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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, November 3, 2004

We Didn't Know Who Won When We Printed This

Yo Soy Centroamericano [Matt Smith, Oct. 20] contained several factual errors that require correction.

First, while there is indeed a nationwide coordinated effort by civil rights groups and others to prevent voter suppression by deploying poll monitors at selected precincts, its aim is not to support the liberal vote, but to ensure that every vote -- regardless of party affiliation -- is cast and counted. Second, the Working Assets voter registration campaign was a nonpartisan effort directed at increasing civic participation. Our voter registration affiliates -- ranging from the American Library Association, the League of Women Voters, the National Head Start Association, and Faithful Democracy to Patagonia and Jet Blue -- were carefully screened to ensure their commitment to registering voters without regard to party affiliation. Any professed or perceived bias disqualified them from participation.

Working Assets, which has supported a range of progressive causes for close to two decades through donation and citizen activism, decided to engage in nonpartisan voter-related activities out of a profound concern that the most basic principles of democracy were undermined during the 2000 election. Had George W. Bush or Al Gore simply won the presidency in the last election, our activism would today be focused on promoting policies and legislation that favor the environment, economic justice, peace, free expression, and human rights. We took on voter registration and election protection not to push a partisan agenda, but to help ensure that rank partisanship and ideological fanaticism do not triumph over fairness, justice, and what we still believe to be the true American Way.

Michael Kieschnick


Working Assets

Communication Breakdown

We're not sure we understand all those acronyms, but at least you're on our side: As an avid telecom equipment stock trader I read your "Fiber-Optic Illusion" [Matt Smith, Oct. 13] article with great interest. You do make some critical mistakes with your analysis.

First of all, SBC owns 60 percent of Cingular. Cingular is merging with AT&T Wireless. BellSouth is also an investor in Cingular/AT&T Wireless as well as the massive Japanese incumbent NTT. The newly merged Cingular is going to have the biggest customer footprint in the U.S.A. SBC and NTT have huge FRPs to the carrier class vendors right now to create a next-generation 3G network in 2005 that will support broadband voice, data, and video. Cingular/AT&T Wireless already has all the cell sites it will need. It just will need to convert them to 3G when the time comes. SBC = Cingular.

Another big error in your article relates to the sharing of the local loop with CLECs (alternative carriers). You are relying on old information. Sunil Daluvoy is clueless on several levels. The 1996 Telecom Act forced the RBOCs like SBC and Verizon to unbundle and wholesale their local loops to customers' premises. That's what created the thousands of competing carriers. But that is ancient history. UNE-P line sharing has been killed by the FCC and the courts. RBOCs no longer are forced to cheaply lease copper lines, which is exactly why AT&T recently announced it is getting entirely out of the consumer voice market (it is solely going to offer broadband VoIP). And today the FCC just ruled that the owners of fiber will no longer need to share fiber loops.

The city of San Francisco has no jurisdiction to force the sharing of last-mile loops. And the fact is, whoever owns copper or, even better, fiber loops is sitting on a very valuable asset. When Daluvoy states there is "plenty of fiber already in the metro area" he is just referring to downtown. Sure there is fiber for businesses downtown. But San Francisco is bigger than just downtown. There isn't any fiber beyond downtown so it is a misleading quote. And this brings me to my last point. You cannot compare fiber to the curb or fiber to the premises with 3G or ADSL or cable. FTTC/FTTP is a much, much fatter pipe. The voice/video/data applications that can run over a fiber IP backbone are far more advanced than what can be run over 3G/DSL/cable.

I agree that San Francisco getting into the telecom game is likely a bad idea. But not for the reasons you cite. It is a bad idea because governments are notoriously bad at managing businesses.

Alan Aronoff

Family Matters

Are you sure you didn't take that Berkeley class?: The "Death in the Family" article [Oct. 13] claims "It could, indeed, happen to any of us." Yet, speaking of critical thinking, one needn't take a media analysis class at Berkeley to notice and be disgusted by your cover artist's purposeful deletion of the one wife of Wright's that was black, leaving the family portrait to bear the image of a crazed black man clutching onto his white girlfriends and their mixed babies. Given the already engaging content of the story, the cover art is a cheap stab at race-based sensationalism and perpetuates a long-standing tradition in misinformation that portrays colored men as violators of white women, reducing what might've been a universal "us" in your writer's warning to that specific demographic of politically mindful, middle-class, white women and their worried friends. Really, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Maya Mayabang
Western Addition

The Game of Politics

And some folks think we're the ones corrupting today's youth: Oh wow, my friend told me he saw this issue, and he would pick one up for me ... turns out that the shop ran out ... ["Sup-Ee-Oh!," Oct. 6]. Very funny! *laughs* I wish that Arnold Schwarzenegger would pass that one proposition allowing 14- to 17-year-olds to vote. Then I would have a reason to play the game ... but very funny! As you can probably tell by my e-mail, I'm a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan. *laughs* I love it when people make the Yu-Gi-Oh! pictures funny by putting their face in.

Christine Tsin (age 15)
Bay Point


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