People Write Stuff About "The Wrong Stuff"
You win some: Great job on the Gavin Newsom article ["The Wrong Stuff," Ashley Harrell, Feature, 9/9]. I had heard great things about Newsom before moving to the city, but could not understand the praise. Now that I get to read about him every day, my opinion is much lower and I see him as nothing more than a photo-opportunist.
Harrell resisted the temptation to rant in her article, and instead wrote pointedly and made an honest effort to bring in alternative opinions. Her article should not be brushed off as biased commentary. It was well-written, well-researched, and well-done. Now try to find someone who will actually help our state.
Your wrong stuff on Newsom: Talk about a hit piece. Shame on SF Weekly for publishing this slam book of gossip and innuendo as serious political commentary. I'm not impressed.
Don't Like Commuter Shuttles?
Call the wah-mbulance: Who the heck are these Upper Noe people to snub their noses at an idling bus ["Dispute Pattern," Erin Sherbert, Sucka Free City, 9/2]? Get a grip on reality!
Corporate buses are far better than having thousands of extra cars all over the city streets and freeways. If there's something that can be done to make them more safe and convenient in heavily trafficked streets — fine. But anyone complaining that these buses are gentrifying neighborhoods or polluting seriously needs to get a grip. Seriously.
Do the math: Ahem. The writer of "Toxic Overdrive" seems to be fixating on 1979 Chevy Suburbans [Matt Smith, Column, 9/2]. Just one problem — the 1979 Chevy Suburban wasn't eligible for trade-in through the Cash for Clunkers program. It was too old. Eligibility started with mid-'80s models.
When I see such an enormous and basic error in the first few paragraphs of a story, repeated a number of times, I have to doubt the entire story. The writer ought to be embarrassed. Sure, he was tossing it out as an example — some sort of an image, a metaphor, whatever. But it also shows he didn't know how the program worked, that he has a tendency to spout off without knowing what he's talking about, and any conclusions he had to offer (however valid) are automatically suspect.
When you're producing "analytical" and opinionated journalism — when you start with facts and try to take it to a higher level — I would argue that you have an even greater responsibility to understand the issue you're writing about. I'm a reporter with a long career in newspapers in California and Washington state who, like so many others, for a time found himself in a sales job when the industry went kaput — in my case, in cars. So I think I have a little standing to say this: There is no excuse for this kind of sloppiness. Shame on you!
Blog Comments of the Week
In response to a Snitch blog post asking whether it should be illegal to drive stoned: When I used to drive stoned, my motor function and driving was very good. The problem was that I'd always forget where I was going and miss my turn. I would have to make a U-turn, and sometimes I'd forget to turn again. Other than that, I was fine.
The only thing I have been guilty of while driving stoned is waiting for a stop sign to turn green.