Dog Bites

The Check Isn't in the Mail
You work hard and do your job well, but your boss never pays you on time. He tells you to borrow money. He gives you additional work. He won't have money to pay you when you're finished. Would you work for this man?

Brian Cross does. Cross, the director of the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center, contracts with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to provide AIDS services to the homeless. "The city is always three to four months behind in its payments," Cross says. "If what you're doing is providing services to poor people on the street, how do they expect you to get by?"

Talitha Marty, director of Bridge for Kids, a Haight-Ashbury-based program for children with AIDS, asks the same question. Marty has waited as long as four months to be paid by the city.

"I wonder if the city would speed up the process if they knew direct services were really in jeopardy," she says.

Cross, Marty, and dozens of other health care providers say an intractable bureaucracy is responsible for the delays imposed on AIDS programs. "Everything is always behind," acknowledges Galen Leyoung, director of the Public Health Department's Contract Management and Compliance Office. "There's usually a two-month lag between the billing and the payment."

Leyoung advises programs to apply for lines of credit to cover the delays, but Jim Illig, chairman of the HIV Contractor's Association, argues that loans increasingly waste scarce resources. "If Willie Brown really wanted to do something and save money," Illig says, "he would take what is being lost on lines of credit and see those dollars get back into services."

More Static for the Electronic Library
The New Main Library may advertise itself as a high-tech trendsetter -- offering as much information on-line as it stocks on the shelves -- but a recent review of the library's personal computers reveals that half aren't even operational. While nearly all of the library's on-line catalog terminals are up and running, none of the workstations designed for patrons with disabilities is functional. In addition, about a dozen PCs offering full Internet access are festooned with "Out of Order" signs.

City Librarian Ken Dowlin explains that he's still waiting for software to run computers that satisfy Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. Software needs to be loaded on several CD-ROM computers as well. The other downed hardware may be explained by the short time frame the technical staff had to fire up the system.

"We're still in the learning mode," Dowlin says. "We planned to have six weeks to install the computer system, and we ended up doing it in two weeks. We may have missed a wire here and there."

Dowlin says the 10,000 daily visitors flooding into the New Main are three times the volume at the old library, and the crowds are hampering efforts at trouble-shooting. Asked when the computer system would be fully operational, Dowlin chuckles before answering, "We don't really know right now. How about Christmas?"

The Best of Times
Was it the item on the drought in Beaver, Okla., or the profile of the Environmental Rangers that convicted felon the Rev. Sun Myung Moon wanted us to see so badly?

At press time, a reportedly nervous man darted into the offices of SF Weekly. Under his arm he carried a stack of national weekly editions of the Washington Times, which is owned by followers of Moon's Unification Church. Looking around carefully, as though afraid to be seen, the mysterious deliveryman darted over to the SF Weekly newsrack, filled the bottom with his booty, and ran out. We wonder ... does it read better when you sneak?

By Malcolm Garcia, Gordon Young, Lisa Davis

 
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