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SF Weekly Letters 


Scouts' Dishonor
Mentors should do no harm: Someone can chop the you-know-what off of any adult who takes advantage of his power over a young person who is in his trust ["Hands-On Experience," Jonathan Kaminsky, feature, 12/7]. Any service agency or program that supplies adults as teachers or mentors is accountable for setting standards of behavior and then monitoring these relationships. Adults who work with children have a duty of care. They must safeguard children from emotional, sexual, and physical harm.

Web Comment

Progressively Snarky
SF Weekly continued its snarky ideological broadsides against San Francisco progressives with its unfortunate piece, "Progressively Worse" [Benjamin Wachs and Joe Eskenazi, feature, 11/23]. While honest examination is always good, this piece makes wild and unfounded assumptions about both progressives and the electorate. Nobody I know is "overjoyed" that John Avalos placed second — but many of us see his strong showing — despite being dramatically outspent by corporate-backed Ed Lee and other moderates — as a sign of renewed progressivism that can be rallied and deepened. Nobody I know wants to "subsidize homeless people who choose to drink themselves to death" — a blatantly absurd caricature. To say progressive issues "appeal to people concerned with gentrification or carbon offsets" is to grossly minimize an agenda that spans concrete everyday concerns such as local hiring, universal healthcare and expanded affordable housing. Why not do something of actual public value and investigate the city's shifting electorate, the move to the center and the monied interests behind those trends? Why skewer a movement that, despite its mistakes and need for growth, has accomplished many things — universal health care, reducing environmental waste such as plastic bags, a landmark local hiring law — that improve people's daily lives and our city's ecological future? What is the point of trying to degrade a movement that's dedicated to making the city a place we can all live in, where sustainability and socioeconomic equity and balance are core values? What's the point?

Christopher D. Cook,
activist and journalist
San Francisco

Joe Eskenazi and Benjamin Wachs respond: By any measure, progressives — who did accomplish the tasks Cook notes — are on the outside looking in. Asking "what happened?" isn't a hit piece: It's the question that our story tackled.

Mayoral candidate John Avalos' integrity is respected even by his ideological opponents in City Hall. He has big ideas. Yet, like his predecessors, he was unable to reach voters outside of core progressive enclaves. Progressive commenters, however, are searching for silver linings in their man's distant second-place showing rather than examining why this was the ceiling for Avalos — or any progressive.

That they see signs of "renewed progressivism" in his lopsided loss is no surprise. Progressives have seen every recent election, win or lose, as signs of "renewed progressivism." It's as regular as Christmas — but there is no Santa Claus.

The "point" is, journalists do not give a free pass for good intentions. Since progressive outlets seem incapable of self-reflection, it falls upon others to examine how the progressive movement can be so successful — yet so bad at building on success.

Blog Comments of the Week
PSA should reflect reality: How about a gay PSA showing real gay people? ["The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage PSAs," Oscar Raymundo, the Exhibitionist, 12/12]. No, not the "dream husband," just a couple of regular guys — two cops or two Iowa farmers, simply two guys anything — who have been together, showing their real lives, expanding waistlines and wrinkles they have earned from the stress of everyday life. I am sick of cutesy and 20-something.

Hank Kelly
Web Comment

In response to the Occupy SF's proposal to start a credit union: Good idea, I hope it works ["Occupy SF Protesters to Open People's Reserve Credit Union," Erin Sherbert, the Snitch, 12/2]. Community-based credit unions are an interesting way to work around the resentment to big banks, and they are fully insured and regulated while directing their focus on local/community economic concerns.

Web Comment

Lots of questions for the proposed Occupy credit union: This is almost too funny; do they even understand interest rate risk? What about liquidity risk? What about the regulations the credit unions have to deal with, or capital asset ratios?

Web Comment


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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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