I continue to be surprised how people will play fast-and-loose with the facts, especially when those facts are on videotape.
Larry Nemecek ("Another cameraman who skirts journalism," July 31) is either grossly misinformed or he is part of the apologists for Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who would like to smear me instead of dealing with reality. Nemecek was "unnerved" recently when I showed up on the sidewalk at a public park club picnic to ask Gatto to clarify his unclear position on the legalization of marijuana.
What probably "unnerved" Nemecek were members of the Burbank Democratic Club aggressively and physically coming after me. And, as always, my camera was rolling, and those out-of-control individuals made themselves look foolish. There was no "clever editing" involved. One crazed man even threw water on me and my camera.
How can a law-abiding citizen justify such an act in civil society, let alone with a camera rolling?
And, regarding the widely publicized Gatto town hall meeting at the Glendale Public Library ("Videographer booted from library, July 28), Nemecek wrote that he did not attend. He should talk to the Glendale police officers who were there from the start, and who observed me quietly setting up my camera in the back of the auditorium. They also saw me verbally accosted by Gatto organizers. With the camera rolling and the red light flashing, I just don't know what motivated those people.
I was there to tape the new assemblyman at a public event. But they wanted me removed before the event even started. First, Gatto staffers said, "No press." Then, realizing how ridiculous that was, demanded to see my "credentials." The police officers did not budge.
But then, in desperation, as a last resort, someone discovered a loophole in the library policy, and I was removed. They delayed the event to figure out a way to prevent Gatto's words from being recorded. Curious indeed.
The facts are a difficult thing to handle sometimes, when political hacks and hangers-on want to engage in character assassination in an attempt at marginalization. I will continue to report on Gatto "without fear or favor." Yes, I am just an independent, citizen journalist, against whom intimidation could be effective. But I will not succumb to powerful, taxpayer-funded bullies.
The larger questions here, of course, have to do with the U.S. Constitution and how someone sworn to uphold it has been captured on videotape, time and again, trying to minimize the 1st Amendment. As a candidate, I suppose Gatto had that right. As an elected official, it might very well be viewed as an abuse of power.
And, when, in my October 2010 documentary, I unveil the written exchange on Facebook that Gatto had with a gentleman in Virginia who was appalled by my YouTube news report, you will be stunned at the assemblyman's total disregard for the facts and his unethical smear tactics.
The town hall news report, by the way, had more than 16,000 YouTube views across America — in four days.
Smaller trash cans should equal price cut
Last week, the refuse collector for my neighborhood destroyed my trash can while dumping my trash. I called the Public Works Department to get another one. Simple problem, or so I thought.
When the can arrived, I realized that it was a new design and actually smaller than the old can. I called Public Works to complain, and they said these are the new replacement cans. They are supposed to hold the same amount of trash, but it is very apparent that they are smaller.
While this may seem to be a small issue, it is not. The city has essential given a fee increase to all of us with smaller cans. We are paying the same amount, but for smaller cans.
I know the city is concerned about the landfill, but buying smaller cans is not the way to do things. If the city is going to give me a smaller can, they should reduce my trash pickup fees.