Letters to the Editor

Week of Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006

Hey Big Spenders

Leaky ceilings in District 6:A.C. Thompson's article on big-money spending in the D6 race, "Stealth Dollars" [Oct. 25], exposed the public to reason for alarm. But your readers may be left with the impression that nothing more serious than failing to file forms was involved. The real cause for concern is that there is reason to believe that big money was trying to steal the election. That is what grabbed the attention of the undersigned good-government watchdogs.

Chris Daly promised to abide by the expenditure ceiling that limits the amount of money a candidate can legally spend. The ceiling is supposed to be lifted if outside parties spend more than the ceiling (generally in hit pieces). In order to monitor the amount of outside spending, the law requires 24-hour reports to be filed with the Ethics Commission. This year, big money did not file the reports, and Daly had to stand by and take a battering while Ethics investigated the amount of spending on its own. By the time Ethics blew the whistle, its executive director had uncovered more than $50,000 in illegal spending. The polls are telling us that Daly's percentages dropped during this vital time.

We won't know if their plan worked until Election Day. But even if Daly is re-elected, trying to steal an election is a crime.

That is why we are asking for a criminal investigation of these events. The problem is that Mr. Thompson's reporting implicates the district attorney's lawyer, Jim Sutton. Kamala Harris may be conflicted out. We're asking that a master be appointed to investigate the allegations. We are also asking that all committees disgorge any funds from the folks responsible.

Joe Lynn

Former San Francisco Campaign Finance Officer (1998-2003)

Ethics Commissioner (2003-2006)

Bob Planthold

Chair of the Ethics Commission, 2003-2004

Charles Marsteller

Former Coordinator for the San Francisco Chapter of Common Cause

Tainted Legacy

New College, old scandal: I knew Jack Leary fairly well, years ago, when New College was still in Sausalito [Matt Smith, Oct. 25]. While it was obvious Father Leary was gay, his predilection for boys comes as something of a shock; a shock, however, tempered by the sexual abuse scandals of the recent past concerning priests and their trusting victims.

New College was then, and remains, a small community, and while Father Leary was there, he certainly kept his dangerous inclinations to himself. As in any small community, the personal recollections of its members are bound to be tainted by the politics of the institution. Some of the names mentioned within Mr. Smith's article were individuals with axes to grind — some justifiably, others less so.

During my time at the college, I knew of just one young male student who left the college in anger, claiming that Leary was "a con artist." I never knew exactly what he meant, as the school — what it was — seemed clear enough to me at the time. Perhaps Mr. Smith's article offers a reasonable explanation for this puzzling accusation.

I would agree with Martin Hamilton that the sins of Jack Leary would seem to have little to do with New College itself — Leary certainly didn't use the institution openly to seduce young men. However, if such abuse did occur, it should be dragged into the open rather than left as a question in the shadows.

John Leary is dead and gone; apparently, the pain he caused among some innocents lingers. Perhaps more than we'll ever know. And he, an academic, a teacher of Aristotle, should have known better. I find it boggling to consider to what degree some of us are at mercy to our worst instincts.

Kim Hoffman

San Francisco

From Jesuits to Fascists: I don't always like what Matt Smith writes, but I want to thank him for his article. I am a former New College student, who decided not to get my degree, because of Hamilton and the board of trustees. I was also suckered into the process of progressive education, and while my department was and is amazing, the administration is more fascist and imposing than any university, public or private. Again, thank you for opening the door. I hope the stories continue.

[Name withheld]

San Francisco

Correction

We neglected to give credit for the artwork in our Oct. 18 feature, "Honors Club." Paul Trapani took the photographs, and Kyle Webster illustrated. SF Weekly regrets the omissions.

 
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