Wheels of Misfortune

Letters to the Editor

Controversy to go: Since I work in Westwood and have lived in this area all my life, I read with interest Harrison Fletcher's "The Truck Stops Here," the February 7 article about the mobile food vendors.

I like them. There used to be one at Federal and Kentucky that sold a dish with grilled shrimp, avocados and corn that was much more nutritious than the soft-serve slop that passes for Mexican food at the local fast-food outlet. Now they are gone. I miss them.

Hey, you don't suppose the "sit-down or drive-through" outlets are behind this harassment of the mobile food vendors, worried about some viable competition? Nah, that kind of thing doesn't happen -- not in this town, right?

Yeah, right.

Let's focus on the real issue: the behavior of the patrons. I behave myself when I go get something to eat. And no matter where I go, if I saw other patrons defecating in the alleys, drinking beer, hanging out or making trash, I'd do the same thing Carol e Campbell did: pitch a major fit, take names and kick butt.

So, to me, the issue is not the mobile food-vending trucks; the issue is the behavior of the patrons. Make the owners of these establishments responsible for the behavior of their customers. Have the code inspectors roust the patrons who are behaving badly, not the owner of the business -- unless, of course, it can be shown that the owner is encouraging this kind of bad behavior.

Even at the fast-food drive-through or sit-down establishments, go after the people who make trouble at the business, not the business itself. Give the mobile food vendors a chance. Competition is good, the American ideal. Mobile food vendors have a tasty product, and they are a nice choice for us to have.

Jan Marie Belle

Neighborhood watch: I really wish the reporter, Harrison Fletcher, would have talked to a broader spectrum of the neighborhood. A lot of it was just not true. He seemed to take one or two persons' view as fact. It just should have been researched further before publishing. By the way, where are those oil fields in Colorado?

Sandra Ruff

The ugly truth: So this is capitalism, the so-called free enterprise system. Existing restaurant owners and their supporters see a more efficient and popular business model, then look to their friends in government to sabotage it through regulations. With other recent news revelations (Enron), capitalism looks ugly writ large and small.

Richard Myers

The numbers game: Somebody needs to get a new calculator. Doubling 23,305 gives 46,610, not 40,901, so this is not a doubling of the Hispanic population in Ramona Martinez's district over the past decade.

Robert Emery
via the Internet

Rivers of No Return

Stand up and be counted: Michael Roberts's column on Reggie Rivers, "Many Rivers to Cross," in the February 7 issue, was on the mark. I listen to Rivers's show on my way home from work every day, and what I hear is a very courageous, intelligent man who dares to stand up to what are very powerful lobbies in this country.

I sometimes worry about Reggie in light of some of the threatening rantings of some of his callers or the government entities who are now monitoring any trace of dissension in this country. But I know that his heart is in the right place and that he has the knowledge to make the right arguments. Those who say he doesn't know what he's talking about are those who disagree with his views. He and Clear Channel should know that there are plenty of us who are grateful to Reggie for his stances and the tolerant, thought-provoking way he espouses them.

Imani Latif

Free speech: I would like to express my unequivocal support for Reggie Rivers and reinforce a few of his points.

I agree with Reggie's stand that he is criticizing Israel, not Jews. Many Jews and many Israelis, including a growing group with the Israeli military, oppose the illegal occupation and settlement of Palestine, a deliberate process of creating a bureaucratic reality on the ground that blocks a just peace.

America is theoretically great because we theoretically don't deprive people of life, liberty or property without due process of law (ask Leonard Peltier, Mumia or the interned Japanese about this one). As Reggie points out, human and civil rights are inconvenient for authority; they always have been. Many folks seem to feel that civil rights are kind of a naive luxury in a time of war; this position is un-American and unpatriotic. Instead of running up a flag and saluting it, Reggie pulls out the Constitution and reads it.

Regarding those who say Reggie doesn't know what he's talking about: The right to speak our minds freely on any topic is also theoretically an American value. We cannot leave discourse on, say, law, politics or genetics to "experts." By definition, "experts" have the most to lose personally and professionally from an open challenge to the status quo.

Those who dispute that Reggie is one of the most intelligent people in the AM wasteland should tune in to one of his "riddle" shows, where he takes brain-teaser challenges from listeners on the air and does an amazing job of answering them.

If KHOW or "the market" silences Reggie, it will be a sad tragedy, comparable only to the daily tragedy of Phil Hendrie's silly, manipulative and unethical show.

Eric Belsey

From the Rivers to the sea: Bravo for Reggie Rivers! A voice of intelligence in a sea of right-wing fascist stupidity.

Rivers understands that the corporate capitalist elite have taken control of our families, communities, schools, government, the mass media, the courts, the military and all the major corporations.

Rivers exposes the upper-class fascist conspiracy that seeks to remain hidden behind a smile and a handshake. He shows how they want to keep working people divided and fragmented, how they want to keep whites fighting with blacks, men fighting with women, employed fighting with the unemployed.

Rivers understands that the purpose of the corporate-controlled mass media is to cultivate public stupidity and conformity in order to protect the wealthy upper class from interference by the people.

Brother Rivers! We want your words to go forth from this place now that we are on the move.

John Cassella

Patriot Games

Civics 101: Hooray for Kenny Be's February 14 Worst-Case Scenario, which responded to state Senate Republican John Andrews's bill mandating the teaching of patriotism in public-school classrooms. Any final bill will probably change from a mandate to an encouragement.

However, the fundamental issue is left unexamined; the critical question is not asked. What, in fact, does "patriot" mean? What characterizes a patriot? Is a super-national fascist a patriot? What is revealed in the corporate media calling Oliver North a "super patriot"? Is a lefty like Ralph Nader a patriot? What of that "patriot blood watering the tree of liberty"? How is it that one person's patriot is another person's traitor?

"Patriot" is an emotionally based, national-pride propaganda word. It's a morally loaded sentimental term claimed by all manner of radical extremes. It's a not-consciously examined (unconscious) code word for the good and true.

A feminist friend claims that "patriot" is propaganda for promoting patri-dominance. Its explicit exclusion of the feminine simply leans the meaning toward the political right; it's a male-loaded war word. Throw "patriot" into the dust bunny of herstory. I agree.

Ken Blake

United we stand: I have been wanting to send a letter to Westword for a while, complimenting you on the inclusion of Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World. This well-written cartoon is usually the first thing I read in Westword and is the main reason for me to read Westword in the first place.

If you believe the mainstream media, it would seem that all of America is lock-step (or should that be "goose-step"?) behind Bush and his war on innocent civilians...uh, I mean his war on terrorism, as well as behind the crackdown on civil liberties Americans used to hold dear. I have many friends who should know better who have said that America's attacks against civilians are justified because "they killed 3,000 of our people." Well, this argument does not even rise to the level of being specious. For starters, "they" -- meaning the civilians of Afghanistan (and of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as well) -- had as much to do with the September 11 attacks as anybody in America: nothing. To kill them because "they killed us" is, at best, just continuing the cycle of terrorism. (Yes, any country that kills civilians, intentionally or with so little regard as America has, is indeed using terrorism.)

I would like to encourage Westword's readers to read as much of the foreign press coverage of the war as they can on the Internet. It has been very surprising just how much of the information about what really has been going on in the war "against" terrorism has been suppressed in the domestic media.

So, back to Tom Tomorrow. It is heartening to hear a voice that goes against the viewpoint that the mainstream press seems to believe is universal in America. If it were not for such critical eyes on our government, we would surely be living in an America we had only feared we would live in (in more benign times), an America united -- united by our complete ignorance.

Leroy Quet

Leave the Driving to Us

Steer clear: I just wanted to thank Westword and Jonathan Shikes for providing an honest portrait of the problem created by the Regional Transportation District's privatized contractors ("Bus Stopped," January 31). The contractors make us, the RTD drivers, look bad.

Name withheld on request


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