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It's obvious the Israelis are civilians when they get slaughtered in the Passover Massacre, but if all the Palestinians are civilians, then why did it take three weeks of heavy gun battles for the Israeli army to search Jenin (Jim Washburn's “Couched in Ignorance,” April 19)? I am not so sure those Palestinians with AK-47s are “civilians.” The Israelis want peace. If the Palestinians wanted peace, they could have had their own country two years ago, when [former Prime Minister Ehud] Barak offered the Palestinians their own country. He offered them 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. He was offering them almost half of Israel. Arafat turned down the peace proposals and chose to send out the Passover Massacre instead. If the Palestinians want peace, how come Arafat said, “No”?

Ofer Sendowski
via e-mail

Jim Washburn responds: Arafat said “no” for two reasons: because the land offer wasn't anywhere near as amenable as you make it seem, and because Arafat was a pig-headed fool to think any better offer was going to come along in his lifetime. If there were that many Palestinians with AK-47s in Jenin, don't you think there would be more dead Israeli soldiers? And if the shoe were on the other foot and Palestinian tanks had rolled into an Israeli village, wouldn't you expect the inhabitants to put up some kind of fight? Look at the rubble that was left of the town, and tell me you wouldn't have tried to defend it. This 54-year-old squabble of “an eye for an eye” is only resulting in two peoples blinded to any sense of justice or resolution.

You quoted Robert Fisk as saying that Ariel Sharon was called a “tough protagonist.” Fisk actually said that Sharon was called a “tough pragmatist,” and although I am sure this was an entirely honest mistake, it does change the meaning significantly. Thank you.

Troy Pickard
via e-mail

Washburn responds:You are right, sir.


If Paul Brennan had bothered to do any research, he would have found that Etnies is not “a clothing manufacturer that caters to skateboarders and other extreme types” (“Shoestring Financing,” April 19). Etnies is a skateboarding shoe company in existence since 1986, and it is owned, managed and run by actual skateboarders. The only thing “extreme” in this article is Brennan's stupidity. Etnies approached the city of Lake Forest with the idea of building a skateboard park, not vice versa. Etnies did not simply hand them a check (as implied by this column). Etnies personally hired the skatepark designer and, along with its team of professional skateboarders, is a part of every stage of planning, continuing to put countless man hours into the project. Most skateparks are built either in spite of their local city officials or by the city itself with no expertise, yielding poorly constructed skateboarding facilities. Criticizing the city for supporting youth and having the wisdom to involve skateboarding experts in the building of a skateboard park proves that your intention was not to inform the public of facts, but to grab a headline.

Piney Kahn
” skateboarder type,” Etnies

Paul Brennan responds: It seems the deal is even sweeter for Etnies than I suggested. Piney does not dispute that for the relatively paltry sum of $100,000, Etnies gets two decades of advertising and the right to boot the public out of a public park when the company finds it necessary—and she admits that the company approached the city about the skatepark and is providing its design. So, in exchange for its check, Etnies gets a skatepark built to its specifications next to its corporate headquarters. The city picks up at least 90 percent of construction costs, and then the public will get to use the park as long as the company permits it. I'm not sure why Piney objects to describing Etnies as a clothing manufacturer. Even if she doesn't consider shoes to be clothing, Etnies sells shirts and shorts and other items. In fact, Etnies T-shirts are for sale on the official website of the city of Lake Forest, which is selling them to help pay for skatepark construction. Whoa! Getting Lake Forest to build the skatepark of its dreams and turning the city's official website into a retail outlet: Piney Kahn may not like the word, but a deal like that can only be called “extreme.”


Thanks, Annabel, for writing about your concerns with the OC Music Awards (Letters, April 18). But were you at the show? You state that, aside from Alturas, it was a rock show. What about Carrie Theodossin (opera), Kerry Getz and Angelina Rae (singer/songwriters), Savage City (blues), or even Jay Buchanan (introspective mellow pop)? You complained that three songs per act is too many. Each performer played two songs, except for Alturas. You complain that award winners were no-shows? The only winners not present were Common Sense, who had a gig, and Flood, who opted not to fly in from Wales.

Morton Brawn and Allison Banger
OC Music Awards producers

I wasn't aware your Calendar listings were the forum for half-cocked attacks on conservatives who also wish to take the opportunity to “Exercise your right to free listings!” as your publication puts it (Calendar's “Politics” listing, speech by American Independent Party vice-presidential candidate Ezola Foster, April 19). I am well aware of your extreme liberal biases. However, I was a bit surprised to see them come out so blatantly and maliciously in a forum I naively perceived to be for the purpose of informing the community at large. I must have also naively thought you permitted liberals and conservatives to make up their own minds on the issues, unless you are unabashed communists desirous of becoming the “thought police of Orange County.” Do you think only liberals frequent coffee shops?

Ray Fisher
Orange County Chairman
American Independent Party

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