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Letters to the Editor 

Letters from April 5, 2000

And This Little Piggy ...
Excellent, excellent investigative journalism! Peter Byrne's exposé on "San Francisco International Airpork" (March 22) was an illuminating read.

In reading of these "porkmeisters," it's truly a pity that individuals cannot or will not accept personal responsibility for their actions, or for those under their direct supervision or oversight. Shame on the Airport Commission and the many construction managers! It's a disgrace.

Why is it so hard to find individuals and companies who don't give lip service to character and ethical behavior?

Paul A. Wright
Lower Pacific Heights

... Went Wee, Wee, Wee All Over the Airport
Thank you very much for printing this article ("San Francisco International Airpork"). What was once a great airport -- one of the most convenient in the country -- has become a terrible experience from start to finish.

I am distressed every time I pass it, and have been waiting for the press to do its due diligence and attack those people who are robbing the rest of us blind.

Name Withheld
Pacific Heights

Willie's Wasteful Ways
Peter Byrne's story on the terribly wasteful practices involved in the SFO expansion project ("San Francisco International Airpork") was a real eye-opener ... but it didn't point the finger in the right direction. The fact is, the construction industry has always padded their "change orders" and overspent -- it's part of their culture, especially if THERE IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

The blatant disregard for fiscal responsibility must be traced to its source: the city of San Francisco, and therefore Willie Brown. As long as big business and cronyism rule the city, you will never see a publicly funded project done on time and within budget constraints.

Josh Green

Smokefree LGBTs
As lesbian and gay persons who have been active in the California Lavender Smokefree Project over the past five years, we want to thank SF Weekly for its terrific article "Outing the Marlboro Man" (Bay View, Feb. 16).

Joel Engardio did an excellent job of covering all of the different aspects of this project, including the complexity involved in raising tobacco-related health issues in California's lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community. Community Focus, which oversees this project, set up an empowering and inclusive process that brought LGBT and tobacco control activists together to counteract the high levels of smoking in our community. Since 1995, we and dozens of other LGBT activists have accomplished a great deal.

For five years, we have had an annual presence at Pride and other LGBT cultural events around the state. In addition, the project has sponsored LGBT film festivals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. Locally, the resource team members have worked on dozens of projects, such as making free smoking cessation services available to LGBT community members, sponsoring smoke-free bar nights, producing a TV commercial, and sponsoring a championship softball team.

All of these activities are aimed at raising awareness about the high levels of smoking in our community and the tobacco industry's growing presence. We have been touched and gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response from our community to this issue.

We also want to specifically thank San Francisco Pride and a growing number of other LGBT organizations around the state that are adopting policies against tobacco industry sponsorship and promotional efforts. Far from being the end of this project, the California Lavender Smokefree Project has developed a strong foundation with good momentum. We plan to be around for years to come!

Andy Weisser, American Lung Association of California
Steven Rickards, American Cancer Society
Earl Storm, Community Focus San Diego Resource Team
David Christel, Community Focus San Diego Resource Team
Bob Gordon, Coalition of Lavender Americans on Smoking & Health (CLASH)
Len Casey (CLASH)
Gloria Soliz

More Hestoring
If you think the "distinction between 'live-work' and 'housing' projects is a semantic quibble" you have obviously missed the point of the entire housing debacle ("Hestor Bristles," Letters, March 15). It's not that live-work isn't housing; it's that it is, and developers are exploiting the live-work ordinance to avoid various code restrictions, school taxes, and the imperative to create "affordable housing" (swiftly becoming an oxymoron in San Francisco).

If you think that's a "semantic quibble," perhaps you might consider listening to Sue Hestor's words with a bit more respect, and a lot less arrogance.

Rachel Kaplan
Via Internet

Psychosis Does Not a Cult Make
Judging from your article, the answer to your question "is this movement [Falun Gong] as harmless as it seems?" appears to be "yes" ("Spiritual Cultivation," March 15). A group with millions of followers has a couple of thousand people in it who are triggered into psychosis? That seems no more, and maybe less, than you'd expect from a chance distribution.

A professional cult basher at Berkeley is "suspicious," even though she has done no specific research on this group? That's not really very surprising or informative. And even though no one is giving any money to Li Hongzhi, he is supposedly a cult leader because people are doing volunteer work for him. By that criterion, the Boy Scouts and the Shriners are both cults.

It looks to me like someone came up with an idea for an exposé, and when the deadline came around and nothing was discovered that was worth exposing, you decided to run the story anyway.

Teed Rockwell

Coffee Clash
I am writing in response to the clip that Dog Bites wrote concerning the eviction of the elderly couple and their son by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and Father Russ Roide, S.J. at St. Agnes' parish (controller of said house) under the Ellis Act ("Can't Find My Way Home," Feb. 9).

I was very dismayed to hear about the eviction of the couple, but was outraged to hear why they were evicted. It wasn't so the house can be sold to benefit the parish. It was sold to be turned into a Starbucks-style coffeehouse. How do I know this? Because I am in possession of several confidential letters signed by Roide, explaining the project in its entirety, and a cover-up in case anyone called to inquire about the subject.

When word was in the wind about the project, a letter was sent telling everyone to get their stories straight when people start calling. I have never been a big fan of the Catholic Church, and this maddens me even more. Evicting the elderly to put a coffee shop in the house? What is going on? Is this legal? How does this affect the zoning laws in the area? Am I affected? To further try to cover up all of this angers me even more.

Thank you, Dog Bites, for airing an issue that needs it ... BADLY.

Amber Clisura

Union Blues
SEIU 790's dismissal of openly gay, newly elected Democratic County Central Committee member Criss Romero ("Closed Shop," Bay View, March 15) is another example of the rampant corruption in local politics. Hasn't 790 ever heard of democracy? Doesn't a union member have a right to campaign on his own time for the candidate of his own choice -- even if it's not the candidate who strong-armed his union into an early endorsement? And on top of everything else, to go after Romero's meager unemployment insurance! Shame on you, 790! No wonder we don't have a living wage -- you supported the man who's kept it from passing.

I am a supporter of workers. I am a worker. My father died a worker. My allegiance will always be with workers and the working class. I will always fight for a real national minimum wage, worker-owned businesses, and a redistribution of the wealth in this country. I will not raise a finger for those who purport to represent workers but act more like the people who oppress us all.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca
Via Internet


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