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Letters to the Editor

J'Accuse (Falsely) Thanks for spotlighting this important issue: I am writing to commend Bernice Yeung and SF Weekly for their excellent coverage of people falsely convicted and imprisoned . While working with Yeung for the last few…
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News, Matt Smith

The Migden Chronicles

Dozens of cadavers lie piled in the rutted grass. One body stirs. Then another. Several push their torsos from the mud. It's unclear whether they've been killed, or they've just awakened from a dream. A few make it to their…
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News, Bay View Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences

Beginning last January, right-wing San Francisco radio talk show host Melanie Morgan gleefully began throwing her wattage behind the gathering movement to recall Gov. Gray Davis. Morgan, co-host of the KSFO-AM (560) Morning Show, invited a string of conservative Republican…
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News, Matt Smith

Gimme Shelters

Talk about your Wall Street accounting scandals: The new budget passed by the California Legislature is so fraught with financial chicanery that I'd hardly be surprised if state officials next went to work enabling phony offshore shell companies or sham…
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Dining, Eat Sandwich Queen

Sandwich Queen

There's a lovely little list-as-essay by Bruce Cole titled "A summer manifesto -- sorta ...," a reminder to enjoy the foods of this season while they're in season, on his useful food-besotted Web site, There are the expected foods…
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News, Matt Smith Recalling a Historical Mistake

Recalling a Historical Mistake

Last Thursday evening, when the headlines were announcing that our first gubernatorial recall election would be held Oct. 7, I leaned toward a slim man in a perfect suit and asked to talk with his boss, the speaker of the…
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News, Matt Smith Common Cents

Common Cents

There are few vocations less appreciated, yet more essential to the launching of the modern era, than that of the pamphleteer. Two hundred twenty-seven years ago Thomas Paine, with his pamphlets Common Sense, The Crisis Papers, and Rights of Man,…
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News, Matt Smith Notes From  the Edge

Notes From the Edge

As any far-flung news correspondent knows, the remote bureau has clear advantages over the home office. The poor main-newsroom hacks in New York (or London, or wherever the case may be) slog away 9 to 7, embittered editors breathing down…
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News, Matt Smith

See Jerry Not Run

There was once a man who suffered a debilitating psychological ailment that combined the symptoms of Tourette's syndrome, what is known as anti-social disorder, and epilepsy. When stressed, he would savagely beat bystanders and scream, "Goddamned shitass motherfucker. Fucker! Fucker!"(1)…
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News, Matt Smith Blowing Smoke

Blowing Smoke

Within seconds of their first cigarette puff, smokers absorb nicotine through millions of alveoli, the tiny pouches that seep oxygen into the blood. The drug travels through the blood to the brain, producing brief feelings of energy, clarity, even invincibility.…
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News, Mecklin Whore  vs. Bore

Whore vs. Bore

In France last week, according to the Wall Street Journal, left-of-center voters stocked up on clothespins and gloves to place on their noses and hands as a way of signaling displeasure while they voted for incumbent President Jacques Chirac. The…
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News, Matt Smith The Perfect Crime

The Perfect Crime

The final chapter of the perfect crime needn't be dramatic, brilliant, or the result of careful planning; it can also be a matter of banal luck. Unseasonable storms might clean a blood-stained sidewalk; a detective might go on vacation; overtaxed…
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News, Matt Smith Getting the Treatment

Getting the Treatment

I've seen Lydia -- a woman whose warm, graceful manner belies her difficult life -- three times since we were children: once at a funeral, again at a wedding, and a third time when her stepfather died. The first time…
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News, Mecklin MUD in Your Eye

MUD in Your Eye

Watching Gov. Gray Davis, the Legislature, and the state's three major electric utilities go about "solving" the energy crisis has reminded me of a board game from my youth, the name of which escapes me but the object of which…
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News, Feature Dim Bulbs

Dim Bulbs

The setting was a politician's dream. With TV cameras rolling and surrounded by beaming lawmakers and business leaders, then-governor Pete Wilson stood in front of a San Diego high-tech firm in the summer of 1996 to sign a landmark bill…
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News, Matt Smith Don't Let Them Turn Out the Lights

Don't Let Them Turn Out the Lights

Last week, as I stood in the rain in front of a South of Market barroom awaiting a man called "Pud," I perceived the end of all that is good: of the idea of California, of America, of all hope…
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News, Matt Smith A Walk in the Dark

A Walk in the Dark

The avant-garde opera Dead Man Walking -- based on Sister Helen Prejean's saga of spiritual redemption on Louisiana's death row -- so packed the War Memorial Opera House that the San Francisco Opera added an additional performance to the seven…
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News, Matt Smith Power Politics

Power Politics

Albany management consultant Nancy Snow is a skilled chef and likes to dine at home. She prefers fresh vegetables to frozen or canned, and uses red meat only rarely. On those rare red-meat occasions, she's apt to choose lamb over…
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News, Night Crawler Fringe Character

Fringe Character

An eroded man with road-map eyes shuffles toward me, murmuring about the "liftoff" as he sucks the marrow out of a wet, oily chicken bone. He stops in front of me and smiles, his greasy lips curling back over four…
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Calendar, Halloween


So, UCSF Stanford Health Care, the offspring of an illegal merger between UCSF and Stanford hospitals in 1997, is bleeding to death. Strange turn of events, that. Didn't the rich folk who supported the merger of the two private Stanford…
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