Letters to the Editor

Letters from March 14, 2001

Go Nuts

Our game was poker; our grades sucked: My otherwise tedious trip to the laundromat was considerably brightened by Mark Athitakis' "Go Crazy" (Feb. 28). Despite my longtime love for strategy games, Go remained a mysterious pastime that the adults played in my childhood neighborhood, which was populated primarily by Japanese- and Chinese-American families. Now I wonder if SF Weeklyhas opened the door to another obsession (um, my wife may want a word with you).

Ernest Brown [who advocates teaching Go in schools] may be onto something. In high school, I delved into the world of strategy games; I discovered that my heretofore lackluster grades suddenly skyrocketed near the 4.0 mark. I suppose it could be a coincidence. Mr. Brown's idea may not be the salvation of our troubled educational system, but perhaps Go could help save a few high-risk students. Thanks for the great article.

Mark Smith

Never Been There, But We Love Rosicrucian Cuisine

Sounds like fun. We'll stick with poker.: The article about Rosicrucian Park was interesting ("Knowing Thyself in San Jose," Night Crawler, Feb. 28). I've been a Rosicrucian for many years. I began as a skeptic and stayed to be amazed at the great spiritual power and knowledge discovered in studying the monographs as presented by our beloved order. After all these years, [the person who] began as a skeptic seeker has evolved into a dedicated and devout member of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. My love for the order and its sacred teachings cannot be described by mere words, no more than the great knowledge and wisdom offered by the order can be described by words; they must be experienced. Thank you for the article, it was well written for someone observing from the outside.

Abbie Baker
Valdese, N.C.

An extremely perceptive reader writes:I just wanted to comment on the wonderful writing in that Rosae Crucis piece by Silke Tudor. It was structured so well, yet so fluid; the craft in the writing was completely transparent. It was a joy to read it, and yet it was still so full of information.

Allen Whipps
Grandville, Mich.

Home Economics

A decent plot, but no character arc: [Matt Smith] certainly lived up to [his] standards -- another piece full of stunning twists of logic and conservatism masquerading as concern for ordinary people ("A Primer on Housing," Feb. 28). I particularly liked the way you renamed the old Reagan-era favorite "trickle-down economy" (which, let's admit it, sounds like something you need Depends for) into a brave new "cascade effect." Love the logic, too: Only after we take care of all the needs of our neglected rich will our poor be truly saved! A lot of them might perish in the process, but hey, that's the price of revolutionary changes.

While we're on the subject, I would really, really like you to elaborate on the benefits of the control-free rental market. Write a human interest story -- say, about a modest- to low-income family living in an apartment not covered by rent control, and how the repeated monthly rent increases (of $500 to $800 each time) helped them truly understand the advantages of the free market. After getting evicted, they settle down under one of those highway overpasses you so touchingly describe in your article. However, they are happy, because they know it is the only right way, and that very soon, when all the rich people in the city have been comfortably accommodated, a cascade of wealth will pour down on them and, if they don't drown in it, they'll live happily ever after.

Name Withheld
Bernal Heights

Finally, genius is recognized: How refreshing it is to read such well-written articles about what is needed to solve the housing problems for our city. To anyone who has studied basic economics it seems so obvious. It's truly amazing how such economic ignorance as we see on display regarding this issue can still persist in this day and age.

Keep it up. There are some of us out here listening -- others will learn also!

Rick Womack

TICked off: You said, and may actually believe: "Consider, for example, the tenancy in common. In a typical tenancy-in-common arrangement, former renters band together to buy an apartment building. Tenancy-in-common conversions allow copy editors and bank secretaries to own their own homes, and escape the vagaries of the rental market."

I don't know whose public relations bullshit you've been duped by, because when I was looking to buy a house last year, TICs were the way, via the Ellis Act, to get around the rent control laws. Buy a three-unit building for $600K where the tenants have been there for years and between all of them won't even pay half the mortgage, let alone fix the leaky roof? No problem. Evict them all, sell the units for $400K each, and you make your money.

While in theory a group of people can get together and buy a building, in our last real estate frenzy that was not typical. TICs were (and still are) a way to get around both rent control and the condo conversion limits. Not that you would have noticed, smug as you are looking down your nose from your own rent-controlled apartment.

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