On April 1, Los Angeles County children's social worker Jules Weingart sent the Los Angeles Times a letter protesting its predilection for calling Palestinian suicide-bombers "militants." As a courtesy, Weingart attached a list of normative definitions of the terms "militant," "terrorism," "terror" and "extremist."
On April 18, Weingart received a response from Times Readers Representative Jamie Gold. "The word terrorist is not applied to combatants in Israel," Gold informed Weingart on behalf of the newspaper, "because it is considered a politically loaded word."
That this is some perverse form of political correctness, few can doubt. But as Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has asked repeatedly over the last year, "Political correctness for whom -- suicide-bombers?"
High-power Israeli Defense Force (IDF) squads have been traveling to choice tourist destinations worldwide this summer, but not for vacation.
So whaddaya know? The election is over, we've got a new mayor, and no sign yet of the apocalypse the other candidates promised would befall this city, no matter who won. Newly minted 9th District Councilwoman Jan Perry knew it was a new day when, shortly after her own election, Jim Hahn called to extend his own congratulations.
Read any good Hebrew books lately?
If you live in the Valley -- we'll assume you read Hebrew -- you'll most likely have picked up the latest Ram Oren techno-thriller or Naomi Ragen frummie-potboiler at the recently opened Steimatzky bookstore on Ventura Boulevard near Corbin.
Just when we thought it was safe to proclaim the mayoral campaign free from the kind of race-baiting that has tainted previous runs for City Hall, we get this bogus automated telephone message, falsely attributed to Republican candidate Steve Soboroff, attesting to his supposed reliance on "Jewish money."
Aping the famous Army recruitment commercials, the mayoral candidates have all urged Los Angeles to "be all you can be." But City Attorney James Hahn, ostensibly the one shoo-in for the run-off election in June, has come up with a novel approach to realizing his own mayoral ambitions -- by being the people's second choice. Hahn knows that outside of his base constituency within the African American community, few people are genuinely fired up about his candidacy. But that's okay, he says, because only one of his rivals is going to win the primary in April. And the people who supported the others, often with great passion and fervor, will most likely transfer their allegiance to their second-choice candidate -- himself. It's a strange race, to be sure, and its Aesopian undertones may well inspire future tales of "The Tortoise and the Hahn." Still, at press time Hahn's lead over Steve Soboroff and Antonio Villaraigosa had narrowed -- and while Hahn shares the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times with Villaraigosa, the Valley-based Daily News has endorsed Soboroff.
He says he's 61, but you wouldn't know it either to look at him or the paper-shrouded desk in his downtown office. After half a life crusading, his batteries retain their charge even as his office space threatens to succumb to the ever-encroaching mudslide of municipal files. I am told that City Councilman Joel Wachs prefers holding forth from his offices in Studio City. But today is a day for meetings and interviews -- it is past 3 p.m. and I am his third griller of the afternoon. He is always this busy, even more so now that he is running for mayor, and his desk is always on the verge of collapse. "I haven't taken a day off in 20 months," he confides.
The more time I spend trailing the Los Angeles mayoral candidates, the more I find myself musing about rehabilitating the commissariat as a form of government. Or, failing such "Red Dawn"/"Red Alert" scenarios, perhaps we might seek something akin to the national unity administration now under contemplation in Israel. I say this not just to be provocative -- well not only. It just strikes me as a huge waste of precious talent, integrity and commitment to be forced by a winner-takes-all electoral system to have to pick just one of these outstanding people for mayor while jettisoning the others.