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Re: "Behind-the-Scenes Ties Between El Toro Airport Supporters and the County's Biggest Anti-Airport Groups Have to Make You Wonder: This Is War?" (Cover Story, July 30):

Thank you, R. Scott Moxley, for a beautiful piece of investigative reporting. There are some strange bedfellows down here in South Orange County. You have done a great service to those of us who cannot tolerate the thought of a 24-hours-per-day airport over our heads.

You are right on when you say, "It's a weird one." Hunter S. Thompson (a weird one himself) states, "When the going gets weird . . . the weird turn pro." It appears that we are well beyond that.

—Don Duca, Laguna Niguel

Congratulations on your blockbuster expos of the hanky-panky between some of TRP's self-appointed leaders. TRP is not a membership organization. It has thousands of donors, including the Leisure World governing boards and directors who are being sued by George Argyros for giving TRP $542,000 for the failed Measure S campaign. I have never been invited to a membership meeting at which officers are nominated and elected, although I have made several contributions. Who elected Bill Kogerman executive director?

In any event, your eye-opening story should clear the air and make it possible for us to coalesce into a solid united front to fight the proposed El Toro International Airport. This fight has nothing to do with political partisanship. It has brought together people who range from ardent Larry Agran supporters to the furthest right wing of the Republican Party. TRP's meddling in Dana Point city issues is unacceptable. Let's hope your story will get us all back on track in the life-or-death struggle to stop a huge, international, commercial-cargo airport at El Toro.

Leading the fight is the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority (ETRPA). We believe and hope ETRPA is united in its efforts to stop the airport and that it will prevail. Thank goodness for the OC Weekly and Anthony Pignataro's El Toro Airport Watch.

—Dave Blodgett, Laguna Woods

I am an endangered species—a Democrat and a card-carrying member of the ACLU living in gate-guarded Monarch Bay. As you might expect, I think the OC Weekly is a great publication. I pick it up for free, but I will gladly subscribe if you want me to. With that background, let me tell you why I respectfully disagree with Mr. Moxley's premise.

The basic assumption of the article is that there is something nefarious about the fact that there are many pro-Headlands-development enthusiasts in the anti-airport movement. I do not find the connection to be sinister or even surprising. My best friend back to my college days (Stanford '49) and I argue heatedly about almost all political and social issues. He likes Rush Limbaugh, and I listen to Don Imus. We have been shouting at each other for more than 50 years, and we are still best friends.

Tristan Krogius is also a friend of mine, but in my opinion, he is dead wrong about the Headlands. I still have a "Save the Headlands" bumper sticker on my car, and I'm proud of it. Nuts to Tris on that one. But I agree with him on the airport.

The TRP editorial about the Headlands was foolish, and it's too bad that Bill Kogerman has so much trouble saying, "I'm sorry." But would it make any difference to me if TRP had come out for George Dubbya or, heaven forbid, Dan Quayle? Would that induce me to petulantly abandon my support of TRP on the airport issue?

I have learned well in my threescore and 10-plus years that the clich "The friend of my enemy is my enemy" is simply not true. Mr. Moxley seems to disagree, but then, he's still young.

Finally, in order to avoid another investigative scoop for Mr. Moxley, permit me to disclose that Councilman Wayne Rayfield is my brother-in-law. Wayne and I may not always agree, but I can assure everyone that he has no hidden agenda on the Headlands, and his efforts to mediate the dispute should not be maligned by innuendo.

—Charles E. McClung, Dana Point R. Scott Moxley responds: McClung lives in an odd world, where friendships work this way: publicly, you denounce one another as scoundrels; privately, you work out deals on controversial land-development deals. That sort of "friendship" was amply illustrated by TRP's bizarre decision to insert itself into the controversy over the Dana Point Headlands development—just after the project's Newport Beach developers gave the group $5,800. WHAT THE BUZZ IS ABOUT

Re: Steve Lowery's piece on Buzz Aldrin ("One Mall Step," July 23):

I have to express my astonishment at the article's disrespectfulness. While I normally admire, even treasure, your publication's independent thinking and fearlessness in attacking popular sentiment, this criticism of the Nixon Library's commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11 and of Aldrin personally was ignorant and way out of line.

It was off-putting enough to see a previous edition's listing of the event (oddly placed in the "Politics" section), which, although describing the event sufficiently, was nonetheless tagged with the perplexing phrase: "Sadly, we're not making this shit up." Reading that, I tried to imagine exactly what the writer considered to be "shit" about a celebration that should appeal to anyone with some depth, but that would seem innocuous at worst to anyone less interested. So why the cheap shot? I settled myself by presuming the writer too young to appreciate this notable commemoration. That wouldn't surprise me, since even very recent historical events are too often forgotten or disparaged in this current tabloid, sham-news era, especially by a younger generation now more inclined to follow the scandal of the day rather than mark the truly important events of our time.

More disappointing was July 23's write-up of the event, which, to Mr. Lowery's credit, he actually attended. The piece wastes no time in setting a flippant tone, summarizing the moon landing as momentous for having produced rocks and O.J. Simpson's film career. A humorous opener, perhaps? Not so, it seems, for no other description follows.

The article goes on to complain, reasonably, about paying library patrons being blocked by cameras from seeing Aldrin re-create his moonwalk. Fair enough, but then Lowery transitions to a strange characterization of the ex-astronaut as shamelessly capitalizing on his role in the world's first manned mission to the moon. For example, he implies that Aldrin, in billing himself as "The Moonwalker," is somehow trying to deceive people into thinking he was the first man on the surface, not Neil Armstrong. The truth is that Aldrin has never done such a thing. Although he is the most visible of the 12 who walked on the moon—and the one most adept at public appearances—he is unfailingly quick to give credit to all who were involved in the space program. I suggest the illusion of a self-promoting individual appears only in contrast to the typically very private nature of the Apolloastronauts in general, and to the extremely reclusive nature of Armstrong in particular. (But then again, their achievements speak for themselves.)

And what about the presumptuous labeling of Aldrin as someone who accomplished greatness at a young age and who has never been able to surpass it? As if he knew it to be true, Lowery states that this alone explains Aldrin's embracing of the lunar legacy. Evidence offered is a single conversation in which Aldrin merely stated, "You know, very few people have been to the moon." In reality, this reflects the man's lament for the Apolloprogram's demise, and not his egotism. In countless interviews, he has spoken of reaching the moon as a human accomplishment foremost, in which individuals played only parts.

As to Richard Nixon, Lowery believes the then-president dragged along a program he inherited ". . . to the growing indifference of the American public." This is incorrect. Simply put, the space program captured the interest of the American public and the world like nothing before or since. The Apollo 11 landing, in particular, was perhaps the seminal public event of my own lifetime and was arguably the most transcendent milestone in human history. It's no exaggeration to say that on July 20, 1969, virtually the entire world shared the same feeling of awe and pride and that there existed, however briefly, an unprecedented unity of sentiment. At the moment Armstrong stepped off the ladder, a cheer rose from houses, streets, parks . . . from everywhere! Traffic stopped on freeways, strangers wept and laughed together, and Bushmen came off the Kalahari and huddled around the only television for hundreds of miles, just to see something for which they could feel proud to be human. Has another such event ever occurred?

I do agree, however, with Lowery's conclusion that our nation's successes in space are largely forgotten and remembered mostly through movies starring Tom Hanks. That's the sad thing—and all the more reason for reminding the public if given the chance. The Weekly, I feel, squandered their chance.

Look, I'll admit I'm hopelessly romantic about the space program, especially the Apollomissions. I also realize that the Weekly's chosen specialty is attack-dog criticism, and heaven knows we need that in Orange County. I just thought that if your publication were to be nice and respectful just one time, to highlight something so naturally positive and inspirational, that it would be a commemoration of Apollo 11. It may sound corny, but it's true that what Aldrin, Armstrong and others achieved back in 1969 was emblematic of everything good about humankind and represented an example of vision and spirit seldom seen today. Why not celebrate that, instead of going for the easy putdown?


Re: "Peep Show: Is Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut the Director's Final Work of Genius" (Cover Story, July 16):

What makes writer Manohla Dargis (and moviemakers) think everyone likes to see people having sex on the screen? Not everyone does. In fact, a lot of people don't. It may come as a surprise to some, but we are not all voyeurs. Sex is a private matter, and those who wish to see other people having sex should rent a porno movie at their favorite video store. Whatever happened to the wonderful adult movies that had good stories without explicit sex (we could use our imaginations), gratuitous violence and the much-loved (by Hollywood) F-word repeated so many times it becomes boring, besides assaulting our ears with this crudeness? I guess the F-word makes writing dialogue easier because there is less need for a good vocabulary. It's no wonder that kids use dirty language at school. And, of course, Ms. Dargis just had to use the F-word in her review.

I have not seen Eyes Wide Shut and probably won't. I don't think it's worth a $4.50 matinee to see Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and others have sex when apparently there isn't much of a plot. I hope that filmmakers will soon return to making movies with class, taste and good stories.

—E. Noble, via e-mail


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