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Ink on Linkup

Ready, aim, Firinn!: Lauren Smiley failed to address the obvious, central issue in her story about "Online Authority" [Dec. 12]: Why are more than 23,000 people using Linkup, and why is Linkup growing, especially in the Bay Area? The answer is simple: high-quality content, high-quality events, high-quality people. A quick glance at the Web site shows you this right away.

Smiley also misrepresented in a fundamental way how Linkup functions, and how Linkup was developed. The entire Linkup system was developed over four years through a series of open meetings in which anyone could present ideas for the service. Nearly all of the so-called "rules" are not mine at all, but were requested by Linkup members. All of the guidelines are also based on a fundamental issue: How can we all be encouraged to keep the commitments we make to each other? That's an important question, wouldn't you agree?

The wishes of thousands of people for a justifiably higher degree of confidence in each other are now embodied in the Linkup software, which for the most part runs automatically.

Of course I also must thank the Weekly, that revered publication, for all the personal attention you lavished on me, but the truth is that I'm irrelevant. Linkup will soon run without me, because it was designed from the very beginning to do so.

Reaching for new heights of responsible journalism, the Weekly also contributed a lovely uniform in the cover illustration of me, using the most hackneyed icon of the previous century. Thanks for the endearing getup, but anyone who actually knows me also knows I'm much more at home in tights and a tutu.


Firinn Taisdeal

Walnut Creek

Lauren Smiley responds: The fact that Linkup is growing at the slow and steady rate Taisdeal desires was indeed addressed in the article, along with the fact that most members want to stay in the group for its high-quality events. No matter how collaborative the rules-making process was with the Linkup membership, that doesn't change the fact that the majority of members interviewed expressed fear of being kicked off if they said anything that could be construed as negative about Taisdeal.

A fan of Firinn: What was missing from your article on Firinn Taisdeal is the positive impact Bay Area Linkup has had on those of us who value the organization and what it brings to our social lives. 

I moved to the Bay Area last January and found Linkup shortly thereafter. It has allowed me to meet many high quality individuals and do many things I wouldn't have known to do. I consider Linkup one of the best things that has happened to me since my move here, offering companionship and avoiding feeling alone and isolated in a new city. This is a volunteer organization and I'm here because I want to be. I've told many others about Linkup and believe it will continue to grow and thrive because of, not in spite, of its management.   

Lynn Sims

San Francisco

The war on flaking: This Fearme Tizzy guy, or whatever he changed his name to, sounds like a real piece of work. The thought of chilling with him over a couple raspberry mojitos at the trendspot du jour ranks down there with a root canal.

The guy has a huge point, though, and I slap his back for it. People these days are too flaky, period. They don't respond when you invite them, they don't show when they're supposed to, or show up late. Then when you call them on it, they either get all defensive or don't see any problem in their behavior. They'll sit in a restaurant at dinner checking their text messages or worse. The standards of social behavior have sunk to an all-time low, and this guy is willing to say ¡Ya basta! I wouldn't hang out with his clique, but I do raise a glass to his efforts to hold people to a standard, however archaic it may be. Plus the grace note about him splitting to get solar ovens to women in developing nations is too cool for words.

Andrew Haynes


Dying Elephants

S.F. Republican Party's identity crisis: The article on the Republican Alliance event was quite humorous, especially since I was present and vocal at the affair.

It may well be true that the Republican Alliance event and Gail Neira were not approved by the Republican Party Central Committee. By state law and Republican Party county and state bylaws, the Central Committee is the official body that is authorized to conduct activities that occur under the title or symbol of the name "Republican" in S.F. County, is it not? Can the central committee, after the fact, disassociate itself from disgraceful activities of an organization that calls itself Republican? Such a claim seems particularly disingenuous considering that the self-proclaimed leader of the rogue group is herself a member of the central committee and that there were in attendance at the affair other members of the Republican Party Central Committee as well as a well-known state Republican elected leader.

My question is: What does the title "Republican" mean in the city and county of San Francisco? Does the Republican Party Central Committee accept no responsibility for organizations and affairs that are conducted in its name?

If that is the case, it certainly does not conform to the Republican Party I knew and was devoted to in my younger years. To my mind, it is as much a disgrace for Christine Hughes and the Republican Party Central Committee as for their renegade member.

Gerald T. Cullen

San Francisco


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