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Steve Lowery's "CSULB Revisited" was hilarious, sad and painfully true (Back to School, Aug. 27). I had the pleasure of registering late recently at Cal State Long Beach because I'd just had back surgery. Naturally, they don't give a rip what your excuse is; they charge you a $25 late fee regardless.
Last semester, they put my records on administrative hold pending some bullshit writing-proficiency exam that I forgot to take. So they prevented me from registering last semester (spring '99), which set me back a whole semester. After all was said and done, I found out I could've registered anyway—I just had to file all the right bullshit paperwork.
It's wonderful attending a school of 30,000, where they sell you a hunting license for a parking place for $63! The availability of classes for evening students is a complete joke. I already have seven years' experience in my industry—automotive information systems—and many of my peers agree that the education I will receive at CSULB will be virtually worthless. That really disturbs me. It's all I can afford (barely), it's all I have, and best of all, it's convenient. But it's also like being put through a meat grinder.
—William Morrison, Huntington Beach
Lowery got out of CSULB just what he put into it: not a damned thing. And whose fault is that? I also spent my college years at the Beach, and I have fond memories of the chili fries in the snack shop, benders at the Nugget, walking up Hard Fact Hill and getting that good parking space. But I also spent my time working on the Union Daily and Daily Forty-Niner newspapers; serving a year on the student senate; doing volunteer work for various boards, committees and organizations; attending women's basketball games and other sporting events; and (God forbid!) actually learning something. I can still quote cases from my law of mass communications course, and my women's studies classes and professors helped me define who I am as a person, a feminist and a citizen. I even picked up a thing or two from some of my general-ed courses.
Is CSULB a big, impersonal place? It can be. But is it the waste of space Lowery describes? No way. I thoroughly enjoyed my years at CSULB. I learned much and am proud to be an alum. Perhaps Lowery's problem then was the same as his problem now: a shitty attitude.
—Vicky Hendley, Editor,American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, Washington, D.C.
Oh, please: Is Margaret J. Soos using the OC Weekly as a forum for writing material for a B-movie ("With Friends Like These," Aug. 27)? Now I know why this magazine is free: you can't get anyone to pay to read such trash. I'm the mother of a sorority member from Cal State Fullerton, and I take offense to a number of the outright lies I found in this article. My daughter's sorority and the other sororities on campus take pride in their fund-raising efforts for their individual charities. They are proud of their strong scholastic program and high grade-point averages.
How dare you cast insults on all sororities. I'm suspicious of a source that will not identify herself, the sorority or even the university. For shame on creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion toward all sororities.
—Linda Schmidt, Orange
When I was in college in the late '70s, Greek organizations were not popular. During that time, the Greeks had a hard time recruiting pledges, mostly because of hazing. As far as wanting to join because you would have "connections" in the corporate world, that's a lot of bunk. You develop connections through hard work and getting to know the right people.
Margaret, sorry that you had to endure the rough hazing, but to me, it's not worth it.
—Mike Morales, via e-mail HEY, MEAT HEAD!
Re: "Meat's" letter about the Aug. 20 Hey, You! (Letters, Aug. 27):
The article wasn't about driving carelessly; it was about the fact that this guy had a "Honk If You Love Jesus" sticker, and when someone actually honked, he didn't take a very Christian attitude toward the person. The main theme of the article was "hypocrisy," how one man promotes a certain way of beliefs yet acted the total opposite when a misunderstanding happened on his behalf. But I see it happen all the time—the truck with four different Harvest Crusade stickers on the window that runs stop signs. The soccer-mom-driven van with the Jesus fish swerving in and out of traffic to make it to a soccer game, or the yuppie with a "Real Men Love Jesus" sticker driving in the carpool lane when he's the only one in the car.
Meat felt he had to tell us that the victim was a crappy driver, and he felt he had to give us driving tips. Hey, Meat, try reading the article before opening your big mouth. Orange County will thank you for it.
—Denise Dork, Publisher, Dork Magazine, Huntington Beach
P.S. The guy who wrote the letter before Meat's complaining about the word "Yiddish" and Dr. Laura Schlessinger stated that Dr. Laura isn't very Jewish because only her father was a Jew. Dr. Laura is Jewish. She converted to Judaism, she believes in it, she follows it, and she just got re-married to her husband in a Jewish ceremony so everything would be legit and okey dokey. And don't think I'm a fanatical Dr. Laura fan; I personally can't stand the bitch.
The last event I attended that got coverage in a newspaper was World War II. That's why I was excited to see the Hey, You! about the young Republican city councilman in the town beholden to a major amusement park ("Whippersnapper!" Sept. 3). I was at the city council meeting referred to in the article, and, frankly, it doesn't convey the true nature of the way we were treated by the council in general or by this councilman specifically.
While we spoke to the council about the deafening noise generated by the new ride, the council members seemed amused by the "complaining old folks." During a recess, "Sleazy" (that's what we call the councilman) came up to us and said he doesn't know what we're "whining" about, as he lives out by the local country club and he doesn't hear any noise. We attempted to explain to Sleazy that he lives a good five miles from the amusement park while we live right across the street. That's when he made the "turn off your hearing aids" comment.
I asked Sleazy just who he thought he was to speak to us that way. He said, "I'm an elected councilman in this city." One of the wives in our group said that she didn't vote for him and certainly would do what she could to see he's not elected again, to which Sleazy replied, "I'm not running again until the year 2000; by that time, I'm guessing most of you won't be around."
Rest assured, we never spoke to anyone with any disrespect, so for this fellow to be so rude and nasty was quite shocking, much more so than your article informed. I don't really know anything about Sleazy's business deals with the amusement park or the campaign contributions you wrote about. All I know is that in 69 years (70 this November), I have never felt so insulted. But I'm old, so I guess nobody really cares.
—Wesley Timmons, via e-mail PAPER CHASE
Re: Nick Schou's article "The Phantom Menace" (Cover story, July 9). As a family member of a prisoner of war, it amazes me that in articles concerning the POW/MIA issue, reporters always rely on just one side of the story: the official statement from government sources. The concern I have is that reporters never ask to see the documentation that backs up the official statement. Ask a researcher who has done research on the POW/MIA issue, and one will find many discrepancies in the official story.
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I believed the government's story for years until I began collecting documents. The big question here is:If the government is telling the correct story, why aren't allthe documents released? We have to file Freedom of Information Act requests to get information on our family members. Why is it that the families are not given all the reports and documents pertaining to their loved ones? Reporters are told that I, as a family member, have been given all the information. That is just not true.
In the case of my husband, Colonel David L. Hrdlicka, I have asked to see credible evidence that he died in captivity. I have been told they have no evidence that David died. We have waited more than 34 years to find out what happened to him. I know he was alive for years after he was captured. I know the U.S. government has tracked the POWs because the documentation shows that. So why does the government rely on hearsay and someone's belief as to what happened to David? Would a reporter accept that as criteria for the determination of death of one of his or her family members?
My hope would be that reporters would do a little more investigating in the future and publish both sides of the story. Maybe they should take the time to visit with a family of a POW or MIA. We are just people trying to get the truth from a giant machine called government.
—Carol Hrdlicka, Conway Springs, Kansas Nick Schou responds: There were two basic points to my story. First, there has never been any credible evidence that American POWs were held in Southeast Asia after the war. Second, the U.S. government itself is to blame for convincing millions of Americans—especially family members of MIAs—that the missing American servicemen in question are either still alive or were killed in captivity after the war (as you suspect happened to your husband). There is no denying the shamefulness of the manner in which folks such as you have been manipulated and misled by U.S. officials. But if there's a smoking gun regarding the fate of the POWs, it is that the U.S. government has known all along that there weren't any POWs after 1973. If you still haven't gotten all the answers you want from Uncle Sam, consider this: having led you down the primrose path for a quarter of a century, the U.S. government is now terrified that MIA families will reach the inescapable conclusion that they've been used as propaganda tools in a cynical effort to isolate Vietnam, an effort that, much like the crusade to "find" the POWs, has also finally been tossed aside.