Letters

Bad for Business
Having been quoted extensively in "What's Killing Hip Hop" (April 5), I need to make a few clarifications. The Trocadero banned hip-hop concerts and radio-sponsored dance events but not the music itself. We have in the past two and a half years hosted about a dozen college hip-hop dance parties along with the Def Jam/Ral Phat Pac Showcase in May 1994 during Gavin week.

The decision was based on one primary factor. Having your customers shot, stabbed or beaten up is bad for business. The implication that racism or pressure from the SFPD influences the booking of this club is ridiculous. No amount of potential profits are worth my staff or customers getting hurt. Unfortunately, any time I get a proposal from a hip-hop event, I have to factor in the potential for violence -- a risk that at least I am not willing to take.

The example of a double standard (the March 5 Fear concert) is ridiculous. On March 5, the SFPD did respond to the disturbance. Nobody was hurt. Fear and the Troc produced a second date for free, out of an obligation to ticket holders. The makeup show happened without incident and everyone walked away happy.

The emperor has no clothes. There is no smoking gun. This is a perfect example of a headline writing an article. Greedy promoters? Racist cops? Chicken-shit club owners? What's killing hip hop is the violence and the liability involved with producing these events. Next time get your reporters to go to a hip-hop event in East Palo Alto or Richmond instead of hanging out at the Du Nord or copping free tickets to Digable Planets. Local rap artists and ex-promoters are very quotable but not terribly balanced sources of information.

In closing: 1) The DNA show was canceled because Priority pasted promotional fliers of dead S.F. police officers around SoMa. In defense of Captain Yalon: If somebody took a shit on my doorstep, I'd be pretty pissed off, too.

2) If there is any racism inherent in the article, it's from the reporters pandering to fears of racism.

3) Booking procedures at local clubs have everything to do with money and little to do with racism.

4) SF Weekly is well on its way to becoming a laughingstock locally with its editorial content. From the Linda McCartney vegetarian exposŽ to the infamous mortuary article, you have to dig a little deeper and try a little harder. Reputations are almost always impossible to restore once they are tarnished. Good luck.

George Lazaneo
General Manager, Trocadero Transfer
San Francisco

George Cothran and Sia Michel respond: Lazaneo asserts that the Trocadero Transfer's ban on hip hop has not precluded it from hosting a May 1994 showcase during Gavin week. What Lazaneo doesn't say in his letter, and what he told us, was that the event was a private party for a corporation. Moreover, Lazaneo writes that the club has also held a dozen college hip-hop dance parties in the last two and a half years. In the two interviews we conducted with him, however, Lazaneo said he held no hip-hop events whatsoever and mentioned nothing about the college parties. Our notes read, "It's a total ban on rap and hip hop. We sometimes play hip hop as part of an alternative rock [DJ] format. But it's not a predominant theme in those events." Finally, Lazaneo suggests that we inaccurately reported that the police did not respond to violence at a punk show last month. We reported nothing of the sort. What we did write was that police "turned a blind eye" to the incident. We stand by this character-ization. While the police sent squad cars to the event, they did not react in the same way that they react to violence at rap shows.

Raptor Rap
So what's the point, here? It's not okay to allow birds to be killed by wind turbines ("Whirly Birds," March 29). You have devoted five pages to a mushy article on windmills that have killed "567 birds of prey over two years." That's less than one raptor a day.

I submit that you should be devoting at least the same amount of space to an article on the approximately 56 million pet cats -- which kill 4.5 million songbirds per day in this country. These cats have a far greater impact on the population of songbirds than wind turbines have on the 39 golden eagles, and 528 other raptors, including an occasional bald eagle. (I was not aware that there were enough fish in the Altamont Pass to even attract bald eagles -- let alone have enough present to kill an occasional one. Especially as the turbines often do not spin during the winter, when there are some wintering bald eagles in the state.)

Or, you could perhaps take on the power companies whose (stationary) transmission towers kill far more birds when the birds crash into them than Altamont's windmills ever do. Not to mention the number of birds who perish by electrocution when they inappropriately contact the power lines.

Dare I say it? This time you are tilting at the wrong windmill.
Arthur Taber
San Francisco

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