Letters

-Michael J. Russell, via e-mail

"Tony" responds: Mike, I never said California's power companies would be smart enough to earn those profits, just clever enough to get taxpayers to allow them the freedom to try, unencumbered by the debt they accumulated while still on the public dole.

COCK-A-DOODLE-DON'T

Re: Rich Kane's April 9 Locals Only: I'd like to throw up the white flag in hopes of reconciling whatever differences Kane has with the band Rooster or myself. In a previous Rooster review, Kane wrote: "Really, is there anything more obnoxious than a band of white kids who think they're black? . . . Their singer probably thought he was buggin' and a-wiggin'."

For the record, we have two singers: Sean, who is Hawaiian, and me, of German descent. I know that everyone in the group has a strong affinity for their own heritage with no desire to be anything else.

I'm a 22-year-old white kid who grew up in Huntington Beach. I'm deeply sorry if my band mates or I have done anything to hurt you personally (your ears, heart, etc.), and I'm fully aware that you are not a fan of our music. But there are actually a lot of people who do appreciate us and come to our shows regularly. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, "Can't a brother get some love up in this piece!"

-Chris Franz, Huntington Beach

SENSE OF CLOSURE

Steve Lowery's "How to Snuff a Wild Bikini" (Sports, Feb. 12) unfortunately misuses the trademark VELCRO®. We are sure the misuse was unintentional; however, such an oversight can serve to weaken the identity and value of our VELCRO® hook-and-loop fastener trademark.

The VELCRO® trademark must modify the goods it distinguishes, and because VELCRO is a registered trademark, it needs to be easily distinguished from the rest of the printed text. If you mean to refer to our product, please capitalize the mark followed by the symbol ®, the word "brand" and the generic term "hook-and-loop fastener," "touch fastener" or "closure," i.e. "VELCRO® brand hook-and-loop fastener." However, the product must incorporate genuine VELCRO® fasteners in order for the trademark to be used. If you mean to refer to the type of fastener or if you are unsure whether or not the product is or incorporates genuine VELCRO® brand fasteners, use the generic term "hook-and-loop fastener" or "touch fastener."

Your assistance in properly using the VELCRO® trademark is greatly appreciated by the Velcro family of companies. Such careful attention results in more accurate communication; it is helpful to your audience, and it will help us to preserve the integrity of the VELCRO® trademark-which exclusively identifies the brand of hook-and-loop fasteners manufactured by the Velcro companies.

-Pamela J. Carter, legal assistant, Velcro Group Corporation, Manchester, New Hampshire

The editors respond: Thanks for the gracious heads-up, Pamela. We think we figured out what happened: we wrote the VELCRO® line after suffering a freak accident. We were strapping our lunchbox (filled with a manwich and cheetos wrapped in cellophane and a thermos full of coke) onto our jeep with nylon when one of the neighbor kids hit us in the face with his frisbee. Blood gushed out of our nose as we searched furiously for kleenex. We found it near the xerox but haven't been the same since.

INACCURACY CHECK

Having had a previous encounter with the Daily Pilot's unique brand of journalism, I had to laugh when I read R. Scott Moxley's excellent article "Pilot Error, the Sequel" (The County, March 19). In January 1997, I wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times in which I compared and contrasted federal and local bureaucracies. I'd worked for eight years in Costa Mesa City Hall, and based on my experience, I stated that most people had no clue what was happening in city government due to poor coverage by local journalists.

A few days later, I received a call from one of the Pilot's reporters; he said he wanted to write an article about "the controversy." It seemed rather silly, but I agreed to meet with him and proceeded to lay out my argument more fully, providing the reporter with the unedited text of my editorial and filling him in on City Hall stories that had been missed or were blatantly inaccurate. I pointed out several errors the Pilot had made, including grossly and consistently underreporting the amount of money the city was paying consultants for its computer upgrade. One Pilot article stated that the cost of the entire "computer-system overhaul . . . will not exceed $250,000," the amount of a single payment to the consulting firm (the Times reported the number as "up to $100,000," but that's another story). City Hall, of course, made no effort to correct the mistake.

I also mentioned that the city's "hiring freeze" was nonexistent. Although technically in place since 1991, the freeze had never really been implemented. City officials told the press and public ad nauseum that they were saving taxpayers money by leaving positions vacant as employees quit or retired, and indeed the text of the city's resolution specifically stated that the freeze applied to all "vacant positions except for sworn field positions." But no one had ever bothered to check if it was true! The fact was that not only were vacant positions being filled right and left, but also several new positions had been created during the so-called "freeze." It was a farce, but an easily verifiable one, and I suggested that the Pilot simply look over the rolls of hirees for the past few years to determine if my characterization was accurate.

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