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I could not believe the Weekly had the poor taste and judgment to print Darnel Squad founder Julie Mandrake's poem. Did you actually read what it called for? The execution of cosmetic executives! "Fifty yards under darkness, the butt of my rifle I caress. . . . One day, you might become a big bloody mess."
In an era in which political violence has become commonplace-abortion providers are killed by snipers and a video-store owner is beaten by a mob-you should exercise some restraint in printing calls for violence, as it might come to pass. I have had to run the gauntlet twice in front of my beauty salon, with members of the Darnel Squad shoving their literature at me. Deranged and apparently deeply disturbed, these women are ticking time bombs. While respecting their rights of free speech, I do not think it is in the community's or in the Weekly's interest to print calls for violence from this organization.
-Name withheld by request
The OC Weeklyhas done a commendable job in promoting poetry events in Orange County, and I am proud that my poem was selected as the first-place winner of your contest ("The First [and Probably Last] OC Weekly Poetry Contest!" March 5). [Contest organizer/editor] Victor D. Infante did an excellent job in following the line breaks of the poem (which at times can be difficult). I hope that this is not really the only poetry contest the Weekly tries. There are some really good poets in OC, and the local public's interest in writing and watching good performance poetry is growing. Please continue in this effort.
It is an honor to win this poetry contest. Maybe next year you could throw in Gwen Stefani's phone number as a prize incentive.
-Larry Schulz, Huntington Beach
Thanks for inking those fine Orange County poets: Larry Schulz, G. Murray Thomas and Daniel McGinn, all warning us to watch our backs.
OC is a coed's bikini dripping in a beachfront duplex (bought by daddy), while a block away, homeless idle at a bus shelter. Bankruptcy and boom. Bounty by charity be damned. That's the irony and political insularity of our county-beautiful and bedeviled.
All we have is a Weekly OC beacon to point out disparities and honor honest poets fit to print. Long live poetry while OC dissembles, shafts, in a stream of sunlight.
-Lee Mallory, Newport Beach
WHO'S RAILROADING WHOM?
In response to Anthony Pignataro's "Musick to His Fears: Carona pushed to consider jail expansion" (The County, Feb. 26), it should be pointed out that it's the South County citizens who backed Sheriff Mike Carona in his election campaign who are going back on their word. During his campaign, Carona said he did not support the expansion of the Musick facility, but backers of the Safe and Healthy Communities Act are tying the hands of the sheriff, current and future, from expanding or building additional jails to meet the needs of Orange County.
I would ask Irvine City Councilman Larry Agran, Who is railroading whom? The environmental impact report is nearly completed on the Musick expansion. The Healthy Communities Act forces this expansion if Carona is going to meet his responsibility to the county. Why? Because this measure will inhibit his ability to do so in the future.
Like most other communities in Orange County, South County residents do not want to do their part and have a jail in their community. Anaheim didn't want one near Angel Stadium or in Gypsum Canyon. Santa Ana did not want the Orange County Central Jails expanded but went ahead and built one of its own. And now South County residents do not want to expand Musick or put a jail at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station-both in rural areas. Could it be that private enterprise sees this land as a potential windfall?
Residents in the area knew the [Musick] jail was there when they bought their homes. Why is it that people choose to live near an airport and then complain when the aircraft fly over or when expansion of a nearby jail facility is necessary to meet the needs of a growing community? By the way, who put jails in the same category as airports and toxic dumps? Maybe animal shelters, hotels and schools should be next.
Instead of being concerned about how voters will regard a politician who "breaks faith" with voters, perhaps one should ask the voters why they elect an official and then "break faith" and try and keep him from doing the job they hired him to do. Perhaps former Sheriff Brad Gates was not all wrong and Carona is not the puppet "South County" citizens thought he would be.
-Michael Phoenix, Santa Ana
Any idiot says: You say everything we need to hear in your first paragraph when you acknowledge that "Carona said he did not support the expansion of the Musick facility." Now he says he does. The rest of your letter is smoke.
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC?
Recently, you published an article regarding my efforts to make Irvine a more romantic city (Matt Coker's A Clockwork Orange, Feb. 19). The following will help clarify the genesis of my efforts and give you some additional background information.
Last year, Irvine was designated the fourth most "female-friendly" city in the U.S. by The Ladies Home Journal. The same story featured other categories, including the most romantic cities-of which Irvine was not one. When this was brought to my attention by the local media, I agreed to appear in an article for the Valentine's Day holiday. This tongue-in-cheek article discussed Irvine's dilemma: a city lacking romance. The response to this article from the public was so great that I decided to take this issue seriously and form a committee of local individuals-both men and women-to develop a more romantic identity for our city.
In response to the letters and phone calls I received, I created a list of individuals who had expressed interest in serving on the romance committee and sent them an invitation to discuss the issue. I sent these letters at my own expense and asked each individual to pay for their own lunch. The task force includes the business community, school-district officials, members of the local media, men, women, young and old-truly a cross section of our community. We held our first meeting on March 8 at Vessia Ristorante in Irvine and made significant progress. We will have follow-up meetings that will cost taxpayers nothing but could potentially provide an economic benefit to the city.
With the weight of the extremely controversial issues-such as the proposed El Toro International Airport and a proposed jail in Irvine-I find this lighthearted issue a refreshing and positive topic. I have had overwhelming community support and am pleased to be involved in an issue that is bringing our community together rather than tearing us apart-the economic benefit that will certainly ensue will serve as the icing on the cake.
-Christina Shea, Mayor of Irvine
THE HO ENCHILADA
To unmask the mystical figure Ho Chi Minh/Nguyen Tat Thanh/Nguyen Ai Quoc, whom Nick Schou depicts as "first and foremost a nationalist" ("The Ho Story," Feb. 19), please check the French National Archive, Foreign Archive Center (Centre d'Archives d'Outre-Mer) in Aix-en-Provence, France. There is a material box on Nguyen Ai Quoc (call number INDO-HCI-SPCE //1116). There are letters written by Ho Chi Minh in 1911, begging a French official for admission to Ecole Colonial. Ho indicated that he wanted to be trained at this Colonial College and become administrator in the French-colonial government in Vietnam in order for him "to serve the interest of France in Vietnam." A true nationalist would never beg to become a lackey of foreign government!
Schou states that Vietnamese refugees were "fleeing the economic hardship [in Vietnam]." In reality, the refugees were fleeing a totalitarian society in which a security apparatus monitors people's thoughts and conduct; travel must be approved by the local security-apparatus office; overstay after curfew must be declared and approved; default of this would lead to automatic arrest; food was rationed by the government; admittance to college was based on the student family record of political association instead of merit; the Communist Party solely had the right to govern; there was no freedom of speech, religion and press; middle- and upper-class belongings were confiscated and nationalized, sometimes at gunpoint; religious and political dissidents spent 10 to 15 years of hard labor in gulags; and people were exiled to the New Economic Zone (which is primitive wild land) with neither a plan nor help to survive. It is appalling to make such a statement about refugees without all the known facts.
-L. Nguyen, Irvine
Nick Schou responds: I have no quarrel with your remarks about why people have fled Vietnam. However, my story simply pointed out that some refugees fled for political reasons, in many cases after being released from Communist re-education camps. Others fled for chiefly economic reasons. How that remark could be categorized as "appalling" is beyond me. What is appalling is your attempt to cast doubt on the fact that Ho Chi Minh was a dedicated nationalist who despised French rule. I am not familiar with the tidbit you provide about Ho seeking to become a French lackey by attending the Ecole Colonial. Assuming it to be true, what does that really say? Since Ho had been working for the underground resistance as a messenger since he was 15 years old, perhaps Ho simply hoped to join the French-colonial regime to subvert the system from the inside. Isn't that a typical commie tactic? Either way, the fact that Ho and the rest of the Vietminh leadership were educated at elite French schools is quite well-known-as is the fact that almost all of them spent years in French-colonial prisons on subversion charges in the first half of the 20th century. Ho was an exception: he avoided ending up in prison by leaving Vietnam in 1911. Instead of serving the interest of the French in Vietnam, Ho worked his way to Europe by serving French people their dinner as a lowly messboy on a Haiphong-Marseilles ocean liner.
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Re: Buddy Seigal's "These Limeys Really Swing! And Merle Haggard can really sing!" (Music, March 5):
"Mama Tried" may be the best song I have heard, with the possible exception of "Pleasures of the Harbor." Listen to that and "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" before you sneer at the late, lamented Phil Ochs and other pinko icons.
-John Pritchard, San Clemente
Buddy Seigal responds: D'OH! Sneer? SNEER?!?! No one loves and respects the work of Phil Ochs more than I, dear Mr. Pritchard, although I hardly think the relatively slight "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" ranks up there with "Pleasures of the Harbor," "There But for Fortune," "Crucifixion," "Gas Station Women," "Chords of Fame," "I Ain't Marching Anymore," "I'm Going to Say It Now," "Santo Domingo," "Flower Lady," or any of the truly brilliant nuggets in the Ochs canon. It's not sneering to call Ochs a "pinko icon"; rather, I consider the term a badge of honor.