A defense of Environmental Defense: I was pleased that Matt Smith is encouraging your readers to support restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park ["Big Dam Mess," Sept. 22]. It was disappointing, however, that he chose to cast Environmental Defense's campaign in a negative way, especially since I emphasized the opposite when I spoke with him.
The opportunity to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley is exciting, and ours is a hopeful, positive effort. In our judgment, the only way that the city and other affected parties should agree to move in this direction is if their legitimate concerns -- water quality, water quantity, power replacement, and cost -- are addressed. That's why we began this effort with an in-depth analysis of the water and power system. We encourage the public to become informed and to decide for themselves. Our study is available at www.discoverhetchhetchy.org.
Siegler: Go to Orange County!: I have lived in the Mission for 30 years, and I think I have a good sense of humor. But I don't like the Washington Redskins as a team mascot. I don't think it's funny for a young, trendy comic artist to make fun of people he knows nothing about [Puni by Dan Siegler, "Help take back the Mission District," Sept. 15]. If he wants to make jokes about his own group, fine. But in this difficult post-dot-com time, when there is so much division and mistrust between many of the different groups who are this neighborhood, I think his comic(?) was really irresponsible. Some of the language used to describe Latinos and Asians may be funny to his crowd, but I always thought he was a little more of a San Franciscan than that. Maybe he should move to Orange County where people talk like this all the time. Then he will see how trendy he is not.
And where was Bigfoot on Sept. 11, 2001?: Why do you label as loony those who believe people within our government were behind the events of 9/11 ["Making Kerry Kerry On," by John Mecklin, Sept. 15]? I don't know that this is the case, but I do know there are people within the current administration who are capable of orchestrating such an attack. Morally capable, that is -- they would do it if they thought it would further a cause they believe in and if they thought they could get away it. You have to be truly naive to believe Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. are not capable of such a thing. This doesn't mean they did it, but I know I'm going to pay attention to conspiracy claims and closely examine any and all evidence that's brought forth. Similar lunacy charges were made against people who claimed the U.S. brought down Allende's government or the U.S. sold weapons and drugs to fund the Contras. Yet history shows they weren't loony, they were right.
Standing up (or lying down, as the case may be) for her right to pleasure: Though I live in the Central Valley, I check out your site occasionally for your interesting, albeit quirky, stories. I'm complimenting Ron Russell, the author of "Merchants of Passion" [Sept. 15], for doing such a tasteful job on a taboo subject. I attended a similar kind of "play toy" party recently -- I was a "virgin"; I'd never attended one before -- and was surprised to find it was quite harmless. Some women were a bit squeamish, but others seemed to enjoy the fact that they could be vocal about their likes and dislikes regarding specific products amongst fellow females. By the end of the party, a majority of the women eagerly purchased a number of items. I find it sad that many women are so uncomfortable with the issue of sex and related toys, myself included. What happened? Why were we all raised to feel that these things are "dirty" and embarrassing? Maybe these toys shouldn't be so hush-hush -- if a man can't satisfy a woman, and she doesn't feel like crossing gender lines, then why not utilize a toy for pleasure?