I have an idea! When that other guardian of jazz propriety, Herr Marsalis, lays out all the rules and declares the True Jazz Republic, maybe you could be minister of fashion! Then creative music can be safe, just like the opera, and the symphony, and all the other co-opted playthings of your owners class.

E. Berkvist

Noxious Willie
Your "Law and Odor" article (Mecklin, March 24) was very revealing, and an excellent insight into this jerk named Willie Brown. Would to God that it could be in the hands of every San Francisco voter before the next mayoral election.

I wonder if S.F. has had enough of this disaster of a mayor, or do you think the left-wingers and liberals will keep him in office? If the electorate sees fit to send him back for a repeat, God help the city.

William Olivito
El Cerrito

Value of the Star
A cheap shot if you ask me ("Eat This Logo, Sucker," March 24). As a consumer I like the idea of ValueStar, and I don't mind the fact that it is a for-profit operation as long as the profits don't get in the way of the evaluations. Your piece, and its sizzling headlines, imply that that's the problem, that ValueStar is just a consumer scam turned on its head. But you don't offer much more than a few disgruntled commentators in a stew of tendentious language.

The "shakedown" you refer to sounds like normal marketing language to me, when you read what it actually says. The fact that ValueStar pursues hospices and other medical care facilities already regulated by the state sounds more misguided than anything else. (And since when did you folks at SF Weekly suddenly think state regulation of the environment, industry, and the workplace was an adequate assurance of quality and safety anyway?)

So Jim Stein's salary "jumped" (your word) from $90,000 to $120,000 in one year. Ooh. For someone in his position, $120,000 is a lot less than he could earn elsewhere. The guy cradles his corporate logo as he gives office tours. Sounds goofy/dedicated to me, not oozing marketing slimeball.

Why didn't you speak to any of the companies that are happy with their experience? Or with consumers who have relied on the ratings and been very satisfied? Couldn't find any, or didn't bother to look? Of course that would have put the lie to the rest of your piece.

We're about to choose a roofing contractor, and the fact that it is ValueStar-certified is important to me. Sure, there are plenty of other contractors who could do the job, but why should I have to throw darts when I've got a decent list to choose from, already pre-certified? It doesn't bother me that companies pay ValueStar for the initial evaluation or the extra goodies. Some companies pay big bucks and take out big ads in the Yellow Pages to make themselves more prominent.

The fact that a company can't just buy its way into ValueStar the way it can into the Yellow Pages is the crucial point here. You tried to prove otherwise. You used deceptive language to suggest otherwise. But you failed. And no doubt your journalistic standards would fail the ValueStar test too, if there was one for tabloids.

Peter Goodman

Sic, Sic, Sic
Well, well, well ... another true misrepresentation of a local Bay Area business which may (eegads) think of charging for a valuable service it offers local consumers. After reading "Eat This Logo, Sucker" I suspected that either Ms. Davis is very young and a bad interpreter of information or seriously needs to reconsider going back to journalism school (if she in fact ever went!).

Hey Lisa, have you ever heard of getting the story right while writing a journalistic piece? How about interviewing the over 1,500 satisfied quality service providers that ValueStar DOES have, instead of the few who have either had a negative experience with VS or simply don't "get" what VS's mission is? ValueStar DOES NOT profess to be an expert in plumbing, day care, or any other service for that matter. What ValueStar DOES do is offer an objective evaluation of business' past customers based SOLELY on their customer satisfaction experience with the company.

So I guess if they exercise their right to charge for a service that other rating firms charge for, that makes them unethical? Where do your readers get the information from that ValueStar is a sleazy operation? Proof? Personal experience? What? I would like to address that question specifically to your reader David Stevens who I'm sure doesn't know shit about ValueStar, but sure thinks he does ("Sleazy Bedfellows," Letters, March 31)!

Hey, I know SF Weekly is a SLEAZY counterculture newspaper supported primarily by sex ads ... but come on guys and Ms. Davis, at least TRY to hire journalists who really get the FACTS straight. I felt like I was reading an article from the National Enquirer (biast, biast, biast) [sic].

Michelle Quintana
Via Internet

Editor's note: Lisa Davis is a graduate of San Francisco State University's journalism program and the winner of a long string of major national journalism awards.

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