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Of Tabloids and Top Ramen
Regarding "Musical Trios" (Samples, Feb. 7) about Dave Ellis and Charlie Hunter: We were both astounded to see our names associated with a fictitious tabloid account of recent events concerning the Charlie Hunter Quartet. It seems Paul Tullis missed the boat on the O.J. trial and the Pam Anderson pregnancy. If we ever knew we were worthy of such instant celebrity status, we wouldn't have practiced our instruments for 20 years or had to eat all that Top Ramen!

There are no secrets here. We have been very fortunate to scratch out a living making great music together for three years. The time has come to do something new, and it's a positive thing for both of us. We hope that what your readers would like to hear is that there will be even more music to enjoy!

Charlie Hunter and Dave Ellis
(The tyrannical bandleader and bitter sideman)

Spot This
I take extreme offense to the caricature depicted in Lalo Alcaraz's La Cucaracha in your Feb. 7 edition. The cartoon titled "How to Spot a Mexican Dad" is in bad taste. It is obvious that Alcaraz knows absolutely nothing about Mexicans or Mexican culture. For someone of his limited talent to draw a cartoon that includes nothing but racial and ethnic stereotypes of the Mexican/Latino father is beyond belief.

I draw your attention to the quotes expressed in this cartoon:
"La Cucaracha's guide for Chicanos who aren't quite sure what the hell they are." Mexicans are proud to be Mexicans and do not refer to themselves as Chicanos. And as for not knowing quite sure who we are, I suggest Alcaraz do some soul-searching before he points the finger at anyone, or draws any person in a negative light.

"I'm getting El Cinturon," or "I'm getting the belt," suggests that Mexican/Latino fathers are violent; this has not been my experience. In my household, my father was "El Protector," the protector, not "El Macho."

"Work khakis choloish son will inherit." Cholo is Spanish slang for gang affiliation.

The Mexicans/Latinos have in the past, are presently, and will continue to be a proud race of people who have contributed greatly to Mexico, the United States, and the world at large.

I strongly suggest that Alcaraz avail himself of some Latino biculturalism, to include Latino history, especially the role of the Mexican/Latino male, and he will soon see that cartoons only act to further alienate one group from another. What is needed by the Mexican/Latino community is positive images, not bad cartoons.

Jesse S. Valencia

An Independent Analysis
I must respond to the shamelessly biased story about Ted Fang and the Independent ("Blowing Smoke, Breathing Fire," Jan. 31). As a three-year employee of the Independent, I can tell you that your portrayal of the Fang family and the Independent is completely one-sided and improper.

Nowhere in his story did reporter George Cothran talk to neighborhood leaders or minority activists who have often said the Independent is the only affordable source for local coverage that they can find, and the only one delivered free to their homes.

In addition, I take great exception to your description of the three-part series that I co-wrote about former district attorney candidate Bill Fazio. As Cothran correctly stated, I did refuse to comment on specifics in the series. But what Cothran failed to print was that I refused to comment after he asked me a number of obviously biased questions and attempted to engage me in an argument over the series, instead of asking straight questions and letting me answer.

Anyone in journalism will tell you that there is a difference between asking a fair question and picking a fight. Apparently Cothran does not know the difference. His questioning was so obviously aimed at smearing the series that I chose not to answer.

As a reporter with nearly eight years of experience, I have always prided myself on getting both sides of a story and writing a fair account, no matter what my personal views have been about a particular issue. I would hope that SF Weekly would feel the same way. Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case.

Joe Strupp
San Francisco Independent

Powers That Be
Thank you for your article on the Fang family ("Blowing Smoke, Breathing Fire"). Though it was certainly critical, I found it informative and quite dispassionate.

Perhaps there is some truth to Ted Fang's claim that the Fangs are unfairly criticized for being of Chinese ancestry. Perhaps the scions of the Hallinan and the Shelley dynasties could stand further investigation. Perhaps the Fangs wield their power with more brazen disregard for what people outside their camp might think. Either way, it seems to me that until now they have been running a lot of the political show in this town without much scrutiny at all.

The Fang family's arrogant disregard for election laws, James Fang's lies on his rŽsumŽ, and the cynical warping of the initiative process to benefit the Independent deserve much more press than they've received. I, for one, do not believe that politics and power are so amoral as to allow such behavior to be dismissed as status quo. Florence Fang's chair-throwing episode tells a story about what she feels is an appropriate way to settle a difference of opinion.

Please continue writing similarly about this and any other "politically powerful" family that operates in such a fashion.

Christopher Schardt

Free Press Freebie
Regarding George Cothran's story on the Fangs and Ted in particular ("Blowing Smoke, Breathing Fire"): I can't say I dispute Cothran's reporting, as I am not that familiar with the facts. I can speak from personal experience, however, regarding Ted Fang.

Ted Fang granted me credit when I was struggling to publish the Haight Ashbury Free Press. Without it, we wouldn't have been able to publish. When we ceased print publishing (we still publish on the World Wide Web), we owed Grant Printing approximately $2,500. Although Ted could have sued me and easily walked away with a judgment, he never did. In fact he never bothered me at all. Either that was quite an act of graciousness or the biggest accounting blunder I've ever seen.

Ted Fang doesn't owe me anything. As a matter of a fact, I've generally been a pain in the ass to him -- making his pressman work overtime to do special jobs and complicated techniques, which he hasn't charged me extra for, or barely; printing overruns at minimal profit; and so forth. Then letting me slide on a large debt.

Obviously, Ted Fang grants slack to little people as well as big people. And you can bet he's never gonna get anything in return from me -- except probably a lingering headache.

David Hoffman, Editor & Publisher
Haight Ashbury Free Press

In "Acting Like Directors" (Aisle Seat, Feb. 7), an editing error resulted in a misquotation of Frances Lee McCain. She said, "I'm relieved when the show finally goes up, because at that point we've learned all we can without the participation of an audience." [Emphasis added.]


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