Letters to the Editor

Week of Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sign Language

Busting on the cult-buster: As a lifelong Democrat, I'm not opposed to what Ford Greene has to say, just the way he goes about saying it ["Sign of the Cult-Buster," Oct. 5]. As you wrote, "Ford Greene isn't quite sure what sent his opponents over the edge with respect to the giant marquee that hangs from the side of his two-story combination law office and residence along busy Sir Frances Drake Boulevard in San Anselmo."

Maybe some people in San Anselmo don't think that hanging a "giant marquee" outside your home/business is the way to voice your opinion. Right now it's against the law, and what if everyone followed his way of expressing themselves? Do we really want a bunch of giant marquee opinions hanging on every business and residence in town?

I for one feel the sign is tacky and out of place, and I didn't vote for George W. Bush.

Frank Matteucci
San Anselmo

An insider's perspective: Excellent journalism on Ford Greene. Indeed Ford has done good things for ex-cult people, and I can confirm Ford inspires some who've been clobbered in various ways by cults. In the late summer of 2004, I publicly defected after being a 27-year lifetime staffer bureaucrat in the Scientology movement. I began posting my Scientology lifetime staffer experiences on the Internet. About a month and a half after going public, I got a surprise phone call from Scientology church lead attorney Elliot Abelson. Former staffers and critics of official Scientology generally characterize these types of conversations as "gag" or "silencing" tactics. When my phone conversation with Abelson came around to me saying I better check with some lawyers, Elliot somewhat anxiously blurted out one attorney I should stay away from: Ford Greene. And Elliot had a few more disparaging things to say about Ford Greene. Well, you can guess who I tried to contact right after getting off the phone with Scientology church attorney Abelson! Ford does good in my book. Thanks SF Weekly! Great journalism!

Chuck Beatty
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Why Wi-Fi

The great equalizer: Dear SF Weekly and Bay Guardian -- and please put aside your pathetic mutual slandering campaign, you are both awful attempts at a publication who parrot the same feebleminded opinions based on shared lack of information or insight; if you would like to see some worthy reporting in free weeklies, check out the Phoenix and the Digin Boston. In several instances you have ridiculed the recent proposal to provide all of San Francisco with free wireless Internet access as an extravagant expense when there are homeless people and violent crime to address ["Agog Over Google," The Apologist, Oct. 5]. Not only is this criticism based on absurdly faulty logic (why fix the Bay Bridge while there is violent crime? why attempt to solve any problem while other problems exist?), it really captures the nearsightedness and superficiality that afflicts you in every other debate.

Homeless people are not the only ones facing challenges in San Francisco. Free wireless service would be of an enormous help to K-12, college (e.g., City College and S.F. State), and adult part-time students, as well as struggling young artists and professionals in the already-disappearing lower and mid-middle class, squeezed out by San Francisco rents and utilities. These are the people who provide the majority of labor and taxes everywhere in our country, but struggle to compete in a world where even elementary-school homework often requires Internet research, bulky Web sites make dial-up virtually useless, and two months of Wi-Fi service can cost as much as a used laptop. Many adult students are unable to access the Internet in libraries because of jobs during business hours, and are forced to spend hours scrambling for Internet access, which their wealthier counterparts can spend directly on the project. Equality in access to information would be hailed as a great step towards social justice by any publication with a few functioning brain cells on board. It would give San Franciscans a better education and a competitive edge in employment that might very well have positive effects on the other social problems we face.

If you were really concerned with the immediate well-being of San Francisco's homeless, you could challenge Google, or whoever ends up providing the service, to provide homeless people with some number of free metro cell phones. Many homeless people have relatives that they have no way to contact, and who have no way to know if they are even alive. Finding a telephone to use is a huge challenge for a homeless person, and sometimes this human connection is more valuable than a meal or a material object. This would be a relatively low-cost and manageable equivalent of Wi-Fi for the rest of the population.

Name withheld
San Francisco

A Recipe for Success

Dish Enchanted wins a faraway fan: I just wanted to say [to columnist Bonnie Wach]: You rock. More specifically, your column rocks: your prose, your choice of topic, your gift for showing the significant detail and evoking the sense of place.

Never doubt that you have an appreciative audience -- we're out here.

Victor Stevko
Cambridge, Mass.

 
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