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Letters to the Editor 

Published April 26, 2000

What About the Ink? Do You Like the Ink?
I've been reading your magazine for several years, and finally it's time to write you -- jeez, I'm lazy. Anyway, I have to say your paper is a damn good read. The feature articles are almost always terrific, and the regular columns and such are great. The movie reviews are usually better than going to the movies. Dog Bites is, I dunno, brilliant? Always entertaining, anyway. Red Meat most often sucks, but occasionally makes me laugh. Puni makes the world of transportation come alive. Then there's Ben Katchor's Cardboard Valise: Who is this guy? Why do I find this strip so fascinating? How would anyone think this stuff up? Does he have a book? Could I buy it?

Also, Dan Savage rules. Very funny and occasionally informative, this column is another must-read. And the sex ads are worth a perusal too. All in all, the whole paper makes life in Haywood more lifelike.

Thanks for the hard work putting out a great paper at a great price.

Art Bennett
Union City

If We Can Please Just One Mom, It's All Worth It
I really enjoyed your article on the Donner Party ("The Last Party," Music, April 12)! It was especially "meaningful" to me because I am Reinhold Johnson's mother! Reinhold was born and raised near Tower, Minnesota -- on property that was homesteaded by his great-grandfather in the early 1900s.

Reinhold always enjoyed music, and was a trumpet and French horn player in the Babbitt School bands. His first job offer -- as an EEG tech -- took him to California and that's where he's been ever since. His friends coaxed him into this Donner Party band and he had a lot of fun with it -- never expecting it to get popular.

Reinhold is a kind of shy, quiet person and all of this "publicity" was kind of unexpected. I talked to him this morning and he said he thoroughly enjoyed the concert on Wednesday night and a good time was had by all. It was a huge success as far as he was concerned. I'm sure your timely article helped. Thanks!

Patricia Johnson
(Mrs. Reinhold Johnson Sr.)
Tower, Minn.

Don't Whine. Practice.
In reference to the Orixa article ("Lingua Franca," Music, April 12) I just wanted to state that the writer was uninformed about the band Orixa, and the rock en español music scene. There are many bands out there who really work, organize, are independent, and are not sitting and whining about why they are only classified into the Latin market.

Ever wonder why Orixa complains about being boxed into the Latin, and only Latin, market? Could it be because the majority of people in the scene do not like their music? Could it be that is why they blame the market? Could it be that that is why their second album sounds nothing like the first?

Did the writer even bother to hear the first album? The first album holds a completely different genre than the second. They complain about their record label telling them to be more like Smashmouth, and that is what they did. The second album is a very Rage Against the Machine, trendy-what-is-hip-now-type record.

If Orixa says they did not "explode" because they were continuously classified only in the rock en español scene, that can easily be countered by looking at bands like Firme, Caradura, or Lodo y Asfalto. Caradura, who play Latin ska and sing in Spanish, are loved within the scene and play in front of Anglo or non-Latin audiences without a problem. We could also use Ozomatli as an example of this.

I believe the truth of the matter is that Orixa is quite resentful that their first album did not do well at all, despite all the promotion and investment placed into them. Other bands, within the scene, such as Lodo y Asfalto, with no label to back them up have gone much further than Orixa (in popularity, and possibly sales) and they have had no investment whatsoever. You go to a Lodo y Asfalto show and it gets packed. You can't even get their CD anymore because it is sold out.

In any case, in the future, I believe it is only fair that the writer researches a bit about the information that he/she receives before publishing. Means of communication, such as the newspapers, radio, etc., have a purpose: to inform. By misleading and giving unresearched information readers are misled from the truth.

I believe Orixa is just upset that they did not make it big and that is why they blamed their failure on the scene, the record label, and the supposed "boxness" of the U.S. society. The writer should have looked into this before publishing something that can hurt a music scene or a record label.

Name Withheld
Bernal Heights

It's Our Party, We'll Whine If We Want To
There is peril in discussing party politics in the context of races for nonpartisan office. In his piece on the candidacy of Republican Rose Chung for the District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors, Peter Byrne succumbed to the peril ("A Republican by Any Other Name," Bay View, March 29).

Discussing Ms. Chung's campaign, Mr. Byrne claimed that there is "a fundamental lack of strategic differences between the parties locally." He conflates candidate and party. A party, however, has no control over the campaign of a candidate for nonpartisan office. Political parties may not nominate candidates to nonpartisan office, nor may a candidate's party registration appear on the ballot. The office is, after all, nonpartisan.

Under recent court decisions, political parties in California have been allowed at least to endorse candidates in nonpartisan races. The San Francisco Republican Party has long had a policy that it will not give a knee-jerk endorsement to any Republican who happens along. Rather, as I stated in Mr. Byrne's article, we will endorse qualified Republicans. That is not because the party leadership is lukewarm on Republicanism. On the contrary, we seek to protect our party by making darned sure that every candidate for nonpartisan office who happens to be a Republican reflects well on the GOP. This much we share with the Democrats: We too have our crackpots.

Mr. Byrne likened Republican and Democratic party leaders in San Francisco to "tweedledum and tweedledee." Good copy. However, he should have examined the positions of the two local parties on a host of ballot measures over the years. When it comes to issues important to Republicans -- property rights, public safety, and welfare reform come immediately to mind -- there can be no mistaking that the San Francisco Republican Party is, first and last, Republican.

Donald A. Casper<

San Francisco Republican Party

WARNING: Your Results May Vary. Side Effects Include Joint Tax Returns and Impaired Mobility.
Goddamn it! I set up an ad in your Wild Side, and someone called. All we were looking for was a piece of ass, and now we're in love and are getting married! Fuck you! Put a warning label on that thing!

Russell and Marielena

Neither a Weirdo Nor an Idiot Be
Your article about the tournament in the Society for Creative Anachronism was one of the best that I have read ("Past Perfect," Night Crawler, April 5). It did not make us out to be idiots, or weirdos. It is nice to know that some people can give an unbiased look at the SCA for others to enjoy. Again thank you for the wonderful article.

Scott Briggs
Lord Cormac MacHugh
Canton of Trollhaven
Barony of the Bridge
Kingdom of the East
Charleston, R.I.

Joy and tears of laughter! The story Silke Tudor wrote on the Mists Spring Coronet is ... wondrous ("Past Perfect," Night Crawler)! Tears came to my eyes remembering events that I have gone to, and my heart aches that I am not in a more active area. I sent the link to the story to my family and friends. Alas, the mundane world calls me back. Huzza and luck in your future! Yours in service to the Dream.

Jerry Dunsmore
Waterloo, IA

Cult Homophobes
I have just returned from the Far East, and saw your issue of last month dealing with the Falun Gong cult in China ("Spiritual Cultivation," March 15). Worth mentioning is the information carried months ago in the International Herald -Tribune about the homophobic teachings of the cult at the very time when Chinese gays and lesbians are getting the greatest freedom they have ever had. I frequently visit China. Lending credibility to this dangerous cult does nothing to help China or its people.

Armand Boulay
El Cerrito


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