Letters

Temps and Temperability
Congrats on "Temporary Solidarity" (Dec. 4): It blows the lid off a million-dollar racket. It's about time the media shed some light on what it's like to be a temp worker. One is treated for the most part like a disposable appliance.

And this is without going into the times some of the agencies mislead or lie to you about assignments, or that "the client could send you home because you cut yourself shaving" (that's a quote from the head of an S.F. temp agency). Basically, as a temp you are the closest thing to an indentured servant, even in this most PC of cities in America.

Name Withheld

Dollars Make No Sense
I am writing to you in response to Phyllis Orrick and Susan Rasky's "Unspun" item, "Don't Buy It" (Dec. 4). Their glib rhetoric revealed such ignorance and yet was so dismissive that I have to respond.

This is the first year I have heard of the Planetary Buy Nothing Day, and I am intrigued. As your columnists seem to falsely and venomously believe, the point is not to "sacrifice Macy's clerks on the altar of Small Planet snobbery," but to give everyone, including the Macy's clerks, a respite from the compulsive materialism that seems to control our society increasingly. It is also an attempt to suggest that we all meditate on the idea of sustainability in a formal manner. Exactly on what basis is the Media Foundation guilty of Small Planet snobbery? And perhaps we could have an explanation of the charge of "yuppiecentric sanctimony about the evils of consumerism." Are Orrick and Rasky doing anything different?

The proposed holiday from buying is not without its problems. But if all of us learned to make the most of what we have, the Macy's clerks might find, as I have, that a day off, without spending, can facilitate the discovery of many wonderful things in life.

Tim Gallaher
Upper Haight

Insider's-Eye View
Regarding "The Press Behind Bars" ("Unspun," Nov. 27):
In the second paragraph, Phyllis Orrick and Susan Rasky warn the reader that they do not mean to encourage "celebrating violent felons or championing the causes of out-of-touch do-gooders." That statement feeds right into the same chilling stereotypes that make the work we do so much harder. Juxtaposing "violent felons" beside "causes of ... do-gooders" is just plain nasty. We "do-gooders" by no means "champion violent felons." We put them in the broader context of the system we spend our time challenging. As for being "out of touch," we are usually far more in touch with what's going on than the rest of the world. A prime example is the Corcoran situation. We have known about the horrors there for years.

Since the Consortium was formed in 1987, we conceived of and have argued vigorously for a revision of the prisoner classification process so that fewer prisoners are classified for more expensive and repressive maximum- and medium-security cells and that people convicted of lesser offenses be transferred to alternatives on the county level.

I hope these comments illuminate.
Naneen Karraker
Criminal Justice Con- sortium
Oakland

 
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