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Gone, But Not Forgotten
What an amazing article! "Runaway Train" (Sept. 13) answered a lot of questions and provided insight on the plight of street kids without making a judgment. That I consider a true journalistic feat. Your writing was true and heartfelt.

As a West Virginian who has just recently moved to the Haight, I am literally bombarded by other "Tricias" as I walk down the street. It's sad and bewildering. I always wonder what happened to them -- kids only a few years younger than I -- to make them so hopeless, so aimless, so dogged.

Tricia's story moved me. I don't think I'll ever feel the same as I walk down the street.

Julie Sims
San Francisco

Hapless Child, Tragic End
I'm writing to express my sincere appreciation for Sia Michel's excellent cover story "Runaway Train" (Sept. 13).

Like most people, I was puzzled and dismayed by the story of Tricia Sullivan's death when it first hit the papers some months back. And subsequent reporting in our local media did little to lift the veil of confusion surrounding the bizarre aftermath. Through it all, one always returned to the same fundamental question: Through what strange web of fate and circumstance could a hapless child come to such a tragic end?

Michel's thoroughly researched, well-written, and evenhanded presentation of the circumstances surrounding Sullivan's strange journey puts the Chronicle and Examiner to shame. Although I'm still not sure what lesson is ultimately to be learned from this sad story, I'm absolutely certain that it needed to be told. And I can't imagine anyone telling it better.

Kenneth Overholt
San Francisco

Fishy Business
About Willie Brown's accomplishments ("Achtenberg's Third Act," Aug. 30): He sure has gotten a lot done. For instance, he got the state Legislature to pass a law giving the city's Steinhart Aquarium some $150,000. Why? So they'd stop their arguments against Pier 39's underwater aquarium. That aquarium is currently under construction; Willie Brown remains Pier 39's lawyer.

Business as usual for Brown means big business, big accomplishments.
I'm voting for Roberta Achtenberg.
John D. Dolan
San Francisco

A League of Her Own
As a San Francisco taxpayer, I can answer Roberta Achtenberg's question about who says Willie Brown gets things done ("Achtenberg's Third Act," Aug. 30).

Speaker Emeritus Brown's Assembly Bill 1313 was the basis for the tax investment credit portion of Senate Bill 671. He was responsible for legislation that ended San Francisco's 1.25 percent sales tax increase on June 30, 1993. And he brought more business and new jobs to California by creating the California World Trade Commission and encouraging overseas firms to locate in the state.

Achtenberg is out of her league. I'm voting for Willie Brown.
David A. Lara
San Francisco

Locked Out?
According to Ellen McGarrahan in "The Last Homeless Story" (Bay View, Sept. 13), $56 million was spent by the city and another $23.8 million by other agencies that help the homeless in 1993-94. Of this $80 million, only $1 million was spent on the one thing that makes the homeless people different from you and me -- homes.

Out by Baker Beach along Lincoln Boulevard are about 500 housing units standing empty. They are on the Presidio, and weeds are starting to grow up around them. A federal law says that excess federal housing will be turned over to the homeless first.

Here is an ideal opportunity for the mayor (the current one or the next) or someone else with political clout and leadership to strike a deal to move homeless people into this vacant housing and off the street.

As it is, you have a bunch of homeless people in Golden Gate Park about 10 blocks away causing taxpaying citizens a lot of anxiety. And you have a huge housing stock standing empty and going to seed on the Presidio. One has to wonder why the two cannot be brought together for resolution.

Mike Burns

In "The Longest Shot" (Bay View, Sept. 20), mayoral candidate Joel Ventresca's alma mater was misidentified. It is San Francisco University.


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