Letters to the Editor

Wheels of Misfortune

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.

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