Aggravating a Tragedy

I’m disappointed in your decision to publish Kate Coe’s article on Theresa Duncan [“The Theresa Duncan Tragedy,” Aug. 3–9]. Perhaps the woman was a truth-stretcher. Perhaps she felt she needed to sell herself high in order to keep up with the leagues of truth-stretchers in this city. Maybe she was delusional, paranoid. Maybe so delusional that it caused her to end her own life? This piece has no apparent point other than to allow Coe a venue for some issues she has with Duncan, which are also evident in several points on Coe’s own blog. Coe admits to Duncan’s intelligence and charisma, but instead of mourning a brilliant mind gone awry, she seems to have taken this as an opportunity to get a few punches in on a woman who is now deceased. I would expect L.A. Weekly to rise above gossip in such a situation.

Kim Ryan

Los Angeles

Keep It Together, People

Why isn’t the Weekly always, as it has been sometimes lately, held nicely together with staples? This makes it much easier to handle and read, compared to when it’s merely stacked and folded and it’s somehow hoped that it will stay together. But it always falls apart. Just adding that one (or two?) damn staples really makes the large and unwieldy paper much, much easier to read.

Pamela Koslyn


A Bite Out of Health

Regarding “Sacramento Bites Back” [July 27–Aug. 2]: Among the programs I most fear will fall prey to this year’s budget battle is health care. As a college student I have a limited income and I rely on the services of Planned Parenthood for HIV and STD screening and other health care services. So I was alarmed to learn that reimbursement rates for safety-net providers of family-planning services are so low that Planned Parenthood has been forced to turn away more than 10,000 patients each month throughout the state due to a lack of funding. In fact, reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal services have not risen in the last 20 years, while inflation and the costs of medical and preventive health care have soared by 300 percent. Health care providers are currently unable to provide family-planning services to the many who seek them, eroding the state’s efforts to reduce teen pregnancy and protect the public from STDs. An increase in the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate in this year’s budget would shorten lines and help these agencies provide such services as HIV screening, breast cancer exams and prenatal care. You don’t have to be a politically engaged college student like me to figure that one out.

Joanna Brooks


Two Tongues Are ?Better Than One

I just have to respond to Gustavo Arellano’s reply to “Feeling a Bit Nippy” regarding “why don’t Mexicans ever drop their Spanish” [¡Ask a Mexican! column, July 20?–26], particularly since I’m Japanese-American (third generation) and am from L.A.

Pobre Chinita doesn’t get it in my book . . . on several fronts. First, some history: If Chinita were my age (and I suspect she is not), she’d know that back in the day there was a sizable Jap-Am population on the Eastside, along with Mexicans, Jews and others. I recall the grandparents of several friends who had businesses there who managed to pick up a little Spanish so they could communicate with their neighbors and facilitate commerce. In fact, one friend’s grandpa spoke better Spanish than English.

Second, bilingualism is in. And it doesn’t have to be your mother’s tongue. The world is getting smaller, and those who can operate in more parts of it will have a better chance of thriving. Chinita has a mom who speaks Japanese — so practice with her, for chrissake! I wasn’t as lucky. My father wanted so much to “assimilate” that he had us, the kids, speak English to him. As a result, I had to learn Japanese in college and during a year in Kyoto. I’ve lost a lot of of fluency, but I’m not afraid of trying.

I fear the various ethnicities in this city are severely Balkanized, more so than in my day. One of the things I don’t see as much, and which many in my generation (who recall pre–civil rights days) experienced, is the cross-pollination between ethnic groups. That’s why I grew up eating menudo and the Mexican family across the street ate our sashimi and sushi. Lots of times it starts with food, but it can grow into something more.

In any case, I think your reply to Nippy could’ve underscored a few of the obvious benefits of being bi-lingual, and possibly of her learning some Spanish as well.

Anne Katata

Los Angeles

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