The statement that the city sewers "went to hell" is correct, and I hope these journalists continue to research the whys, whens, wheres, whos, and hows of the way the taxpayer dollar is misappropriated from the waste-water management system by the PUC bureaucracy.
Keep up the good work and research.
Co-Author and Political Consultant
Proposition H (Water & Sewer Service Rate Freeze)
Sarcastic, Humorous, Insightful
Thank you very much for the "Mental Blockheads" column by George Cothran (Sept. 23). I just want to update the record on one issue: The petition opposing the expansion of the Johnson Guest Home has been signed by 56 (not 23) neighbors. In addition, there are also a number of neighbors, perhaps 10 or 12, who are reluctant to sign their names to anything.
Mr. Cothran wrote a very insightful column, and I thank him for it. It is a pleasure to read such a well-thought-out, well-written, and (especially) humorously sarcastic (sarcastically humorous?) piece of writing. I sincerely hope that the commissioners read his article and agree with him that the residents' "quality of life will be improved by specifically not doing what the so-called mental health advocates have so loudly and arrogantly campaigned for. ... There are just too many damn people in too small of a space, and the situation would only worsen if eight more people were put in the home."
And a hearty "Amen!" to that.
The City That Forgot How?
Joel P. Engardio certainly opened up one of my favorite can of worms ("Multimedia Zilch," Bay View, Sept. 23). Having myself done a civil service stint, I suspect policy is still mired in 19th-century models. It's not just about green screens and quill pens: Bottom-up, decentralized communication systems require appropriate internal structure and corporate culture, as well as hardware and software.
One of the salutary results of ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) going online was internal: Individual departments discovered they'd previously unknowingly created programs identical to others', and could thus now pool resources. Down the coast, Santa Monica is miles ahead of us with its Public Electric Network (PEN), which not only furnishes information about City Hall departments and civic organizations (with forms for conducting transactions online!), but has hosted citizen forums on city issues.
My own ideas submitted to the mayor and his Internet Task Force about the efficacy of a Frisco FreeNet, and of Internet-mediated communication as a citywide response of information and processing of the AIDS epidemic, have, alas, fallen on deaf ears. That is, I've heard zilch.
True, our library has the most Internet terminals of any city in the country, accessible from citizens' homes, including some awesome databases for online research. Our schools too are crossing the Internet threshold. Meanwhile, I have yet to see a city Web site (Digital City, Sidewalk, S.F. Yahoo, etc.) respond to community-building issues. Maybe the Web site of one of our free weekly tabloids might pick up the torch?
Gary Gach, Author
Pocket Guide to the Internet
How to Stalk, Kill, and Cook the First Amendment
Hurray for Grace Galindo and "The Biologist"! (Letters, Sept. 23.)
I was perturbed by the standard San Fran-sissy-co knee-jerk reaction to your wild pig slaying story ("How to Stalk, Kill, and Cook a California Wild Pig," Sept. 2), but they helped me get to why I was especially annoyed. I sensed when Grace concluded "Must everything be sanitized for our protection?" she was still talking about meat, but clearly it applies to media. For all the crybabies: It's the SF Weekly, not the Virginia Handley Weekly or the Laura Wills Weekly or the -- you get the picture.
And, may I point out, it's a fucking free paper! You don't have to pick one up! But, oh no, you saw the pig on the cover and took that as a personal offense (it had nothing to do with you, you self-important little wrecks!) and an open invitation to sit down at your computer and give a newspaper what-for regarding what it should print.
I shouldn't even have to say First Amendment here, but, oop, you made me.
The Biologist is right: A lot of people who would like to use the word "freethinker" to describe themselves are just the opposite. They relish the idea of controlling what people think.
Thanks to Jack Boulware and SF Weekly for the article. I felt refreshed that Wednesday -- it wasn't the same old politics-schmolitics cover article and I sensed the world was a better place for it.
What a fabulous idea! In order to stave the unending flow of yuppies into my neighborhood, the Mission, all of us low-income renters can start boycotting upscale Mission restaurants! ("Mission Yuppie Identification Project! Radio Ear Tags Next!," Dog Bites, Sept. 16.) Like we even go there anyway. Like our non-patronage would even be missed. A burrito once a month is about all I can afford on my below-poverty disability income.
I, like so many of my friends, came to this city to be in a queer-positive, more liberal environment. I have worked hard to make my slum flat in a fairly dangerous part of the Mission fit for human habitation. Also, I spent lots of energy and effort in improving safety on my street. So happy to do it for the wave of home-buying, white, straight yuppies.
Currently I am even saving my burrito money for my next move to Oakland, where many poor queers who helped to make this city an amazing place to live have had to go.
Hey, you white yuppies can live anywhere and not be discriminated against. For us, San Francisco is a safe haven. Think about it when you try to evict me, because I will fight you every inch of the way. No, I haven't started bashing in sport utility vehicle windows. But I do understand the frustration and anger of those who wish to. As long-term renters next door and up and down my street get evicted and their flats are fixed up and sold or rented to white straight yuppies, I hang on, knowing that I am most likely next in line.
Oh, Now We Get It: Only the Right People Should Be Allowed to Move Here
Once again, all the arrivistes are missin' the point of the Nestor Makhno letter ("Yuppie Bastards: Caveat Emptor," Sept 16). (And if you don't know who Nestor Makhno really was, you have no business having an opinion.) Letter-writer Howard Feitel Jr. ("Intolerance by Any Other Name," Sept. 23) bemoans the loss of the San Francisco he thought he moved to three years ago. Dim-bulb George Cothran assures us that yuppies are good for us; his 10 years in S.F. tell him so ("Mental Blockheads," Cothran, Sept. 23). And despondent correspondent Patrick Carroll ("Neighborhood Evolutionary Theory," Letters, Sept. 23) agrees. Aside from Carroll, whose place of birth I do not know, all of these people are gentrifying carpetbaggers. They are driving up the rents for the native-born and for non-rich people relocating to the Bay Area to escape repression (e.g., Guatemalans) or violence (e.g., gay folks from Coeur d'Alene). This is a fairly small area, geographically, economically, and otherwise. It does not have enough room for every would-be hipster from Port St. Lucie, Sheboygan, and Muncie. If your hometown is insufficiently groovy, stay there and work on improving its scene. Otherwise, don't expect a warm welcome when you totter off the plane, angling for an apartment and competing for resources.
Letter-writer "Name Withheld" ("The Best Place for Nestor in the Best Place on Earth," Oct. 7) makes a legitimate point, also regarding out-of-town cruisers. I agree with him, in the main; he just fails to recognize the greater threat. Fash junkies with bones in their noses ain't gonna buy out his abuelita's apartment building, toss her on the sidewalk, and call it "live/work condos."
Before we all shed a tear over the oppression of rich white folk ("Evil Yuppies at Bruno's II: The Return," Letters, Sept. 30), let us realize that thousands of self-interested yuppies represent neither a culture nor a community. And they certainly don't improve a neighborhood. As SF Weekly reported months back, the newcomers to the Marina District have allowed over 30 chain stores to take over a five-block strip of Chestnut Street ("Chains R Us," Oct. 22, 1997). As a native, I can tell you that the unique charm of that neighborhood has been obliterated in a few short years. The streets have become a permanent car rally as SUVs race up and down, their drivers running stops while gabbing on the cell phone and using the sidewalk as a turnout.
Defenders of gentrification might see the Mission District as a drug and crime zone, but real locals know better. A spirit of community unites the artists, activists, and working families struggling to overcome some very real obstacles in Clinton's post-NAFTA/GATT years.
Traditionally, vandalism has been one of the few, essentially nonviolent recourses of the poor in class warfare (of which these conflicts are surely an example, hello?). So I say trash those SUVs and Beemers, Missionites! That's what insurance premiums are for! Don't let them turn your neighborhood into just another upscale shopping district.