Letters: 06/13/13 Edition


Protection Against Media Predators

I would like to propose Legislation to protect the individual in public places from the invasion of privacy by media predators.

I was filmed by TMZ photographer Joshua Hoover, and even though I told him who I was, TMZ still used the pictures and video he took of me while I was in the Airport. The photography was then used for a story they covered on R & B artist Keith Sweat concerning foreclosures on his homes. This story ran on several internet sites including the TMZ site. Currently there is no protection for me under the law?

This is not a case of mistaken identity. This is not the first story that they have covered concerning Keith Sweat-so they have stock footage of him.

Keith Sweat has sold over 20 million records during his career. It is not difficult to find a photo of him. Harvey Levin knows who the hell Keith Sweat is, and what he looks like. It was deliberate – willful misappropriation of my image.

They put my picture on his negative story and it is still on the internet. http://scoops.co/4Z7NcL5S

I believe there has to be a “catching up” as it relates to legislation that can address the reckless and irresponsible conduct of media predators who seem to have little or no regard for the individual who should be entitled to a reasonable degree of privacy while in public. When media predators (paparazzi style reporting) are gathering or capturing images only to create. The media shouldn’t have the right to collect or capture an individuals’ image or likeness to create a story versus an incidental capturing while gathering a legitimate story that is unfolding in public.

I reside in the film capital of the world, where even Extras get paid for the commercial use of their image or likeness.  Why should TMZ or any entity have the right to capture my image and use it as they see fit.

-Johnnie C. Jenkins Jr., Senior Media Studies Major, Marymount California University

Dear Johnnie C. Jenkins Jr,

Not sure that I agree with this perspective but it is interesting how TMZ could get this wrong.  I suspect that the assumption of privacy, of anyone in a public place in this era, is a fiction but the issue of misappropriation of individuals’ identities, or worse mis-identification is a legal issue that will only be belatedly settled in a court of law in our dysfunctional superior courts. Try suing the bastards!

-James Preston Allen, Publisher


A Laughable Problem

Your latest editorial (RLn May 30-Jun 12. 2013) gave me a good laugh, it was the “that government is not the solution to the problems, it is the problem” quote that you seem to disparage and then you list all the ills that government has created, as if somehow we got less government under Reagan is a fact. Our local problems with the port, aren’t they government problems? The lack of interest from downtown isn’t that a government problem? Government is our problem.

I’m not a Reagan fan  I’m not an Obama fan. Look at our government today, scandals and ineptitude and thus has it always been. Are you implying that more of this is what we need? Ayn Rand was right the government takes our money at the point of the gun, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be generous voluntarily does it? You want the President to create jobs? He can only do that by hiring more government workers, oops more taxes! We need less government but we need a local government with a broader view than just our local selfishness.

Mark Larson, Ship keeper SS Lane Victory, San Pedro

Dear Mr. Larson,

All systems of government and commerce are only as good as the people who run them. Just as we have seen corruption and scandal in the public sector so have we seen it in the private (capital) sector, and usually on a much larger scale. Look at the cause of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Yes, there was a failure of government oversight, but more significantly there was a corruption of the market place that even former Federal Reserve chairman, a free-market devotee and Ayn Rand loyalist, found “uncomprehensible and shocking.”

Also, contrary to popular belief, Reagan didn’t actually shrink the government. He talked a good game by taking on the air traffic controllers but expanded the military industrial complex budget some tenfold and, as you’ll remember, the first banking crisis happened under his “lax control” of the saving and loan industry. So shrinking government oversight isn’t really the answer.

So what to do in a country that is breastfed on the “we the people” principle of governance?

You can’t run the country like it was 100 years ago. There are more people and more problems. What can happen is what Thomas Jefferson once said, “the cure for bad government is not more laws but more democracy.” Government, no matter how big or expensive, has to be closer to people it serves, which only means more people like you need to be involved and vocal.

Have you been to your local neighborhood council meeting or protested at the Board of Harbor Commissioners meeting lately?

-James Preston Allen, Publisher


Lambasting Bush and Reagan

Just as liberals love to lambaste George W. Bush, so too they love to rage at Ronald Reagan. Like many of them, Random Lengths News Editor James Preston Allen has neglected one salient reality: neither one of them is in office anymore, and one of them is dead. Conservatives in general do not post up previous presidents as a pin-up, anyway, unlike liberals who fawn over President Obama as “The One” – although many said the same thing about Richard “War on Drugs” Nixon, a President with a scandalously similar legacy to our current president.

Of course, I am not the first one to disparage “Reaganmania.” Ronald Reagan is dead, and he did some good and some bad. He cut taxes without cutting the spending. He betrayed his fiscally conservative Republicans by asking them to raise the debt ceiling in 1981, then never looked back as the spending spree spiraled up. He supported a progressive tax and an assault weapons ban, which is just liberal folly in the face of evil (A good guy with a gun is the best defense against a bad guy with a gun, every time). Allen also forgot to mention Reagan’s abortive Simpson-Mizzoli immigration “compromise” (in reality, a blanket amnesty), which set the precedent for allowing illegal immigrants to the United States to become legal citizens. So much for the rule of law.

No, Reagan did not single-handedly bring down the Soviet Union, but his moral certitude against the USSR, commanded enough resolve to push that failed socialist state into insolvency, even as it lingered on the brink. Reagan communicated a message that this country was better than its government, a notion much needed today, as we witness an unprecedented number of people dependent on the state (food  stamps, unemployment insurance) yet at the same time disappointed by it (failing public schools, government overreach into healthcare).

For the record, Ronald Reagan did not enact Prop 13, nor was he an anti-New Deal corporate prop. In fact, he was a big hit with Hollywood and a rainbow coalition of voters, enough to win 49 states in 1984.

-Arthur C. Schaper, Torrance

Dear Mr. Schaper,

Finally a conservative that doesn’t think Reagan was the next best thing to sliced bread and God!

And you think that the world isn’t changing.

-James Preston Allen, Publisher


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