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Letters to the Editor 

Week of 3-21-2007

Dogs on Meds

Can't teach an old dog new tics: Eliza Strickland's article ["Psycho Dogs," March 7] was e-mailed to me by a member of Bay Team Agility. I own a border collie who is sound-sensitive and, if allowed, will stare at my cats until she drops from exhaustion. I also rescued a cocker many years ago who has food aggression. After reading the article, I don't feel like such a failure because I have been unable to completely exorcise my dog's demons.

Thank you for a great article.

Andrea Sanfilippo

San Jose

Parking in the Park

Watch your mouth, Smith: People with disabilities may be being used in this controversy by those with an agenda other than civil rights. However, that does not negate the fact that we, too, want access to the beauty of Golden Gate Park when it is closed to cars. This would not be the first time someone promoted their own agenda by disguising it in another, but we are not on the other side of this issue. Like you, many of us also have small children and we would like to be able to accompany them in safe use of a car-free park.

Also, please do not confuse the civic activism of the Arc with a single disability issue. This affects people with all disabilities; it affects people who have a temporary mobility impairment; it affects those of us aging with some loss of mobility. And again, we are not "the other"; we are you and every other San Franciscan. Finally, please do not use the word "retarded"; it is offensive and only distracts from the concerns you are voicing.

Herb Levine

Executive Director, Independent Living Resource Center, San Francisco

Zebra and Beyond

Don't judge my books by their critics: I take Bennett Cohen's back-handed comment about me in his Feb. 28 letter ("Consider the Source") for the baseless canard that it is. His ad hominem — and misleading — assertion only serves to highlight the poverty of his own arguments. My points [about the Zebra murders], on the other hand — available at — remain unrefuted. American Renaissance did indeed review one of my books. The Before Columbus Foundation honored another one with an American Book Award for 2006. (Check out their Web site.) I have no control over the activities of, or ties to, either organization, or, for that matter, any of the other publications that review my work. Any more than he does.

Kevin J. Mullen

Novato, CA

Seeing in the Dark

Let your conscience be your guide: Thanks to Mary Spicuzza for bringing to light the myriad problems presented by the involvement of for-profit partnerships in providing affordable housing ["Power Failure," March 7]. As her article demonstrates, without aggressive government oversight a profit motive can be a very dangerous thing when combined with the needs of low-income renters for affordable and well-maintained rental housing. Unfortunately, we will see more and more private developers recruited into partnerships with government agencies and nonprofit affordable housing developers as Congress continues to cut federal housing funds. Without adequate support from HUD, those who do have a conscience-driven mission to keep housing affordable and habitable for low-income San Franciscans are increasingly forced to rely on help from private investors to finance their projects. As Spiccuza showed, this can have very sad results in terms of tenants' everyday living conditions. It's time for our Democratic leadership to challenge the privatization agenda of the right and strengthen funding for affordable housing development.

Sara Shortt

Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco

Everything Is Illuminated

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition: I am sure that Ms. Veltman can defend her own positions, but David Looman's simplistic claims about the Enlightenment [as expressed in his March 14 letter to the editor] are too distorted to go without comment. One has only to read some of the essays in Isaiah Berlin's The Crooked Timber of Humanity to find a compelling (albeit verbose) argument that Enlightenment philosophy was as riddled with dogma as was (just to choose an example for the sake of argument) Catholicism. It would then be academic to compare a "body count" of victims of Enlightenment dogma with (again for the sake of argument) victims of the Spanish Inquisition. If Mr. Looman had read his Wikipedia a bit more closely, he would have seen that tolerance did not emerge until modern liberalism, which certainly drew upon, but did not restrict itself to, the writings of Enlightenment philosophers. Ms. Veltman did not make up anything; she just read her history more thoroughly than Mr. Looman did.

Stephen W. Smoliar

San Francisco


Last week's review of the play Rust misidentified the playwright as Chantal Bilodeau. Kirsten Greenidge wrote the play. SF Weekly regrets the error.


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