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Letters to the Editor 

Week of 4-4-2007

The Mother Complex

Unswayed in L.A.: I am really annoyed by Jennifer Maerz's column about the Mother Hips. Her cheap shots to Hips fans were uncalled for. I mean, say what you want about the album! That's the point of a review, right? But what the hell is she doing here? Don't judge me and their other fans! What is this? She obviously has issues.

By the way, I drive a Cherokee! And I don't smoke pot! And I sure as hell don't sway! Thanks for your time.

Amy [last name withheld]

Los Angeles

Blocked Signals

Radio, ranting, reality check: Regarding "Making (Radio) Waves," [March 28]: Matt Smith writes that there's no scientific evidence of negative health effects caused by the low-power signals from microwave ovens, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, and cellular phones. Yet in what seems like a misguided attempt at journalistic balance, Mr. Smith provides a forum for the pseudo-scientific rantings of a man who fears that "radio waves would strike sleeping babies."

There is simply no equivalence between the two sides, and it is precisely this lack of respect for judicious scientific study that allows people to deny the existence of global warming and foist creationism on our public schools. We would all be best-served if Mr. Smith focused on reality.

Gabriel Desjardins

San Francisco

Who doesn't like free beer?: Matt Smith's sophomoric piece makes Doug Loranger into Jack the Giant Killer, when his real target seems to be Mayor Gavin Newsom for "not providing free beer on a hot day" — Smith's way of describing the S.F. Wi-Fi project. Quite apart from an awkwardly mixed metaphor, Smith has missed the point that Loranger and his like-minded colleagues have been trying to make for years: that in the face of unknown impacts of new technology, the city should invoke the Precautionary Principle before blandly giving away the store — in this case, blanket approval to the schemes of businesspeople whose principal goal is to make tons of money and damn the potential risks. On top of that, Smith is simply wrong that even low-level microwave radiation à la cellphones and related technologies have no biological effects. But hey, who can blame him for getting cranky when he can't get his free beer on a hot day?

Mark Zier

San Francisco

Well, Fey, we are hiring: Matt Smith manages to make the free Wi-Fi debate seem like a battle of public personalities, rather than an issue that deserves research and focused thought. If he could motivate himself to perhaps do a bit of work, could he possibly make an article on this subject worth the read?

He couldn't conceive of any creative questions, or even any obvious questions (perhaps he worries someone might think him stupid)?

Well, I'm not worried about seeming stupid: I heard the free Wi-Fi will require something like 30 antennae per square mile. Please figure the average estimated output of one of these antennae (in watts). I understand there is a fiber-optic network underground, with tens of unused channels; is that exclusively owned by Comcast? Is it possible for the city to use or rent these channels for a public network? Could the city have worked something like that out in the franchise deal?

I've got a zillion more questions, but I don't get paid to ask them.

Fey Adelstein

San Francisco

Dread Scott

SoMa woes: What's Frances Reade got against Kemble Scott? It's clear from her interview that she didn't find anything in his debut novel, SoMa, appealing, and her obvious dislike for him came through as well. Maybe that's why every sentence in her profile is an overt attack at a debut author who has done a lot for the literary community. Anyone who has visited (SoMa Literary Review started by Kemble Scott several years ago) can trust that they will always find plenty of entertaining reads. More to the point, though, if SoMa is really as bad as Ms. Reade states, how did the book make it to the fourth position on the best-seller list? Perhaps because there are many of us living in San Francisco (and probably more of those outside of the city in various places near and far) who don't know anything about the goings on in different city neighborhoods that never make the light of day? Unlike Ms. Reade, I very much enjoyed Kemble's tour of the seedy South of Market underground. In sum, Kemble Scott got more than the carpeting right.

Thorsten Raab

San Francisco

St. Katy

Our Bouncer, a civic treasure: Katy St. Clair's Bouncer column is the main reason why I read SF Weekly both online and in print.

Don't get me wrong: SF Weekly is good for local news and in-depth features, but St. Clair knows how to really capture S.F. locals' imagination and sum up the city nightlife and bar scene in a way that is creative, witty, entertaining, and sometimes poignant. I look forward to something new from her every week. Tell her to keep up the great work! (And no, I'm not a personal friend or relative of hers.)

Dave [last name withheld]

San Francisco


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