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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, March 9, 2005

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Mailbag on Fire

The first bit of mail after publication of Harmon Leon's "My Dinner at Applebee's With White Supremacists!" [Infiltrator, Feb. 23] contained reasonable-sounding letters that dismissed the piece as self-absorbed prattle that conferred undue importance on fringe hate groups. The letters suggested that there weren't very many white supremacists, they really weren't very threatening, and by writing about them as frightening (even a banal, suburban kind of frightening), we were giving the few who existed exactly what they wanted: attention. I was almost beginning to have twinges of self-doubt about the piece when the racist hate mail began to trickle, flow, and finally flood in.

Then federal judge Joan H. Lefkow, who had presided over a case involving the white supremacist group World Church of the Creator, found her longtime husband and octogenarian mother shot dead in the basement of her Chicago home. White separatists, it was reported by reliable news outlets, were celebrating the murders on the Internet as law enforcement investigated possible connections of hate groups to the heinous double murder. I stopped doubting the wisdom of lighting up one of the darkest -- and, unfortunately, more enduring -- corners of American culture.

Leon's article has drawn well-earned praise as an act of personal courage, and a lot of that praise has come in the form of well-written letters that I would, ordinarily, publish. But it struck me as more socially useful to print the hate mail, on the theory that decent people can't protect themselves if they don't know the details of the evil that lives alongside them.

Here is a selection that represents sort of an average of the vile, racist crap we received from white supremacists across the country. I've excised the supposed names of the correspondents because I don't want to glorify them. But you really should take a look at these letters. Just so you know what's out there. Even now.

Thanks for the proof: I would like to take a moment and thank Mr. Harmon [sic] for justifying why so-called "white supremacists" and other gentiles continue to have such an ongoing problem with Jews.

His deceit was historically accurate, his smugness was in character, his insolence Talmudically perfect, and his self-righteous pomposity was more than anyone could have asked for.

Mr. Harmon [sic], thank you for proving we have been right all along.

Volunteer, State National Alliance
Hixson, Tenn.

What only a Jew could see: What a perfect example of Jewish behavior Mr. Leon sets forth in his hateful attempt at anti-white propaganda. What Mr. Leon failed to realize was that Jews alone could be amused by such a story in which the author brags about 1) lying to people about who he is and what he believes, and 2) engaging in hateful behavior such as refusing to pay his part of the check and relying upon the Aryan generosity of his would-be marks. Mr. Leon is essentially bragging about being a good con man, and he expects his readers to believe that between himself and the whites he fooled, that somehow he is the "good person."

Give me a break; only a Jew could see it that way.

An attorney
Cabot, Ark.

Support from the Founding Fathers: Pop quiz. Sharpen your pencil ...

Q: Who made the following statement?

"The two races (whites & nigras), equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, and opinion have drawn indelible lines of distinction between them."

a) Adolf "The Baby Eater" Hitler

b) David Duke

c) Thomas Jefferson

d) Mottin Loofah Kang

A: My main dawg, T-Jef!

The truth, Skippy, is that the Founding Fathers were "racist" to the core, every manjack of 'em. What was once America was created BY whites FOR whites -- know whum sayin'?

Suck on THAT, jewfag .... ;o)

Name withheld
Crimora, Va.

Childish whining aimed at the less mature mind: The article about the National Alliance was too long and childish. It sounds like something written by a high school student!

The writer whines through the whole article, make [sic] silly immature remarks that indicates that he is in imminent danger, even though there is no danger at all. To make matters worse, he slanders the people that he is talking about ever [sic] time he refers to them in the article. The piece is nothing more than a negatively written diatribe!

It is not hard for any reader to understand the hypocrisy of the author since he demonstrates all of the bigotry that he claims to despise. Moreover, I am quite sure that this Jewish author would be quite favorably disposed toward the same comments if a member of the Jewish Diaspora or an ardent Zionist made them! Or am I to believe that the author would disprove of Jews having and controlling their own "living space." Of course Jews are famous [for] pushing one social structure for the "goyim" (used as a disparaging term for one who is not a Jew) and an all together [sic] different one for Israel.

I am surprised that your paper would allow such a bad writer to work for the paper. But then it may be that this paper is aimed at [the] less mature mind anyway.

Name withheld
Mobile, Ala.

I knew Leon's piece would generate heat, but I didn't think anyone could get all that exercised over the fake board game cooked up by Weekly staffer Nate Cavalieri to poke fun at the annual Noise Pop music festival ["NOISE POP THE GAME©®," Music, Feb. 23]. For the first time in history, I am glad to learn that I was wrong. Clearly, San Franciscans still take their music seriously enough to swear, sneer, and even fight about it.

Oh, dear. We've offended another reader: Dear Asshole: I might have been offended at all the bullshit in "NOISE POP THE GAME©®" if most of the jokes were not so FUCKING lame and stupid and totally FUCKING RETARDED. You must be a pretty cool guy to sit in your office with your thumb up your ass making idiotic jokes about all the bands playing their hearts out in the festival. None of the people in Kylesa even have that long of hair, and all the other things on this game are even more proof that you don't know shit. I have an idea: Come out to a couple of the shows that you are so high-and-mighty above (especially the Kylesa show), and I will be happy to show you wear [sic] to stick your fucking game.

Brian Cousimano
San Francisco

You're inconsequential -- but could I have a copy of the issue that mentions me?: We at sf_indie found our mention mildly amusing, but it might've been more appropriate to use "Beedub of the sf indie list" as opposed to my full e-mail address, doncha think? Luckily no one reads the Weak-ly (spelling intentional), and I haven't been bombarded with spam. 'Sides, I've never even heard Court & Spark, and I'm FAR from "twee." I'm the token cantankerous old fart (who dwells in nostalgia and finds Steve Albini highly overrated) of the forum.

However, yer "Friday Fives" summation of the indielister archetype was fairly accurate and, again, mildly amusing. We also appreciated yer contribution to the list a while back, the "open letter" to the trendoid geeks harassin' you outside some club for havin' a press pass. We all laughed long and hard (LOL!) about that. Well, not long and hard, but you know, we found it mildly amusing.

And for the record: Noise Pop's lineup this year is incredibly uninspiring. But the board game was cute.

Howzabout a couple o' print copies of the board game mailed to me to keep for posterity?

Brian Way
Mission

Note to Frank: There's a difference between a joke and a game: I have to admit that I got a chuckle at Nate Cavalieri's "NOISE POP THE GAME©®," even if it was a bit painful to giggle while scratching my new "Capt. Lou" beard. Thanks very much for the treat. Big ups to the Party Ben square, though I think Ian MacKaye might wish for a firmer penalty for the horrible misuse of his song, which has been raising some ire on Fugazi message boards since the dark day of its conception.

One complaint though: It seems like after I played a couple of friends a few times, it is almost statistically impossible to end the game with above zero. In fact, most of the time I end in the basement to the tune of nearly 5,000 points. Is this supposed to be telling us something?

Frank McFall
Noe Valley

There are certain subjects that will generate overheated letters no matter what. You question my theorem? Write 1,000 words on abortion. Post the piece and your e-mail address somewhere -- anywhere -- on the Internet. Count the minutes until your computer crashes.

I hereby adduce a corollary to the theorem: When written about in a journalistic outlet above a certain size, San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly will generate many letters to the editor, at least one of which will contain ... footnotes!

Forget the ideology; follow the money: Matt Smith thinks that because of the philosophical differences between Mission Housing's board of directors and the staff, the concerns we have raised about the board's lack of ethics and financial mismanagement are not valid ["The Daly Show," Feb. 23]. Aaron Peskin, Tom Ammiano, and Chris Daly have a responsibility to their constituents to investigate irregularities at agencies that the city funds. Blaming Chris Daly for Mission Housing's crisis is nothing more than a publicity stunt by the MHDC board to deflect attention from the real issues. When an organization that receives city funding to provide low-income housing loses close to $1,000,000 in grant and donation funding in one year1, cuts basic services to tenants2, and raises spending by over $400,000 through unqualified new hires3 and expensive consultants and perks4, there is much cause for concern. When its board of directors creates expensive "consultant" jobs for themselves5, interferes with contractor selection in favor of their friends6, and refuses to sign conflict-of-interest statements and bring on qualified new members, there is real cause for concern.

But last week was the real kicker. Mr. Wheelock's incompetence and the board's ideological blinders have led to the S.F. Redevelopment Agency sending MHDC a notice of default for reneging on a loan agreement7. Due to this willful negligence, MHDC's reputation with lenders and tax credit agencies has been damaged for years to come. This is exactly the type of situation we foresaw happening if the board did not begin to bring in competent members with housing expertise to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities and to implement systems of accountability. Bringing up these issues is not just about the staff's politics, but about our commitment to excellence in our work, and about our responsibility to the community we serve.

1 Funding sources lost: LISC ($60K), Americorps/LISC ($18K), Rose/Enterprise Foundation ($48K), S.F. Foundation ($35K), Fannie Mae ($50K), Surdna ($100K), Racial Justice Collaborative ($9K), MHDC Annual Event ($75K), CDBG ($360K), Tobacco Free Project ($150K), total: $905,000. These are funds that were expected to have been received in 2004-2005.

2 Including a 50 percent reduction in resident programs staff and a hiring freeze in supportive services.

3 Such as a $75,000+ management position to oversee housing development with zero affordable housing experience. New positions include a chief of real estate ($75K+), chief operating officer ($75K), chief of services ($75K), executive assistant ($35K), board clerk ($28K). All of these positions have been filled by people with previous professional or personal relationships with the executive director and/or board members.

4 Such as $15,000 for PR and lobbying, and multiple computers for the home offices of the executive director and board members. Approximate spending increases include: executive director's raise & bonus ($34K), ED's expense account ($500/month), consultant costs ($100K), legal budget ($200K).

5 From board minutes, February 2001: "Consideration of Consulting Contract for (MHDC board member) Gene Royale. Mr. Nuno called for an Executive Session because the item was a personnel issue. Mr. Romero respectfully disagreed and felt that because Mr. Royale would be a consultant to MHDC he, as the executive director, should be a part of the discussion. Mr. Romero suggested that Mr. Royale not be present for the discussion since the matter put him in a financial conflict of interest with the board and his presence might affect the tone of the conversation. He also suggested that Mr. Royale at a minimum should abstain from voting on this item. Messrs. Royale and Del Carlo told Mr. Romero that he was out of order to request that Mr. Royale not be present. Mr. Romero and staff then left the boardroom. Meeting adjourned into Executive Session at 7:15. Meeting reconvened at 8:10. Mr. Romero was informed that Mr. Royale had been hired as a half-time consultant to the Board of Directors at a salary of $33,600 per year plus expenses."

6 On two occasions, MHDC board members have inappropriately interfered with the selection of contractors for MHDC developments, as public records of correspondence with [the Redevelopment Agency] will attest.

7 The notice of default from the Redevelopment Agency, dated Feb. 15, was sent to Executive Director Jose Wheelock, Board Chair Larry del Carlo, and cc'd to all of MHDC's lenders.

Monica Garcia
Oakland

Fernando Marti
Noe Valley

Benjamin McCloskey
Mission

Eric Quezada
Mission

Gail Spann
Oakland

Staff and former staff of Mission Housing

And if you write about an alleged attack by a dog on a pig, you just might receive a letter like this.

"Stuffed like a sausage with half-truths" ... we wish we'd written that: In "San Francisco Dog Court" [Feb. 16], I was skewered by SF Weekly's reporter Luke O'Brien. (Unbeknownst to me, Mr. O'Brien was invited to Sutro Heights by Animal Control to witness the dog and pig show.) Thus, I cannot withdraw from this matter with my tail between my legs.

The article was stuffed like a sausage with half-truths and misstatements, at least one of which was libelous. If I were as litigious as the reporter suggests I am, then he and the Weekly would be the most likely defendants of any lawsuit I would consider.

So, let's look at the misstatements, accompanied by the respective true facts:

1) The whole premise of the pertinent segment of Mr. O'Brien's article is that the described meeting constituted a proceeding for purposes of Officer W. Herndon assessing my dog. In fact, the hearing had been held a month previously. In addition, I had received a favorable written decision (deeming my dog not vicious and not restricted) several weeks before the meeting at Sutro. The Sutro meeting misdescribed by Mr. O'Brien was a voluntary and informal one, arranged at Animal Care and Control Hearing Officer Herndon's suggestion.

2) Outrageously, Mr. O'Brien contended that my small children are at risk: "Herndon's concern ... naturally, focuses on what steps More (sic), who has two small children at home, will now take to make her dog safe for the community."

My children's welfare was never at issue. Nor was the community at risk, because a dog's reaction to a pig is hardly indicative of her behavior toward people or other dogs.

Moreover, the proposition that I am such an unfit parent that I would wantonly expose my children to a vicious dog is libelous. Frankly, I think my children are more at risk from budget cuts to city services than from the family pet who has NEVER been aggressive with them from the moment we adopted her (from someone else who rescued her from Taiwan) 2 1/2 years ago.

In fact it was inordinately wasteful to pay six city employees to determine the incompatibility of a dog and a pig (who was as seemingly unaffected by the initial incident as she was by the meeting the reporter witnessed). This incongruity is confirmed by a potbellied pig Web site that cautions owners never to leave a pig alone with their dogs because, "Dogs are predators by nature and pigs are prey. If something upsets the dog, and it is the pig, it is natural for the dog to attack. And normally it is the pig that starts things, but the dog will finish it." Therefore, easily accessible research informs that the complainant is the one putting her pig at risk.

3) I don't recall my dog, who weighs the same or less than the "svelte" pig, knocking me down.

4) Sutro Heights Park is not an off-leash park. In fact, it is a federal park and the leash law is enforced against dogs and pigs. By the way, pigs are not allowed in San Francisco city parks with or without leashes. See S.F. Park Code § 5.01 ("DOGS, CATS, HORSES ONLY ALLOWED"). That's presumably why this pig goes to Sutro. At the time of the incident, the pig was on a leash much longer than allowed under Federal Regulation 36 C.F.R. 2.15 (a)(2). The pig's owner should have been told that the case would not be pursued because both animals were "off leash." Instead, Animal Control urged me to have the matter heard, even though it conceded that it did not have jurisdiction because the incident occurred on federal property.

5) Mr. O'Brien makes much of the fact that my dog, when in an uncomfortable and manufactured situation, barked a lot. Did he expect her to recite "Howl"? Dogs bark. Many of them (like my dog) bark more on leash than off. Many of them bark much more than my dog. Will Animal Control's next step be to get an expert to teach dogs to talk rather than bark?

6) Mr. O'Brien labels me as "the type of person who might appeal by filing a lawsuit [i]f Herndon deems Sweet Pea vicious and dangerous and places restrictions on her." I'm not the litigious one. I didn't file anything. The pig's owner, identified at the hearing as an officer, never told me that her pig was injured. Instead, the first I heard about the alleged "injury" was when I was contacted by Animal Control and then served a summons to appear at the hearing. At the time of the incident, I stayed in the park with my dog on leash for at least 45 minutes. Yet, the pig owner/officer never once approached me to complain that her animal had been injured during the incident.

I am not willing to concede that the pig was even bitten by my dog in that: a) I have never seen the alleged bite; b) a hearing witness -- who is familiar with dog bites -- testified that the mark she was shown contemporaneously was not a bite, and instead could have been caused by the owner kicking the pig; c) at the time the pig owner/ officer alleges that the bite occurred, she had her back to my dog while I was inches from the pig's rear end trying to get my dog on leash and never saw my dog make contact with the rump; and d) the pig owner/ officer did not produce a photograph or vet bill or any other evidence of the alleged injuries.

As to my defensive nature, it seems unlikely that any pet owner would allow her pet to be labeled vicious or destroyed (see, e.g. , the other cases reported on by Mr. O'Brien where the dogs actually killed other animals) without a vigorous defense. In the dog/pig drama, the litigious person was the pig owner/officer. She brought a grossly frivolous action because she apparently believes that mine is the only dog that would ever react badly to her pig.

Finally, at the risk of once again offending the tender sensibilities of the city employees (many of whom chuckled when initially discussing this case with me), and the reporter who was not above hamming it up ("make bacon") to get a laugh, I close with a bit of doggerel ... I'd rather be a suer than a sooooeey.

Laurie L. Moore
Richmond District

Correction and Clarification

Because her name was misspelled in police documents, we did indeed misspell Ms. Moore's last name in our story, for which we apologize. The story did not say Ms. Moore is an unfit parent, and it did not mean to imply that Ms. Moore's dog was a danger to her children.

Moore claims that her dog, Sweet Pea, did not bite Potsticker the potbellied pig. The pig's owner has stated in Dog Court that Sweet Pea bit Potsticker on the rump and drew blood. Did dog tooth break pig skin? We admit we cannot resolve the controversy, to a moral certainty.

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