Fuzzy Reception for New Tech
Let readers see the proposed AT&T utility boxes: If Matt Smith truly intended to write an objective article that would illuminate the issues, rather than showing some biased photograph of ludicrous Luddites marching, he would have shown a picture or two of those large boxes (graffiti and all) in order to let the readers know why people are actually protesting against these boxes which will litter our landscape ["Tech Blocked," Column, 5/11]. Had he actually included photographs, he would be allowing readers to make their own determination as to whether they would want such boxes in front of their property, in their neighborhood, or dotting the city's landscape. Now that would be unbiased reporting.
Streamline, Don't Demolish
Preservation process needs to be reexamined: While I agree with much of what Joe Eskenazi alleges, quoting [Residential Builders Association president] Joe O'Donoghue is akin to asking a wolf how he likes his vegetables ["Save that Shack!," Sucka Free City, 5/11]. Many of the current laws were put in place to protect important buildings from O'Donoghue and his Residential Builders mafia. The Preservation Commission was formed after a decade of Willie Brown-and-RBA-backed feeding frenzy of loft-building that lined O'Donoghue's pockets while demolishing many historic structures.
Having hundreds of minuscule hoops to jump through hasn't produced a better record of preservation in S.F. than in similar cities with similar building inventories and more streamlined processes. This ball of knotted twine also makes it too easy for NIMBY neighbors to throw a perfectly good project under the bus because, well, they're NIMBYs. The preservation process must be reexamined and realigned to make it easier for project sponsors to adaptively reuse existing structures and erect buildings consistent with zoning laws and good planning tenets. Want to know why real estate is universally unaffordable in San Francisco? Ask a preservationist.
Parade of Salaries
Anything but prideful about how the festival is run: Wow. Excellent report [on Pride's financial problems], though a dubious title ["Brokeback Festival," Joe Eskenazi, Feature, 5/4]. What I find especially frustrating is that this narrative has been known for years in the relatively close-knit core of gay people who've lived in the city for decades and know all the players and have a nose for trouble. We all winced with every new pronouncement from the Pride organization about a focus on politics and buzzwords and ever-dwindling accountability and financial health. In this city, large nonprofits are enabled to operate without accountability and to spend tax dollars without any meaningful tracking of outcomes vs. promises, and in the end we all lose — except, of course, the nonprofit executives who pocket fat salaries.
PAWS for Pride: In stating that organizations are returning as beverage booth partners with SF Pride because "the potential payday is too good to pass up," Joe Eskenazi makes an incorrect assumption about Pets Are Wonderful Support's (PAWS) motivation. In fact, the approximately $7,000 we will earn this year from our participation in Pride is only .005 percent of our annual operating budget, an amount that will neither make nor break our ability to provide services.
We return because we believe fiercely in the mission of Pride. The LGBT community was central to our founding 24 years ago and continues to play a critical role as staff, volunteers, clients, and donors. We have tremendous faith in the professional contractors who put on the event and in Brendan Behan.
John L. Lipp, President/CEO
Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)