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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, October 20, 2004

An Unsettling Family Story

Isn't this just a diabolical plot to trick us into printing "rictus"?: The cover art for today's story "Death in the Family" [Oct. 13] is one of the most effectively creepy pieces of illustration I've seen in some time. At around 6:15 this morning, when it was still dark out, I stopped at a street rack for a copy of the Weekly and -- brrr-rrr-rrr! The sight of all those blank, white eyes grabbed my attention right away and gave me an instant case of the willies. When I looked closer and saw the smiles on the faces of the subjects, rictuslike and satisfied at the same time ... well, I literally shuddered. What awful white-eyed smiles! What a frightening and compelling image!

Kudos to the artist who managed to give my jaded self a turn in just a few seconds.

Sparrow 13

Laughter, the disturbing medicine: I'm quite sure I'm not the only person that saw the irony in seeing the "Think Clearly" quarter-page ad for the S.F. chapter of Scientology smack in the middle of the article "Death in the Family" about a San Francisco cult.

I laughed ... and then I was deeply disturbed.

Roger Knox
Lower Pacific Heights

On the Broadband Bandwagon

Entrepreneurial energy at ... City Hall?: The city's upcoming Internet broadband infrastructure study, sponsored by Tom Ammiano and co-sponsored by Chris Daly, will be some of the BEST money spent by the city of San Francisco this year. Too many people say that government can't move quickly to respond to changing technologies and serve its citizens with the public utilities of the future ["Fiber-Optic Illusion," Matt Smith, Oct. 13], but in this case, San Francisco can. By getting into this arena San Francisco will be able to choose its own destiny -- whether it be a citywide wireless Internet network, alternatives to the limited cable TV options, or, most important, pressuring the prices down for the high Internet and cable rates that the people of San Francisco pay. This is the type of entrepreneurial energy we need to see from the Board of Supervisors -- let's encourage it.

Adam Werbach, Commissioner
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

The Election Plays Out

District 5 is more than a game: There is a game of politics. But in San Francisco today we're playing with much higher stakes than SF Weekly has acknowledged ["Sup-Ee-Oh!," Oct. 6]. Your newspaper's longtime service to San Francisco calls for much more extensive coverage of the local election than you've given it. Over the next few years, we will make decisions on transportation, health care, housing, homelessness, and business investment that could transform San Francisco. Whether we learn how to bring jobs to the Western Addition, reform the Redevelopment Agency, revive arts programs, and rebuild trust with the police will determine whether whole communities will survive. Who we choose for supervisor in District 5 will be an important part of that process.

I was the first District 5 candidate to open my campaign office, and for over four months I have sponsored an art gallery there that has highlighted the extraordinary efforts of artists in our communities to give expression to their experiences. I have offered the only clear reforms to the Redevelopment Agency that could bring hope and economic investment to the Western Addition. I have provided clear revenue sources for our neighborhoods, small businesses, and for the arts. From Cole Valley to Japantown, we have done more to reach voters than any other campaign. It's a credit to our volunteers and to our message that, among 22 candidates, we are third in the amount of matching funds we have qualified for from the city and have raised over $50,000. Despite being an outsider to politics, I am attracting endorsements and support from a widening group.

As we enter the final weeks of the election, it's crucial for all of us, especially the news media, to focus on the critical issues that we face. It's also crucial that the voters know how important each of their votes is in a race that is very undecided. That's why I have teamed up with Bill Barnes, another leading candidate, to help educate voters on the rank-choice voting system that gives each of us the opportunity to choose our top three choices for supervisor. Bill and I are spending resources on education and on highlighting the differences among candidates.

I ask as a voter and as a candidate that, as you evaluate the candidates running, you are careful to be accurate about their viability and their ideas. Voters have to know that the best ideas can still win.

Brett Wheeler


In "Death in the Family" [Oct. 13], the oldest child mentioned in the story was said to be 15 years old when the adults in her family were arrested; the child actually was 16 at that time. The story also misreported the number of children two women had borne Winnfred Wright. Wright and Mary Campbell had seven children together; Wright and Deirdre Wilson had six.

SF Weekly regrets the errors.


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