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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.
WE'RE REALLY, REALLY SMART
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
WE'RE ON THE WRONG BUS
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.
I read with both amusement and irritation the report that the pro-airport boosters are "losing" (Anthony Pignataro's El Toro Airport Watch No. 125, Nov. 26). The Weekly's hostility for the airport and its reverence for Irvine City Council Member Larry Agran has caused it to confuse a shift of momentum for success. Reality is that Measure A is the law of the land, the county continues to spend public money to plan and promote an airport at El Toro, and the anti-airport forces have yet to win a major battle. I suggest that the Weekly not celebrate until their team enters the end zone.William R. Mitchell Tustin Anthony Pignataro responds: You and I disagree on a number of facts here (including your claim that airport opponents have yet to win a major battle), but let's address your main point: as you yourself point out, I never said anti-airport forces had won the war over El Toro, just that the airport's backers were losing it, or (as I so inelegantly put it), "They're steadily losing, and (I swear this is true) you can smell the stink of their desperation." Your letter confirms the part about the desperation of losing, but not the stink: you've always been very clean.
Thanks so much for covering our protest against the Georgia-based School of the Americas (SOA), where the U.S. military trains soldiers from Third World countries (Commie Girl, Nov. 26). Since we made a bit of a boo-boo in our press release (who knew there was more than one Federal Building in Santa Ana?), a number of reporters were unable to find us, and our lack of broader coverage was disappointing.
I suppose it's all water under the bridge anyway, with the School of the Americas having shuffled the deck by making its big announcement that it is going to revamp its entire curriculum. Those of us familiar with the lies that the Defense Department has handed the public concerning this issue know that, while they will change the name of the school, change some of the courses, and get more civilian input, they will alter little the purposes of the SOA.
The Amnesty International Web page describes what happened when a couple of environmentalist Indians encountered SOA graduates, and it's pretty hard to read. I wish that Dana Rohrabacher's staffer—the one who told you, "I think it's pretty safe to say we're not down with death squads"—had explained why the congressman is down with funding training that results in such outcomes.Todd Howard via e-mail
WE'RE DESPERATE—GET USED TO IT
Since when does Crest View United represent the conscience of Huntington Beach ("Discount Democracy," Nov. 5)? Yes, there were a lot of signatures collected for the initiative to stop Wal-Mart from entering the city, but the truth is: 1) a lot of money was paid to professional signature gatherers for those petitions; 2) those same people represented the initiative as Save Open Space (they get paid by the signature, after all); 3) in actuality, the abandoned site at Beach and Talbert where Wal-Mart plans to build will be developed no matter what. The only question is, will there be a housing development (which sucks city resources) or a retail project that may actually bring money into the community?
If the OC Weekly wants to present the facts on an issue, then you should present all the facts, not just pick and choose those that fit a particular agenda.Angela Lockhart Huntington Beach Chronic Finger-Sniffing Employee No. 535 responds: In its effort to block the construction of a Wal-Mart in their back yards, members of Crest View United didn't just gather "a lot" of signatures; they gathered 22,000—7,000 more than necessary to qualify their initiative for the city's March ballot. Some 6,000 of those signatures were gathered by paid gatherers, but that's legal, so it's not clear what you mean to imply by that fact—that Wal-Mart and project developer George Argyros haven't resorted to money to win this campaign? What is clear is this: first, when it became evident that the initiative had qualified for the ballot, Argyros threatened the citizens group with a lawsuit. Second, the City Council voted to place on the same ballot a countermeasure—no signatures, no standing outside shopping centers, no sweat, just a majority vote that the citizens' work could be undermined in any number of bureaucratic ways.
I was disappointed to read Roger Butow's letter critical of my administration of the Surfrider Foundation (Letters, Dec. 3). Environmental organizations face enough opposition without turning against one another. The Surfrider Foundation has a successful 15-year history of cooperating with many other environmental organizations achieving positive results all over the world for the benefit of the coast. After all, we all want the same thing: clean water and a healthy beach.Christopher J. Evans executive director Surfrider Foundation