Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to letters@ocweekly.com, or send 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.

I don't live in Orange County, and I don't always get Commie Girl's clever references to local politicians, but I always enjoy reading her column. She gets it just right explaining the real problems facing our counties and state.
Dan Bryan
Long Beach

Commie Girl: You're a fuckin' pisser. I wish I had your life. You should write a book based on your travels and events you've attended.

Thanks for the excellent reading.
Sean Gallagher
Via e-mail

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Rebecca Schoenkopf replies: Thanks, Sean, but Gustavo Arellano's the one who's writing the book. In fact, he's in New York meeting with publishers as I write, and they're going to have a big, old, fancy auction and bid on his brain, and I hate him I can't even tell you how much. Just wait till Antonio Banderas plays him in the movie: they'll undoubtedly have him bedding many sexy ladies in between pounding out food columns, and then there will be blood on the walls. Blood. On the walls. Okay, I stole that from The Apprentice, but plagiarism is really hot right now.

Gustavo Arellano's food knowledge—particularly where Persian cuisine is concerned—is vast. But his understanding of Farsi is more limited. "Oshalla" should be "moshalla"—roughly translating into the English "God forbid," or, if you don't go in for the whole theocentric-universe thing, "knock on wood." And the conversation (in Farsi) between Gustavo's dining companion and the attractive waitress eluded Gustavo as well: the dining companion wasn't asking her for a date; he was asking her about her new job. See, they're friends. I know because I'm the dining companion. Still, Gustavo is right:  Darband's among the county's best Persian restaurants.
Farsi Fanatic

"Ask a Mexican" states: "Most traffic signals became automated long ago and rely on sensors that recognize traffic flow, not the needs of pedestrians . . ."

Dear Mexican, you should get out of that bean bag you're sleeping in for half a segundo and stagger to the nearest Santa Ana traffic signal. Once there, push the button uno vez solamente, assuming you can count that high, then watch and learn. The walk doesn't speed up the light sequence, it slows it down once it changes. All designed to allow gordita's con muchos nino's and amigos borracho enough tiempo to cross safely.

Use your BRAINS, eat your BEANS!
Via e-mail

While Mr. Washburn apparently sees nothing wrong with the "American tradition of folks getting ahead by skirting the law" [Lost in OC, Apil 14], there is another American tradition called "enforcing the law." We've seen it in the past with the Watergate hearings and more recently with the ongoing trial involving former Enron executives. What I don't understand is that while he agrees that excessive population growth due to illegal immigration is the source of many social and environmental problems, he roundly condemns HR 4437, which would alleviate many of these problems by making it more difficult for illegals to remain here. Now, as far as the felony provision, the fact is that it was designed to equalize penalties for those who overstay their visa with those who enter illegally. However, before the House approved the bill, Rep. Sensenbrenner offered an amendment to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor at the request of the Bush administration. The amendment failed, with 191 Democrats and 65 Republicans opposing. In the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), "With the felony provision, it is a poison pill." So don't blame the GOP for it.

As for the proposed 700-mile fence along our border with Mexico, I am reminded of the words of Robert Frost: "Good fences make good neighbors."
Randle C. Sink
Yorba Linda

Jim Washburn replies: Randle, you make several valid points, but I'd ask you to look at it from a couple of other angles. I see the Sensenbrenner bill as a mean-spirited piece of legislation from one of our meanest, most closed-minded elected representatives in decades. I think Republicans championed his bill because in this election year they need a good distraction from the abominable job they've been doing in office. (And speaking of one, the Katrina debacle, need I note that one of the first things Bush did was cancel out the "prevailing wage" clause for the disaster relief, so the usual-suspect no-bid contractors could rake in even more profits by bringing in undocumented workers instead of hiring locals?)

Divisive politics have become a GOP forte, and they've certainly got some division going here. I mean, shouldn't we be grateful that people like our national anthem so much they're reinterpreting it in another language? That's what freedom's about. "Nuestro Himno" is a damn pop record, folks. If you don't like it, don't buy it. We don't need the president's permission. Is he going to weigh in next if he sees someone doing the "Mexican Hat Dance" around a fedora instead of a sombrero?

But I digress. My point is that I think Sensenbrenner's bill had the November election in mind more than it did anything like a workable solution, and when people saw it for what it was, the Republicans tried to backpedal and make it only slightly less cruel and unworkable. The bill, for example, still contained language so broad that it would have criminalized giving aid to illegal immigrants, and that's both inhumane and bad public health policy. The Democrats were right to block the changes. I would reiterate that I don't know what the answer is here. There most assuredly won't be a perfect one. Our best chance at arriving at a good one needs to be rooted in the compassion and fair-mindedness that we've always held to be our nation's greatest virtues.

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