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SF Weekly Letters 


Sharp Park Tug-of-War
Keep it: Only in San Francisco would city government "representatives" seriously consider giving away 400 acres of extremely valuable coastal parkland to the feds ["Bleeding Green," Peter Jamison, Feature, 6/2]. In any rational universe (i.e., any other city in the U.S.), these clowns would be laughed out of office for even mentioning anything so ludicrous. Most cities want to expand their parkland, especially parkland that includes 54,000 green fees per year that flow into the city coffers.

Only in S.F. would the possibility exist that we would give this gem away. This park was a gift to the people of San Francisco. It is a legacy of the people of San Francisco for the last 100 years, a legacy we choose to share with the entire Bay Area and a legacy that should be passed to future generations. It is not in the supervisors' purview to piss away that legacy. The unmitigated gall and arrogance of city supervisors for even suggesting such an option simply astounds me.

Even for San Francisco, this is beyond the pale.


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Give it away: Turning over the Sharp Park property to the National Park Service is is the best option. It will pay for the full cost of a full ecological restoration. It will provide recreational opportunities that align with what Bay Area residents want, such as hiking and birdwatching. It will provide educational opportunities in the ecology and human history of the area. It will provide internships and volunteer opportunities. It will help stimulate the economy in the area, as national parks usually do. And it will free up the needed financial resources for San Francisco communities.

The Sharp Park Golf Course has many ecological and economic problems. Giving the Sharp Park property to the NPS is not giving it away. Yes, the owner on paper will change, but Bay Area residents still have it, because they can still use it. Like Crissy Field and Mori Point, Sharp Park will be in line with the needed trend of habitat restoration and species protection, and will be a wonderful park for everyone to use.

Even if we give the Sharp Park property to the NPS, the Bay Area still has it — but it will be in much better condition and provide more uses for people, while protecting habitat and species. San Francisco will then have more money to spend on San Francisco communities in need.

Barbara Beth

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Secrecy or Privacy?
Priests not the only ones exposed when records go public: I was the assistant district attorney under District Attorney Terrence Hallinan, who investigated and prosecuted the clergy employed by the San Francisco archdiocese who were suspected of child sexual abuse ["A Secrecy Fetish," Matt Smith, Column, 6/2]. I am still employed by the District Attorney's office, and was involved in our response to inquiries by SF Weekly for these files. It was my advice that the information not be disclosed. The principle for not turning over these files was the same under Hallinan's administration: the need to protect the privacy of the victims.

I can attest that the overwhelming majority of victims did not want their past disclosed. This is why we proceeded by nonpublic grand juries. It was also my experience in prosecuting this case that for a majority of victims, who were almost all male, I was the first person and often the first male to whom they disclosed the abuse.

The investigation of the archdiocese ended years ago under the Hallinan administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled California's statute-of-limitations law was unconstitutional. When the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling, we were forced to end the investigation and release indicted priests. I am surprised by Hallinan's reported statement that the information we acquired during the course of this investigation should be released. He declined to do so after the ruling. I believe that he acted ethically and correctly.

It is wrong for SF Weekly to accuse District Attorney Kamala Harris (and thereby this office) of "protecting Catholic pedophiles." I have known Harris since she worked as a line assistant district attorney in this office under Hallinan. I am also very familiar with the assistant district attorneys she employs. Neither District Attorney Harris nor any prosecutors in this office have any tolerance for people who hurt or sexually abuse children.

Elliot Beckelman

Assistant District Attorney

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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