Letters

Cheesed Off
I was pleased to see Phyllis Orrick and Susan Rasky skewer Bozell Inc. for its laughable "calcium crisis" campaign, aimed at keeping college students weaned on cow's milk ("Say Cheese," Unspun, Feb. 26). They're quite right to note that a significant minority of Bay Area consumers recognize that milk is a "drug-laced, potentially disease-bearing, unnatural substance." Today more and more people are beginning to realize that milk is not a particularly good source of calcium either. Plants' high mineral density makes them superior as a calcium source.

Why Orrick and Rasky insist on branding the claim that "milk is for baby cows" extremist is hard to fathom. If cow's milk is not for baby cows, then who, exactly, is it for? Baby porpoises? Baby humans? Cow's milk, as nature designed it, contains all the protein and nutrients needed to grow a 50-pound calf into an animal that weighs in at over a ton. Perhaps the extremist moniker would be better applied to those who believe that it's normal to collect the mother's milk of another animal species and then drink it, daily.

Richard Ganis
Berkeley

Union Label
On behalf of the union employees of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, we wish to correct a misstatement in the article "The AIDS Civil War" (Feb. 19). In reference to the recent sticker campaign targeting the AIDS Foundation's executive director, writer George Cothran states, "The anti-[Pat] Christen campaign originated with a union dispute at the foundation." This is untrue. To associate union employees of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation with a hate campaign against our executive director belittles the important issues around which we organized, and the work we have done to improve our working conditions and the services we provide.

Julia Stout, David Robb, Margaret Robertson, Wayne Blankenship
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
SEIU Local 790 Stewards

George Cothran replies: The shop stewards erect a straw-man argument. They complain that I associated union employees at the AIDS Foundation with a hate campaign. I did nothing of the sort. If the shop stewards would have more carefully read the sentence they cite, they would have seen its unambiguous meaning: A general animosity against Pat Christen, and the moderate salary she makes, indeed originated in the union dispute. This animosity eventually was seized on by members of both S.F. chapters of ACT UP for their separate reasons. Nothing more was said or meant.

Road to Ruin
Matt Smith sure knows how to tell a good story ("Rural Renewal," Bay View, March 12), but he didn't get it even close to right. The redevelopment project that he cast as a "yuppies win over the dirt street aficionados" is the result of over 10 years of collaboration between neighbors and the city Planning Department. It all started when developers tried to bring in housing that would have seriously congested the area. So we protested. We couldn't stop the development of private property. It's America, after all. But we could have a say in how it would all look in the end. That, too, is America.

And, by the way, my 17-year-old son's 1980 BMW is not a black convertible. Purchased with money that he earned on his job, it's blue with a black primered hood (due to getting hit while parked outside his public high school) and a sunroof that leaks.

Leslie Simon
Bernal Heights

Little Man on Campus
The March 12 Mulch item "Seeing Red in Palo Alto" snidely remarked on the participation of Stanford students in a nationwide effort to end the U.S. News & World Report's college rankings. Your observation that colleges are "ripe for outside assessment" is a truism. The college students protesting U.S. News' rankings in fact encourage journalism that will help high school students select colleges. However, U.S. News' annual manipulations of its ranking criteria, done to make a horse race of higher education ("Ooo! This year Yale's No. 1!"), are little more than an attempt to sell copies. No one working to end the rankings would care very much about U.S. News' sensationalism, except there is very strong evidence that university administrators nationwide have changed academic policies in order to improve their rankings; at Stanford, fund-raising for student groups was re-engineered, not to increase giving, but in order to make Stanford's "alumni gifts" numbers improve.

None of this was clear in your write-up, where you implied that the U.S. News campaign objects to all investigative reporting on universities. You constructed a straw man (whom you called "Mark Thompson"; Vice President Thompson's first name is Nick), and then insisted that he was "unable to make distinctions" and was "engaged in opportunistic publicity campaigns." In light of the mediocre journalism evident in your write-up, I think those slurs are better aimed at the author of this piece of "Mulch."

Rudolph Delson
Palo Alto

Bill Wyman replies: I apologize for getting Nick Thompson's first name wrong.

Corrections
In a March 12 Mulch ("What Price Justice? Try $300,000 and Up ..."), the witness protection tab for the Cuong Tran murder case should have been described as an estimated total cost of $300,000, which it has not reached yet.

In a story about the group ACT UP San Francisco ("Men Behaving Viciously," March 19), Michael Bellefountaine was incorrectly listed among group members arrested in a 1995 incident at Republican Party headquarters. Also, AIDS researcher Tony Fauci's surname was misspelled in the same story.

SF Weekly regrets the errors.

 
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