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Letters to the Editor 

I Jerk My Knee All on My Own, Thank You Very Much; But Tell Us What You Really Think; New Gold Rush Heroes?; God Wants You to Park Here; What? Only a Pinch of Substance?

I Jerk My Knee All on My Own, Thank You Very Much
If Matt Smith really believes that the free market will solve the problems of displacement and gentrification in San Francisco ("In a Galaxy Far Too Close to Home," June 28), that's fine. Even Democrats seem to believe in unregulated capitalism these days. I happen to disagree.

But I have to correct one serious error in his piece.

Smith writes that, during the 1986 campaign to pass the growth-control measure Prop. M, the "left organ Bay Guardian endlessly republished articles denouncing 'Manhattanization,' and homeless entrepreneur Randy Shaw ... claims to have been the Svengali behind the Guardian articles."

I personally wrote every single Bay Guardian story on Prop. M that year. None of them were "republished" (although, like many SF Weekly stories of today, some of my work from that time might accurately be described as "endless").

And I didn't need or have any "Svengali." Certainly not Randy Shaw, who tells me he has never spoken to Matt Smith and has never claimed credit for anything the Bay Guardian wrote about Prop. M. In fact, when I called Shaw today, he confirmed my memory that he played very little active role in the Prop. M campaign.

Sorry to ruin your conspiracy theory, Matt, but I was an out-front, active, unabashed, proud supporter of Prop. M. -- all on my own.
Tim Redmond
Executive Editor
San Francisco Bay Guardian

Matt Smith responds: I used the word "republish" in the Bay Guardian sense, where articles with almost identical theme and content are published every week ad infinitum. (See SFBG PG&E-n-Public Power, 1970s-2000.) Mr. Redmond is correct in reminding us that no journal outside the environs of 18th and Hampshire streets is likely to "republish" Bay Guardian articles.

In his book, The Activist's Handbook, Randy Shaw writes, "It is difficult to imagine that San Francisco's limited-growth movement would have succeeded without the Guardian's longtime support," and then goes on to write that "tactical activists can work with sympathetic reporters on the weeklies to ensure ongoing coverage over the entire course of a campaign," adding that Shaw himself "worked with" a Guardian reporter for eight months on a series of rent control stories.

I erroneously conflated the Proposition M and rent control issues and regret the error.

But Tell Us What You Really Think
Re "Double Injustice" (July 12): I have to say that it gives me a warm sense of schaudenfreude to read about a bunch of utterly retarded (not to mention greedy) fuckers being fleeced by a complete nonentity, whose only talent was to recognize avarice, only to turn around and get so deservedly screwed to the killing floor by a U.S. bankruptcy trustee.

I have zero sympathy for these losers and feel they richly deserve whatever the fuck they get so long as it is in the most despicable way possible.
Richard C. White
Civic Center

New Gold Rush Heroes?
Let me get this straight. Peter Glikshtern owns a bar in the Mission and doesn't want Mexicans coming in ("Mission Implacable," July 5). He thinks some people who he thinks are drug dealers are going to attack him so he beats them up with a tire iron. None of these men has a record. Fredy Parra, one of them, holds down two jobs and has a family. Glikshtern, however, has been charged before in a similar case.

The DA, citing lack of evidence, does not prosecute the case against Tire Iron Pete. Enrique Ramirez takes Tire Iron Pete to court. How dare he? Pete, as he (and the Weekly) go to great lengths to tell us, is really a good guy. He grew up oppressed in Soviet Russia. His mom bought him shoes at Safeway for $1.99. He played basketball at playgrounds. He was a "constant presence" in the Mission. He has a Latina stepchild.

Of course he doesn't understand the social economics of the situation. The Tire Iron Petes of this world never do. They had better not. They might have to confront the results of their actions. They just want to have a business and make a living. Who cares if they are the spearhead of a movement that results in working families getting kicked out of their homes? Someday soon, the big money, the chains, the real estate kings, will come and make real killings, and pat Tire Iron Pete on the back for his good work as a private in the Army of Business.

But the Victor Millers of this world, the Joel P. Engardios, know better. It is their job to reflect on the greater implications of such incidents. They should know their California history and the kinds of emotions such incidents evoke. Miller, his head firmly in the sand -- I am being kind -- calls it just a "bar fight." But hey, so was Stonewall, right? I guess Miller thinks the only people who can express anger about the takeover of their neighborhoods are people in ties with law degrees.

And the Weekly! What a story! The Legend of Pioneer Pete, Small Business Hero! We hear about his past, his struggles, his family life, his integrity, for Christ's sake. In the Weekly's words, he refuses to be "intimidated by Ramirez's efforts to turn the politically correct, anti-gentrification forces of mob rule against him." So, if you have reservations about this New Gold Rush hero, you are being "politically correct"; you are part of a mob.

Nobody wants the kind of street action in their neighborhood that Pete and the Weekly seem to think is all that goes on in the Mission. (Maybe some of the absentee slumlords who own the area need to be consulted.) But isn't there another choice between that and arrogant bar- owners beating up neighborhood people with tire irons? Ramirez is speaking for lots and lots of people in the Mission and elsewhere, not all of whom are Latino. Instead of giving them fair voice you told us the Tale of Pete, A Legend in His Own Mind.

But hey, this is America. Lester Maddox did just this sort of thing (defending his property rights with a similar weapon) and got himself elected governor of Georgia. Maybe Tire Iron Pete will run for office too. I'm sure the Weekly and the New Mission News will support him.
Bill Morgan

God Wants You to Park Here
In her letter printed in your June 21 issue ("Parking Tips From a Cyclist"), Linda Atkins neglected to mention that the $50 fine for parking in the center lane on Valencia Street does not apply to churchgoers, who have the sanction of city government. It would be nice to see an organized "park-in" by, say, an anti-religious group leaving their cars in the middle of some street as they attend one of their functions in order to challenge this policy of extending yet one more privilege to smug believers.
Carl Hoffman
Bernal Heights

What? Only a Pinch of Substance?
Dog Bites in SF Weekly's June 28 and July 5 issues does a great job of "Name That Columnist" in presenting witty, titillating, swaggering, happy-go-lucky stylistic vignettes of Baghdad-by-the-Bay with just a tenable pinch of substance from S.F. columnists, past and present, generally emulating the sweet prose of the owner of the beloved "loyal Royal."
Dave Schneider
Upper Market


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