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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Worries and Daycares

Why fund preschools when the womenfolk can stay home and raise the kids?: Matt Smith had a number of points listed on why the "meathead" preschool legislation was a good thing ["Believe It or Not!" June 7]. I could list a number of reasons why [the Prop. 82] legislation was absolutely horrible, but one comment he made particularly struck me. He wrote that his wife quit her job when they realized child care costs consumed more than she made.

I am the father of a 4-year-old son, and my wife quit her job for the same reason when he was born. However, despite the reduced income, I think looking back they will realize it is a real blessing that Smith's wife will raise their son instead of some stranger in day care. Nobody will care more about the best interests of their child than him or his wife.

Keep up the interesting articles.

Keith Wilson
San Francisco

You know you're in trouble when you look to Florida for legislative guidance: In his column, Matt Smith asserted that "No serious specialist in child development denies preschool helps children." Balderdash!

I earned a Ph.D. in human development across the lifespan and I state unequivocally that preschool does not help all children.

Parents are in the best position to determine what their children need. Parents — not journalists, or state employees, or even Ph.D.'s like me. Proposing a system that meaningfully enhances parents in their position as decision-makers for their child's well-being would have been a proposition worth supporting. Prop 82 was not such an item.

If they want one, Californians should look to Florida's voluntary pre-K program for guidance on how to build a state-funded pre-K program.

Rhonda Meyer
Phoenix, AZ

Book Smarts

And let's have one tiresomely opinionated newsweekly: I think Karen Zuercher missed an aspect of the Borders in S.F. — their apparent plans to squeeze Cody's with a new 20,000 sq. ft. store ["Bookstore Love," May 31].

This same squeeze technique is what the Bay Guardian complains about with respect to your weekly chain (Village Voice Media) as well as the daily papers' concern about the recent media monopoly consolidation.

Let's have only McDonald's at every street corner.

Kimo Crossman
San Francisco

West Portal Books: They too served: I read with interest and amusement Karen Zuercher's article on the travails of the various bookstores in and out of business, and am wondering why the two other stores on my street, Waldenbooks and Bookshop West Portal, are mentioned by name yet mine is the one she dares not name, but only alludes to? West Portal Books is not only easy to remember, it tells you all one needs to know about our location, Muni station stop, etc. Just curious ...

Jeffrey A. Goodman
Proprietor, West Portal Books
San Francisco

Free Birds

Dirty bird love: Indeed, the plight of pigeons is a sad one ["A Pigeon Noir," May 3]. All they do is clean up after us, and we shun them. They rid us of all the nasty burgers and fries we leave laying around that would hatch maggots and flies.

If you ever actually look at a pigeon, they are beautiful birds, iridescent in myriad colors, and clean, not dirty. Yes, inhaling quantities of dried pigeon poop can give you aspergillosis, but who the hell sniffs pigeon poop? And what about the carrier pigeons that saved so many lives in this country when getting messages across enemy lines wasn't possible? Who are the dirty ones? The ones who leave the mess, or the ones who clean it up? Good save on those baby pigeons! Gold stars to [Justin Farrar].

Jamie [last name withheld]
San Francisco

We'll Drink to That

Bouncer: Your source for curmudgeonry: I normally am too lazy/busy to take the time to write columnists, but I enjoyed this week's edition [Bouncer, May 24]. Partly because of my East Coast roots and partly because I knew there must be some curmudgeoning folks in S.F. out there. Good read. But what really prompted my e-mail is the "I've been to paradise but I've never been to me." Still wiping away the tears ...

Tripp Smith
San Francisco

We'll Drink to This, Too

The sweet and the lowdown: We read [Ryan Blitstein's] May 31 beverage review, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Hyphy," with interest. Unfortunately, the claim of Firefighter Brand that their beverages are "Haz-Mat Free" because they contain no high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may mislead readers to conclude that HFCS is an unsafe ingredient.

HFCS, like table sugar, is composed of fructose and glucose, which are found in many other naturally occurring foods. As noted by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996, "the saccharide composition (glucose to fructose ratio) of HFCS is approximately the same as that of honey, invert sugar, and the disaccharide sucrose (or table sugar)." HFCS is a safe, natural, nutritive sweetener. In 1983, the FDA listed HFCS as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (known as GRAS status) for use in food, and reaffirmed that ruling in 1996.

HFCS can be enjoyed as part of a safe and balanced diet. According to the American Dietetic Association, "Consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations ... as well as individual health goals."

Audrae Erickson
President, Corn Refiners Association
Washington, D.C.


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