor of million-dollar condos for the wealthy. Also, rent control has left
some new residents paying fair-market rents of, say, $1,800 per month, while
their neighbor in an identical unit may be paying as little as $500 per month.
How can this be considered fair under any standard?
Finally, according to the city’s demographic statistics, gays
represent only a small percentage of the population. The vast majority of the
population are Russians and seniors. Calling West Hollywood a gay Camelot is
buying into the city’s PR campaign of making people think West Hollywood is
a gay paradise, when it is not.
Editor’s note: James Fuhrman was the self-appointed “ethics
watchdog” of West Hollywood until recently, when he announced that he was
moving to France. He also had a cable-access show, The Complainer’s Variety
Show, devoted to the city.
PIE IN THE SKY
Jonathan Gold may know pork pumps and goat bits, but he missed
the mark on the banana-cream-pie query [Ask
Mr. Gold, December 3–9]. Fresh bananas, dense “homey” banana pudding,
thick layering of real, fresh whipped cream (not, yuck, meringue) resting comfortably
on a flaky, thin crust — that’s a banana cream pie! And that’s what you get
at the Apple Pan. There’s no need for some chichi restaurant fare; this banana
cream pie cannot be topped.
Editor’s note: We don’t believe Pie n’ Burger has ever been
called “chichi,” and Gold agrees with you about the meringue. As he
wrote in his column: “The waitresses . . . are happy to remove the offending
meringue . . . And for a small fee, they’ll replace it with freshly whipped
cream. Voilá! Happiness can be yours.” At the Apple Pan, he always
gets the pecan pie.
RIGHT OR WRONG?
I agree with John Powers on the gay-marriage issue presented in
his On column “Right-Wing
Political Correctness” [November 19–25], but why must he compulsively
alienate the vast majority of voters who couldn’t care less about what gays
do except when blatantly circumventing the legislative process in shameless
favor of activist judges? Remember, interpretation of law does not include the
flagrant denial of it. Also, should Scott Peterson be given a pass because Laci’s
annoying little (nearly full-term) fetus was unlucky enough to be on the wrong
side of her uterus when she was murdered? Take your time with this one. You
have four years to answer . . . starting now!