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Thanks for Anthony Pignataro's article on the county's failure to develop a real plan for spaying and neutering dogs at its animal shelter ("Killing Joke," Nov. 6). But he's wrong when he says the new plan for spaying and neutering dogs is "virtually identical" to the existing program for cats. In fact, it's much worse. Cats are sent to contracted veterinarians to be sterilized and picked up by the adopter there. Under the canine plan, the shelter would perform all sterilization surgeries at its own facility. That's something the humane community strongly opposes, given the poor levels of veterinary care animals there currently receive (not to mention the terrible customer service that patrons receive). We think it's ludicrous to add 4,400 surgeries per year to a workload that Animal Control officials already can't manage. We would like to see the canine plan emulate the feline plan: dogs should be sent out to local vets, where the surgeries could be performed in safe, sterile environments and patrons could receive personalized attention and adequate postoperative instructions and support.

Maria Dales Newport Beach


It seems a shame your staff has chosen to ignore some hardworking bands that have been playing in Orange County for years. The one that most comes to mind is Funhole. I have seen nary a mention of them other than in the paid club ads, though they have played all over—Club Mesa, Club 369, Lava Lounge, Hogue Barmichael's, the Opium Den. It can't be that you haven't heard of them. I have seen far more short-lived and obscure bands mentioned. It's beginning to look like you are snubbing them on purpose. Or maybe I am just living in an alternate universe.

Caitlin S. Haskell Brea Anally Retentive Employee No. 607 responds: We can't write about Funhole because the name suggests a part of the anatomy that might, under some circumstances, give sexual pleasure, and our employee handbook,Don't Ever Do This or We'll Fire You, states very clearly that we're not allowed to write about sexual pleasure "unless such pleasure clearly occurs within the confines of a legally sanctioned marriage." So if the band were called Happily Married Funhole, Spouse Funhole, or My Husband the Funhole, we could write about Funhole. You can see our problem.


There is a reference to a band in your "Out of County Experiences" section that I feel is misleading, unfair and mean-spirited. In the space for the LA club Fourteen Below, you state: "Jerry [Garcia] might be gone, but we will be stuck with Cubensis forever." Cubensis does not deserve this rude remark! This great band has been keeping me going for years. The hundreds of Deadheads who go to their show on Sundays consider it "church," where we can get together and dance and enjoy one another's company on a regular basis. Cubensis provides an environment in which our scene can still thrive. People continue to love the Grateful Dead's music, and no one plays it better than these guys do, literally! We are not "stuck" with Cubensis at all, and you should modify your reference to them to reflect the respect due a veteran band. You should actually encourage your readership to see them, instead of giving the impression that they are not entertaining. I'll be watching for a change in your column. Thanks for your consideration.

Crystal Murphy Lynwood Chronic Crotch-Scratching Employee No. 374 responds: "Jerry [Garcia] might be gone, but we will be stuck with Cubensis forever" is a medical self-disclosure, referring to the unfortunate byproduct of our brief "relationship" with Garcia in the months before his death. We'd like to say more, but theWeekly's employee handbook,Don't Ever Do This or We'll Fire You, is very clear on this sort of thing: "References to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—including, but not limited to, chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, syphilis and cubensis—should be treated in the same way as sexual pleasure outside the confines of a legally sanctioned marriage." We pray daily for even symptomatic relief.


Thanks for documenting the real history of the 1994 bankruptcy—nearly $100 million per year in debt payments, shredded social and environmental programs, and less democracy ("What Bankruptcy?" Dec. 3). But wasn't it funny that a few days later, county executive officer Jan Mittermeier told the Register the bankruptcy was a "positive experience" because it produced a new and improved government? That's a laugh. My evidence is the CEO herself, a secretive bureaucrat whose function all these years seems to be to preserve the status quo—government of, by and for Orange County's rich.

Andy Rodriguez via e-mail


As a driver for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), I was particularly interested in your bankruptcy story's analysis of OCTA. Thank you very much for mentioning the pay cut we had to take in 1996. But I would like to correct an inaccuracy regarding bus fares. True, the free transfers were eliminated July 11. Though the transfers were free, they were limited to a two-hour expiration, good for only two more buses after being issued, and were not valid for stopovers or roundtrips. Regular bus fares were and still are $1. A passenger may now purchase a day pass. The introductory price is $2. On Jan. 9, that will increase to the regular price of $2.50. The day pass is good all day long, on any bus, any direction, for an unlimited number of rides on the OCTA system. Senior and disabled fares were 45 cents during peak hours (6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays) and 15 cents all other times. That has changed to 25 cents per boarding any time. Senior day passes are 50 cents. Regular monthly passes have remained the same, at $37.50. Student monthly passes went from $34.50 to $25. Senior/disabled passes went from $18.50 to $10.

Kathi Hawley Garden Grove Nick Schou, OCTA analysis author, responds: Though I'm sure Hawley is right about transfers, what she's right about doesn't in any way contradict the fact that free transfers were eliminated in July—which is the only thing I said about them. My point was that riding the bus has become more expensive, a point with which Hawley seems to agree.
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