Letters

But You Did Read It, Didn't You?
I read with amazement the cover story "Trophy Boys" (Nov. 18). The only reason that I kept reading the story was to see how much more inept and boring it could get. It did not disappoint me. I truly cannot understand the newsworthiness of this topic let alone the fact that it was the cover story.

Who the hell cares about the fact that older gay men are buying younger gay men? Or how they go about finding each other, or if they have sex and how often? As I continued to read this "article" or "expose" or whatever the fuck it was I was wondering if there were "sweeps weeks" for local weeklies. It was something I'd except out of some tired gay rag, but not SF Weekly.

Again I must ask who green-lighted this "story" and more importantly why? There must be more important cover stories in this city. I am truly discouraged by this piece of fluff from what I consider an otherwise exemplary weekly.

Joseph Tonto
Via Internet

Offer Us Beer,
We'll Print Your Letter
I have always been a fan, but I just read Joel P. Engardio's article and felt it was time to speak ("Trophy Boys"). Thanks, Joel. Brilliant journalism. Exposing power structures and making them clear and understandable to anyone is a difficult task in writing anything, let alone in journalism, where you have the added time constraint. Your rigor with the material was impressive, and although you spoke about the gay world in relation to the broader hetero context, you left me questioning the hetero context itself by revealing people's assumptions from both poles (young and old).

I'm a straight guy without a girlfriend. Given your insights, I am inclined to invite you for a beer sometime. And thanks for a brilliant article, dude. That's all I really have to say and I know people appreciate it when they are acknowledged for their work.

David Sarpal
Via Internet

No Head Injuries, But Lots of Beer
In his piece examining the career of liberal housing activist Calvin Welch, George Cothran described San Francisco tenants as if we are a privileged special-interest group ("A Home of One's Own," Cothran, Nov. 11). Did Cothran suffer any major head injuries before being hired at the Weekly? S.F. has the highest rents in the United States. Only the most deluded "libertarian" ideologue can claim this situation benefits most of the people who live here, or that home ownership offers a way out for more than a few. Cothran relies on a number of stupid assumptions, like thinking everybody wants to own a piece of real estate, and if big government and rabble-rousers would stop meddling, the market would justly and wisely straighten out the housing crisis.

If Cothran ever loses his job at the Weekly, he should get a job with the friends of the real estate industry at the San Francisco Examiner. Apparently inspired by Dog Bites' exchanges with Nestor Makhno, the Ex ran a piece on Oct. 26 dealing with the gentrification of the Mission District as seen from the perspective of the gentry -- two poor little carpetbaggers who could only afford to gobble up one three-unit building. The Ex even claimed that many of the cities' owner move-in eviction landlords are actually low-wage sweatshop workers who've saved their pennies to buy rental property. Do the potted plants at the Examiner really believe the stuff they write? I doubt anyone else does.

The Examiner is the city's leading cheerleader for gentrification. Every Sunday's issue overflows with advice from perky realtors on how you, too, can hop on the speculation boom and ride to wealth on the backs of your neighbors. Drawing from the use and abuse of language under totalitarian regimes, the vile Ex ran a Nov. 15 cover story attempting to rename gentrified areas of formerly working-class sections of the city, for example describing the tony part of the Mission District as "Mission Deluxe." Presumably, this would allow the gentry to colonize these neighborhoods without the loss of social standing that comes from living in a low-income, predominantly nonwhite area.

Servile corporate journalists and work-within-the-system activist types like Calvin Welch share a belief that housing must remain a commodity. The solution to the housing crisis is clear: Tenants of rental properties will have to organize for an unlimited mass rent strike. The housing market has failed us, so we should abolish the market before it abolishes our housing. This would be devastating to landlords, but landlords are parasites. Our need for housing in this city can't be reconciled with their profit system.

Tom Ripley
Mission

Come and Get It
Tenancy in common is a great idea, in theory, but the economic reality is that only people with upper-middle-class incomes (at least $60,000 a year per person) can afford it. It is no longer 1973 when a struggling young activist like Calvin Welch could pool resources with friends and buy a home ("A Home of One's Own," Cothran).

A lot of us who have made a permanent commitment to San Francisco as a place where we want to "raise families, start businesses, create art, and engage in politics" have incomes of $20,000 a year or less, and that doesn't cut it in the housing market, TIC or otherwise.

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