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Letters to the Editor 

The Plane Facts; Review Redo; Winner or Loser? You Make the Call.; Grousing About Housing; Speechless

Runways in the bay: Matt Smith got it right: "[Filling] in a mile of the bay to protect regional economic growth would involve a careful evaluation of benefits and costs; this is how all sound policy decisions are made ..." ("Brownout at SFO," Feb. 6). So, where is that evaluation? For more than two years, SFO has continually rolled back the release date of the draft environmental-review documents. Meanwhile, basic scientific studies are denied to the public. Even SFO's meetings with key regulatory agencies are behind closed doors.

We also need more information about financial issues. We need an independent audit of SFO to shed light on the airport's current debt and ability to repay it, as well as the costs of new runways.

Pay attention to Proposition D: The voters want a careful evaluation of SFO's proposed runway project. If SFO can't deliver it, there will be no runways. Especially if there is no means to pay for them. It would be a mistake to underestimate the region's interest in protecting San Francisco Bay.

Amy V. Quirk, Esq.
Airport Committee Chair
Alliance for a Clean Waterfront

Our food critic positions are filled. We will keep your application on file.: I am from Long Island and am fortunate to have clients (Muni and BART) in S.F. I have spent a week each month in S.F. for the last nine months. Dining is a simple form of pleasure that I indulge in during each trip. I was very excited when I read your review of La Luna ("Rise and Shine," Eat, Feb. 6). I am a huge fan of Nuevo Latino.

I can honestly say I was very disappointed with the fare at La Luna. My crab cakes were at best generic. The mango mint mojo could have saved them if more had been put on the plate. There was no room because the chef decided to throw in some mesclun salad leaves, covering half the plate. At $9, this was a bad start.

I opted for the trout - which was nicely prepared, skin and all! Again, the only Nuevo Latino identifier was the plantain leaf. The lemon, butter, caper combo is hardly NL. I was dying to ask - where were the NL flavors? Quite honestly, I found Maya to be infinitely better.

Bill Kerekes
Hempstead, N.Y.

Hello, personality police? Can you send a squad car to the Parkside District?: You describe [Luke] Brugnara as "bombastic" ("Luke Brugnara Makes His Point," Jan. 30). Princeton University dictionary defines bombastic as "ostentatiously lofty in style; a man given to large talk." What's wrong with that? And what was the point of this article, other than, apparently, another attempt by the left-leaning personality police to refine its definition of S.F. political correctness?

Is it now politically incorrect, in Baghdad by the Bay, to be a strong, honest, and outspoken white male? Just because this is San Francisco, does that mean every male has to be passive and effeminate? Where is your tolerance for diversity?

What is wrong with [Brugnara's] aims to build his wealth by investing in San Francisco property, or a Las Vegas casino, or a nature preserve? Are these crimes? Quite to the contrary. We need more role models like Mr. Brugnara.

If someone has broken the law or caused some significant harm, let's report on it. Otherwise, let's not be so catty.

Patrick J. O'Hara
Parkside District

If you'd like to slap Mr. Brugnara, the line forms to the right: What point is Mr. Brugnara trying to make exactly? That he's a self-made millionaire who's running around like a spoiled brat? After reading your article, I think the only thing Mr. Brugnara needs is a good slap back into reality. Mr. Brugnara takes the cake. His flagrant disrespect for the court system, for the livelihood of others (in firing all unionized janitors in one of his buildings), and for his family proves that he shouldn't be allowed to manage anything, let alone a casino. Next time could you try doing an article about someone who's doing something good for the community? I'd much rather read about someone self-sacrificing than self-serving.

Name Withheld
Richmond District

A renter against rent control: As a beneficiary (i.e., renter) of San Francisco's rent control, I nonetheless commend Matt Smith's article "Legends in Our Own Minds" (Jan. 30). His cogent article, and the recent report on which it is based, should be assigned reading for the Board of Supes, with a graded quiz to follow.

For too long we San Franciscans have suffered the harmful effects of well-intentioned but ultimately ineffective, wasteful, and divisive policies such as rent control and housing building permit restrictions. [Those policies are] not "progressive" at all. Instead, the effects are extraordinarily conservative, even reactionary. The policies reward longtime residents (regardless of need) while artificially reducing supply and raising prices of all other housing. Moreover it prevents many lower- and middle-income folks from moving to the city.

For extra credit after the graded quiz, would the "progressive" supervisors write an essay on why S.F. condones such dysfunctional policies?

David J. Blumberg

The folly of rent control: Thanks for the insights into the rent control/housing shortage debate. [It] points out the myths and subsequent folly of our misguided efforts at helping renters. Of course, you realize that our "progressive" Board of Supes will do nothing with the info and pretend the study doesn't even exist. Adopting rational policies isn't really their forte; pandering to the entrenched paid professional activists is.

Cynthia Arnold
Mission District

Bulldoze the Sunset: On a few occasions in the past, along with [his recent] column on rent control, Matt Smith has suggested there is plenty of room in the Sunset District for new housing. What is he talking about? Ninety-nine percent of the houses are attached on both sides [and] have dinky back yards and sidewalks next to the front door. The only open space is Ocean Beach, Stern Grove, the zoo, and a couple of neighborhood parks. Does he see those spaces as prime development opportunities? Get a clue, Matt, the city is full. You want more housing then, yes, dump rent control and also check out Fresno.

Matt Mitguard
Sunset District

The last of Ladino: I'm glad SF Weekly reviewed A Traveling Jewish Theater's Una Noche de Sueños Vidi Flores (Stage, capsule review, Jan. 30), but there's an error that needs addressing: Ladino is not "the mostly lost language spoken by 15th-century Jews," a description that implies the language has been dead for centuries and strips it of its cultural context. Ladino, also called Judeo-Español, derives from the 15th-century Spanish spoken by Jewish refugees from the Iberian Peninsula, but it was spoken and written as a daily language in many Jewish communities until the mid-20th century and is still spoken by thousands of Sephardim (Jews of Spanish descent) in Israel and the United States. Ladino may be "mostly lost," but it is a recent, still painful loss. Perhaps ATJT's effort will inspire more people to learn and celebrate this wonderful language.

Charlotte Honigman-Smith
Sunset District


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