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As a former Huntington Beach Independent reporter and target of then-City Councilman Dave Garofalo's journalistic criticism, I wanted to congratulate the OC Weekly on a job well-done with "Uncle Sham" (Dave Wielenga and Anthony Pignataro's Cover Story, June 30). Cumulating the many details surrounding Garofalo's extensive conflict-of-interest dealings is no small task, as I know from the hours of research and investigation I did on this topic back in 1998. From a reporter's standpoint, it is absurdly clear that Garofalo has a problem with conflict-of-interest as a public figure, as well as with his conscience in admitting that a conflict of any sort exists. I find it amusing that his response to the questions surrounding his behavior has been to attack the press with unfounded claims of sensationalism and poor reporting.

Kathleen Haney
associate editor, retailing.org
Huntington Beach


Ha, ha, ha! I loved your anti-Lido-Isle-gated-community article (Leta McLaughlin's "Island Fever," July 7) because you hypocritical, Republican-hating, bitter liberals conveniently left out of your article (or was it just moronically inept journalism?) the fact that one of this island-of-elites' recent visitors was a liberal icon: Hillary Clinton. Yes, your icon was a guest of Lido Isle residents for a gathering where she certainly hoped to get—and probably did get—some of that elite Lido Isle cash to help her with her carpetbagging attempts to grab the New York Senate seat. It's interesting that you left that out.

Gary Brandt
Corona del Mar Leta McLaughlin responds: Well, uhhh, thanks for your interest, Gary. I promise to keep your point in mind if I ever write a story about Republicans or liberals or political carpetbagging or the race to become New York's next senator. Or moronic ineptitude, even—you come across as someone with a lot of expertise there. But help me out a little here: What was your point? That a gate would have kept Hillary Clinton off Lido Island? Or that now there's nothing keeping you from leaving Corona del Mar?


I have sat on the edge of my seat waiting for a formal retraction from Steve Lowery since the Lakers' championship victory. Contrary to what Mr. Lowery claimed in "The Shaq Trap" (Sports, June 18, 1999), the Lakers can and did win a championship with Shaquille O'Neal at the helm . . . not to mention an MVP trophy, for good measure. It is crystal-clear to me that Lowery knows nothing about the game of basketball—or any sport for that matter. I was astonished to see such a ludicrous article published in your paper.

I don't think Lowery could have been further off the mark when speaking of Shaq's lack of desire for the game, his statement that centers don't win championships by scoring, or claims that Shaq is not a dominant rebounder. I won't bore you with the statistics, but it is evident that Lowery was way off-base on nearly every claim made in the article. Shaq—almost single-handedly at times—willed this team to victory, many times carrying the team in scoring, rebounding, defense and nearly every aspect of the game.

It's a sad state of affairs when such a poor student of the game is granted the opportunity to write such a factless article. Before writing his next anti-Lakers article, I recommend that Lowery gain some basketball knowledge. You might refer him to Chick Hern's [sic] recent article in TV Guide. Chick has true basketball knowledge and could teach Lowery a few things about sportswriting. It doesn't surprise me that Chick speaks of a Lakers dynasty while Lowery speaks of the Lakers not winning a championship with Shaquille O'Neal at the helm. Way to go, Steve—far off-base again.

Chuck Hilliard
Steve Lowery responds: The fact that you were "astonished to see such a ludicrous article published in your paper" just goes to prove that you don't read this paper much. We publish ludicrous stuff all the time. No El Toro International Airport? As if! I'll let you in on a little secret, Chuck: most of the stuff we write isn't even true; in fact, most of this stuff has never happened. In fact, I don't even exist; I'm not even writing this right now—it's being written by a burly, defrocked podiatrist in a bunker outside Colorado Springs. As to the Laker bit: yeah, I'd like to apologize for that. I'd like to, but I can't because I was right. I wrote that the Lakers would never win a championship with a center who rebounded or defended as poorly as the pre-Phil Jackson Shaq. "Centers don't win championships by scoring," I wrote. "They win by making sure the other team doesn't score. They win by blocking shots, clogging the middle and making it a dangerous place for guards to venture. They do it by cutting down an opponent's second-chance points by grabbing every available rebound." This year, O'Neal averaged 3.03 blocks as opposed to his career mark of 2.69. He averaged 15.4 rebounds in the playoffs as opposed to his career mark of 12.4. Do you honestly believe that the Shaq of previous years, the Shaq who'd been pushed around by the likes of Greg Ostertag, would have had what it took to beat Portland this season? C'mon, Chuck, you're better than that. And by the way, Mr. Knowledgeable Basketball Man, Chick's last name is spelled Hearn.


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