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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Transbay Transgressions

It takes a lot to laugh; it takes a Caltrain Extension to cry: As a longtime member of the Transbay Citizens Advisory Committee, I was pleased to see Matt Smith's article on the comings and goings of the Transbay Joint Powers board ["Missed Connection," March 8]. The Transbay Terminal/Caltrain Extension was conceived by San Franciscans, is to be paid for by San Franciscans, and needs to be controlled by San Franciscans. The provocative proposal announced last December to redesign the terminal exclusively for buses and build an 800-foot tower has not been vetted among San Franciscans. (Our CAC only received a presentation last month.) The ramifications of placing the rail extension in limbo need to be widely discussed and perhaps confirmed by the voters of San Francisco. I thus strongly support the letter from the mayor and Supervisor McGoldrick setting up a four-person task force to review the status of Transbay and urge that a public hearing be held on the proposal.

AC [Transit President Greg] Harper and his colleagues are snakes in the grass determined only to get a new bus terminal at San Francisco's expense. When Congresswoman Pelosi attempted to get $150 million included in the federal transportation reauthorization bill for Transbay, she could get no support from her East Bay colleagues since they were being told by AC that Transbay was not their priority. Thus, she barely got $50 million.

James W. Haas
San Francisco

Good intentions, bad directions: This was a good article, except everyone knows the Transbay Terminal is at First and Mission, not Third and Mission. Making an obvious error like that at the beginning of the story tends to undermine the reader's belief that the author knows what he is talking about! In any case, while it would be desirable ultimately to bring rail and bus together, something has to be done about the bus station, even if it ends up being impossible to bring the trains downtown. It is a severe safety hazard and an eyesore in its current condition, and likely deters some folks from riding the bus to the city. To keep congestion under control, we need to facilitate transbay bus service, which means we need a better bus station in S.F.

Steve Revell

Beaux Arts

They're Brummelicious!: I want to thank Mr. Farrar for writing the best article on the Beau Brummels I've ever read ["Oh, Pioneers," March 1]. I totally agree with his statements about the importance of the Brummels to the S.F. sound and to rock music in this country. This band does belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So do the Moody Blues, among others, and I don't see that happening as long as the current bunch is making the nominations. Thanks for a thorough and informative piece.

Diane Bush
Nashville, Tenn.

Beau? Diddly.: I share Mr. Farrar's enthusiasm for lost rock groups. Finding those rare records recorded by rarer groups is an excellent rush, and I never hesitate to trade whatever secrets I might discover with my friends. I'm sure Mr. Farrar would understand completely.

When it comes to the Beau Brummels, however, I must disagree with him. Does he really think they were that good? Does he really find them that influential? In college, I owned their first record. It had been reissued by Sundazed. The whole package was a class act: original album-cover artwork, deluxe liner notes, a handful of bonus tracks, and a suave digital remastering. Unfortunately, the record sucked. I mean, they really did only have two good songs. I suppose a case could be made for their follow-up record, and I know that Bradley's Barn has its defenders, but I think the Beau Brummels have been forgotten largely due to their own mediocrity.

That, and I don't think they had any influence on the development of the mostly boring and entirely predictable "San Francisco sound." Who would want to claim responsibility for that? Those bands were so bad, and their music so unforgivably turgid, that I think they're the ones who inspired Kurt Cobain to write "Territorial Pissings." (And I refuse to make any exceptions for Moby Grape, with or without Skip Spence.)

Anyway, great article, but I definitely disagree with Mr. Farrar's thesis.

Geoffery Berney
San Francisco

Anti-Social Marketing

Bi-furious: I noticed in the recent article by Cristi Hegranes, "Sloganeering" [News, March 1], that the Bay Area Reporter was described as a newspaper for the "gay, lesbian, and transgender community." I'm not clear on why your reporter chose to omit information about bisexuals in this description of the Bay Area Reporter. In actual fact, bisexuals read and write for the Bay Area Reporter paper, and the paper bills itself as one that has been "serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities since 1971." This statement is on its masthead. Journalist Liz Highleyman is one of the most regular contributors to the Bay Area Reporter, as well as a leader in the bi community and the LGBT community; she is just one of many bisexual journalists who have written for the Bay Area Reporter. Bisexuals such as myself read every issue of the Bay Area Reporter, and appreciate the contributions that the Bay Area Reporter has made to reporting on bisexual topics and individuals, as well as the commitment of the paper to be inclusive of bisexuals. So, when your newspaper characterizes the Bay Area Reporter by leaving out the bisexual part, you've made a mistake. Bisexuals are an integral part of the Bay Area Reporter's demographic, and accuracy in reporting that fact is appreciated.

Amy Andre
San Francisco


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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