Revenge of the Turds
Kudos to Jack Boulware for his excellent expose of Arden Van Upp ("The Fortress on the Hill," Dec. 30). I was one of the girls living at 272 Downey at the time of the infamous "turds" episode (and let me tell you that was only the half of it).

My former roommate and I took her to court to recover our deposits. She played her standard games mentioned in your article, and stretched the hearings out to four court appearances. At the final appearance, the judge laughed in her face, and the onlookers applauded when it appeared we finally won. Needless to say, we haven't received even a sugar packet as payment.

Hopefully, my fantasies of seeing her on the street and mugging her will now cease. I now feel somewhat vindicated. Thanks.

Christine M. Geiser
Via Internet

With Friends Like This ...
Your colorful hit piece against aging eccentric Arden Van Upp lacks balance ("The Fortress on the Hill"). No one is perfect. I have known Arden for 25 years. She has always been a good friend to me. I have been to dinner and other functions at the Bourn Mansion numerous times. It is a wonderful building and I hope it will be preserved.

Arden has been to my house on occasion, including a dinner party that I gave for has-been political hack Richard Hongisto. I have found her to be a reserved, refined, sedate lady with a deep compassion for animals. She was a good friend to my late dog, Miss Brisby Day, who died a year ago at the age of 15.

May I refer you to the words spoken by Mary Ann Moore, the lady in the cone hat who I encountered in the market 30 years ago when I lived in Greenwich Village: "Tell me, tell me, where might there be a refuge from eccentricity, and its propensity to bisect, mistake, and obliterate continuity?"

Certainly not here in San Francisco.
Glenn-Allen McKeever

Gotta Dance
It truly is an amazing irony ("Gay Men Can't Dance," Bay View, Dec. 30). I watched for over 20 years as the Castro became more and more conservative. Bars with dance floors have slowly been eliminated over the years. When the '70s patrons -- who had anonymous sex and partied and danced till they puked -- had the chance to buy real estate, they then owned part of their past.

Denying younger gays the same party atmosphere of the early days of the Castro by these speculators is the utmost of hypocrisy and selfishness. Money changes everything.

Marty Hogan
Via Internet

Corruption and Vice
Congratulations on excellent investigative reporting ("Wages of Vice," Bay View, Dec. 2). I think you're being a little too conservative in avoiding words like "corruption." I also think it would be interesting to ask Willie Brown for his comments.

Blake Launcelot Downing
Via Internet

Sticking Up for Crackers
Having been born and raised in North Carolina, I took special interest in Peter Byrne's article "Support Your Local Embezzler" (Bay View, Dec. 23).

If the writers and editors of the Chronicle and other S.F. bigwigs truly regard people in Charlotte, N.C., in the terms used by Byrne ("hicks," "good ole boys," "barbarians," and "tobacco-chewing, racist, wife-beating Confederate crackers"), then it reflects an ignorance, pomposity, and prejudice among the San Franciscan municipal leadership inconsistent with the city's tolerant and liberal traditions.

Charlotte is a modern, vibrant, forward-looking, and prosperous city. And it is not, as Byrne writes, in the "Deep South." The people there are friendly and open-minded. Of course, San Francisco has some things Charlotte does not. Residents of Charlotte do not enjoy the privilege of being stopped by bums for money along every block of downtown, nor are they entertained by the spectacle of dozens of homeless encamped in front of their city hall. And they are restricted to paying only about two-thirds of what San Franciscans pay for gasoline, and about half what they pay for rent. Maybe San Francisco would be better off if it were more of a "hick" town.

Keith D. Price
Via Internet

Vernon, Grow Up
I just finished reading George Cothran's article "The Squashing of Tippy Mazzucco" (Cothran, Dec. 16) and am flabbergasted to think this is how our city treats its employees.

Here's a man who is truly interested in making the projects a better place for the people who live there. Why would anyone demote and fine someone for doing their job? Why? Because Vernon Grigg can't handle being left out of the loop? Here's a sensitive operation going down, one would think that the least amount of people who knew about it the better. Did we announce to the general U.S. public that we were going to attack Iraq? I think not. I have two words for our esteemed DA Grigg -- grow up.

Patty Erhard
Via Internet

George, Shut Up
George Cothran's hit piece against District Attorney Narcotics Division Chief Vernon Grigg, "The Squashing of Tippy Mazzucco," displays the kind of racist invective that I thought we had outgrown, at least in the Bay Area. I have known Grigg since law school and feel compelled to respond.

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