Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition

The editors respond: The Weekly encourages dialogue between our readers and writers on the Letters page. We applaud Burgard for participating in this forum. Through this exchange, he has finally discovered something so evil that he has brought forth an opinion. The fact that the noxious thing is theWeekly just proves that even lousy journalists like us can provide an important public service. Our next task will be to get Burgard to focus on logic. Rather than demonstrate that his editorials are not gobbledygook, for example, he proudly points out that he's won an award and then attacks theWeekly's credibility—as if that has anything to do with his editorial spinelessness. (His awe-inspiring take on tackling suburban crime? "Common sense should rule." His breathtaking approach on drug policies? "Common sense should rule." His thoughts on reducing toll-road mishaps? "Drivers need to be safe….") Then there are problems of fact. Burgard wildly claims we "trumpeted deliberate fabrications" in a three-year-old article, but fails to specify the article, the alleged fabrication or how he knows anything was done "deliberately." Even when he aims for specificity, Burgard misses the point: in his first letter, he asserts that we attacked him for his editorials on a House voter-fraud inquiry; in fact, it should be pretty clear to anyone really reading (rather than merely reacting) that we slammed him for waiting until Loretta Sanchez was seeking her second term before finally coming out against provably evil Bob Dornan in the 46th Congressional District. In his second letter, Burgard says he did once endorse someone other than Dornan—that once being such an amazing exception to his typically casual treatment of Dornan that he can still remember it. (Note: Why didn't Burgard endorse Sanchez in the subsequent general election? Because of Sanchez's relationship to Howard Kiefer—a relationship first uncovered by theWeekly's R. Scott Moxley.) In any case, in his decade at theTimes, Burgard has passed up repeated opportunities to underscore the obvious: Dornan was and remains unfit for public office. Burgard's letters provide the very image of the man: uncomfortable around controversy in a job that ought to make him controversial. But his unvarnished contempt for theWeekly is clearly a solid start on the path toward powerful editorials. We hope he will someday discover similar outrage for homelessness, crime, traffic, corporate welfare and overdevelopment.


Being present at the Aug. 23 rail debate, I can only agree with Anthony Pignataro's conclusion that the pro forces only helped the anti forces as they attempt to kill the CenterLine rail project ("Derailed," Sept. 3). However, one bright spot not mentioned by your correspondent was the advice offered by the anti side when the question of what happens as traffic increases in Orange County. The answer given was "move," although one panelist attempted to ameliorate the damage from this comment by suggesting automating our freeways would solve our traffic problems. How this would be done and how much it would cost was conveniently not discussed.

The key problem with our transportation system is that it is unsustainable. Sooner or later, we will run out of cheap oil. The U.S., with less than 5 percent of the world's population, consumes 25 percent of the world's oil production. This cannot last. If the whole world consumed oil at the U.S. rate, the world would run out of oil in a little more than one generation.

--Carl Mariz Irvine


Editor's note:The Weekly received dozens of letters on Margaret J. Soos' article "With Friends Like These" (Aug. 27). That's no surprise, given that the article has received more hits on our Web site (5,000-plus and counting) than any other we can remember. Nearly all the letters were from sisters defending sororities. Many questioned the story's veracity (it's all true) and whether Soos exists (she does--with another name). We're only running this letter because of its unique perspective.

Are we supposed to empathize with the spoiled, foolish, cruel woman who composed the article? Are we, the readers of the OC Weekly, supposed to feel anything but utter abject revulsion for anyone who takes part in the activities described in the article?

I realize that her piece was intended as an exposť, but there were definite overtones of "but I was trapped, brainwashed, victimized, tricked, etc." throughout. And it was completely nauseating. The horror of sororities and fraternities is not some hot topic or breaking news story; no one should be surprised by the content of this article. The term "hazing" has become as much a part of the general dialect as "online."

The author didn't describe a decade-long indoctrination where she was effectively brainwashed. After the initial weeklong rush activities, any decent, intelligent person should have, would have run away from that organization like someone with her hair on fire. A small child didn't write this article; the author was a young adult, a person who should have had enough sense of what is right and wrong to forgo selfish gratification (job contacts) for the sake of maintaining her sense of identity and not victimizing other women.

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