Up in Smoke

I support the decision of West Hollywood’s City Council to make petty marijuana offenses a low priority [“Lighting Up,” June 23-29], and recommend that other free-thinking communities and cities do the same. It is clear that marijuana and other alternative methods of treating severe pain and progressively debilitating diseases are necessary in this time of poor health-care coverage, increasingly myopic prescription-drug procedures and inflated costs.

Jess Sweet

Los Angeles

Tara on the Pacific

I believe so-called historic ­preservation [“Demolition City,” June 23-29] is simply a cover or diversionary story for the longtime West Hollywood City Council’s real goal: cheap public housing for out-of-town poor people as a reward for being the most loyal voters who continue to reelect the City Council over and over again.

I don’t think it would be easy to find another municipality with council members who stay in office as long as they do in West Hollywood.

It is precisely this reason of rewarding a few loyal voters with cheap rent that keeps them in office so long. Keep in mind voter turnout in West Hollywood is abysmally low, and the City Council benefits greatly from that. It comes as no surprise to me that the West Hollywood City Council would be willing to destroy anything that gets in its way of bringing new loyal poor people into the city. And that includes evicting a few outspoken long-term renters at Tara and Carlton Manor, in favor of a few more quiet out-of-town poor people, who no doubt will come to City Council meetings and praise the council members who got them apartments in expensive West Hollywood.

Because the city’s great resources are mostly directed to public housing, the taxpaying residents don’t get things like the promised library, new parking structures for the critical parking shortages, basic maintenance of streets and sewer lines, all of which are seriously neglected.

James Fuhrman

Chonburi, Thailand

Let My People Go

Assuming Paul Zimmerman was born a poor black child [“Castle on a Hill,” sidebar to “Demolition City,” June 23-29], I can understand how his tender sensibilities would be mortified [by the name “Tara”]. What better monument to the Emancipation Proclamation than to tear down the oldest trees on the largest lot in West Hollywood and mutilate a historic building given to the city of West Hollywood by its sweetly naïve owner to preserve in perpetuity? That’ll show her. That’ll show all of ’em. It’s a shame and, frankly my dear, I do give a damn.

Geoff DeWan

Los Angeles

L.A. Weekly Wins . . .

The Association of Alternative Newsweekies announced the winners of the 2006 Altweekly Awards at the annual AAN conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, on June 16. The L.A. Weekly won first place in Media Reporting/Criticism for Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood column; second and third place in Cartoons (appearing in three or fewer newspapers) for Bruce Eric Kaplan’s weekly cartoon and Dwayne Booth’s “Mr. Fish” comics respectively; second place in Food Writing for Jonathan Gold’s restaurant reviews; second place in the Special Section category for “Best of L.A.”; and third place in the Feature Story category for Judith Lewis’ cover story on nuclear power, “Green to the Core.”

Also, the Los Angeles Press Club presented its annual awards at the Biltmore Hotel Saturday night. L.A. Weekly took first place in the Special Section category for last year’s issue on smog, “What You Can’t See Can Kill You”; an honorable mention for the same issue went to News Editor Alan Mittelstaedt as Journalist of the Year.

Other Weekly winners: Jonathan Gold, second place in the Entertainment Reviews/Criticism/Column category and honorable mention in the same category for film writer Ella Taylor; Brendan Bernhard, second place in Entertainment Feature for “L’Etranger in a Strange Land: Michel Houellebecq’s Weekend in L.A.” and honorable mention in the same category for Robert David Jaffee’s “The Vanishing”; Dwayne Booth, second place, Editorial Cartoons for “Mr. Fish”; Michael Krikorian, honorable mention in the News Feature category for “War and Peace.” And the Weekly got an honorable mention in Special Sections for “Best of L.A.” 2005.

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