Letters to the Editor

Week of September 17, 2003

This kind of love is a little more heavenly because Matt taught me by example to listen to and understand the elderly woman, the recent homeowner, the laid-off worker -- all who wanted to talk about the state of the city, their worries, and their desire to make San Francisco better. Matt showed me how to bring people into the dialogue, rather than convert and convince them to give up their votes.

As a single, straight San Franciscan woman, I will vote for Matt Gonzalez for mayor because he is not a love-'em-and-leave-'em politician but a committed and dignified public servant. What is not to love?

Elizabeth Grant

Gonzo, mon amour: I am a single, white, thirtysomething volunteer for Matt Gonzalez, and I'd like to thank Mr. Smith for confirming what I'd always hoped was true about myself: that I am "better-than-average-looking." Despite such flattery, Smith's observations were quite obnoxious in their misrepresentation of the source of Gonzalez's volunteers' inspiration to work for free. What politically aware women (good-looking or bad-) really desire is to see effective, positive changes in local politics.

Do I feel amorous towards Matt? Sure. But, I also felt amorous towards Tom Ammiano when I volunteered for his campaign, knowing all the while that not only was that affection aimed at a gay man, but also at someone I'd probably never even talk to, being one volunteer among hundreds. It didn't matter one bit, because the affection was based on simple admiration for the rare public figure who's not completely depressing to observe, not on the sort of googly-eyed wonder that Smith alludes to.

But, as Smith implies, since I'm waiting for Matt to fall head-over-heels in love with me, so I can finally shed the overwhelming sense of disenfranchisement that he refers to in his column and become the next Jackie Kennedy, I might as well kill some time volunteering because I actually believe that Matt has integrity, that he's working his ass off to do some good for this city, and that the issues he chooses to focus on are in line with those that concern me.

Smith also failed to recognize the large number of men (straight, gay, single, married, asexual, or perhaps even some combination of these) who have "crushes" on Gonzalez because they are sincerely excited to have a reason to shed some of their political cynicism, acquired after years of observing other politicians be typical politicians.

Perhaps Smith is due to shed some of his cynicism as well and concede that it's possible that "chicks" (as he terms women) have the ability to put aside their assumed need to get laid and get politically active for the right reasons.

Christine Macpherson
Glen Park

Length Matters

What's wrong with an occasional short Page One story?:As a metro reporter at the Contra Costa Times, I must take issue with your Dog Bites item about our managing editor's memo regarding short front-page stories ["News That Fits," Aug. 27]. I found it to be snide and incomplete, as did others here at the Times.

Lisa Davis' article made a snide comment about CCT Managing Editor Chris Lopez not returning her phone call, "perhaps because we fancy longer stories," but didn't bother to use the extra length to provide any depth to her article. Regardless of whether Chris returned her call, a letter signed by 20 Contra Costa Times staffers is posted clearly on John McManus' "Grade the News" Web site and states the position of the majority of our reporters. If that wasn't enough to provide an opposing voice for Davis' article, she could have found Chris' comments on the issue to NPR if she had done a simple Internet or Nexis search.

I have always respected SF Weekly, but you missed the boat on this one, as did Mr. McManus. Chris' memo was misinterpreted by people outside of the newsroom, and the vast majority of people who work for him realize the memo was a very minor issue that was blown completely out of proportion. For our editor to expect an occasional short, to-the-point story on the front page is completely understandable to most of us, especially since a 16-inch-long story is often not warranted.

Matt Krupnick
Walnut Creek

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Muni's cooking its accident reports:While I have no idea who Donald R. Johnson is, or how he came to learn about Muni's policies and practices, as the professional in charge of Muni's accident reporting for the past 20 years, I must say his letter to the editor is factually incorrect on at least two counts [Aug. 20].

His first point that Muni's reporting policies were revised to conform to the California Public Utilities Commission is largely irrelevant, since that agency is concerned only with rail accidents. Those accidents account for less than 10 percent of all accidents and included none of those cited by Peter Byrne in his Aug. 6 article "Death, Maiming, Money, and Muni."

While it is true that Muni is required to report certain incidents to the Federal Transportation Administration, for internal purposes Muni has chosen to not count certain types of accidents as being such. As Byrne's article pointed out, I objected to the exclusion of a large number of accidents from the overall count, specifically falls on board which comprise the largest share of passenger accidents.

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