Tailgating at the Dodger Stadium; Sarah Palin’s planned speech at Cal State Stanislaus; Shakespeare conspiracy theories

The party’s over

Re “Tailgate timeout,” April 14

Three of my friends and I (all 55 and older) went to the Dodgers-Angels game at Dodger Stadium. We were early, and my friends decided to have a beer and some popcorn before we went in to the stadium.

They hadn’t had the can of beer open for more than a minute when what looked like two kids racing toward us on an electric cart swiftly skidded to a stop and proceeded to treat us like we were criminals.

They took down my driver’s license information (because I was the driver, even though I didn’t have a beer) and said that I have been blacklisted on the Dodger computer system and that if I were caught again, I would be kicked out.

Wow. Must have been a real power trip to catch some old people in the act of drinking one beer. As my friend suggested, if we are going to be treated like this, we might as well stay home and enjoy the game.

Steve Shaevel
Woodland Hills

I had to chuckle reading the article on how all the “longtime” Dodgers fans are now unable to tailgate. I’ve been aware of this rule for about two decades, and any time I’ve ever even tried to slip one by them, I’ve been quickly targeted and asked to move on. I make use of the nice set of parks within walking distance from the parking lot when I want to have a little picnic or gathering outside the stadium.

As for drinking beer in the parking lot before the game, in my opinion Dodgers games are already too rowdy in many sections, akin to old-time L.A. Raiders games. My wife doesn’t like to go to games anymore because of the drunken nonsense by those who care more about their too-cool-for-school image than the games.

I once had to get in the face of two drunken fans ready to fight before they toppled onto my 1-year-old daughter sitting behind them. Anything that can be done to minimize such inebriated nonsense is OK by me, and charging 10 to 12 bucks a pop for beer in the stadium takes care of a lot of that.

William O. Gaynor
Newbury Park

It was reported that the LAPD was so short of money that homicide detectives have put investigations on hold due to caps on overtime. Yet that same LAPD acts as storm troopers on behalf of the Dodgers to break up tailgate parties at Dodger Stadium.

In her divorce action, Jamie McCourt is asking the court to order Frank McCourt to pay her nearly $1 million a month. The Dodgers do not need the hard-pressed LAPD to enforce their mean-spirited anti-tailgating rules.

Mel Frohman
Los Angeles

Picking on Palin?

Re “College group inquiry widens,” April 14

The Times’ article regarding the investigation of Sarah Palin’s scheduled June speaking engagement at Cal State Stanislaus is clearly another witch hunt by liberals and Democrats seeking to discredit the former Alaska governor.

The Cal State Stanislaus Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is not using any public funds to pay for the Palin speaking engagement. It therefore does not come under the California Public Records Act. California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) are using this trumped-up charge for their own gain.

The public should recognize this is a witch hunt and nothing more.

Alan Peterson
Lake Elsinore, Calif.

Re “Palin papers said to have been stolen,” April 15

So the president of Cal State Stanislaus, Hamid Shirvani, admits that one of his staff threw part of the contract between a nonprofit school foundation and Sarah Palin into a trash bin. Some students found those thrown-away pages in the trash bin. And now the president is accusing them of stealing the same papers he said his staff member threw away.

Not only is it very questionable that the nonprofit foundation’s funds, meant to help students, should be spent on paying any politician’s visit to a public school campus, but it’s even more questionable that Shirvani has the professionalism and integrity his position demands.

Our students deserve better. And so does California.

Bonnie Compton Hanson
Santa Ana

In Zimbabwe, what if . . . ?

Re “Passings / Bishop Abel Muzorewa,” Obituary, April 10

Regarding the death of Bishop Abel Muzorewa, one can only speculate on what could have transpired in Zimbabwe -- once among Africa’s richest countries -- if he, a nonviolent Christian, had been voted prime minister instead of Robert Mugabe.

The supposed “puppet” couldn’t possibly have done worse for his country. Zimbabwe’s systemic corruption, widespread violence and economic disaster could have been avoided (or at the very least, lessened), proving again that choosing a leader is critical.

Mark Johnson

No denying a genius at work

Re “Alas, poor Shakespeare,” Opinion, April 11

As the screenwriter of “Anonymous,” the Roland Emmerich film about the Shakespeare authorship question, I read with great interest James Shapiro’s opinion piece.

I was particularly fascinated by his claim that three U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled “unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford” in a 1987 moot court case.

Shapiro has, at best, oversimplified the facts. Justice William Brennan, the senior justice on the case, did not rule on whether Shakespeare actually wrote the plays; he simply ruled that the Earl of Oxford did not meet the burden of proof required under the law. Justice Harry Blackmun agreed, but then added, “That’s the legal answer. Whether it is the correct one causes me greater doubt.” Justice John Paul Stevens went even further, saying, “I have lingering concerns. . . . You can’t help but have these gnawing doubts that this great author may perhaps have been someone else.”

I would hardly characterize these as opinions “unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford.”

Shapiro goes on to suggest that it was “obvious” that the justices found against Oxford because he “died in 1604, [and] he could not have written . . . 10 or so plays.” In fact, historians do not know the precise dating of any of the plays; they only make best guesses.

Shapiro’s piece culminates in an attack claiming that our film does a disservice to Shakespeare’s legacy and imagination. Setting aside that we haven’t yet finished shooting our film (and one must therefore assume that Shapiro hasn’t seen it), I would say we aspire to do quite the opposite.

Does Shapiro really think so little of the 37 plays and 154 sonnets -- and the genius who wrote them -- that he believes one film could destroy their 400-year-old legacy?

John Orloff
New York

Alas, more Shakespeare author conspiracy theories.

I dropped out of graduate school in English because many academics waste their intellects overanalyzing everything except an author’s words.

I took a graduate-level Shakespeare course in which we spent an entire class discussing the mysterious “Mr. W.H.” to whom Shakespeare (maybe) dedicated his sonnets.

We talked about those four letters for two hours, not for one minute marveling at Shakespeare’s glorious verse.

Karen Lindell

WaMu revelation

Re “WaMu built a ‘mortgage time bomb,’ ” April 13

When I used to see development after development of 3,000-square-foot homes, I would ask, “How do so many people afford so many luxury homes?”

Now I know.

Don Olinger