Progressive Tactics

Many thanks for Brendan Bernhard’s deft and gutsy unmasking of the bogus defense, by some who claim progressive status, of antigay, antifeminist positions on the part of self-described “refugees” to the social-democratic West [“Orange Crush,” Sept. 1–7]. One need not be a leftist in the Netherlands to see that there is nothing progressive about defending refugee/victims of antidemocratic societies who import their antidemocratic biases wherever they immigrate. The only “leftist” thing to do is to try to educate such individuals, and fight back against them and their nativist organizations when they have the chutzpah to demand equal footing and a rollback of centuries of democratic struggle, showing their erstwhile “progressive” defenders to be running a fool’s errand.

Ty GeltmakerLos AngelesCon-Junction Junction

In Alie Ward’s “Petty-Complaint Junction” [Sept. 1-7], the katyushas came in from over the hill to the south. The bomblets carried spray-painted warnings and wafted unwashed odors over the crowd at the RetroRap Stage. Most scoffed, thankful we have a mayor with military experience. The reaction was swift, regrettably marred by out-of-date mapping information. But though some property owners were lost, order was restored, along with resale prices.

Wes JoeSilver LakeNeighborhood Hopping

I’ve just finished reading “Welcome to Gentrification City” by David Zahniser [Aug. 25–31]. I’ve lived in L.A. only a few years, moving here because I was starting my life over. I started out in Koreatown for three years, and when that changed (too many new high-rises), I decided to try a loft on the east side of the city, right on the river, under the Seventh Street Bridge.

In February this year, I got notice from my landlords that our compound had been sold, and my lease would not be renewed (eight months after I moved in). All my fellow artists were subsequently screwed, and fled, some back home, others where they could find room to maintain their studios. Most were out of luck completely; the cost of lofts in downtown had doubled and tripled. I thought I’d gotten lucky when I found a listing on Craigslist for a small cottage with a detached studio in Silver Lake, two blocks from Echo Park. Wow! I signed the lease and immediately got screwed again, because within 20 days of moving in, the landlord put the property on the market. Turns out he’s an “actor” who really makes his living flipping. When will this insanity end? Thanks for listening.

Patty ThompsonSilver LakeReflecting New York

Re: our mayor’s takeover of L.A. schools [“The New Fall Guy,” Sept. 1–7]. I only point to Mayor Bloomberg in New York, who took over the schools and immediately raised teacher salaries to $80K per year in order to strip all private schools of their teachers, and in turn make tuition to those schools too high for all but the billionaire set. In other words, the Catholic schools, the only schools offering a chance for kids from poor backgrounds, have been shut down. Now the teachers union controls the schools absolutely, and nobody learns anything, still. The same thing will happen here, guaranteed.

Howard VeitWest Hollywood

Image ControlI’m sure that I’m not the only American concerned about the anti-Israel, pro-Hezbollah bias that infects our mainstream-media coverage of the Middle East. After reading Brendan Bernhard’s latest exposé [“Reuters’ Image Problem,” Aug. 11–17], we now know that the problem is far worse than we thought. Thanks to [Little Green Footballs blogger] Charles Johnson, we can no longer doubt the shocking truth that “our leading news agencies and newspapers increasingly rely on stringers from hostile nations to tell us how we, or our allies, behave in wartime.”

In order to get more reliable coverage of the Middle East, we need more like Mr. Bernhard. His neutral professionalism, like Mr. Johnson’s, is exemplified by his ability to focus on the proper color of the bomb clouds produced by Israeli jets, rather than on the destruction under them.

John Riehle

Los Angeles

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