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How Many Joints Are Too Many?
It's on a weed-to-know basis: Dave Ferrell's article about marijuana reform was very interesting and informative ["Weed Takes Root," Feature, 1/6].

I do have a question, though: The author asserts that "someone smoking five joints a day probably has bigger problems than risk of cancer." Why is that?

Would this also apply to someone who drank beer daily, smoked cigarettes daily, or consumed a doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical daily? It seems that death would rank quite high as a concern for most self-aware creatures. Does marijuana eliminate any regard for your own life?

David Coveney

Waterloo, Iowa

Banishing Sexual Predators Doesn't Work
Stoking the flames of fear: I enjoyed reading Lauren Smiley's article, "Perverting Justice" [Feature, 12/30]. It was a courageous and fascinating piece on the irony of politicians' eagerness to pander to the fears of the public while simultaneously compounding the actual problem, which has its roots in mental health. 

As a father of two, I am as protective of my children as the next parent who doesn't want his children victimized. At the same time, Smiley's article makes it clear that attempting to dehumanize and banish sexual predators and offenders is not a solution. I am sure that there are plenty of folks who would like to see burning at the stake brought back as a fair and just punishment. Pragmatic treatment is likely to be cost-effective and more effective than the history of vilifying the mentally ill as subhuman.

 Ryan Johnson

San Francisco

Rec and Park Plays Hard, Works Hard, and Is Re-Creating
Grade A service: The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department remains committed to providing world-class public park spaces and exceptional recreational opportunities for our city's families ["The Worst-Run Big City in the U.S.," Benjamin Wachs and Joe Eskenazi, Feature, 12/16]. Our employees are working hard to improve our public image through accountability, reliability, and the effective management of our resources.

According to a report released last month by the City Controller's Office, our park scores improved for the fourth consecutive year, with 85 percent of our parks receiving an A or B grade. And — hot off the presses — our department just received an innovative management award from the California Parks and Recreation Society for our unprecedented and effective model for accountability and maintenance schedules.

Together, we are re-creating a Recreation and Park Department of which we can all be proud.

Philip Ginsburg

General Manager, San Francisco

Recreation and Park Department

Shedding Light on Public Sex
Less scoring, more goals: I'd like to respond to Alastair Bland's "Balls in the Wild" [Sucka Free City, 1/6]. I live about a block from the southwest corner of Golden Gate Park. I'm excited by the project, because our sons love soccer, and soon they'll have a world-class place to play in their own neighborhood. But I'm also excited because the improvements to a long-neglected corner of the park will invite increased positive use by families, athletic teams, and fans, which will in turn, I hope, discourage negative use.  

Our neighborhood's best-known secret is that the woods from the Murphy Windmill, extending north around the soccer fields and up to the Park Chalet and east up to roughly abreast of the Boat Park Playground, has for decades been an area where folks cruise for anonymous al fresco sex. This is a 24/7 proposition: Even on recent cold nights, a dozen or so cars are always parked along MLK, and shadowy figures furtively move in and out of the woods. On a warm night, there can be as many as 30 cars along those stretches. This sketchy clientele draws prostitutes, hustlers, pickpockets, and muggers into our community as well.

Bottom line: The southwest corner of the park is an unpleasant, occasionally dangerous area that most folks down here tend to avoid at any time of the day or night. While certain critics of the project may object to more lighting from the field and increased traffic from soccer fans, many of us feel a little more positive activity would be a welcome improvement. 

John Zwolinski

San Francisco


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