Letters

Exposing Willie
Many thanks to John Mecklin and Peter Byrne for their excellent piece on Willie Brown's dubious and complex financial affiliations ("W.L. Brown, A Public/Private Partnership," May 12). I found it quite interesting to note the number of sources that were "unavailable for comment," not to mention the dozens of complex layers shielding Brown.

Was he that college professor whose Politician 101 course I always skipped? Lesson No. 1: When funneling money, make sure that the trail you leave behind is so damn complicated that the public has neither the stamina nor the interest to follow it. (We could follow Monica, but who could follow Whitewater?)

SF Weekly's tireless research and investigative reporting confirmed my belief that the paper is truly in a class of its own as far as San Francisco newspapers are concerned. The Weekly deserves to be recognized as being in the league of circulations like the New York Times.

I guess it's only a matter of time before Brown and his crew put their heads together and decide to scream "racism" again. (That, of course, would be Brown's most solid defense when he has no defense at all.)

In fact, maybe this episode in the scandals of Willie Brown helps explain his "freakout" at his recent birthday party when, upon turning 65, he was forced to accept a more public and less complex link to CalPERS.

Lisa Talev
Glen Park

Deposing Willie
The cozy relationship between our mayor, CalPERS, and Catellus is yet another sickening example of cronyism, influence-peddling, and self-interest that is destroying democracy here in San Francisco ("W.L. Brown, A Public/Private Partnership").

San Francisco has become a city where our elected officials have sold our city's soul (and theirs) to lobbyists, political consultants, and big business, and in the process abandoned the needs of everyday people.

If you wonder why we can't seem to solve our city's problems, understand that the political system we are governed by is fundamentally corrupt, and that ethical standards do not seem to exist in City Hall, starting at the top.

Mark O'Hara
S.F. Reform Party
Candidate for Mayor

Uh, Close Enough
Has anyone noticed that dot-com spelled backwards is German for "quick death"? ("Salon.con," Bay View, May 5)

Mark Weiss
Palo Alto

Paint Bawl
In the May 5 edition of your paper, in the column titled Dog Bites, you ran a report about an incident in the front of my house, involving Phaedra Edwards and Lea Barton. I am responding because their report was both inaccurate and false.

To begin with, the initial graffiti on our building read: "This is elitism at its fullest. No more lofts. Yuppies go home." Because I had a limited amount of paint, not enough to cover the graffiti properly, I decided to play some word games of my own and changed it to say, "This is lite. More lofts. Hippies go home." (Thinking those who dished it out might have a sense of humor.) After putting away my paint, I went inside for about 15 minutes and then came outside to shoot some video of my handiwork.

While filming a wide-angle shot of the modified graffiti, the two women walked into my shot and proceeded to allude to the fact that they knew who had perpetrated the original graffiti, and that it had been changed. They were totally oblivious to the fact that they were blocking my shot.

When they did finally notice me, they snapped at me, telling me to turn my camera off them, which I did for a while, until they talked more about who perpetrated the graffiti. I then turned the camera back on and asked them if artists who had all the proper city licenses should be allowed to live and work in their live-work lofts. In response to the question, they became rude and belligerent, asking me if I had never heard of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project. (Similar to ethnic cleansing, perhaps? Are these women Serbian?) These women who I (and my camera) describe as in their mid- to late 20s, acting like 10-year-olds, and looking like 50-year-olds, got angrier and angrier, because I was not interested in the Yuppie Eradication Program mind-set, which I know to be completely ill-informed, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, and out of hand.

I changed the conversation to some of the documentaries that I do, including Burning Man, which I shoot for free. As a professional filmmaker, doing things for free in the world's most expensive art form is suicide, but Burning Man is the hands-down coolest art festival on the planet. To defame its good name with the total, blatant lies printed in your paper is not only slanderous, it's stupid. If there is a "bad" element at Burning Man, it's these so-called "Yuppie Eradication Program" people who commit acts of terrorism. Perhaps it would be a good idea if they stayed home this year. That way the rest of us will have a better time.

As far as lofts go, I think they're the perfect housing for artists. They were also the answer to the housing crisis in New York and Chicago. The fact that some of the people who purchased lofts aren't artists was not the fault of artists who are living in lofts, but was caused by the city of San Francisco failing to enforce its zoning laws. If the realtors had asked that business licenses, portfolios (or other artwork samples), and letters of reference be included with the purchasing papers, then the "live only" people would not have moved in.

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