The house that Gavin built: A very interesting article about the mayor ["The Money Went Fore What?," Oct. 26]. I would not disagree with some of [Matt Smith's] points. However, I think "Care Not Cash" has been an outstanding success at reducing General Assistance payments and putting the money into housing and services instead of handing people no-strings-attached cash, which they typically use for booze and drugs.
Tribecca Properties LLC
No laughing matter: Even as a joke, it [was] sad to note in your article [OK Then, SF Weekly Music Awards Program Guide, Oct. 19] the following words:
"We're paying them in uncut diamonds from our slave-run mine in Sierra Leone. What, we never told you about that?"
Sierra Leone is a beautiful country; unfortunately they suffered untold war. Children, women, men, entire families maimed, killed, and abused. It does break my heart to read said words.
[As a] much-interested individual in helping rebuild that community, I hope that there will be other individuals who think of them as humans and not slaves in their own country. How overwhelming that people forget the misery of others. Of course, the white world is better and the black world will, no matter how much we try, always [be] considered in the minds of many slaves or some other words that the white world is entitled to call us.
Yes, I read your article, but I will not be invited to the biggest party of the world, since my residence is far, far away. Enjoy your party. One of these days Sierra Leone will also enjoy peace and security.
Mulualem T. Sharew
President, Mother and Child African Relief Organization
New York, N.Y.
Low blow: I just moved to the fair city of San Francisco, and have begun the process of adopting SF Weekly as my go-to altpaper. Oh, how the love affair came to a crashing halt this week, when I saw that Bill Gallo's review of the Charlize Theron vehicle North Country came with the chilling title "Mine Kampf" [Film, www.sfweekly.com, Oct. 19]. Is the level of creativity so low at this paper that you need to resort to Nazi references for a punny headline? Attaching the name of Hitler's book to a film about women's rights not only demeans the film -- it insults the large number of people for whom the Holocaust was all too real, rather than a risqué hipster witticism.
A taxing proposition: Jaime Cordera makes two valid and important points ["S.F. as Welfare Queen," Letters, Oct. 19]: The sales tax is inequitable, and it skews cities' planning policies in the direction of retail development at the expense of housing. Unfortunately, the rest of his letter is a compendium of misinformation and reactionary nonsense. A few examples:
Claim: "Circa 1972, California voters passed Proposition 13, limiting property taxes." Fact: Prop. 13 was passed in 1978.
Claim: "Prop. 13 required an overhaul of the tax code, which was largely written by San Francisco state Sen. Phillip Burton." Fact: Prop. 13 was the product of right-wing zealots Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann, not San Francisco liberals. Phil Burton was never a state senator. He was a member of the United States Congress from 1964 until his death in 1983. (John Burton was also a member of Congress from 1974 until 1983.)
Claim: "[S]ales tax dollars were to be distributed where the money was spent, not where it was earned, nor where the person who spent the money lives ...." Fact: Well, duh! The tax collectors have no way of knowing who the purchaser is, much less where he/she lives or works; they only know where the purchase was made.
Claim: "[A] person ... lives in San Jose, and works in San Jose, but unfortunately spends a night on the town in San Francisco. ... San Francisco gets to keep all of the money." Fact: San Francisco may get to keep the taxes on that person's purchases in San Francisco that particular night, but unless the person repeats this pattern on a daily basis, the vast majority of his/her purchases are likely to be in San Jose.
Claim: San Francisco "has torn down more freeways than it has built in the last 10 years. ... This has ... everything to do with simple incompetence on the part of ... city government. Remember, the Sierra Club says cars are bad." Fact: It's not incompetence; it's a deliberate policy choice that has little to do with the Sierra Club. We San Franciscans do not wish to have our community sliced and diced by freeways, which would only bring more cars and congestion to our surface streets. If Mr. Cordera is unhappy with that, I suggest he join his neighbors on Caltrain -- or stay in Los Altos.
The photo on Page 17 of last week's cover story, "Here Comes the Fog," should have been credited to AP Wide World Photos.
In last week's Hear This item, songwriter Jens Lekman's name was misspelled.
SF Weekly regrets the errors.