Yes, that Matt Gonzalez: In "A Bridge Too Costly" (May 31), Matt Smith dismisses safety concerns recently leveled by the contractor of the Fourth Street Bridge retrofit absent further engineering and design calculations. But Smith doesn't tell his readers why Curt Mitchell, of Mitchell Engineering, preliminarily reached a different conclusion.
After construction of the bridge began in April 2003, Mitchell Engineering discovered that the concrete counterweight, designed by the city to lift the span, wasn't heavy enough to raise the bridge. The city eventually agreed, and added 250,000 pounds to the counterweight in hopes of fixing the problem. But apparently the city made this design change without any engineering analysis particularly in regards to what is known in the trade as the "factor of safety."
Mitchell built the span as designed by the city. Yet, three months ago "pinging" and "racking" noises started to be heard by workers who were raising the bridge span.
It remains to be seen if Smith is correct in his safety conclusion, but one thing is for sure: Bridges shouldn't "creak" when lifted.
Attorney for Mitchell Engineering
Pigeon bitchin': I'm sorry to hear that No. 3241 and No. 3242, the dirty, filthy, flying rats Justin Farrar saved ["A Pigeon Noir," May 3], are doing well in San Rafael, but maybe that's just because I'm a heartless prick. Or maybe it's because I've been shit on by the relatives of these fuckers at least four times in the past several years, each time with increasing fecal volume I think San Francisco pigeons have been breeding with pterodactyls. Perhaps it's because they shit all over and around my apartment, creating piles and piles of Jackson Pollock pigeon glop. Or maybe it's because they like to perch near my bedroom window and make cooing noises starting at 4:30 a.m., noises that I can only begin to explain as sounding like a dying old man having sex with another dying old man. The cooing is on some otherworldly frequency that manages to penetrate through ear plugs, into my brain, and make my eyeballs shake. Maybe it's because they congregate in all the filthiest areas of San Francisco Sixth and Market, 16th and Mission adding to the squalor among the hypodermic needles and trash. I swear to God I saw a pigeon hitting a crack pipe the other day. I hope that one of the golden eagles that WildCare rehabilitates swoops on those bastards for lunch.
RIP, Prop. D: Matt Smith got it right about the election ["Believe It or Not," June 7], being the first and only journalist to expose the shenanigans surrounding Proposition D. This was a measure put on the ballot by doctors at Laguna Honda [Hospital] who had one concern and one concern only: to protect their frail and vulnerable patients from the dangerous admissions policies of the health director. They saw firsthand why mixing violent, younger, and able-bodied people with the frail at LHH was a bad idea, and they were backed up by 275 pages of scathing citations issued in a state report.
Were the mayor and the health department chagrined over this? No. Did they try to manipulate and fool the public with their lies about the impact of the proposition? Yes, indeed.
In fact, written expert testimony from the chief neurologist at UCSF as well as the CEO of the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California clearly stated that the claim about discharging 300 dementia patients was absolutely false. So, to borrow from Matt Smith: The mayor and the health department blatantly lied to the public. True or false? True.
In our June 14 issue, the credit for the cover illustration was inadvertently left out. The image was created by Brian Stauffer. SF Weekly regrets the error.
A little bragging is in order on behalf of three writers who took home honors June 1 at the Peninsula Press Club's Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards. Senior Columnist Matt Smith won First Place in the News/Political Column category for his wide-ranging examinations of local and national issues. Former staff writer Tommy Craggs was awarded First Place for Sports Feature for his Oct. 26, 2005, cover story, "Here Comes the Fog," about S.F.'s greatest horseracing hope. Another former staff writer, Nate Cavalieri, won Second Place in the category called Feature Story of a Serious Nature for his Feb. 2 article, "The Lifesaver," which profiled Shawn Richard, a civic hero with a difficult past. Congratulations Matt, Tommy, and Nate.