October 19, 2010 |
In his Oct. 12 Times Op-Ed article, "Fixing Bell," respected Ventura City Manager Rick Cole calls on Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to request a court-appointment receiver to manage the troubled Los Angeles County city. One of the online comments to the article says, "While you're at it Jerry, appoint one for the state as well for the recent budget fiasco. " Exactly. The state is not a model of governance for California. Bell should not expect salvation from Sacramento. The solution for Bell is within view, as residents are in the process of recalling four discredited City Council members.
August 16, 2010 |
In his Aug. 11 Times Op-Ed article, "City of Bell salaries: Robert Rizzo is only a symptom," Ben Boychuk confronts the wrong end of the beast. He tips us off to his bias by repeatedly flogging the crusty cliche "unelected bureaucrats," on whom he blames the current crisis in state and local government. He then twists logic into a knot by using these specious assertions as a pretext for removing regulations to solve the problem. Huh? Bell's scandal over high salaries for its top officials did not arise because too many regulations and statutes exist.
July 3, 2010 |
As a professional historian and longtime teacher of European and world history I must take issue with one aspect of Rabbi Marvin Hier's welcome June 29 op-ed, "Holocaust: A huge word made small." He is quite correct in insisting that the horrendous historical phenomenon known as the "Holocaust" not be distorted and demeaned by its use in trivialized political and nonpolitical analogies. However, he extends his brief too broadly — apparently to encompass within his objection any analogous reference to the Nazi regime.
July 1, 2010
After nearly 40 years of broadcasting catchy little tunes celebrating everything from dogs getting run over by lawnmowers to cockroaches devouring entire cities, Dr. Demento is discontinuing his syndicated radio show. By summer's end, the good doctor's hyper-enthusiastic voice will be heard only on the Internet as it introduces oddball classics such as "There's a Fungus Among Us," "Fish Heads" and "Dead Puppies." For decades, Demento — who in a parallel life is Barret Hansen, 69 — has been a Sunday-night fixture on radio stations across the country, keeping alive the music of political satirists like Tom Lehrer ("The Vatican Rag")
February 28, 2010 |
Model Home A Novel Eric Puchner Scribner: 360 pp., $25 Eric Puchner mines the same landscape as Rick Moody and many others in American literature: the mind-numbing, striving, denial and greed of suburbia. "Model Home" is set in Southern California in the 1980s. There's a glare in the book, something you can't quite look at or into, and plenty of humor (the grim kind). The landscape is relentlessly bereft: mini-malls and gated communities and freeways. Warren Ziller, a real estate developer (scheister)
February 7, 2010 |
Hot Springs A Novel Geoffrey Becker Tin House Books: 318 pp., $14.95 paper I call them papercut writers -- brave souls who just about make us bleed, writing on the edge of what we can stand. A reader is lulled into trotting along to the edge of darkness with characters who, gosh, officer, they seemed normal. Who are we to judge? What do we really know about other people's lives? This Bernice character in "Hot Springs," a young woman who has given up her baby for adoption and cons her boyfriend into helping her kidnap the child five years later . . . is she crazy?