Censorship Begins at Home, Aww! Dog Bites Blushes, Nursing Home Neglect, On the SFUSD Chain Gang, Informed Faith, Rave Purity

Censorship Begins at Home
I may not like some Web site, but people still should have freedom of choice ("Spy vs. Spite," Feb. 2). Not even I should have the power to suppress free speech. Only with my children am I dictator. Someday, I tease, I will get T-shirts that say, "Mom's Slave."

Mary Greeley
Ipswich, S.D.

Aww! Dog Bites Blushes

Ms. Wellman:

I'm not sure why it's taken me so damn long to write to you, but I simply had to send you a fan letter. I absolutely love your column, and my week is ever-so-dimmer when I see that sad little bar that denotes your absence. In the past, I have had several reasons to open up my beloved SF Weekly. First it was that comic strip (name since forgotten) with Steve the Grinning Handbag. I thought that was the greatest, and sadly, it ran far too short. Then my old boy Jack Boulware had a column, and that's gone. But you rock. I love your writing style and your stories, and today I caused a certain amount of disruption while reading your column when the cat guy was quoted as saying, "Well sure, you gotta hold them a little bit" ("Here, Kitty, Kitty," Feb. 2). This is not an uncommon occurrence, as there is at least one turn of phrase per week that causes me to chortle or even guffaw. Well, chortle. I'm not often prone to guffawing.

Ms. Wellman. I truly hope that our paths may cross one day and I may finally meet you. Please stay at SF Weekly as long as possible, so that I may continue to enjoy your column week in and week out. You have just the right touch of cynicism and sarcasm, but without the pretensions of thinking you're so much cooler than anyone else, truly a skill in a business as seemingly ego-stroking as having your own column.

Love the column. Keep it up.

Doug Lloyd
Via Internet

Nursing Home Neglect
It sickens me to read about the neglect and lack of care given to those poor souls in nursing homes ("Worst of the Lot," Bay View, Jan. 26). My mother was a resident of a nursing home in Vallejo, and she was lucky to have me, her daughter, advocate for her. I spent hours on end at the nursing home and, in spite of that, my mother did not receive quality care. She was neglected when I wasn't there, and the people who ran the nursing home only were concerned for the money they made.

There were only a very few nurses who were qualified in the position of caring for individuals with serious illnesses. The chore providers were given too many residents to take care of, so they rushed through, and many, many residents were left to suffer the consequences. I was branded a troublemaker by the nursing home staff, and the ombudsman, and when I complained to the state I was made to wait. Most of the time, the nursing home staff knew ahead when the state would be coming out to check on the complaint. I was harassed and threatened and intimidated.

I feel the state isn't doing what it should, and neither is the ombudsman. I was forbidden from calling their office when I needed to complain to them. They sided with the nursing home. I have journals of all that went on in the nursing home and have pictures and witnesses as to the terrible conditions in the nursing homes. It is a sad thing indeed for our government to allow this to continue. Our "great country" helps those from other countries, yet when it comes to our poor elderly parents and family members, they are being ignored and forgotten and they are continually being mistreated and neglected. The nursing homes are as bad as concentration camps. I know because I have seen the conditions that the people are made to live in, as my mother was in such a facility four and one-half years. I still have nightmares and hope I have all my faculties before I ever have to go into a nursing home; I will take my life before I am subjected to being placed in one.

Pauline Wagner

On the SFUSD Chain Gang
Lisa Davis' article regarding the school superintendent's paycheck being withheld was of more than a little interest to the many employees in the district who have done work for the schools and have not been paid ("Show Them the Money," Bay View, Jan. 26).

All too often, the teachers and other employees are hired to work extra hours and told they will be paid. The work gets done and many months go by and no compensation is forthcoming. I work as a paraprofessional in a special education class in one of S.F.'s high schools, and in September I was authorized to work an extra hour each day to keep the library open after school. I have yet to see dime one for that extra time on my paycheck.

Along with many teachers and other paraprofessionals, I worked two extra days in August to help with an important evaluation process. To my knowledge, none of us has been paid for those hours. We are told that the money is all tied up in the budget mess, and at this time our only recourse may be a painfully lengthy union grievance procedure.

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