Mailbag: People need to get their facts straight

I continue to be surprised how people will play fast-and-loose with the facts, especially when those facts are on videotape.

Larry Nemecek ("Free speech no excuse for lack of civility," July 30) 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 ("Library boots videographer, 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.

Peter Musurlian


Videographer deserved his ejection

I was at the town hall put on by Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

We in the audience were furious that Peter Musurlian created such a scene ("Library boots videographer, July 28). He yelled and was incredibly rude to the library and the assemblyman's staff. If people like Musurlian hate Gatto, then I like Mike even more.

Jay Conklin


A longer life for less than $1 a day

Migrate to La Cañada Flintridge? Why not, you may live longer. Perhaps 4.9 years longer than if you live in Glendale now, and all it costs is just the moving expense.

The average household can be moved for $850 to $1,350 for an average home as per today's quote, including packing. That averages out to 47 to 75 cents for each additional day of life you gain, if the 4.9 years hold.

Someone moving from Burbank might get it for a nickel or a dime less per extra day. That is a bargain.

The July 28 article "La Cañada tops life expectancy list" sounds almost too good, but I know that statistics do not lie, or they could not be published, so I am interested. I just hope I have enough cash, for getting stuck in Montrose we could reap only marginal benefit, as they live just slightly longer than we Glendalians, but not enough to uproot your family for.

Reasons given are a weekly famers market, walkable streets and effective public education. We have those in Glendale, in addition to an extensive trail system, safe parks and sports fields. If we do not have enough of those, we might sneak up there and use La Cañada's and gain a extra few days on the side. I am relieved there is nothing about active thinking, social interaction, diet or smoking, not even about happiness. That is marvelous, for it sets your conscience free.

So no wonder people live longer — they have less guilty feelings and concerns, and can just enjoy the ride. And for less than a dollar a day, what a bargain.

John Andersen


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