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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, September 8, 2004

No, Thank You!

For writing in, even when you think we're behaving like anuses: That Bands Against Bush protest kit sucks ["March Radness," Aug. 25]. We (Eats Tapes) didn't make any money from the benefit we played, just like everyone else involved. Thanks for being cynical assholes.

Greg Zifcak

Questioning Our Questions

Say, how did you fit 80 fingers on the keyboard, anyway?: We find it very interesting that Matt Smith has decided to raise supposed "ethics questions" around the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition's political activism, full of "may haves" with no substantiation, but has not asked any questions of the Mission Housing Development Corp.'s board of directors' unethical behavior ["Development Pressure," Aug. 18].

The Mission District community and MHDC staff have been engaged in a four-year-plus struggle to end the board's cronyism and implement ethical board reforms. The real ethics questions a reporter should be asking of MHDC board members Larry del Carlo and Luisa Ezquerro are: Why do the board members refuse to sign conflict-of-interest statements? Why were they working behind the scenes to cut deals with for-profit office developers who were evicting working-class and immigrant families and jobs? Why does this board refuse to implement real term limits so that a diversity of opinions and ethnicities might be achieved? Why, after board and staff together recruited 19 qualified candidates last November, did they cancel the closest we have had to a democratic board nomination process? Why is the board composed mostly of people who don't live in S.F., and why have they made it so hard to include MHDC tenants or low-income Mission residents? Why do they have not one person with housing development or finance experience on the board? Why is a board member (now purged) suing for having been excluded from meetings and decisions? Why have they not filed any board minutes in the last year as required by law? Why are they rejecting grants that go to pay for housing development, supportive housing, and community planning? Why does the executive director speak publicly of eliminating critical resident services and supportive housing staff? Why are they the only nonprofit housing development organization in the city that is refusing to put resources to support the affordable housing bond? Why is the board, which has members and leaders from the laborers' union, educators' union, and BART operators' union, now faced with numerous grievances from their SEIU 790 Union employees for on-the-job harassment and wrongful terminations? And why are they paying an executive director, an "old friend" of theirs, over $100,000, 40 percent more than the previous executive director and 50 to 75 percent more than line staff ?

Unlike Matt Smith's insinuation, Mission Housing members have NEVER worked for political candidates while on MHDC's payroll. ... As for Mission Housing's record, we are hardly the "no-growth" organization Matt Smith attempts to paint: In five years under Carlos Romero's leadership, MHDC completed or began development on over 650 units of high-density infill housing, all of it affordable to people making less than 50 percent of the median income, including the first affordable housing at Mission Bay. In the end, with or without the MHDC board's support, MAC will continue to fight for community planning that addresses the diverse needs of the Mission's low- and moderate-income residents.

This letter was co-written by a number of MHDC staff members, also members of SEIU Local 790.

Fernando Mart
Noe Valley

Monica Garcia

Lisa Pagan

Andrea Cousins

Lillian Boctor

Eric Quezada
Bernal Heights

Wendy Phillips

Ron Chavez

Good Food

Goes with good writing: More than anyone has any right to expect in a restaurant story: wonderful plotting, beginning with the memorable In-N-Out fake-out, leading to the secret No. 24 ["The Cost of Cool," Dish Enchanted, Aug. 11].

That actually works! Cooler than cool!

Bill Costley
Santa Clara


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