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.

Editor's note: The following letters are in response to Rebecca Schoenkopf's Dec. 30 Commie Girl, in which she said that, after denying it for 10 years, "OC is just as conservative as the stereotype."

Rebecca, I left OC when I was 19 (I'm 44 now), but my parents are still there and I visit every year. I, too, was surprised when I finally realized how conservative it is there. Even though one of the family legends we tell is when my brother, as a kid, shook hands with JOHN WAYNE (duh!) when he was there campaigning for FORD (or was it REAGAN?? double duh!). My brother, James Iansiti, became an artist and musician who was trying to do all kinds of groovy things there. Now that he's realized there's no gettin' through to 'em, he's moved to Paris.

I grew up in Orange County and now live in the Bay Area. My mother has a picture of herself with Mrs. Quayle. My father voted for McClintock and moved out of Anaheim because "it wasn't safe anymore." A friend of his once loudly proclaimed over dinner that he could never be friends with someone who wasn't a Republican. I'd go on rides with his bicycle club and listen to his good friends go off on gays and how they deserved AIDS. I didn't notice it when I was growing up. In any place with lots of people, you can find a crowd with similar views (it's hard not to these days; cyberspace tends to be self-selecting). I'm not sure I could move back now. It would be too hard to walk down the street knowing that 70 percent of the people I saw supported this proposition or that politician and what that said about their values.

Jim Washburn, I found your Dec. 30 article "Don't Gloat Yet" as a look into your head. I can understand not liking someone, even finding them distasteful or even disappointing, but to harbor such hate of President Bush only hurts you. Hate injures your health and shows that your vision, attitude and opinion are clouded. Get over your hate and focus on the good that our troops are doing, our robust economy and the privilege of living in the greatest country in the world. You will find life is much better when you do not hate. And, to answer your question about what to do with the dog shit: EAT IT!

Jim Washburn responds: Hoot, thanks for your concern. I agree with you about hating: it ain't healthy and it's not good for anyone else. I'm not proud of it, and I still hope I've only got a strong case of utter contempt. But I'll tell you what it isn't: it's not a blind hate. Instead, it's the result of the Bush administration's travesties, lies, injustices and corruption. The facts I speak of are indeed correct, and there are so many more that writing about Bush these days is like trying to vomit into a thermos bottle. They're guilty of so much you can't even begin to fit it in. As a vet, doesn't it bug you that the war in Iraq was so poorly managed that—despite what we all pay to have the best military on earth—our troops on the ground were dying because they didn't have the basic armor they should have? Donald Rumsfeld's lame excuse when a soldier asked him about this was, "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have." That's only true when you HAVE to go to war, which we didn't. Even if Saddam posed a threat, which he didn't, he was contained and surrounded, and his nation was crawling with weapons inspectors, who, gee, were telling Bush then that there was no evidence of WMDs. So why not wait until our troops were equipped? When military families ask questions like this, the government spies on them now. Does that sound like the America you fought to defend? Please, please, please, carefully check out every assertion I made in the article. These guys are bad news. And while you're at it, think about the miners in Sago, West Virginia, and check the Bush administration's record on mine safety: how they've slashed inspectors' budgets and staffing, cut back on oversight and fines for unsafe conditions, and even covered up industry misdeeds. While the size and cost of government have only gone up under Bush, the parts that actually do us any good have gone to hell. Living in the U.S. isn't just a privilege, it's a huge responsibility, to speak up and act when we stray so far off the course that has made us a beacon to the world for 230 years.

I don't condone or appreciate the steady migration of undocumented immigrants into our country, but the radical arguments and exaggerated statements that are spewed by Jim Gilchrist, radio hacks John & Ken and other extremists lack credibility and are greatly overstated [Gustavo Arellano's "The Year in Mexican-Bashing," Dec. 30]. Their true dislike for Mexicans in general is very obvious. The radicals greatly exaggerate the negative impact of the presence of the undocumented immigrants by suggesting that "they are all working for two dollars an hour and receiving millions of dollars in welfare and other benefits." There are no valid statistics to support this claim, but their cult followers are quick to believe their statements as the gospel truth.

Many thanks to the Weekly's Alex Brant-Zawadzki for his series on the county's toll-road deal in South County. I especially liked the installment in which Alex (can I call him that? The Brant-Whatever is hard to spell) points out the agency's record of missing every single goal, target, objective and deadline in the course of trying to expand the 241 through a fucking state park ["The Year in the 241 Toll Road," Dec. 30]. Failure is practically this agency's middle name, of course, as your other reporter, R. Scott Moxley, has consistently pointed out. I remember back when no one was writing about El Toro. The Weekly picked up the story and drilled county bureaucrats a new asshole. Alex appears to be headed in the same direction. Here's hoping he keeps the toll-road bureaucrats busy doing nothing!

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