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Martinez Slanted on Magic Mountain

April 29, 1988

The recent column (April 4) by Al Martinez on security procedures at Six Flags Magic Mountain must be protested, because of both his reverse racism and his absurd twisting of facts. I present my protest as former head of public relations for Six Flags Corp., the then parent company of Magic Mountain.

Martinez betrays his definitely slanted viewpoint in the first paragraph when he writes of Magic Mountain as the " . . . amusement center for white people . . . " and later when he includes the phrase "white bread" to refer to Anglo patrons. If any Times writer or columnist had ever written such racist sentences and substituted "black" or "Chicano" for "white," they quickly would be the target for attacks from ethnic groups, and with good cause.

In discussing the persons screened at the gate, he paints them as " . . . kids who lack the guile to make money at real crime . . . " This certainly is a naive statement and one that quickly could be dispelled by any park employee who has seen the knives, guns and other weapons confiscated from some "kids" seeking admission.

The right of the park to protect its patrons (whose numbers include a very high percentage of minorities) is ridiculed by Martinez through the use of such phrases as "psychic powers," "secret methods" and "rubber hoses" when referring to screening methods. But nowhere does this columnist indicate that the courts consistently have upheld the right of Magic Mountain, Knotts and Disneyland, and other amusement centers, to impose criteria for admission. The courts likened such a procedure to screening procedures at airports. Either Martinez is unaware of this, or he just didn't want to include it since it did not support his personal prejudices.

Martinez also chides the park for not sharing its screening methods with him personally. Why, if this sort of thing continues, next it will be the U.S. Customs Department not wanting to tell him what procedures they use in searching for contraband, or the Border Patrol failing to give him a step-by-step outline of their plans for controlling our borders. If such disclosures were made to him, how much would anyone be willing to wager that the information wouldn't quickly show up as another intrepid Martinez column?

If he were fair, Martinez easily could have learned that officials of Six Flags and Magic Mountains went to great lengths to insure that the rights of all individuals--even gang members--were protected when they instituted the badly needed screening procedures at this family/youth-oriented center.

I believe Al Martinez owes a public apology to the owners, employees and even patrons of Six Flags Magic Mountain. But I don't believe I'll ever see it.


Sherman Oaks

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