Letters to the Editor

Week of February 2, 2005

Prosecutorial Response

Why DA records should stay confidential:This letter is in response to the article from the Jan. 19 edition, "Zipped Up."

For the past 30 years, we have each served as assistant district attorneys in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. For the past two decades, we have each served in upper management.

The aforementioned article implies that this office has declined to release district attorney records to protect the privacy of defendants -- in this case the San Francisco Archdiocese. Additionally, the article quotes former DA Hallinan as saying this office does not have a policy regarding the release of such records. In both cases, the article was inaccurate.

Mr. Hallinan's comments contradict the office protocol we have had in place for two decades. For the past 20 years, members of this office have never released information contained in our office files without proper court order. If records from this office were released in the past, it was without management approval or knowledge. In addition to adhering to case law on this issue, the reason for this policy is to protect victims and witnesses, not defendants. It would be virtually impossible to release records without compromising the identity of the victims. This is particularly important in cases of sexual assault, which often require victims to invest their trust that the most private and intimate details will not be exploited but instead will be used in the fight for justice. This relationship of trust is essential to professionally prosecute cases and make offenders pay for their crimes. Furthermore, if there is an expectation that district attorney records will be disclosed, witnesses to crimes could be reluctant to fully participate in criminal investigations. This would have a damaging effect on our ability to investigate.

As members of law enforcement, we are bound by law and oath to place justice first. We cannot compromise our ability to investigate and dispense justice -- no matter the case or the party asking for the records.

Paul Cummings, Esq.
Chief of Criminal Division
District Attorney Kamala Harris' Office

Linda Klee, Esq.
Chief of Administration
District Attorney Kamala Harris' Office

Parkside Swipes

Mabuhay Gardens, with free booze: I'm a regular at Thee Parkside, and when I wandered in after a couple weeks out of town on Monday, I knew something was up, even before Chris told me what was going on [OK Then, Jan. 26]. I've known Sean, Santos, John, et al. for several years now and am very saddened to see my fav place on what I'm fairly certain is going to be a rather quick trip to nowhereville. Michael isn't a bad guy per se, but it's an entirely different mentality and whatever he may know about the bar business notwithstanding I don't think he "gets it," and thus I see an end to a scene all too rare these days.

I think it's particularly tough on guys like John, who took such a proprietary view of the joint -- always a danger when you are merely an employee. Sweat equity ain't shit if it ain't in writing. And God knows how they made money -- they fed me so much free booze I damn near need to hit rehab.

Sadly I'm old enough to remember the last time there was something somewhat analogous -- the Mabuhay in the late '70s/early '80s. Like Thee Parkside it was "home," and countless bands spent most of their waking hours either playing there or making the scene until they were playing there. Ness was more tightfisted with the free booze but not sure how much money anyone made there either.

Anyway I'm glad you told the story so folks know generally what's going on. I feel bad for guys like Dave Gleason, Smelly Kelly, etc. who need every sympathetic room they can get and must be torn between loyalty and needing to make a few bucks and have somewhere to play.

Dick Deluxe
Mission

Nice article, jerk:Finally Thee Parkside gets the press it so richly deserves! Unfortunately, too much of your "reporting" is simply rumor and innuendo cut and pasted verbatim from the sf_indie and northern_california_punklist groups on Yahoo! Does your boss know about this?

My wife, Dana-Maria Doherty (not Dougherty as reported), did indeed book shows at the joint, one of several people who wore that hat. Her booking run was from April 2002 through November 2003, using the monikers Hot Dang Twang (for rockabilly and country) and Beatgrrrl (for garage and punk). During that time, and to the present, she and I have also functioned as the door team Sunday through Thursday nights. (She was never a bartender as reported; I wish!) The place has been our living room for three years. The payback has been a little chump change, untold gallons of Jameson's whiskey consumed, some of the greatest shows we've ever seen, and friendship with a beautiful crew of ragtag misfits who somehow made the place run.

Although you are a self-described regular, neither one of us knows you from Adam. WITHOUT EVER HAVING TALKED TO MY WIFE, you are somehow able to report she's "not ... so miffed about the change-up." The truth is both of us are upset and uncomfortable that amongst a group we considered family, battle lines are being drawn, with threats and e-mails flying. You also give the false impression that she continues to book shows there. Let me say she does not, that booking racket is real tough (sound of Jameson's shot being slurped).

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