Because rent is so high in this town, I can't afford a car, and I am subjected to Muni each and every day. Each and every day, I wait and wait for buses that never arrive. The excuse always is that the "other driver" didn't show up. How can the union justify such nonsense? If I just didn't show up for work, I'd be fired.
And, what's almost worse are the knee-jerk liberals in this town who support unions in every issue, because they think "management" is always wrong and unions are always right. I'm sure at this very moment there are folks writing you letters telling you how wonderful and caring the Muni union is. Yeah, caring for the drivers.
I was so disappointed last year during the BART strike that neither SF Weekly nor the Bay Guardian even covered the strike. I figured it was because the BART union was in the wrong, and to say so in print would not be politically correct. Well, I say, to hell with political correctness. The PC police have their heads up their asses. Muni is messed up and the union and politicians who kissed the union's feet and collected their money are to blame. Let's get rid of them all.
Thanks for telling the basic truth about Muni ("Rewarding Failure"). Interesting to see if any politicians make it an issue. Maybe not -- a wise observer told me they avoid it, not only due to union clout, but because a large chunk of voters are knee-jerk leftists who'll vote against anyone who attacks the union. Maybe this year's meltdown will weaken their loyalty; but ideology often overpowers experience.
We'll Take the Compliment
This is not the sort of journalism that one usually finds in the "alternative" press ("Rewarding Failure"). Although overwritten ("The awful truth"? Come on!), it contains truly excellent research. It tends to ignore traffic and management issues to concentrate on "union bashing" (entirely accurate, alas, in this case). To be fair, though, I hope the second half addresses Muni's other problems.
Don't look for a solution anytime soon. If Mayor Willie Brown really wanted to "fix Muni," he would have taken on the unions when he first entered office, during his political "honeymoon" and when the inevitable strike would have been forgotten by the time he needed to be re-elected. Today, it is far too late.
"I knew nothing ... I don't know ... I can't say" apparently sums up Examiner Executive Editor Phil Bronstein's expert assessment on his newspaper's gutless retreat from Jim Jones in the early '70s (Postscript, Nov. 18; Letters, Nov. 25).
Bronstein continues to shrug as he tiptoes around the issue at his new job. Sure, he wants to fit in. Enough to allow the Examiner to print that disgusting whitewash series on the Jonestown anniversary.
It's almost as bad as the "honorable" mayor -- and renowned Peoples Temple cheerleader -- Willie Brown, when he muttered "bulls---" to any apology for supporting Jim Jones, right after the 1978 massacre.
Hey, Phil, in between a power lunch and cocktail hour, hop on down to the local California Historical Society archives and read all about it. Or you can look at the online story at http://home.earthlink.net/~kkinsolv/.
Yeah. "Sorry" is the hardest word.
So, Why Do You Ask?
Love that Man Who Came to Dinner column. Is Barry Levine a man or woman? Doesn't matter, I like the way it reads.
Nake Male Flesh!
Naked Male Flesh!
After reading your article regarding "Trophy Boys" (Nov. 18), my reaction is that, while the article didn't seem particularly flawed or untrue, I have to wonder what the point of dedicating all the print space to this subject was. The main feeling I have about it is that there would have been much more redeeming uses of the venue if the Weekly wishes to write articles about gay people.
As an example: Wouldn't it have been a much more worthwhile article in this particular week to run a story about gay people's feelings, perspective, and outlook on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Milk/Moscone assassinations? Granted, this would probably not have afforded the opportunity for the Weekly to place a naked male torso on the cover, but it would have no doubt been a more thought-provoking, timely thing to read.
Several of my friends and I are really wondering about SF Weekly being seemingly unshy about placing semi-homoerotic images on the cover ("peddling naked male flesh" is how one person put it), advertising content that basically reads like "here's some good dirt about queers."
J. Mark Andrus
Where Is the Love?
In your article "Trophy Boys" about May/December relationships there seems to have been an effort to not report any human feelings about intimacy or communications which exist between human beings. Every relationship has its own story, and I am partnered to another man who is 20 years younger than my 65.
No wonder there is so much homophobia against older gay men with a biased article such as yours being published. The story may be accurate from a young person's point of view, but let's have another perspective about May/December marriages -- a more human perspective from a relationship that works -- and less about sexual attraction, rejection, and material gain.
Yeah, But It's Even Harder to Get Good Letters
Brian Alcorn's review of Springsteen's Tracks ("Who's the Boss?" Music, Nov. 25) informed us quite clearly that Alcorn not only knows little about Springsteen's career, but has the artistic sensibilities of a sledgehammer. I understand it's hard to get good help these days.
Now This Is More Like It
I'm 32 and have listened to Bruce Springsteen for 23 years. I've seen him many times live. I've read just about everything ever written on him. Brian Alcorn's article was one of the best yet ("Who's the Boss?" Music). Not only does he nail it, but I found myself wishing I could have put it all in such a context. To agree with 90 percent of an opinionated article, he hit a grand slam. Thanks for the insight.
Bruce Ain't Perfect, Either
It was good to see Brian Alcorn's insightful piece on Bruce Springsteen's archival release, Tracks ("Who's the Boss?" Music). Springsteen's noble rejection of the tremendous pressure to continue as the Born in the U.S.A. rock 'n' roller is seldom noted in the press.
Brian did make a few missteps in his article worth noting here. "Shut Out the Light," a "touching and well-spoken" number on Tracks which Alcorn claims "never saw an official release," originally found a home as the flip side of the "Born in the U.S.A." single issued in 1984. Also, far from being a collection which proves "how astute Springsteen has been at culling his best cuts" from his sessions, in at least one instance Tracks shows Bruce's inability to judge his best material. The River, a successful 20-song double LP from 1980, left behind amazing, intense numbers like "Take 'Em as They Come" and "Loose Ends" for neo-filler material like "I'm a Rocker." Seven additional examples can be found on Tracks alone; basically, this box set is just the tip of the iceberg. In a recent interview, Bruce claimed to have most of a hip-hop-influenced album tucked away.
Although one may disagree with Brian's assessment of the merits of Springsteen's output in the last decade, it's nice to read of the acknowledgment of Bruce's efforts to musically "grow up," something his own heroes (Elvis, Rolling Stones) failed to do.
Whose Side Are You On?
What is it with you and your dead-cat-swinger F.J. Gallagher's attack on unions lately ("Ethics, Anyone?" Cothran, Oct. 28)? Sure, this isn't the days of Harry Bridges and Tom Mooney, but haven't you been watching the Republican agenda for the last 16 years?
Proposition 226 was an attempt by big business to take away the unions' political voice. Are we supposed to sit on paint buckets, serve hard rolls and onions, and expect an audience with government officials? Gov. Pete Wilson and his self-appointed Industrial Welfare Commission recently abolished overtime after eight hours. Gov. George Deukmejian dismantled the Occupational Health and Safety Agency. Unions fought for Social Security, prevailing wage, protecting pension funds, increasing the minimum wage, and the Family Leave Act, just to name a few.
So if I, a union member and therefore a union official because we are the union, have to call City Hall 26 times in a two-month period to get the attention of the mayor or the Board of Supervisors to do something about safety and health hazards at the new SFO international terminal, do I need to issue a full disclosure statement for lobbying activities?
I am sure that all the other union members aka union officials appreciate being compared to criminals. You are in good company. Gov. Wilson called us labor thugs when we showed up in Sacramento to save prevailing wage.
In the Nov. 18 Night Crawler column ("The Science of the Art of the Political"), Torrey Nommesen's last name was misspelled. SF Weekly regrets the error.