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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Daly Doublespeak

Let's be honest: I want to thank Matt Smith for getting to the core issues and truth about what really has been going on at Mission Housing Development Corp., the Mayor's Office of Housing, and the circus we have on the S.F. Board of Supervisors ["Doublespeak With Forked Tongue," May 3]. Not only has all this doublespeak, blackmail, and political posturing made a mess of our city government and elected bodies, it also has unnecessarily fueled deep divisions within the Mission community. It's time for some healing and it's time for some truth.

Pete Gallegos
MHDC Board Member
San Francisco

There's a lie in my Supe!: I just wanted to thank Matt Smith for taking on the powers that be. I think it is brave and certainly goes against the grain to point out the faults and mistruths of the Daly Machine. I am a resident in Supervisor Daly's district and I have been subjected to several meetings in City Hall with many of his henchmen present. As a working individual who expects our city's government to be open and welcoming to its constituents, I was naively expecting energetic discourse and respect from all people involved. What a surprise. What I found was name calling, back stabbing, and partisan doublespeak.

Bob [last name withheld]
San Francisco

Stranger than fiction: If I correctly understand the thrust of Matt Smith's article, Supervisor Chris Daly uses bluster, intimidation, and sheer force of will to cow City Hall. Having managed this, the man is now able to award or deny nonprofit funds as he sees fit. What is fitting for Daly depends on what he can get for services rendered.

Another take is that Daly has attained prominence because the City Hall crowd recognizes his sound public stewardship, and rightly defers to his good judgment in matters that involve public funds. Nice of Matt to give us a choice.

There may be as many as 15 candidates running against Daly in the next election. There are about 18,000 new voters in his district — educated, moneyed voters. The new, pick-a-few system means that an "anyone but Daly" vote will remove the supervisor from office. But what if the man wins?

There is a new book out, called 3000 Years, by Richard Mgrdechian. Three time travelers find themselves in the year 2055. California has broken off into five states. New Justice (the Bay Area) is about to be allowed to secede from the Union. A cultural anthropologist concludes that a positive-feedback loop is responsible for the strange politics of New Justice. A single mindset has driven out all divergent thought, resulting in extremism. In New Justice, marriage and competitive sports are illegal. One can do jail time for abhorrent vocalizations.

Although we are to conclude that such a place is an Orwellian nightmare, there are some in San Francisco, today, who would welcome this future.

Paul Burton
San Francisco

Size Matters

Bullying big schools: Ryan Blitstein's article ["A Study in Size," May 3] nails the problems with government schools squarely on the head.

Small-by-design schools have class sizes limited to 100 students per grade. School administrators can shape curriculum to the student. Teachers and families work together to develop what will help the students. Most vitally, with small classes, cliques by race do not have time to develop. The biggest overall benefit is teachers who care what happens next.

Regular classes demand that the students shape themselves to the curriculum — no individuality allowed. Regular classes are taught with the one-size-fits-all formula. Parents' input is not allowed because of a "what do parents know" mentality. Regular classes mandate belonging to a race-oriented gang for daily survival.

The SFUSD should implement this type of program school by school by school, and the results will be educated children who like going to school.

Ron Getty
San Francisco


Penned by teller: Kudos, Matt Smith, for unveiling yet another dollar-first corporate bureaucracy screwing a loyal customer over a legitimate claim ["Bank of Indifference," April 26]. But let's clear something up. ATM cards are not meant to "obviate human tellers, saving millions of dollars in salaries." Nor can they. Sure, you can do all sorts of wonderful things with these fancy new ATMs — if you know what you're doing. Trust me, as a bank teller here in San Francisco, I know most people don't. In fact, a large portion of my job involves teaching people how to use those same cards that will "obviate" my job. Am I digging my own grave? I don't think so.

The day people learn to balance their checkbooks is the day I'm out of a job. I'm not sweating it.

Rhett Buckley
San Francisco


In Ryan Blitstein's May 3 feature "A Study in Size," we wrote that no new small schools opened last fall. Actually, the School of the Arts in Twin Peaks launched the Academy of Arts and Sciences, a school-within-a-school, with a 9th-grade class of about 100 students, in August. SF Weekly regrets the error.

Having absolutely nothing to do with Mercury being retrograde, a renegade lunar eclipse, or any other stew of heavenly omens, we mistakenly flip-flopped Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology columns for the past two weeks. Rob knows which week is which; we just had a small karmic conundrum. We sincerely hope that you can forgive us. We'll be back on track next week.


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