Aww! Dog Bites Blushes
I'm not sure why it's taken me so damn long to write to you, but I simply had to send you a fan letter. I absolutely love your column, and my week is ever-so-dimmer when I see that sad little bar that denotes your absence. In the past, I have had several reasons to open up my beloved SF Weekly. First it was that comic strip (name since forgotten) with Steve the Grinning Handbag. I thought that was the greatest, and sadly, it ran far too short. Then my old boy Jack Boulware had a column, and that's gone. But you rock. I love your writing style and your stories, and today I caused a certain amount of disruption while reading your column when the cat guy was quoted as saying, "Well sure, you gotta hold them a little bit" ("Here, Kitty, Kitty," Feb. 2). This is not an uncommon occurrence, as there is at least one turn of phrase per week that causes me to chortle or even guffaw. Well, chortle. I'm not often prone to guffawing.
Ms. Wellman. I truly hope that our paths may cross one day and I may finally meet you. Please stay at SF Weekly as long as possible, so that I may continue to enjoy your column week in and week out. You have just the right touch of cynicism and sarcasm, but without the pretensions of thinking you're so much cooler than anyone else, truly a skill in a business as seemingly ego-stroking as having your own column.
Love the column. Keep it up.
Nursing Home Neglect
It sickens me to read about the neglect and lack of care given to those poor souls in nursing homes ("Worst of the Lot," Bay View, Jan. 26). My mother was a resident of a nursing home in Vallejo, and she was lucky to have me, her daughter, advocate for her. I spent hours on end at the nursing home and, in spite of that, my mother did not receive quality care. She was neglected when I wasn't there, and the people who ran the nursing home only were concerned for the money they made.
There were only a very few nurses who were qualified in the position of caring for individuals with serious illnesses. The chore providers were given too many residents to take care of, so they rushed through, and many, many residents were left to suffer the consequences. I was branded a troublemaker by the nursing home staff, and the ombudsman, and when I complained to the state I was made to wait. Most of the time, the nursing home staff knew ahead when the state would be coming out to check on the complaint. I was harassed and threatened and intimidated.
I feel the state isn't doing what it should, and neither is the ombudsman. I was forbidden from calling their office when I needed to complain to them. They sided with the nursing home. I have journals of all that went on in the nursing home and have pictures and witnesses as to the terrible conditions in the nursing homes. It is a sad thing indeed for our government to allow this to continue. Our "great country" helps those from other countries, yet when it comes to our poor elderly parents and family members, they are being ignored and forgotten and they are continually being mistreated and neglected. The nursing homes are as bad as concentration camps. I know because I have seen the conditions that the people are made to live in, as my mother was in such a facility four and one-half years. I still have nightmares and hope I have all my faculties before I ever have to go into a nursing home; I will take my life before I am subjected to being placed in one.
On the SFUSD Chain Gang
Lisa Davis' article regarding the school superintendent's paycheck being withheld was of more than a little interest to the many employees in the district who have done work for the schools and have not been paid ("Show Them the Money," Bay View, Jan. 26).
All too often, the teachers and other employees are hired to work extra hours and told they will be paid. The work gets done and many months go by and no compensation is forthcoming. I work as a paraprofessional in a special education class in one of S.F.'s high schools, and in September I was authorized to work an extra hour each day to keep the library open after school. I have yet to see dime one for that extra time on my paycheck.
Along with many teachers and other paraprofessionals, I worked two extra days in August to help with an important evaluation process. To my knowledge, none of us has been paid for those hours. We are told that the money is all tied up in the budget mess, and at this time our only recourse may be a painfully lengthy union grievance procedure.
This situation is not unique to this school, but happens quite frequently throughout the district. It brings to mind stories from the former Soviet Union where coal miners or steelworkers haven't been paid in years. Why the district authorizes work that it cannot pay for is beyond me. So we need not weep too many tears for Superintendent Linda Davis. She at least got her money. Sadly, the same cannot be said for many of the teachers and employees who actually work with the students, and they make a lot less than the superintendent.
Francis K. Walsh
In September 1999, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) finished its two-year-long project of producing a set of "Treatment Guidelines" for working with sufferers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) ISTSS is the world's leading organization of trauma researchers, clinicians, and academics. At the annual meeting, the top research scientists in the field debated as to whether to include EMDR as a recommended treatment in the standardized PTSD treatment manual. Their decision was yes.
I was puzzled by your front-page article on EMDR ("Blind Faith," Jan. 19). Its tone was unlike what I expect from your publication. It seemed sensationalizing, almost presenting the procedure in a snake oil-like light. It had an unnecessary derogatory edge, such as referring to Francine Shapiro's graduate school as "a now-defunct, then unaccredited school," or implications about financial rather than ethical or medical considerations driving her running of the EMDR Institute's training program. The reporting seemed oddly biased, in interviewing primarily known critics of EMDR. EMDR clinicians, scantily quoted, had no opportunity to describe in any detail the life-changing relief from profound and long-standing suffering that EMDR facilitates every day.
EMDR is the most researched treatment for PTSD ever, and much more studied than most any psychotherapy approach. Being a relatively young method, all the answers are not in yet. Yet, if countless controversial, counterintuitive, and radical ideas had been scorned into submission at this stage of development, how different history would be! This was not the kind of poorly researched, backward thinking I expect from your paper.
Ruth Cohn Upper Haight
I am from the old-school 1990s rave scene of NYC, Chicago, and S.F. I am glad to see the rave scene going back underground ("Rave On?," Music, Jan. 26). I left from the scene once it became a household word. I think the scene needs to go back under, and redesign itself to become a vehicle to express new ideas and new music, and a "new" attitude. These days, the kids are just going through the motions. Not very creative, is it?