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Letters to the Editor 

Geez, Someone Didn't Get His Nap; New Design Gets Two Thumbs Up; Pouring Fuel on the Fire; Girls in the System

Geez, Someone Didn't Get His Nap
Damn the river: Joan Vilms and [writer] Matt Smith offered up another familiar, grim report about the "raping" of another natural resource, the Russian River, like so many other stories ("Current Events," Aug. 2). And Vilms' suggestion is that no one else should move to Sonoma to live. Well, how convenient for her.

My whole life, for nearly 50 years now, I've been asked or told to move to the back of the line. I'm sick and tired of waiting for some kind of payoff to all those taxes I've been paying, all the recycling I've been doing, all the resources I've cut down on. Vilms comes off as arrogant to me -- like I, or anyone else, am unable to recognize and appreciate all those little natural wonders she gets to kayak to.

There had better be a good plan in the making because growth will not stop. Water needs will be there even after a river gets completely dried up. We need more than a temporary solution. A part of the country like Sonoma can't be cut off to the rest of us just because some can't stand to see their special way of life changed. I say welcome to the party! America is for everyone. I was born in this country. I can live anywhere I want to, and I'm going to retire in Sonoma, Russian River or no Russian River.
Name Withheld
Via Internet

New Design Gets Two Thumbs Up
Thumb No. 1: Thank you for the recent redesign of SF Weekly. It is now a bit easier to read. More importantly, the two features I read first are now on the same page: Dog Bites and Puni.
David Pilpel

Thumb No. -- oh, wait. That's a finger: Love the new yuppified design! As always, the Romance section continues to be the most interesting, fun part of SF Weekly. Your paper sucks.
Aleita Hermanowski

Pouring Fuel on the Fire
No excuses: The century-long moratorium by newspapers against criticizing firefighting techniques by the SFFD ended with Matt Isaacs' report "Pants on Fire" (July 26). The San Francisco Fire Department has enjoyed a unique exemption from outsiders judging their professional- ism at fires. What has always amazed me is how blithely Fire Department spokespersons issue excuses when a tragedy occurs. Whether it be civilians dying or one of their own, the department's canned replies are accepted by newspaper editors, politicians, and laypeople alike as indisputable fact. Matt Isaacs had the nerve to contradict their "extreme weather conditions" excuse for the fatal, 1995 Diamond Heights fire and writes in detail about the foul-ups that occurred. Are we to believe missteps are not still occurring?
James J. Corrigan
Forest Hill

Girls in the System
An optimistic note: I am the chaplain at the San Francisco juvenile hall. While I am not an apologist for the penal system, I believe it is irresponsible journalism as well as irresponsible social policy to lay the blame for a systemic problem at the door of one person or entity ("Girl Problems," July 19).

The article does not acknowledge the people, churches, community, faith-based, and government organizations already working with girls but not seeking the media limelight. It does not mention the millions of dollars in contracts offered by the Juvenile Probation Department to community organizations that promise to work with girls.

The effects of the empty adversarialism promoted by the article are similar to those of the unfocused violence by the angry adolescent who has no inkling of the real source of her problem. Our chaplaincy's vision statement reads in part, "... and we do all with eternal optimism concerning the lives of our children." The quality of optimism was deliberately missing from the spin given the article, and replaced with a deadly, resigned, but sensational nihilism that is more likely to destroy than to redeem our children.
Rev. Toni Dunbar
San Francisco Juvenile Hall Spiritual Life Program


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