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The contention that people purchased SUVs as "get-away-from-[the]-Negroes" vehicles is ridiculous and racist (Jim Washburn's "Rodney King for a Day," April 26). I bought my SUV because it is constructed better than the vast majority of cars; the body does not dent when I press on it with my thumb; the engine lasts more than 250,000 miles; I can haul cargo or a large number of people; my knees are not in my chest while I drive; and if I am in an accident, I will be more likely to survive. To purchase my SUV, I work more than 60 hours per week and pay income taxes more than 50 percent to maintain my elite status of "professional"—a classification to which Washburn also seems to object. In addition, I saved my money for years and purchased an older SUV, as the price was lower. So, Mr. Washburn, tell me, do you object to the fact that I work hard for what I have? Do you object that I have a choice in what I purchase? Do you object that I am white, a professional or both?

Mark Nelson
via e-mail Jim Washburn responds:Look, I was making a vast generalization—there are obviously many people for whom an SUV serves a practical purpose, for going off-road a lot or hauling mighty widgets or Kennedy-sized broods. Maybe you are one of them. But I was pondering the vast number of SUV drivers you typically see on pavement—sans widgets or broods—occupying an obscene amount of road, blocking other drivers' views, and driving like they're the only people in society who matter. Bless you, steel-encased person, if you are not one of them, though I would point out that your touted increased likelihood of accident survival comes at the cost of making it much less likely that the other party would survive an accident. SUVs also consume more and pollute more, which I think tends to support my notion that the drivers are not active participants in their culture because if they were, they might give a flying fuck about that. Maybe people buy SUVs because all their suburban neighbors are, or because they're scared of earthquakes, or because they're compensating for dinky dicks, but I hold to my belief that many SUV sales are fear-driven, to folks who see them as Instant White Flight vehicles. And, yes, I object to your being white. See what you can do about that, please.

It's not often I side with management over labor, but the Crowne Plaza hotel has every right to demand valid Social Security numbers from employees (Nick Schou's "Check Out," April 19). If this means illegal immigrants lose their jobs, so be it. How ironic that these illegal immigrants now seeking to improve their lot via organizing proved to be the demise of previous unions in janitorial services, meat-packing and drywall installation in the 1980s and '90s. What goes around comes around.

Randle C. Sink
Brea Nick Schou responds: Nothing in my article stated that hotels don't have the right to fire illegal immigrants; in fact, I quote union officials saying that the hotels do have this right. My article had nothing to do with the janitors union—but since you brought it up, that union is stronger than ever and has actually won better wages for its members. When it comes to the demise of labor unions, there's plenty of blame to go around.

Thanks for doing an article about Tazumal, the most kick-ass death metal band here in Orange County (Gustavo Arellano's "Too Loud to Ignore," April 19). I saw them at the Unitarian gig, and they gave one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. Finally there is a band whose music and lyrics are equally powerful and compelling. They're just the kick in the ass that we OC Xicanos need to spring us into action. Keep hitting 'em hard, Tazumal!

Rosalinda Ramirez

I attended the kickoff party for Lois Lundberg's book, The Big Orange, at the Nixon Library back in January (Anthony Pignataro's "Reading and Righting," April 19). After talking about how great Richard Nixon had been and what an embarrassment Doris Allen had been, Lois sighed about her relationship with the library's namesake and exclaimed, "I have been missing Dick for years."

Tony Bedolla
via e-mail

Thanks, Rich Kane, for remembering me—though you didn't remember the spelling of my name: it's "Caitlin," like Dylan Thomas' long-suffering wife (Locals Only's "Pickle Power!" April 26). Anyway, I am glad to see you mention my friends in the band Funhole. I am living in La Habra these days with the former lead guitar player of the band. I published a few short pieces of fiction and some movie reviews, put in organic tomatoes, got divorced, and changed my last name since we last spoke; all in all, I would say I have a life. I never claimed Funhole is or was my favorite band. They're just a hard-working group of friends who sent in CDs (despite your claim) and, like many hard-working local bands, did not get a mention in your esteemed pages (until now). I just figured they'd worked hard enough to earn a letter to the editor. It's okay. No hard feelings?

Caitlin S. Mercer
La Habra

In the April 26 story "Our DA Now Has an Attorney," we misidentified Tom Umberg's opponent during the 1994 race for state attorney general. Umberg lost to Dan Lungren.


Ignoring a company boycott of the Orange County Press Club over its failure to provide an open bar at all club events, several Weeklings surreptitiously submitted their work to the Press Club for critical review by hacks at other newspapers. Rich Kane won first place in the non-daily news category for his story on the county's Nazi rock scene, "Springboard for Hitler." R. Scott Moxley won two awards—a first and a second—for his investigations of the district attorney's office. And Alison M. Rosen was honored for "Aaaiiiiiiiiieeeeeeee," her love letter to Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light™.


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