Letters to the Editor

Week of Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Making a Thing of Hashes

And pleasing our vast Baltic readership:Many thanks for the funny and accurate article on the hash ["Love on the Run," Aug. 11]! I have run only in the hash here, but our hash master has run with nearly 100 hashes around the world and plans all his holidays around hash events. Ours is a family hash, often with toddlers in backpacks, plus a group of kids in the 5-to-10 age group. Consequently, our events are less laced with profanity and innuendo -- but fun nonetheless.

As our hash's religious adviser, I can mete out punishments, but my bias is for absolution in advance. Hashing is an oddball bit of sociology, but the most democratic organization I've ever been associated with! Thanks again for a fine and accurate representation of a worthwhile organization!

Woody "Dr. Dirty" Sears
Vilnius, Lithuania

The Progressive Problem

And we're supposed to believe the matching last names are a coincidence, right?:Damn it, there you go again, Matt Smith ["Progressive Failure," Aug. 4], revealing one of San Francisco's dirty little secrets: The anti-housing progressives are in control of City Hall.

Matt, you mean you want to stop my property values from going through the roof? And you want the voters to replace the most ideologically enslaved collective of district supervisors this city has ever seen? I mean, Matt, you really want to see more housing built here in NIMBY land?

No way Matt; not going to happen. We will vote our pocketbooks and retirement plans to keep this anti-housing collective in power for as long as we can; our personal wealth depends on it. These progressives are better than having Republicans in office, and they are making us millionaires.

Hey, Sue Hestor and Supervisors Daly, Gonzalez, McGoldrick, Maxwell, et al.: Keep up the good work. My retirement savings depends on you.

Power to the people! Long live district elections!

J.L. Smith
SOMA

Caused by transplant rejection:I had lost hope in this city's journalism until I read your article on "Progressive Failure" in San Francisco. This is the best article I've read in years, and you hit the bull's-eye with this one.

As past president of the Institute of Real Estate Management in San Francisco, and having spent almost 14 years in this city dealing with every aspect of housing and commercial real estate, I have concluded that every anti-development coalition here is NIMBYism in sheep's clothing.

San Francisco is not short of buildable land. Instead, it is filled with transplants who wish to keep it exactly the way it was when they arrived. This is not progressive thinking, but static thinking.

I love the old San Francisco, too, but romantic visions don't solve today's problems.

Steven M. Ring
Kentfield

Dog parks for the people:Progressive ways don't benefit families in the Mission, Tenderloin, Western Addition, or Bayview. Instead, the progressives (elite, upper-class San Franciscans) reap personal profits on the backs of the poor, whose interests they're supposedly representing. As someone who works for a nonprofit service provider with programs in these communities, I'm always taken aback by the amount of effort progressive activists put into blocking neighborhood revitalization (i.e., more housing and business investment).

But when San Francisco needs a new dog park or a committee to halt development along the waterfront, progressives are always up to the task. I've been sick of it for a while now, so it's great to see your article in print. (And the thing about organized labor laying it down for McGoldrick and Daly was classic.)

Manuel Rodriguez
Tenderloin

Embalmed in an inadequate present ... hey, those are fighting words!:As an affordable-housing architect, I can attest to the connection between environmentalism and density. To protect wilderness areas and prevent sprawl, new development must be concentrated in urban areas that are well served by mass transit and public amenities. Thoughtful design, coupled with enlightened city planning, can allow higher-density development to reinvigorate blighted areas while reducing car dependency.

Progressive politicians typically connect environmentalism and density. However, our "progressive" supervisors have not. The misguided actions of Chris Daly have created a perverse political climate, where "progressives" fight increased density and urban renewal, while the needy are left on the streets. This only perpetuates the city's housing crisis.

To house the needy, we must build housing. Instead of painting dense development as a regressive force, we must refine our Planning Department to encourage better neighborhoods, and support the expansion of inclusionary zoning. These programs will ensure that developers' actions benefit the city, while allowing the invigoration and densification of blighted neighborhoods that our "progressive" supervisors would rather embalm in an inadequate present.

Alan Christ
Lower Haight

Would you please stop voting?:Although I supported and worked for and contributed to Tom Ammiano when he ran for mayor in 1999, I was aghast when he opposed the Armory renovation which was being proposed at that time. Was it truly better for the city to leave this huge building unoccupied and unused, like a neighborhood black hole?

More recently, although I voted for Chris Daly twice and even acted as a volunteer in his office, I think his opposition to the plan to build 1,400 new units of housing at the present site of Trinity Plaza is likewise small-minded.

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