Making Deals with Rats
Feds need to use these types of tactics to keep us safe: [Smiley] was clearly investing her time in wanting to create some sort of government conspiracy to make it look like she'd written something interesting ["A Rat's Life," Lauren Smiley, Feature, 4/27]. Her message seems to be that the feds are loose cannons who should not use cooperators to bring down gangs, and it's clear that not only does she have no idea about what goes on in these communities, she does not understand how our criminal justice system works to keep us — and her — safe and alive.
I have seven years' experience working in housing projects with families who have family members involved in gangs, and who also have been victims of gang violence. I can tell her that the assumptions and what she is trying to convey in this article are incredibly offensive and put these families in an even more dangerous situation than they are already in.
The writer referred to one informant as a tattler: "Martinez tattled on them [the defendants]." Does she know anything about snitching culture? People living in these neighborhoods fear for their lives, and that's why they don't snitch. They wish nothing more than to have support in protecting their families, but because this gang culture continues, they feel they can't talk to police. Please do not encourage this offensive language.
The writer insinuates that the government shouldn't use informants. Is she saying that she would rather not have the feds working on cases like this? Next time, maybe she should focus on the fact that our government is protecting people by bringing down international gangs such as MS-13 that kill innocent people. Please don't dig up some quotes by defense attorneys and defendants and believe all the hype, even if it does make for a dramatic story. Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to the writer for using "rogue" to describe the cooperators. This encompasses this entire article — it's equivalent to what comes out of Sarah Palin's mouth. Enough said.
Pigeons and seagulls aren't the only birds calling S.F. home: After just a couple of years on the birding kick, I truly think people would be baffled to know what is right on their doorstep ["The Urban Jungle," Matt Smith, Column, 4/27]. Huge thanks to all those like Josiah Clark and Dominik Mosur, who truly care about their surroundings and, even more importantly, have a passion for youth education. Keep it up.
Intoxicated by nature: People have no idea how intoxicating bird watching can be. It really is an amazing experience. My best friend started a [bird sighting] website and it has helped me keep track of birds as well as locate ones I have not yet seen. Good article!
Web Comment of the Week
In response to a blog post about Mayor Ed Lee not supporting the shark fin ban: Kind of surprised here ["Mayor Lee Out Against the Statewide Shark Fin Ban," Jonathan Kauffman, SFoodie, 4/26]. I think that the bill has less to do with suppressing a cultural delicacy and more to do with not overfishing and eventually destroying whole species of sharks simply for their fins. To me the whole idea falls directly under the same category as whale hunting.
Last week's Matt Smith column on birders ("The Urban Jungle" 4/27) incorrectly stated that there are 800 bird species worldwide, of which 400 have been spotted in San Francisco. That should have been "nationwide." SF Weekly regrets the error.