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R. Scott Moxley surprisingly lets Ken Grubbs, formerly The Orange County Register's op-ed page editor, off the hook (“There Really Is a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy!” May 3). When reporter David Brock was spinning for the right-wingers, Grubbs devoured his ridiculously slanted article on Larry Agran in 1990. Now that Brock admits he was deceitful, Grubbs tries to cast him as a liar. I'm getting awfully tired of these right-wingers who used Brock's hammer to strike at their opponents but now turn sanctimonious at the mention of his name. Yeah, Brock is probably still spinning to some extent. But I find it amazing that most right-wingers who call Brock a liar can't say exactly what Brock is lying about. Republicans and conservatives have revealed themselves as pathetic bullies who get scared when somebody finally fights back. This should be a lesson for Democrats, if they are capable of learning such lessons.

Mitchell J. Freedman
Newbury Park

As a former assistant with Larry Agran's Project '99 and a longtime activist in Irvine politics, I had many encounters with Los Angeles Times reporter Jean Pasco (Mark Petracca's “Over the Edge,” May 3). I found her tough, persistent and relentless when it came to getting the facts. She never accepted on face value the propaganda spewed by either side in the El Toro battle.

I suspect Petracca's gripe with Pasco has more to do with her recent investigation into his friend Agran's questionable fund-raising tactics. Pasco broke the story about Agran's ally, Ed Dornan, running a slate-mailer organization called Hometown Voter Guide to allegedly circumvent Irvine's campaign-finance laws. Pasco also wrote about Agran and ally Chris Mears accepting $42,000 from a fund-raiser hosted by Irvine Co. executives. The Weeklypublished a line-item analysis of the contributors that R. Scott Moxley called “a Who's Who of pro-El Toro Airport, Republican developers” (“Mayor Moonbeam, Meet Donald Bren,” April 5).

If Mayor Sally Anne Sheridan had accepted $42,000 from these people 10 years ago, Petracca would have been the first to berate the mayor during public comments at the next City Council meeting. Yet when questioned by Pasco, Petracca rationalized it as a “greater good” compromise by a “more pragmatic” Agran. Petracca wonders what happened to the Times' “sense of balance and integrity.” I wonder the same about Agran and Petracca—people I once admired.

Stephen C. Smith

Mark Petracca responds: Mr. Smith hasn't addressed the crux of my story at all. Sounding a bit too much like someone employed by the “Anybody But Agran for Mayor Campaign,” Stephen wants to ignore the question I raised: Are voters in South County contemporary equivalents to members of the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society, as Pasco suggested? I just don't think so. Do you? Why the rush to defend Pasco's use of the comparison?


Dave Barton's usually good judgment seems to have failed him in his review of The Good Person of Szechuanat the Irvine Barclay Theatre (“Disguised,” April 26). It's hardly “shameful” that I did not shape the production (or my program notes) toward allegations that the play was actually written, not by Brecht, but by Ruth Berlau and Mararete Steffin (and/or Elizabeth Hauptmann for that matter). These allegations (initiated by John Fuegi) have been exhaustively and convincingly refuted by virtually all Brechtian scholars, most notably in the 100-page, chapter-by chapter rebuttal A Brechtbuster Goes Bust: Scholarly Mistakes, Misquotes, and Malpractices in John Fuegi'sBrecht and Company, which was published by four leading Brecht scholars in the same Brecht Yearbook that Fuegi once edited. I'm not saying Fuegi doesn't have his points (no one has ever claimed Brecht to be a nice guy), but under these circumstances, it's neither obligatory to shape the production around them nor remotely “shameful” to ignore them

Robert Cohen

Thanks for the nice article on Phil Shane—with all due respect, the real “hardest-working man in show biz” (Rebecca Schoenkopf's “The Church of Phil,” April 19). I hope his Vegas dream is realized.

Huey Hong
via e-mail

Rich Kane really must have been on a downer at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival because I can't understand dismissing the Strokes' performance (LowBallAssChatter, “Letter From Coachella,” May 3). The Strokes kicked the Foo's asses all over the stage. I've seen the Strokes thrice now: in January at the Las Vegas House of Blues, Coachella, and then two days later at UC San Diego. Each time, their set was wildly different, the only constant being that they never play an encore. I love that—50 to 55 minutes of blistering rock N roll, no charming or offbeat banter between songs, then slam down your instruments and leave the stage. I agree with Kane that we've all heard just about everything in music before in one form or another, but these guys put a new spin on several tried formulae. The CD is great, the live performances better. It looks to me as though we've got the next big thing going on here.

Dirk Yarborough
Costa Mesa

I'm in my 30s, but just to piss off Commie Girl and her feminist sensibilities, it's my solemn vow that if I make it to age 82 and am wealthy, I will become a Viagra junkie and screw every tight-bodied 19-year-old blonde who has a weakness for diamond jewelry that I can find. Just like Hugh Hefner.

Paul Morton
Newport Beach

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