Letters

WEASEL PATROL

Re: David Young's "Small, Fuzzy Justice" (The County, Sept. 10): Legalization of ferrets may only cause death, sadness and broken hearts to those who love their little fuzzy critters. I own two ferrets that I have had for three years. I obtained both out-of-state and brought them home with me. As with most ferret owners here in California, I had to go out of my way to obtain these two hyperactive fur balls. Most people don't realize the amount of energy ferrets possess. Unlike kittens, ferrets remain playful and frisky most of their lives.

If ferrets were to become legal in California, they would become the next "cool" thing to have. Just as dalmatians were the hot craze after Disney's movie 101 Dalmatians hit the silver screen, ferrets would instantly be sought after. Presumably, ferrets would then end up in the pounds, streets and your back yard.

People who own ferrets realize what it takes to care for them. If ferrets were to become legal, many people would carelessly get a ferret because it seems to be a "neat" pet, ultimately harming the ferret. Who would ferret legalization benefit? Is it any wonder that Marshall Farms has spent so much time and money in litigation against the California Department of Fish and Game's anti-ferret stance? Is it for the ferret or the buck?

--Name withheld at author's request Garden Grove

POWER OUTAGE

COOL! I loved your "Orange County's Least Powerful People" issue (Feature, Sept. 3). What a cool twist on something that has been done ad nauseum the other way. The only thing I didn't like was that you listed the Log Cabin Club guy. Don't blame him for working with the pigs that shit on gay people. He's trying to make a difference from the inside, and, quite frankly, it's very admirable.

--David Heitz Belmont Shore

Your publication doesn't call people for comment, leaves errors uncorrected, and belittles readers who try to set the record straight. You signaled your cavalier attitude toward journalistic standards in November 1996, when you trumpeted deliberate fabrications by one of your reporters in a cover article.

In "Orange County's Least Powerful People," you attack me for inconsequential editorial writing, but you haven't the intellectual honesty to report that our page was honored this year for a massive piece citing chapter and verse the failings of county planning over a decade.

You say it took us nearly two years to editorialize against Bob Dornan's congressional effort to retain his seat. But it was clear when I wrote correcting you on Dornan editorials back in 1997 that we had urged him to get a life several months--not years, as you say--after Loretta Sanchez took office. Also, in April 1997, we said that the House should wrap up its inquiry. You apparently don't read your own files.

You ridicule us for a quotation in an editorial that you say appeared on June 3, 1994, about getting along. We once did a short editorial quoting Rodney King, but the local editorial we ran on June 3, 1994, was about something else entirely. It was a strong endorsement of a grand jury finding that the county should deal with its jail-overcrowding problem.

In addition to such recklessness with the facts, your article maliciously leads readers to think that supporting observations in our editorials are in fact the main point. For example, you took a line urging better planning from a piece on Knott's Berry Farm but didn't say what the editorial was about. It was a denunciation of an ill-advised 5-cent promotion that led to rioting.

Reasonable readers would conclude from the above that you deliberately have held my work and me up in a false light. It is beyond me why your parent company would indulge you in your continued abuse of our First Amendment privileges. At a time when the press is working conscientiously to shore up credibility, we have met the enemy, and it is the likes of you.

--Stephen D. Burgard Editorial Page Editor

Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition

Please substitute the following for the third paragraph in my letter to you of Sept. 3, beginning, "You say it took us nearly two years to editorialize," etc. This change covers any reading of the sentence on Dornan-Sanchez in your Sept. 3 article about me.

The new paragraph should read: "You criticize us for the timing of editorials on former congressman Robert Dornan, but fail to inform your readers that in May 1992, we strongly endorsed his opponent, Judge Judith Ryan, and that in early 1997, we urged an end to the House inquiry of the 1996 election. We had two opportunities to consider Loretta Sanchez's candidacy, first in 1996 and again last year, when we endorsed her. Our readers knew on Oct. 20, 1996, why we did not endorse her the first time: we expressed reservations about her association into the primary with a Democratic contributor convicted of swindling."

Pick up fourth paragraph, "You ridicule us for a quotation," etc.

Since I have voice mail from you asking me to call you late this morning to discuss my letter, I expect that this change can be made in a timely fashion before publication.

--Stephen D. Burgard Editorial Page Editor

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.

PULLING A TRAIN

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

SISTERS ARE DOIN' IT

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 exposé, 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.

It is always heartbreaking to hear of women tormenting, abusing and taking advantage of one another. There are so many societal obstacles which intelligent, ambitious women must hurdle that it is doubly unfortunate when our supposed "sisters" have placed those obstacles in our way.

Spoiled, rich, bulimic, anorexic, fashion-victim, vapid, shallow, alcoholic, insincere bitches can go ahead and fucking sodomize one another. Get 'em out of the way of the less idiotic. While the bitches nit-pick one another's Ann Taylor debutante ball gown, the rest of us can become well-read, informed individuals. Is that a Prada bag you're puking into, darling?

--Michelle Brant via e-mail
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