There is one element of Davis' comparison which seems inadvertently misleading, having to do with relative costs. With the dog, one should also consider feeding, possible obedience or protection training, and veterinary examination/treatment fees. As for the pistol, most quality handguns purchased legally begin at $300 or so and go up from there. For a fine piece like the Colt .45 pistol illustrated, figure on a minimum of "$500, plus $14 fee." To that, one should also add the costs of marksmanship training and practice ammunition, since a firearm is not a magic talisman which confers protection by its mere presence in a night-stand drawer -- even though most of the (up to 4 million) defensive uses of firearms annually in the United States do not involve shots actually being fired.
As a friend of ours who is a Berkeley police officer told us recently, many people today don't want to take responsibility for their own lives; and as a result, she has a job. Her own recommendations for personal protection are: a dog and a gun.
Dale and Teri Seago
My God, Phyllis Orrick, are you bitter or what? Your extremely emotional article I assume was supposed to be a review of Angela Alioto's new book ("Execrable Behavior," Unspun, April 9).
Instead, it was mostly a hysterical diatribe against Jane Ganahl. Your issues with Ganahl appear to be personally motivated and something that needs to be dealt with between the two of you, not in print.
Your issues with Angela Alioto, and her book, should be between you and your therapist.
To attack the entire book as "sloppy in thinking and execution" because of a misspelled word on the dust cover is absurd.
Split some hairs, why don't you?
Additionally, the quote from Kandace Bender was made while she was the political editor for the Examiner. Bender's quote was featured in an article she wrote regarding the '95 mayoral debates, and Angela's contributions to those debates. To try to construe that Bender is now an enemy of Angela's is a bit far-fetched and delusional on your part.
I have worked with Angela Alioto for over four years, primarily as one of her aides during her time on the Board of Supervisors. I take great exception to your unfounded comment that the book is "whining revisionism." Perhaps if you read the book ....
Finally, it's interesting how you selectively used part of Patricia Holt's review to belittle Angela. Funny how you failed to mention that Holt also stated, "Yet every time Alioto generalizes ... she launches into an enlightened, hard-hitting examination of politics-as-usual." Perhaps if you read the entire review ....
You belittle yourself, your publication, and your readers by using your column to vent whatever anger you hold against Angela Alioto and Jane Ganahl.
Objectivity appears to be missing from your column, while pettiness runs rampant. It would seem your attack on Jane Ganahl is a bit like the kettle calling the pot black.
The Wheel Keeps Turning
After reading your article about Jerry Roberts' and Linda Kiefer's heinous treatment of their neighbors the Chans ("Un-Welcome to Mr. Roberts' Neighborhood," April 9), I find myself appalled and nauseated. If only 1 percent of your article is near the truth, it is clear that Roberts/Kiefer have subjected the Chans to something akin to a brutal beating and a salting of the wounds.
Kiefer shows her true colors by mercilessly delaying the Chans' home-building efforts every step of the way, and most of it after the individual steps were a done deal.
And Roberts is a spineless powermonger who unethically uses his influence with the "right people" to harass and torment the Chans to their wits' end. I couldn't believe that they got a new law drafted specifically to prevent the Chans from finishing their building plans. A one-off ad-hoc law! And this was after the Chans had already revised their plans twice and spent a huge sum of money to try to appease the evil brutes.
Roberts' neighbor William Wara also reveals himself to be a toady. All the involved politicians and Planning Commission big shots should be ashamed of themselves. They have betrayed the public trust in favor of special favors and kickbacks to their fellow cronies. Such horrible karma cannot be kept at bay for long, and they will reap the whirlwind soon enough.
Literary Sitting Ducks
I feel compelled to write you about the story you published about the San Francisco Literary Society ("Bankers Book Bucks," Bay View, April 2). Those of us who extended the courtesy of talking to your reporter Matt Smith were shocked and baffled by the huge divergence between what was said and what was written. It was as if a pitifully narrow and negative mind became a badly warped and muddied lens which distorted everything seen and heard into a maladroit parody.
As I told Smith on the phone, I was a young journalist well before he was born, and we were taught to "get it first, but first get it right," and by all means to set aside any personal bias. I further told him that the arrogance and cynicism in the piece was exceeded only by the obvious lack of understanding and fair play. If journalism's role is to inform and enlighten, this story has failed to do so in every way.
I am very sorry to have been one of several members who welcomed your reporter with openness and courtesy, and I am surprised that you published such a slanted piece -- suitable at best for the level of a supermarket tabloid.
Dr. Erich A. Helfert
It must be said that your paper is so infinitely better than the Bay Guardian, it borders on sadness. Each week, I pick up both papers and am astounded at the rantings and ravings of the editors at the Guardian. They are against every project brought up. If people don't like growth and development, why do they live here? People like this think that since they live here, they can now espouse a no-growth mentality and keep everyone else out.
In contrast, SF Weekly has improved so much in the past year, it is amazing. Your recent cover story on the Chans ("Un-Welcome to Mr. Roberts' Neighborhood," April 9) and their struggle to build a house for their son was great.
Secondly, I need to comment on a letter to the editor complaining that your writers denigrated the Noe Valley merchants by calling them names ("Weenie Roast," Letters, April 9). Again, your paper has shown the common sense that is lacking at that other weekly paper.
It is due to people like these that hardly any project can ever get off the ground in San Francisco. The city that knows how? It may have been true years ago, but with these naysayers now, I think not.
An Offer We Can Refuse
While I was really pleased to see that one of your reviewers found out about Sukpatch's Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass LP, the review itself (Recordings, April 2) really pissed me off. How much did Jeff Stark get paid for that drivel? He spends the first two (long) 'graphs setting the review up with a comparison between the undeserved obscurity of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Van Gogh. He then carries the point into Sukpatch and rock 'n' roll. He wonders how a talented artist in such a commercial medium can suffer an indifference equal to "the French painter." What fucking French painter? Basquiat was Haitian-American, and Van Gogh Dutch. Do you guys employ copy editors for your Recordings section?
But on to the review itself. Aside from a fairly astute comparison with Beck, the guy knows nothing about Sukpatch. He even states that the facts are sparse. Well, did he even bother to write to Slabco (their label)? It seems he would have mentioned it if he did, given the other filler he included in his lame-ass review. How about the obvious Jesus and Mary Chain influence? Why wasn't that included? Also, why isn't there a critique of at least one or two individual songs in the review?
To review for you guys does one simply need to discover a cool band, and not bother about writing ability? Sukpatch is some of the best shit I've heard in months. They deserve better. If you guys need a stringer or another free-lance reviewer, you know where to find me.
Kenneth J. Kohlmyer
Jeff Stark replies: Kohlmyer's right on one point: Van Gogh was Dutch. My apologies.
An editing error skewed the meaning in the last sentence of Carol Lloyd's review of the play Skyscraper ("Desk Job," Stage, April 16): She was referring to "casual hypocrisy," not "causal hypocrisy.