Sauce SecretsI thank you for Jonathan Gold’s recent comment about my grandfather’s and father’s restaurant, Ship’s Coffee Shops [“Ship Shape Sandwich: When the patty-melt urge strikes,” March 7–13]. The Ship Shape, in our humble opinion, was indeed the best “patty melt” ever, though my grandfather, Matt Shipman, was always loath to call it a melt.

Here is why: We used Manning''s grass-fed beef from Colorado, always freshly ground; the nickel grills for grilling were essential to lock in the flavor; the “secret sauce,” which was a variation on the Thousand Island dressing that everybody used in copying Ship’s, actually contained real Roquefort cheese. In fact, Ship’s was the largest importer of Roquefort cheese in the United States. Finally, the Cheddar cheese, sautéed onions and sourdough bread were all fresh and of high quality. Frankly, I enjoyed mine with a good dose of the Heinz mustard that we used to provide.

Stephen W. ShipmanHancock Park

Points GivenA couple of points in the article “Did Subway Cheaters Put Egg on L.A.’s Face?” [March 14–20] need to be clarified. First of all, TransLink (the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) is in the process of exploring a possible business case for controlled access on our system, primarily as a companion piece to the rollout of a Smart Card system. The 2005 staff report (referred to in the article) had nothing to do with Cubic’s current interest or any discussions that may be going on. It was prepared as part of the construction of the Canada Line rapid-transit project between downtown Vancouver and Vancouver International Airport (due to be completed in 2009), when some municipal politicians asked that the stations be designed in a way that could accommodate a turnstile system in the future.

Cubic is not “pressuring” TransLink to install turnstiles — it has no leverage to do so. If turnstiles are introduced to our system, it will be a result of public input and on the basis of a business case that shows they will provide value for the investment required. Again, the advent of a Smart Card system makes more of a case for turnstiles than do the issues of fare evasion or crime and disorder. The link between turnstiles and safety/security issues has always been tenuous in our view.

As for the issues regarding Ken Dobell, he and an associate visited us to discuss Cubic’s turnstile-related products. Given that we have Cubic fare boxes and ticket-vending machines, and have enjoyed a good working relationship with Cubic for a number of years, Mr. Dobell’s request for a meeting was appropriate. At this point, no decisions have been made on our direction with respect to turnstiles, much less concerning a supplier.

By the way, on March 13, Mr. Dobell received an absolute discharge on the charges he was facing.

Drew SniderPublic Information Officer, TransLinkSouth Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority

Powers Back OnOnline comments on John Powers’ Garbage Time column [“Game Six,” March 14–20]:“Center-left Democrats?” My dear Mr. Powers, there has not been a center-left Democrat in this country since the death of Barbara Jordan. You have to go back to Lyndon Johnson to find a center-left president: a beast who coddled the war profiteers while forcing the Southerners to swallow civil rights. Can you imagine either Hillary or Obama doing the same thing? (Well, they would certainly be first in line to drink the Pentagon''s Kool-Aid.) Do us a favor, Mr. Powers: check the prescription on your glasses.Posted on March 16 by Steve

Mr. Powers, this [article] reminded me why I miss your On column so much. As the one who is, unfortunately, the most liberal person in any room I walk into (I voted for Nader in 2000 as “punishment” to the Democratic Party), I have never quite understood the outpouring of love for Obama, whether it be from the hipster on the street or the Prius-driving mom. The bells and whistles never naturally went off in my head with the Illinois senator, and I''d often ask myself why. Why? What’s wrong with me?

And then I realized: It’s because he’s all image and polish and shine and young. A dime-a-dozen politician with only the façade of a revolutionary, which is an affront to someone with my sensibilities. I voted for Clinton because, despite her many flaws, you''re at least getting what you paid for. These are economically scary fucking times and the next president has to be capable of really transitioning the country. The country needs someone who has lived five awful lifetimes with the scars to prove it, not some hubris-suffering novice.

Posted on March 13 by Christopher Perez

WMDs are a BFD

I thought John Powers’ column about the Hillary vs. Obama fight [“Game Six,” March 14–20] was very, uh, fair and balanced. I hate to come out of the closet as a heretic, but I’d like to put her Iraq invasion authorization in a little perspective, as well as his speech against it. It’s easy to forget now that some of those who initially opposed this, like Michael Moore, also were against the 1991 Gulf War, which I most people see as having been necessary to avoid giving the green light to the invasion of neighbors by other countries. (I have had my viewpoint shaped on this, having time in the Middle East as a freelance journalist.) I’ve never heard what Obama’s stand was on that, but it’s not inconsequential that he has the most liberal district in the country, which would have made it politically dangerous for him to do anything other than speak out against the 2003 war in advance.

Since we don’t have Hillary on tape saying she was only voting for the authorization of war cynically (Bush was, of course, first supposed to let the U.N. inspectors finish their work), before judging her as having taken a hawkish position purely for political reasons I think we ought to ask ourselves what we think of Colin Powell. No one could claim more of a front-seat view on the unfolding drama than the top general from the 1991 war. Do we really think he didn’t believe there was a danger of weapons of mass destruction in 2003 and was only going along with the Cheney-Bush cabal to stay in power? I don’t believe even his severest critics can credibly claim that. And if he were deceived, why not Hillary and all those others who voted for the same authorization? If we say that vote disqualifies her to be president, then John Edwards and John Kerry were also not qualified. I don’t want a president who wasn’t at least a little paranoid about Saddam having WMD.

Scott S. SmithWest Hollywood


Great to Be NominatedThe Western Publications Association announced its 2008 Maggie Awards finalists last week, and L.A. Weekly is in the running for honors in six categories. Christine Buckley’s “From Hunter to Hunted” cover story has been nominated for Best Feature Article/Consumer; Jeffrey Anderson’s series on Cudahy, “The Town the Law Forgot,” is up for Best Series of Articles/Consumer; David Zahniser’s “The End of Murder” is competing for Best News Story/Consumer; and the 2007 People Issue is up for “Special Theme Issue/Consumer.”

In addition, L.A. Weekly is up for an award in the Tabloids/Consumer category, and all four of the stories that appeared in our 2007 fiction issue — “One Hundred Percent,” by Etgar Keret; “The Good Word,” by Katherine Karlin; “Topsy the Elephant,” by Stephan Clark; and “Thwack!,” by Sandi Tan — are vying for the Best Fiction/Trade & Consumer award.

More good news: Staff writer Judith Lewis won a Local Newspaper Reporter Integrity Award from the Coalition for a Safe Environment.

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