By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to email@example.com, or mail to Letters to the Editor, c/o OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or fax to (714) 550-5908.
The following readers just loved Nick Schou's Jan. 18 feature, "Dammit Janet!"
I am a Garden Grove resident and board member of the Central Garden Grove Neighborhood Association. I know about the politics of our city first-hand. Since Janet Nguyen won the Board of Supervisors' seat, I was not aware that those who were once her greatest supporters had now turned on her. I was very impressed with the detail of this article. The OC Weekly continues to be a great source of in-depth facts and non-biased writing. Thank you for bringing the inside story to the people.
I don't know if I'd vote for either Janet or Dina [Nguyen] if I had to, but right now, neither one appears to represent my concerns or values as an American, parties aside. I'd need more answers from both before I could support either one, and remember, I've seen them both in action (or inaction) on the Garden Grove City Council.
Having said that, at least Janet appears to be doing her own review of issues and making decisions without a volley of text messages. And I find it difficult to believe that Van Thai Tran thinks he can tell his fellow Asians-or anyone-when to run and for which office to run here in America. Maybe we should just get it over with and have someone declare him either "Premier" or "Chairman" Van T. Tran.
Some readers really love Carl's Jr., and they are none too happy about Gustavo Arellano's Jan. 18 article, "Carl Karcher Was God."
Didn't your mama ever teach you to not speak ill of the dead? It's not nice or fair because they can't defend their legacy when it's been libeled. So I will try to enlighten you about some erroneous statements you made in your article.
First off, what are you trying to imply when you said Carl Karcher lived in a modest house near Latino-heavy Pearson Park? That he was a bigot for living there, or what? I used to go to that park with my relatives 35 years ago, when it was like Mayberry USA. There were no winos, gang graffiti, or vatos selling heroin near the restrooms. Nowadays, even Rambo wouldn't walk through Pearson Park after dark with $10 in his pocket for fear of getting mugged. Welcome to the new Pearson Park. Karcher lived in that house until his wife's health forced a move to Arizona. If you are trying to imply Karcher didn't like Latinos, that is crazy; Carl's Jr. hires more Latino workers than ANY fast food chain in OC.
Next, your implication that Karcher was Senator Joe McCarthy's disciple because he once said SOME of Joe's points were valid is simply untrue. You haven't been alive long enough to know the truth. With every passing year, McCarthy has been vindicated for his anti-communist positions. If only somebody had listened to him back then, the USA could have stopped a great deal of political turmoil.
Almost all of the commies McCarthy outed were really commies, which has been documented over the past 60 years. The media/Edward R. Murrow machine spun the McCarthy myths you take for the truth.
The whole Green Burrito and "diluting his signature line of only burgers and fries" part you got wrong. Carl's Jr.'s board of directors were the brains behind the idea to reach out to the growing Latino market with tacos and burritos. Karcher was opposed to the idea, but the board bought out his majority stock shares, leaving the founder of the company without the power to decide what's best for his own chain.
Karcher gave more money to charity than you will ever see or dream of seeing: CHOC Hospitals, St. Joe's Hospital, Pacific Symphony, OC food banks and many other causes. Plus, he gave rewards to school students who got good grades. I never heard of Ray Kroc (the founder of McDonald's) doing that for schools.
Shame on you for slandering the dead. And please read up on Senator Joe, too. You will learn something more important than why Mexican jumping beans jump!
How many families drew paychecks at this man's establishments? How many kids were clothed and educated as a result of Karcher's progress? How many teenagers and college students had spending and gas money due to working at Carl's Jr.?
One thing is certain, despite all of his "so-called" moral shortfalls: He will have had a greater positive impact in people's lives than some judgmental, morally superior journalist who can only throw barbs and build himself up at the expense of one who has passed away.
Gustavo, if I saw that anyone else from the OC Weekly wrote an article about Carl Karcher right after his death, I would have automatically braced for the worst. However, you are one of the few writers there who consistently rises above the shock journalism that plagues alternative weeklies, so I was interested to see what you had to say. After reading your article, however, I was extremely disappointed. Bottom line is, this man just died. With a few tweaks here and there, your article could have treated the man with respect while subtly hinting at his frailties. Instead, you revert to banging us over the head with his faults, making them seem like they add up to create a horrible man who fell from grace. Instead of using the stories of your childhood to show respect, you use them the way a parent uses an A on a report card otherwise filled with F's to say, "This makes it worse because it proves you can do better!"
So, what are his major crimes that justify denying him and his family the respect the dead deserve? He gave money to an anti-gay group while saying he did not believe they were anti-gay? While this shows he was out of touch with reality and homophobic, does it warrant declaring him a bigot right after his death? Bigot is a powerful, damning word, but you cheapen it-I can think of much worse organizations and much worse acts that deserve this label. His other crimes: acquiring other companies and letting the value of his hamburgers slide. Again, you are completely justified in making this criticism, but does it warrant stomping on this man's grave? Why not wait a while, let his loved ones grieve, and then bring up these faults, maybe in the context of what is wrong with America in general, so they do not seem like naked attacks on one man and may actually provoke thoughts on our society in general? Such an article, after Karcher's death has passed from the front pages, would not provide the requisite shock that you have reduced yourself to pandering for. You are a better journalist than that, Gustavo!
RHYMES WITH MOXIE . . .
The following letters were sent in praise of R. Scott Moxley's continuing coverage of convicted child molester Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, most recently Jan. 11's "Boy, Oh, Boy!"
What an eye-opener! I will inform my young son of sexual predators like Jeff who prey on the minds and morals of young people who are vulnerable, like teens and even preteens. Parents, be aware of the people who are involved in your children's lives! Thanks, OC Weekly, for shedding light on this. I dislike most of your publication and find it offensive, but God uses even your magazine for some good things.
Bravo to R. Scott Moxley on the series of articles on Jeffrey Ray Nielsen's serial molestation. I'm sick and tired of these perverts. Kudos to you, Mr. Moxley and OC Weekly, for not letting it go!
THE BEST OF THE WORST
Nick Schou's "Just a Random Female" (Nov. 23, 2007) will be included in the 2008 edition of The Best American Crime Reporting anthology, a book that has in the past featured articles from such publications as Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ and New York magazine.