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We believe our group, Tree Huggers Anonymous of Laguna Woods, was despicably depicted in your cover story (Matt Coker's “The Sap Spills Like Blood,” July 26). We were not “underground,” but a large percentage of our group claimed anonymity as protection from reprisal by committees and boards. We were told your paper has done some effective work confronting lies and corruption. We feel betrayed and discredited by your article. Our intent is not adversarial. We want to become an oversight committee for dialogue and participation in decision-making about the living things in Leisure World. “Going nuclear” is a phrase hardly representative of our group image, and the term, “Tree Nazis,” was probably unknown to most participants until reading it in your article. A retired doctor trying to protect trees close to his manor was featured on your cover, accompanied by the “Old Farts” ageist humor you so delightedly indulged in. Racist slurs, sexist slurs and ageist slurs are all forms of bigotry.

via fax

In an otherwise competent piece on the gawking at the Runnions (Gustavo Arellano's “When Memorial Becomes Spectacle,” Aug. 2), there is a glaring error on a key point: Erin Runnion is culpable for her actions contributing to the circus. Perhaps she only “lamented her child's fate,” but she also did so very—in fact, spectacularly—publicly. At any time, Ms. Runnion could have simply asked the TV folks to leave her family alone. She could have politely suggested people get off her neighbors' lawn and stop leaving teddy bears and flowers all over the sidewalk for departing TV crews not to film. Then she might have—if she were interested at all in downscaling the spectacle—considered courteously declining to be on Larry King Live. Finally, she could have offered a soft, gracious, thanks-but-no-thanks to Crystal Cathedral representatives (whose idea was that, anyway?), explaining she wished to have a quiet, family-only ceremony to bury her daughter. The media will cover the stories it must—as the OC Weekly's own investigative work shows—but public spectacles will be fewer and farther between when individual members of the public don't get the ball rolling by making spectacles of themselves.

Paul Hughes

In closing his article, Arellano leaves us waiting “until the next missing child.” He probably should have written “until the next missing middle-class Caucasian female child.”

Robby Beck
Long Beach

Although the Weekly has always been the only shining star among the bought-and-paid-for media on the El Toro debate, lately you seem to be backtracking (Anthony Pignataro's “The Incredible Shrinking Park,” Aug. 2). Let's face it: anything would have been a better deal than a second unneeded, tax-wasting, bond-busting, boondoggle El Toro airpork. However, when it was realized it would take more than Measure F to topple the kings and queens of the county Board of Supervisors, there was very little time to come up with a new and solid plan to save Orange County. Larry Agran and friends, however, did just that—they rezoned the base for a park rather than an airport. Sure, it was a slight bit overzealous to say the entire property would become park only, but I really don't think anyone thought the entire property would just be a park (other than you, the Register and a couple of angry Newport Beach elite). We all knew Measure W was about destroying the airport—hell, the banners even said, “No Airport!” We still get a great park, some badly needed homes, more jobs, and—best of all—no second airport and no new taxes.

Chris Borders
Laguna Niguel

Anthony Pignataro responds: You say “anything would have been better” than the county's proposed El Toro International Airport. Really? How about a depository for spent nuclear-fuel rods? Or a maximum-security prison? The county's airport plan would have been a disaster because county officials were trying to fool residents into thinking it would be clean and profitable, when neither was the case. Your belief that no one “really thought the entire property would just be a park” contradicts expensive mailers sent out during the Measure W campaign; they promised El Toro would become all public parkland. If the Great Park so many voters passed was in fact just a Great Lie to fool them into killing the airport, then Great Park-promoting officials are as bad as those who pushed the airport.


I finally got around to reading Rebecca Schoenkopf's superficial account of the bachelor auction held at the Sports Club Irvine on behalf of the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center (“Please Don't Talk About Love Tonight,” June 14). As one of the “bachelors” who volunteered my time and money to contribute to this worthy cause, I was especially offended. This charitable event raised more than $20,000 for Orange County's abused children. Her characterization of that organization's leaders as shallow pimps only underscores her own shallowness. Indeed, she showed up with a ridiculous “eye patch” intended to draw attention to herself, yet only succeeded in turning everyone off—bachelors and contributors alike. Everyone was duly unimpressed with her presence at the event—it was truly laughable. Ms. Schoenkopf's arrogance, hypocrisy and painfully obvious insecurities make a huge statement about who she is as a person. If she had bid on me at the bachelor auction, I would have paid double my $1,500 winning bid just to avoid having to spend an evening with her. I suggest she trade that phony eye patch for a brown paper bag—to cover her entire face. It still won't hide her other psychopathologies.

Craig Borner
via e-mail Rebecca Schoenkopf is on vacation, but an opthamologist who has gone drinking with her responds:Rebecca lost her left eye at age 8 when struck by a rock.

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