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Peers' Sneer
The article on Muni's Key Stop ramps at 30th and Church streets in your March 5 issue ("Willie's Railroad Job," The Grid) warrants a response. This is not a rebuttal since that would imply that facts were actually present in the article.

George Cothran and Chuck Finnie omit the fact that over 350 residents attended a meeting to let Mayor Brown know that there is a location for these ramps that actually provides better access for the disabled and is better for our neighborhood. We also wanted to inform the mayor that Muni has chosen to ignore this solution. It is the unity among residents, merchants, and the two main institutions in this neighborhood, St. Paul's Church and the 30th Street Senior Center, that finally forced the Mayor's Office to respond.

I take great comfort that Rob Morse condemned the article in his Examiner column on Thursday, March 6, and that Bernie Ward also felt compelled to criticize SF Weekly on his radio show. When your peers in the media call your article "pathetic," it carries weight with the public. This Noe Valley neighborhood knows the truth.

Tom Maravilla
Noe Valley

How Green Is Their Valley
George Cothran and Chuck Finnie's article on the Noe Valley Muni ramps ("Willie's Railroad Job," The Grid) is a painfully simplistic and knee-jerk overview of a complex neighborhood issue.

While they may disagree, the benefits of placing ramps on 30th Street rather than Church Street are significant. Yes, it's more expensive, but what Muni saves now, our neighborhood pays for later in the slow erosion of a viable, safe business district.

Their assertion that Upper Noe Valley is receiving special treatment from City Hall is way off target. To the contrary, for more than two years, merchants pleaded with Muni to revise its giant ramps. Muni refused to listen.

I commend Mayor Brown for taking a second look at the problem, one that he inherited. Finally, I object to their downtown term "businessmen" to describe our merchants. They are sole proprietors, most are immigrants, nearly half are women.

I don't see the cynical, political angles they assert. I just see a neighborhood that needs some help.

Dave Monks, President
Noe Valley Democratic Club

Stern Stuffed
Robert Wilonsky's article on Howard Stern ("Taking Howard Stern Seriously," March 5) states that Stern has spent his time "figuring out how to say racist things without being a racist himself." If it smells like a duck, if it walks like a duck, it ain't chicken.

Wilonsky also naively indicates that many of those who write Stern off as a bigot have never heard his show: Wrong again.

Several years ago Rush Limbaugh made neo-conservatism/racism popular by appearing as just a regular (white) guy who could "tell it like it is." Stern has done much the same thing by putting an everyman face on bigotry. His audience is made up of primarily white men in the 18-35 category who keep insisting that this stuff is funny. He's made it OK to be a racist. What's next, a movie about what a softy O.J. really is?

Thank you, Mr. Stern, for cementing our international reputation as Redneck Nation.

Lisa Fraser


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