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Hinckle the Stinker
Whatever talent Warren Hinckle may have had, he's loony now ("Hinckle, Hinckle, Little Star," Feb. 14). To help elect Willie Brown, he used his column in the Independent to write groundless attacks against Brown's opponents -- who ought to sue both him and the Independent. Hinckle's a stinker whom nobody believes, and his presence in an otherwise respectable newspaper is deeply offensive.

Celia Seligman
North Beach

Shame on Who?
This is in reply to Jesse S. Valencia (Letters, Feb. 14), who maintained that Lalo Alcaraz's cartoon ("How to Spot a Mexican Dad," La Cucaracha, Feb. 7) effectively attacked and demeaned the entire Mexican community through his use of stereotypes. In my opinion, the intent of the cartoon was not to belittle; on the contrary, it quite effectively illustrated the absurdity of stereotypes. In fact, I believe we need more people to publicly challenge stereotypes, for if there were no protests, then these demeaning images could quite possibly rest in many people's minds as truths. And that would be the shame.

Jennifer Barrios

Waterside Seats
I read Ed Myers' letter (Feb. 7) on the proposed ballpark ("$uicide $queeze?" Shafer, Jan. 24) with some amusement. I've lived in San Francisco for 2 1/2 years and am always amazed by the attitude of so many here that everything about San Francisco is completely unique and way cooler than the rest of the world. For some things, this is completely true, but for others, well ...

Let's take ballparks, for example. In Cleveland, the Browns play in Municipal Stadium, on the shore of Lake Erie. There is a land approach on only one side, although there is some parking, freeway access, and public transportation. The Browns can pull over 60,000 fans for a game, in this location, in freezing weather, even with a so-so team and a jerky owner who fired the hometown hero quarterback. Art Modell is taking the team to Baltimore. Baltimore is on the great big Chesapeake Bay. Camden Yards, where the Orioles play, is on the water. There is some parking and some freeway access because the park is close to downtown.

And, of course, I know full well what it is like to live in a neighborhood with a ballpark. I lived in Chicago for five years at Waveland and Pine Grove, right smack in Wrigleyville. That big blue thing to the east of Chicago on a map, by the way, is Lake Michigan -- even Midwestern cities can be on the water. Wrigley Field is about 10 blocks in from the lake. There is no real freeway access and absolutely no parking around the park; it is in the middle of a neighborhood. People live next door and across the street from Wrigley. There is excellent public transportation via both el and bus. Interestingly enough, Wrigleyville is also home to Chicago's gay community; residents find that the occasional influx of baseball fans is not enough to disrupt their lives -- although that lighted Goodyear blimp is a little loud when it's flying overhead.

Now, Wrigley holds few night games and no rock concerts. When the Cubs are out of town, the park often is taken over by film crews using it as a movie set. It is a thriving neighborhood with or without the park. There are numerous restaurants and bars nearby. Some are sports bars, others are more eclectic. You can get pad thai at Penny's Noodle Shop, hear a great band at the Cabaret Metro, go dancing in your underwear at the Man Hole, or sit and talk about how the Cubbies played while drinking plenty of Old Style at Sluggers. And you can do this after a game, or in deepest winter, or whenever.

I've seen the Giants play at Candlestick. It's a cavernous park that is downright miserable when the fog comes in -- almost as bad as when the Cubs play in the snow in early April. It's a hassle to get to the park from the city, and a bigger hassle to get home and find parking after a night game. There is nothing to do in the neighborhood before or after the game. I think that a downtown ballpark would be a great asset for San Francisco. More people could see a game without getting in the car. A neat ballpark makes the game more enjoyable (my parents, who live in Ohio, didn't realize how terrible Municipal Stadium was until they started going to Jacobs' Field), and a park close to where people live, work, and visit would make for a fun day, where they could watch the game and enjoy other things that the city has to offer.

And who knows? Maybe I'll even move from the Haight to the neighborhood with the park. My experience the last time was great; the blimp wasn't that annoying.

Ann Logue
Upper Haight

China Basin Syndrome
Your reality check "$uicide $queeze?" (Shafer, Jan. 24) was a respite from the "boosterish" media, indeed from even my own personal enthusiasm for the China Basin ballpark.

That "China Basin will put demands on the team's treasury that could result in the trading of expensive players like Bonds" would actually be the best public relations that money couldn't buy: elimination of prima donnas, of whom Americans are increasingly intolerant.

Barry Bonds, for example, whines and bad-mouths his fans one moment, then panders to all America by selling autographs on QVC the next. Will I pay to watch the likes of him play? Guess.

Virginia Newhall

Liberal Letdown
I was extremely interested to learn of the Bay Area's contributions to the FCC complaint box ("Bitch, Bitch, Bitch," Feb. 7).

I was shocked to realize that much of the right-wing rhetoric we liberals detest is being spouted by our own! Finger-pointing, name-calling, and admonitions to bureaucrats to better regulate our airwaves are things I attribute to conservatives.

Asking for censorship of anyone's free speech, even those who spew the Republican agenda, is still censorship -- and censorship is against the fundamentals of liberal beliefs.

Monica Nulty
Upper Haight

I object to your cartoonist Derf's contention that women are incapable of making good toast (The City, Feb. 7). I am a woman, and I have been making excellent toast since I was a little girl. I used to put mayonnaise on it back then, until I realized how disgusting it was. Now I use crunchy peanut butter. I always get the toast just the right shade of tannish brown, and for your information, Mr. Man, if you put the spread on the instant the toast pops up, the steam will make it stick to the plate. What kind of heavenly snack sticks to the plate?! And another thing, I know plenty of women who can only make toast.

Jen Owen
Noe Valley


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