Too late to get smart: Matt Smith's article on environmental issues had some real truths in it about our pathetic attempts, both locally and nationally, to "save the planet." Today's Chronicle (July 6) had, on page A4, an article on greenhouse gases turning the oceans acidic and on the opposite side (page 5) an ad pushing Jeep Commanders, the auto industry's latest urban assault vehicle. I'm particularly impressed by those oh-so-enlightened folks who dock their single-occupancy Yukon barges in Rainbow Grocery's parking lot while shopping for their organic arugula. They give new meaning to the word "clueless," but then being clueless makes life so much easier than taking any responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
As to "smart growth" and all the other catchphrases being tossed out these days, yes, I can admire the efforts to change the course of building design and city planning, especially since I work for a firm that does just that. But let's be real. Even being overly generous, these efforts may affect perhaps 5 percent of what's actually being built, while the other 95 percent is hell-bent on filling every last open space in the Bay Area with the same tired mega-mansions whose site planning and material consumption are the antithesis of "smart." Woe to the future, which is already upon us.
Bike plan gets flat: The bike-hater that Matt Smith wrote about ["Mean People's Court," June 28] is a friend of myself, my family, and our community in the Western Addition. While his general views on bicycle transportation are insane, his claim that the Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT) and San Francisco Bike Coalition (SFBC) abused public process in regard to the recent bike plan is unfortunately true.
The SFBC basically privatized the bike plan and excluded valid public input, even the input of other bicycle advocates. I was on the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee at the time the work plan was being "approved." The committee made direct requests that the issues the bike-hater's suit is based upon be addressed in the bike plan. The SFBC and DPT ignored these requests and instead tried to skirt the state-mandated California Environmental Quality Act review. Now they are paying for it in court.
Denying speech and freedom is wrong whether it is done by traffic engineers, or in this case, traffic engineers under the influence of nonprofit corporations. If pedestrian/bike advocates really want the streets to be safe, they should be working to have open, public planning processes that follow state law and consider all viewpoints. Public speech is the only real way to heal the public streets.
Doctor's orders: The statement attributed to me by A.C. Thompson in his article on artist Christopher Lane ["Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man," June 21] was devoid of the context in which I carefully attempted to place it. In May 2003, Lane plummeted into a deep suicidal and psychotic depression within days of receiving a deluge of eviction papers and notices of hearings from his landlord's attorney. Prior to that, he was doing quite well, painting regularly and preparing to teach in a summer art program for children.
It's important to point out that Lane's condition is not chronic, as Thompson seems to imply, but episodic. The depression he refers to that reportedly led Lane to quit his teaching jobs in 2002 was, in reality, a manic/hypomanic episode that occurred a year earlier, and from which he had fully recovered by the spring of 2002. Before the events of May 2003, Lane had not experienced a bout of depression since 1995.
I might add that, despite the levy that hangs over Lane and threatens the loss of a significant portion of his life's work, his current mental state is quite stable and well within the normal range.
J. David Frankel, Ph.D.
Our right to hound: I'm one of those people Martin Kuz seems to think is "harassing" players for their autographs ["Sign Here, Please," July 5]. I collect autographs, mostly for gifts to others, because I live in the city and have the ability to wait around for the players. Yes, a few of the autograph-seekers can be annoying, but players really don't mind the attention, especially the rookies, who probably spent their youths seeking autographs themselves, and realize that being a star means attention from the fans. Some spoiled celebrities have the idea that fans are too intrusive; however, these people chose to become celebrities and if they didn't get the attention, they would be crushed. It's part of the deal. If you want privacy, don't become a celebrity.
The security guards working at the park are very attentive to the needs of the players, and I've seen only one incident of a fan getting out of line (and he was anathematized by the other fans). What's really sad is when a player gets dropped and no one wants his autograph anymore. That's gotta hurt.
Really, don't you snarky little wannabe journalists ever get sick of your own smugness? I dare [Kuz] to identify himself to any of the fans next home stand. My nickname at the Park is Tigger, and I'm generally found at the Second-and-King entrance, where the Giants players park. I generally just wave 'em in, let 'em know that the fans love 'em no matter what.
That's what a fan is, but you wouldn't know much about that. What, did Barry refuse to sign for you? Poor baby!