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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Apr 10 1996
That's Not Funny
Never try to explain a joke; you only get yourself in deeper. That's advice SF Weekly should have taken when it received calls over two pieces in the April 3 issue. Loyal readers called to express their dismay at Tom McNichol's "A Message to Our Customers," announcing the purchase of Bank of America and Great Western Bank by Wells Fargo/Interstate. "It scared me to hear that my bank was going to be bought up and closed," said one caller. Apprised of the fact that the piece was a parody, she angrily stated: "You shouldn't joke about banks. I'm going to tell people not to advertise in your paper."

Another reader called to protest the charitable works of Books Not Food founder Arthur Bigelow III, whose campaign of distributing books that have been discarded from the Old Main Library was chronicled in the same issue by Slap Shots columnist Jack Boulware. The reader complained that if millionaire Bigelow were serious about helping the homeless camped out in Golden Gate Park, he'd give them money, or at least food: "And I can't believe that a woman would try to eat the cover off a book, even if she were hungry, as your writer states."

Full Court Press for Bay Times
The state labor commissioner has ordered Kim Corsaro, publisher of the financially beleaguered Bay Times, the self-described "Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Newspaper" of Northern California, to pay former ad salesman Matt Lewis $24,302.95 in back commissions, penalty wages, and interest. The award marks the second time in as many months that the state has ruled in favor of ex-Bay Times employees. (In February, former typesetter Karl von Uhl won a $1,500 settlement for back wages and overtime in Municipal Court.)

Lewis, a two-year Bay Times veteran, filed the complaint last October during a dispute over unpaid sales commissions; shortly afterward, Corsaro fired him. "I'm really pleased at the size of this award," Lewis exults. "It enables a strong statement to be made. I'm at the tail end of a long list of people who've been abused by her."

Corsaro, who claims she could not present her side of the story with the labor commissioner because the hearing came while she was on a production deadline for her paper, plans to appeal. "This is a technical ruling," Corsaro points out. "We're going to go to court and plead our case. This doesn't mean anything yet."

Field of Dogs
Talk about ground zero. The botched soccer field in Mission Dolores Park is in such bad shape that the city's Recreation and Park Department has decided to redo it, according to park planner Joanne Wilson.

The field was carved out of a sloping lawn by an independent landscaping firm last year at a cost of more than $270,000. But the soil settled in an uneven fashion, and the area is now so riddled with bumps and indentations, its turf overgrown and scraggly, that it is virtually unusable for practice, let alone soccer matches. For safety reasons, Rec and Park is not permitting play by any neighborhood leagues. Wilson says the department is entertaining bids to remedy the problems -- remixing the soil, regrading, resodding, and adjusting the buried sprinkler heads -- which will cost tens of thousands more.

Meanwhile, the temporary fence that had loosely enclosed the area has been removed. Because Dolores Park is a "designated dog run," the open soccer field now hosts a variety of canines on their morning and evening grunts. Once work gets under way (in May), another fence will go up to keep the dogs (and human trespassers) at bay.

By Jack Shafer, John Sullivan

About The Authors

Jack Shafer


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