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Barbara's World and Welcome to It
Your article on Barbara Kaufman ("The First Ever Official SF Weekly Barbara Kaufman Conflict-of-Interest Map," The Grid, Aug. 20) was so poorly substantiated as to represent gratuitous criticism. I have no love for the Kaufmans, but your petty, college-oriented conspiracy theory is spiteful and envious. Grow up and assume the responsibility of serious journalism.

Bernard Faber
Larkspur

Thank you so much for the Official SF Weekly Barbara Kaufman Conflict-of-Interest Map.

I carried it to a meeting, and had a great deal of fun playing one of George Cothran and John Mecklin's "less arduous" games: I observed Kaufman's every move until I finally captured that "defiant flip of her bangs." What a moment! She looked so like a drag queen portraying an acquisitive PTA president in a John Waters film.

Virginia Newhall
Greenbrae

Your "Barbara Kaufman Conflict-of-Interest-Map" article, which appeared in your "paper," and which was boldly headlined in color on the front page, was, without question, one of the most far-reaching, twisted pieces of journalism that I have ever read. I would think that with all the other important issues in our city that you would have something better to do than to insinuate that one of the most honest and hard-working supervisors San Francisco has ever had is somehow using her position to promote personal gain!

Supervisor Kaufman and her husband have successfully, over many years, accumulated a real estate portfolio throughout the city. In doing so, many of the properties were upgraded, and are now ones of which San Francisco can be proud. Barbara Kaufman chose to run for supervisor because she wanted a better San Francisco, not because she thought she could exploit the system for her family's enrichment. Is it a crime to own real estate and hold public office? When Supervisor Kaufman believes there is a conflict of interest, she steps down. What do you expect? This is the honest thing to do.

It is the "innuendo" type of reporting that you have chosen that causes decent, honest, hard-working people to refrain from entering the political arena. This is the first time that I have ever read your paper (the cover caught my attention), and I can assure you, the last time I'll ever read it. It is a joke!

Barry Scherman
Russian Hill

That Smarts
I am sorry to see Smarter Feller! end. I will miss Dave Eggers' wit, sarcasm, and social commentary. Thanks for the humor.

Larry Winum
Sunset

Heavy Chevy
It was with dual-carbureted enthusiasm that I read Tara Shioya's recent article "Unappreciated at Any Speed" (Aug. 20).

As a well-loved 1961 Corvair Monza sedan, my vindication and the vindication of all of my beloved Chevy kin by her make my trips to here, there, and anywhere filled with at least one more leaded gallon of pride.

Invariably, any article that tells the real Corvair story is like looking at anonymous faces on a milk carton. There's a bittersweet American familiarity within the Corvair story; a nostalgia for an innocent, highly stylized vision that was ultimately lost through business competition, self-interest, and greed. My only complaint about Shioya's piece is that it comes 30 years too late. In the meantime, I'll be cruising the slow lane on the Bay Bridge, taking it one mile at a time.

Peter Holmes
Alameda

Spam Hurts
Matt Smith touched on, but did not fully explain, a few of the most significant reasons Net users object to spam ("Spammer-Jamming Hammered," Bay View, Aug. 20).

1) Spam violates one of the key ethical principles of legitimate advertising, which is to pay its own way and, at best, help subsidize the medium. Few people, if any, object to the very presence of ads in print and broadcast media, since the advertisers are either partially (e.g., in the case of magazines) or completely (e.g., radio and TV) paying for the editorial and program content. However, spam turns this principle on its head by forcing the media (i.e., the Internet at large, and recipient Internet Service Providers) to pay for the bandwidth and storage used to handle it, and by forcing consumers to pay for the online time they must use to discard it.

In effect, spammers and spamhauses (this is the correct spelling, not "spam houses") are creating an externalized cost to other enterprises and their clientele. By analogy, if legitimate advertising is like a billboard that provides revenue to a property owner, spam is like graffiti that the owner does not want and must pay to remove.

2) Spam arguably violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which forbids sending unsolicited advertising by fax. The definition of a fax machine is broad enough to include any computer that is directly or indirectly connected to a modem and printer. The rationale for the fax spam section of this law is that fax spams tie up the recipient's communications facilities (fax line), impose costs on the recipient (fax paper and employee time), and may prevent the reception of desired messages.

On that basis, spammers are committing a criminal violation for each and every end-user's computer that receives e-mail spam. It is entirely rational for consumers and ISPs to be outraged when they are having their time and resources stolen. The annoyance factor is analogous to that faced by a shop owner faced with a "shopper" who constantly and brazenly steals penny candy: The brazenness of the theft is a major irritant even if the cost of each theft is small. As well, a constant string of small thefts of this nature can add up to a significant cost over time.

3) Some spammers are also violating laws related to overt theft of service. Hijacking another company's computers to turn them into spam-sending robots is analogous to breaking into a neighbor's house at night to make long distance calls on their phone.

I do not understand why the anti-spammers are also making fun of the FBI and Justice Department. Anti-spammers should be working to encourage law enforcement to bring spamhauses to justice for breaking the fax advertising laws and the wire fraud laws. Until law enforcement takes this problem seriously, there will be plenty of support for grass-roots "vigilante" efforts to melt down the computers of spammers.

George Gleason
Berkeley

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