We were at the Crystal Palace the same night as Commie Girl and totally agree with her about the trash music that Buck Owens regularly performs between his classic music (Rebecca Schoenkopf's "All You Got to Do Is Act Naturally: A trip to country's real home: Bakersfield," May 7). Buck does this trash as requested because of his desire to please the audience. Most of those present are music-ignorant locals who are there because of Buck's reputation, not because they like his music. On a normal Friday and Saturday night, he performs more of his classics in the second set, when all of the birthday, anniversary, graduation and divorce parties are gone.

—Carl Hunter, Lake Forest

Having spent some time in Bakersfield, I agree entirely with Schoenkopf; there is nothing much left of the town these days. It has indeed been swallowed whole. Yep, all that's left of "country's real home" is Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, the Econolodge on Oak Street, and Denny's, along with plenty of Franklin Mint-collectible-plate-loving, welfare-line "Dust Bowl Okies," whom visitors can alternately patronize and ridicule.

Yes, sir, that about sums up Bakersfield. Nothing to see up there, folks, just keep on driving. . . .

—Greg Gardner, Irvine SOULLESS SURVIVORS

Re: the letters by Christopher Quilter (April 30) and Laguna Beach City Councilman Paul Freeman (May 7) criticizing R. Scott Moxley and Victor D. Infante's story "Merrill Lynch Mob: The firm's Laguna Beach project backers are paving a little piece of paradise" (The County, April 23):

I genuinely feel sorry for people such as Quilter, who actually believe they are separate from their environs. Unlike my Indian forefathers, these individuals are alienated from their habitat, and with a bought-and-paid-for City Council, most voted "yes" on Measures A and B, the local referendum allowing a resort development at Treasure Island. It's obvious that those of us opposed to the development didn't mobilize enough ecologically sensitive voters to counter the ignorance and influence peddling.

Meanwhile, Paul "I Never Met a Developer I Didn't Like" Freeman's letter completely ignores the very reason thousands of residents voted against the measures: we actually value quality of life. In this case, less is more; less development and density result in an environment that is more desirable to those of us who've lived here for 25 years or more. Talking financial benefits as Freeman does is a way politicians sell things to the unknowing or unsuspecting. When offered a nickel or a dime while still a child, I'll bet Freeman took the nickel because it looked bigger.

—Roger Butow, Laguna Beach WELCOME TO CAMP PATSSI

While enjoying a delicious doughnut in a mall shop the other day, I happened to read Rebecca Schoenkopf's article "Little Patssi, Happy at Last" (Art, April 30). I understood the Mexican words huevos grandes, but from then on, I was baffled. Assuming that Schoenkopf's education went beyond the sixth grade, I can't understand why she used the filthy vernacular of the streets, such as "piss" (in the present and past tense) and "fundie mom," or why she dropped in the names of people such as Gloria Matta Tuchman, who lost the battle politically but won the war against the decadent educational system.

When Schoenkopf stated her atheistic mantra in a separate paragraph, she threw herself into Patssi Valdez's camp. Could the Weeklydo a favor for me, por favor? Give a copy of this letter to Valdez. Tell her she could have saved thousands of dollars in therapy if instead of denigrating the Catholic Church for ruining her life, she had turned to Jesus Christ for help in overcoming her disappointment in birthright, color, gender and religion. Tell Valdez she may have made her peace with society, but she still has time to make peace with God, her Christian savior. Kyrie eleison!

—Ida M. Wood, Laguna Woods SOMEONE'S FULLA BEANS

As a coffee professional in northern California, I found Matt Coker's May 14 A Clockwork Orange misinformed, superficial and unsupported by facts. Unfortunately, certain individuals in the coffee industry have an ax to grind (or perhaps it's "organic beans" to grind) by raising alarmist opinions about everything not politically correct about the coffee growers of the world. Whether it's issues of fair trade or workers' rights or overspraying of chemicals on workers or shaded vs. unshaded, the old adage of "follow the money trail" applies here. Who benefits, who sells more "bird-friendly" coffee, or who gives more of a shit for the rights of the suffering coffee workers?

If there is a sales advantage to be gained by filling Mr. Coker full of half-truths and hyperbole, then expect that there are those who will exploit him. His trouble is in making assumptions, and his lack of first-hand experience gives away his naivetť!

—John Hall, via e-mail Matt Coker responds:It's always people who use words like "misinformed," "superficial" and "unsupported by facts" who write letters that are misinformed, superficial and unsupported by facts. Iwish there was something here to respond to.TOOTING OUR OWN HORN

The OCWeekly congratulates the following reporters for the awards bestowed upon them by the Orange County Press Club for stories written in 1998: Kristina Rebelo Anderson, David Bacon, Joel Beers, Nathan Callahan, Matt Coker, Bob Emmers, Rich Kane, Steve Lowery, R. Scott Moxley, Rebecca Schoenkopf, Nick Schou, Greg Stacy, Will Swaim and Dave Wielenga.

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