Letters

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NIXON MANIA

I know you miss Nixon; we all do ("Bad Dick!" by Anthony Pignataro, Oct. 6). But Nixon is gone now, and no matter how much you love to hate him, you can't bring him back. You really need to get on with your life and let the healing begin. If you can't think of anything new, just do what comes naturally: write about Bob Dornan! Dornan doesn't matter anymore, either, but at least he's still alive, and that's kind of interesting. Which is more than can be said for any of your endless Nixon nonsense.

Chris Borg
Huntington Beach
TO YOUR HEALTH

I would like to clarify some points in Matt Coker's story "Honk If You Hate HMOs!" (Sept. 29):

• My wrongful termination was in February, not March, 1997.

PacifiCare employees and members of management did approach me when I was protesting outside their offices, but they did not come to resolve my concerns. One of those who approached me was Ben Singer, the PacifiCare spokesman quoted in the story. He asked me to analyze some books of his. Now if I was a disgruntled employee, why would he come and talk [with me] about marketing the books, asking me for my opinion? Why would I give my opinion about those books when PacifiCare wouldn't talk to me about my concerns?

• In the story, Mr. Singer compared me to a figure in a movie called Norma Rae, which I have never seen or heard of. But one thing is for sure: PacifiCare is up against Laura Roberts and the power of Almighty God. No matter what they say against me, I know that my battle is won. And my stand will continue until they right this wrong. I am not anti-HMO, just anti-PacifiCare.

Laura Roberts
Corona Matt Coker responds: I talked with Ben Singer the day the story came out. PacifiCare says Roberts was fired with cause, and Singer confirmed that he gave Roberts the pamphlets "It's Your Health: How to get the most out of your HMO" and "It's Your Choice: Are Medicare HMOs right for you?" But he said he wanted to prove that PacifiCare cares about its members; he denied having asked Roberts to give her opinion of the books for marketing purposes. At that time, I invited Singer to write a letter if he had a problem with anything in my story.
HELLA

If Ella Taylor would take the time to watch At the Movies With Roger Ebert, she would notice that he does not give away the ending of the movie. That's why he's on TV and she's writing for your liberal rag. Is this person part of your intern project or what? I read her review of Dancer in the Dark and was sooooo saddened to have absorbed the entire plot of the movie, including the ending. I am a great Deneuve fan, but the experience was greatly diminished by the fact that I knew every major plot point (and most of the minor ones).

Jeffry Conn
San Clemente Ella Taylor responds more generously than some of us would like: As I said in my review, the plot was contrived and preposterous in the way that opera is contrived. Therefore, "giving away the ending" was rather like giving away the ending of
La Boheme. 'IS THAT ALL THEY HAVE?'

I just read R. Scott Moxley's article on Shantae Molina ("Shantae Molina Is Innocent," Aug. 25). As the foreman of the jury on Ms. Molina's murder trial, I would concur with most of what he described in his article. For the record, the jury eliminated murder one before the first day of deliberations was over. Murder two was dismissed first thing the following day. The balance of our deliberations was the endless discussions on involuntary manslaughter.

It was a difficult decision to come to for two reasons: one, the prosecution never once prosecuted this case as if it were involuntary manslaughter; and two, the judge's instructions were difficult at best to understand. One thing that was evident was that several of the jury members, myself included, asked in the jury room, "When the prosecution rested, did you say to yourself, 'Is that all they have?'"

As you can imagine, there were several votes and lots of heated discussions. But to the credit of this jury, we never once had any hostility in the jury room. We worked hard to come up with this decision. Subsequent things I have read since the trial ended have further substantiated my feeling that she is innocent. I was amazed at the amount of information that we did not have access to. I can only hope that some of my fellow jurors have read some of these things. This was not a simple case to decide upon. Yet I am confident—more than confident—that we made the right decision.

Richard Whiting
via e-mail
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