Shedding Light on White
White's gray areas: John Geluardi's article on the relationship between Supervisor Harvey Milk and his assassin Dan White was very illuminating ["White in Milk," Feature, Jan. 30]. Even though I lived in San Francisco during the Milk/White times, I did not know (or had forgotten) about their once-amicable relationship and White's support of certain gay issues. I can only hope that the long-awaited movie about Milk will show the complexities of his relationship with White, as described in Geluardi's fine article. It would be a travesty to have this movie take the easy way and paint Milk as a saint and White as completely evil.
There was one issue that was unclear in the article. Just why was White so strongly opposed to the Youth Campus development that became the wedge between he and Milk?
John M. Kelly
John Geluardi replies: Dan White was opposed to Youth Campus because there had been a huge spike in crime in the working-class southeastern section of San Francisco, and the residents were concerned about a facility for the most violent juvenile offenders.
Letters, damned lies, and statistics: When it comes to predicting the next American President, Skot Jonz' reliance on numerology [Joe Eskenazi's "Vote by Numbers," Sucka Free City, Feb. 6] just doesn't add up. If you really want to zero in on a winning candidate, put away that calculator and start boning up on letterology.
I recently heard someone dismiss Barack Obama's presidential bid with the comment: "The American people will never elected anyone whose name ends in a vowel."
I decided to look into this. It turns out that America has already elected four vowel-afflicted presidents: James Monroe, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and Calvin Coolidge. (Granted, of these only Monroe's surname actually sounds like it ends in a vowel.) The names of five presidents ended in an "r," four with a "t," and three with "s" or "er."
The big surprise is that eight (18.6 percent) of our presidents had names that ended in "son." Check it out: Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Harrison (William Henry), Johnson (Andrew), Harrison (Benjamin), Wilson, and Johnson (Lyndon Baines). If you count William Jefferson Clinton, that's nine (20.1 percent). So, if your name ends in "son," son, you have a one in five chance of beating the competition in the race to the Oval Office. (Yeah, I know: Tell that to Jesse Jackson.)
But here's the real surprise. If your name ends with an "n," history tells us that you're a virtual shoo-in. Seventeen of the United States' elected presidents had such names. That's a whopping 39.5 percent. So, if your name ends in an "n," you've got better than one chance in three of sweeping the polls.
This explains why Giuliani, Kucinich, Edwards, Gravel, Huckabee, and Romney won't be going to Washington. And, if history is a judge, the winners of the two-party face-off in November will be Clinton and McCain.
Of course, there's always the off chance that Barack Obama can rise above the Curse of the Vowel because, even in the Presidential Name Game, nothing is for certain. (Just ask Fred Thompson.) And, at the end of the day, if Barack fails to win the Democratic nomination, he can always blame vowel play.
The Bruce Is Loose
Anonymous SFWeekly.com readers say the darnedest things about our coverage of the Bay Guardian lawsuit: I thought the author [Andy Van De Voorde] provided a wonderful portrait of the character of Bruce Brugmann — a mini Tom Wolfe novel. Some of the exchanges on the stand ("Alas ...") are the funniest bits of movie dialogue I've heard in years. Someone needs to buy the rights.
What a lot of self-serving coverage. And you had to bring in one of your out-of-town editors to write it as well. What, nobody on your staff can give it the necessary spin?