Letters to the Editor

Week of February 5, 2003

We won't steal their clients, even: As co-owners of Docket Rocket, an independent legal messenger service in San Francisco, we take exception to your characterization of independent couriers as a headache for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the attempt to organize the messenger industry ["Bent Outta Shape," Jan. 22].

We are part of an unofficial movement of bike messengers who started independent companies in the last few years in response to the shoddy treatment we experienced at the hands of traditionally capitalist messenger companies. Docket Rocket and our compatriots at Zoom, Quake, Theresa's Messenger Service, and Dragracer all operate as cooperatives, partnerships, or sole proprietorships, along with Cupid Courier, which was mentioned in your article. Our bike seats are not only "still warm," we're on them every day.

The first company Chris worked for, Express Network, fired him and everyone else during the unionization drive of 2000-2001. Express closed their San Francisco office not because of the bad economy, but because they chose to spend their money on union-busters Littler Mendelson instead of their workers. The next company we both worked for made a habit of bouncing paychecks, and eventually folded because of mismanagement, not lack of business.

Living well is the best revenge. At Docket Rocket our bike expenses are fully reimbursed, we have health insurance and paid days off. We have nothing but respect for the role the S.F. Bike Messenger Association and Local 6 of the ILWU have played in organizing the industry, and we fully support their efforts. We do not solicit the clients of unionized messenger firms. In the event of a strike, we would turn away business from their clients, telling them to call Professional Messenger or Speedway and ask them to negotiate with the union.

Pro Mess' Joel Ritch and the other owners should realize now that messengers will band together against them until they treat their employees decently.

Chris Stevens and Chai Montgomery
South of Market

Headbanger Heaven

The '80s were about heavy metal, not Pet Shop Boys, dude: Hey, what's the deal with all this selective rehashing of the '80s ["And a Reagan New Year!" Dec. 31.]? I was a teenager way back then -- I even wore parachute pants, checkered Vans, and tied bandannas around my leg for a short time. But the music I remember most from that decade wasn't Bananarama or Cyndi Lauper. No, it was HEAVY METAL (capitalization intended to indicate just how loud it was).

The early '80s was definitely the peak for loud guitars and leather. Remember Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Megadeth, Motörhead, Slayer, etc.? Sure, all these bands still exist, but most of them are just going through the motions these days rather than getting jobs as bus drivers or delivering pizzas. Metallica's first major-label release was in 1983. Now they are a sad little shadow of their former selves; they should have been renamed Hetfield and the Not-so-angry Inch. Ozzy's first two solo albums with Randy Rhoads came out in the early '80s. Now Ozzy is everyone's favorite TV dad.

(I am purposely neglecting all those hair and spandex pop metal bands -- I certainly don't want to encourage anyone to bring Poison or Warrant back from the dead. Cheesy synthesizers are bad enough.)

So put away those stupid leg warmers, damn it, and dust off your spiked leather armbands. Instead of prancing around to the sounds of Duran Duran or the Pet Shop Boys, crank that amp to "11," arrange your fists in the time-honored devil horns configuration and BANG YOUR HEAD.

Or else.

James Swanson
Mission District

Mixed Up

One bad mix CD doesn't ruin the barrel, darlin':Tamara Palmer's comment stating at the beginning of her review of the Fabriclive.07 Mix -- "To say mix CDs are a dime a dozen is giving them too much value" -- is rather nearsighted of her [Music Reviews, Dec. 31]. I can tell you that there are several exceptional mix CDs out there that have certainly advanced the concept of mixed music as an art form.

These CDs are not well known or advertised and often not even promoted in the States at all. Multiple copies of these excellent mixes often sit right alongside "the worst of the lot" at Virgin and Tower untouched and often never discovered by the average consumer (or Tamara Palmer, apparently).

Granted there are a lot of crap mix CDs out there -- about 98 percent of them in fact -- but the other two percent (or that one solid mix) makes it all worth looking into. Don't knock all mix CDs because of a few bad mixes -- all you have to do is listen.

Rogelio Jorge White
Castro

 
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