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Once Upon A Times

August 15, 1993

I have been slowly savoring your summer reading issue all week ("Storyville," July 18). It is delicious. There is a need for an easily accessible forum for short stories, and your magazine does it so well. You should include more short fiction in your publication. Keep up the good work. JANA PENDRAGON Long Beach

I always look forward to the summer fiction edition of the magazine, but this time I felt disappointed by your choice of authors and stories. Countless aspiring authors reside right here in Southern California. For them, a story printed in your magazine would be a monumental highlight. Such an offering to the reader would be more valuable than an excerpt of something already published or about to be published anyway. The authors you've chosen have already made it to the level of being published. Why not encourage new local writers whose stories are of the same quality, but as of yet have not broken through the publishing wall? LAUREN CLARK Pasadena

Great stories! It was one of the few times the cover story made me open the magazine immediately and start reading. Although I usually can't read more than one short story at a time (bad digestion, you know), I didn't put the magazine down until I finished the last story, "Queen"--no small feat considering that I have a 6-year-old and an 8-month-old. MARK WILLIAMS La Canada Flintridge

Truly fine fiction is a scarce commodity, but thanks to your July 18 issue I have made a rare find. In reading "The Kite Messenger" excerpt from Ernest J. Finney's "Words of My Roaring," I found myself returning to another time. This work was a visual feast, capturing life's experience with a sense of commonality. Who among us cannot empathize with Avery? He is young, aware and engaging--living life fully, yet appraising its value all the while. I cannot wait to meet the other characters. PEGGY ZIESSAU Medford, Ore.

RIORDAN RULES Thanks but no thanks to Faye Fiore and Frank Clifford for their article on Mayor Richard Riordan ("And Now for Something Completely Different," July 11). Somehow their treatment of the mayor smacked of sour grapes that their favored candidate was not elected.

Their cheapest shot was attributing Riordan's charitable contributions to children's causes to his "trying to save all of the children since he couldn't save his own." Shame on you! No one deserves that type of treatment--especially one who opens up his checkbook for charity. Every town in America could use more Dick Riordans--people who have a charitable spirit and are willing to share their wealth with the less fortunate. DAVID M. JETZKE San Pedro

Overall, I enjoyed the Riordan article, but I was perturbed at the authors' relentless assault on the mayor's "contradictions"--the familiar "yeah, but" syndrome. He gives millions to charity--yeah, but only because he feels guilty. He has the metabolism of a hummingbird--yeah, but hummingbirds slam into marble walls at City Hall. He has a restless intelligence--yeah, but he's so absent-minded that he left his keys in the car at the airport. The authors recognize Riordan as a generous, intelligent, thoughtful man, but that, apparently, is just too good. So they had to wipe a little mud on his off-the-rack suits. Hey, we can't have these types going around breaking the media stereotypes, can we? ROBERT S. WHITE Lakewood

Riordan wants to run Los Angeles like a business. Imagine that! That may actually require some efficiency in government and accountability on the part of the bloated municipal civil service. L.A.'s new mayor refuses to fit the stereotype of the wealthy, white, middle-aged, country-club Republican who is supposed to disdain minorities and have no compassion. GEORGE DU BOIS Laguna Niguel

Talk about poor losers! You supported the less popular candidate for mayor; therefore, your man lost. And your editorializing away from the editorial page doesn't help you either. So don't whimper. Accept the will of the people without bellyaching. E. M. CULP Palos Verdes

How does a philosophical millionaire suffering from "Catholic guilt" manage to obtain an annulment from a wife to whom he has been married for 23 years and who has given birth to his five children? What hypocrisy! JO PAPICH Los Angeles

My husband and one of my children suffer from Tourette's syndrome, and we are waiting to find out whether our other child is afflicted. The disease is more than its portrayal on "L.A. Law." It is more than merely a blurted word at an inappropriate time, which fewer than half of its victims experience. I find Fiore and Clifford's political analogy to Tourette's syndrome in the poorest of taste. BRONWEN M. COHN Northridge

I am wondering why the authors felt the need to describe Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg as openly gay--like it was a piece of earth-shattering information about her? PEARL KELL Murrieta

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