Letters to the Editor

Week of July 24, 2002

A Golden Shower of Mail

Inquiring minds: I understand Matt Smith being upset that the Board of Supervisors did not cut funding for SFO Enterprises as he had recommended in his recent columns. But Smith's disappointment does not justify the type of snide and cynical coverage represented by his column regarding recent budget hearings on SFO Enterprises ("Urine a Bad Spot Because of Them," July 10). The hearings on San Francisco's almost $5 billion budget were marathon affairs covering reams of information, with some notable exceptions. One of those exceptions involved the budget of the airport, and particularly that of SFO Enterprises. The airport provided little to no information about this venture in its budget submission. Supervisors seeking to cut funding for the enterprise provided no additional information to justify that proposal; nor was there information from our budget analyst or our legislative analyst. The one option left for decision-makers was to question the airport's representatives, as I did.

Most supervisors deal with the overwhelming task of budget review by focusing on a few agencies. While my primary focus was not the airport, I nevertheless have a fiduciary responsibility to question any department about the effects of proposed cuts to their budget. The airport responded by stating that such cuts would result in our losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in loan repayments from SFO Enterprises that were only now coming due. My questions to the airport were intended to flesh out details about these claims that were not available from committee support staff.

It is too bad Smith mistakes inquisitive dialogue for a lack of preparedness. Apparently, Smith would prefer that supervisors simply vote his way without asking the crucial questions necessary for sound judgments. As an elected supervisor, I am a fiduciary of taxpayer money. I therefore owe it to the voters to seek out the information necessary for informed decisions whether or not this irritates impatient journalists like Smith, who think they already know all the answers before questions are asked.

Jake McGoldrick
Supervisor
San Francisco

Matt says he likes his game better: Who says San Francisco's age of symbolism is over? I am in support of Matt Smith's call for an annual Good Government Pee-athon. However, my reason runs contrary to the reason he stated in the article.

I propose that we place his mattress on the ground where these public urinations are to occur, then the perpetrators of these acts would stand vigil while Mr. Smith sleeps on the mattress overnight. The consequence of this act might be twofold. First, this act may in the future force him to write a more serious article outlining viable alternatives to outlawing public urination. Second, it might wake him up to the fact that the desires and aspirations of so-called haves and have-nots are not so different. One of these desires being clean streets free of the presence of urine. The desire for clean streets is not only a concern for those of us who use the streets to move about, but also for those of us who have to sleep on them as well. It is not the law that should be questioned, but its enforcement.

Casimiro Camacho Jr.
Bernal Heights

So, just to summarize your main point, you really liked the pee jokes: Ah, another issue of SF Weeklyand another Matt Smith column in which he deludes himself that everyone he's writing about is an idiot and only he -- Matt Smith -- can get to the bottom of things and expose ... the truth. This time he had really good pee jokes, too.

As a resident of one of San Francisco's urine-drenched neighborhoods, I'm delighted with the Board of Supervisors for passing a law that bans public urination and defecation. Most of the offenders I see are not homeless -- they're peeps who pee in doorways out of convenience.

Well, my cat Scooter is going to play Matt's pee game. I'm going to line the litter box with Matt's column, and I guarantee he will hit the spot.

Wolfgang Schmittle
Mission

Yes, and it's the last time we'll ever usethat tour company: Re Matt Smith's article suggesting civil disobedience to protest citations to the folks urinating on public streets: Of course, the logical response is to provide more public pissoirs! (Hasn't anyone noticed the public places to pee in many European cities?)

Marge Harburg
Bernal Heights

S.F.: The Big Easy

You're right, we're spoiled. What this town needs is more dinner theater.: As a part-time resident of San Francisco, I feel the need to register my strong dissent from Michael Scott Moore's review of Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan(Stage, capsule review, July 10). Apparently the Mime Troupe isn't highbrow enough to captivate Moore's politically brilliant mind. I'm sure anxious to see [Moore]'s script for next year's performances. Surely it is easy to write intellectually challenging, politically accurate, entertainingly witty dialogue to be delivered by actors in motion trying to coordinate song [and] dance across vast parkland.

The fact is, San Franciscans have it too easy living here with so many progressive outlets for one's political and artistic interests. You should try living outside of the Bay Area like I do. If the rest of America could be as diverse and morally questioning as the artists representing the "lefty agitprop ... Mime Troupe," I would be a proud and patriotic American. I applaud the show: It was excellent, and as Kris Kristofferson might say, "Don't let the bastards with three names get you down!"

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