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Letters to the Editor 

Week of 5-2-2007

Unnatural Births

Et tu, St. Luke?: This letter is in regard to your article "No Hail Caesarean," [April 25]. I found this article refreshing and enjoyed reading it. It gave voice to the pregnant mothers who believed in their bodies, while providing some history and context on the evolution of vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC ) at St. Luke's: from a time when VBACs were encouraged by doctors, to the current trend with C-section as the delivery method of choice in many hospitals.

As a nurse midwifery student at UCSF, as well as an avid learner of various natural birth approaches/strategies, I acknowledge that I am biased and support vaginal delivery as the optimal option for mother and child. That said, I do recognize medical interventions are important and can be life-saving. The challenge is seeing these interventions, such as C-sections, abused for motives that can seem questionable and/or are debated by the family.

Thank you for bringing these issues to light while providing the reader information on the merger between St. Luke's and California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) through the voices of the individuals who are involved and affected.

Haguerenesh Woldeyohannes

San Francisco

Portrait of the Artist

Incredible indeed: Speaking as an art collector, I think your article about Matt Gonzalez ["Lost & Found," April 25] so misses the point. While Matt may not be the next Picasso (but don't count him out), he has made himself of art. Matt has created himself; the fact that you write about him reinforces this point. A real artist is much more than paint and a canvas, a real artist creates an incredible life, and like it or not Matt is creating an incredible life. While you try to make room for struggling artists, real artists continue to create an incredible life.

William Gilmartin

San Mateo

Stern Words

The sad state of the union: Re "Union Disunity," [April 11] by Matt Smith: It is terrible that SEIU International President Andy Stern would want to sell out workers' interests in order get more members. I don't know why anyone would want to join a union and not have any voice regarding their working conditions. United Health Care Workers President Sal Roselli must fight Stern's plans, or decertify his local from SEIU.

I happen to be a former member of SEIU Local 87, the San Francisco janitors union. In 1998 an office building where I had a terrific day position became vacant. After working 18 years as a custodian, I lost all of my seniority and had to go to the union's hiring hall two or three hours before a night shift started to obtain dispatches, in order to get work. I received no represention from Local 87, which was terribly mismanaged. I wrote Andy Stern, who wrote me back a two-sentence letter stating that he was investigating my problem with Local 87 and that he would get back to me "as soon as possible." I'm being sarcastic, but I am still waiting for Stern's further reply.

Walter Ballin

San Francisco

Laguna blues: Thank you for your article, "Union Disunity" [April 11]. It's the first media piece I've seen to expose what really happened between SEIU and nursing homes and, more importantly, what it really means. Those of us advocating for better quality nursing home care, which of course includes better wages, benefits, and treatment of those caring for our most vulnerable, feel shortchanged to say the least. We will continue to fight for better quality, especially in the wake of the horrendous stories coming out of Laguna Honda, but we have an uphill battle.

Sherrie Matza

San Francisco


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