Bellman gets his say

This all began back on July 21 when longtime ACLU member Joel Bellman released an open letter to Ramona Ripston, head of the Southern California ACLU, protesting an award to be given to Salam Al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. Ripston bristled, some attention was paid, but it had quieted down until yesterday. On KPCC's Patt Morrison show, Al-Marayati complained that Bellman was trying to "squelch free speech" and has used his position as communications deputy to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to "politicize the issue." (Audio)

Well Bellman was not too happy, since he had been tarred in absentia. When he got a transcript, he complained to KPCC that he should be given a chance to respond. He got that time on today's show, via tape. Bellman's position is, basically, that he scrupulously avoided using his county position and sent the Ripston email from home. Rather than trying to squat on anyone's free speech rights, Bellman said he was just expressing the opinion that Al-Mariyati's views on Israel were not worthy of an award from the ACLU. (No audio on the KPCC site)

But of far, far greater import...: Historian Kevin Starr, Mack Reed of LA Voice and myself were on "Patt Morrison" today talking about the cliche portrayals of Los Angeles that visiting journalists and locals too fall back on. Starr also gave a surprise, much-appreciated shout-out to my book on the history of the San Fernando Valley. (Audio)

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