With members of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, I have monitored the activities of the patrol specials inthe Castro periodically over the last year. During the time that I have observed them, for hours at a a time, their activities were strictly limited to harassment (not "referral") of homeless people, panhandlers and youth. While your reporter was with them, no doubt they were more restrained, but normally homeless persons' refusual to go to a shelter would result in their being given a ticket for camping, lodging or some other "offense" infer the Matrix program. At a meeting held in the Castro to drum up support for the patrol specials, Officer Jane Warner made it clear that enforcement of Matrix is their priority.
The Coalition on Homelessness has documented hundreds of incidents in which the patrol specials beat, threatened, illegally arrested or confiscated the property of people hanging out on the street. Last summer, I saw one of them take the crutches of a man they were arresting for sleeping on the street (though he was not actually sleeping), then tell him, "If you want to get them back when we get downtown, shut up." When he demanded to know what he was being charged with, the officer said, "We'll think of something." The patrol specials certainly will not be missed on the street.
Agreed Upon Lies
Most of what gets tagged as "conspiracy theory" ("Conspiracies by the Bay," April 12) is investigative reporting, something that newspapers used to do. Some of it is good, some isn't.
Consider this: In his obituary in the S.F. Chronicle in 1994, Herman Abs was described by David Rockefeller as "the most important banker of our time." The obit didn't mention that Abs was the head of the Deutsche Bank (essentially, Hitler's central bank) from 1940 to 1945, and sat on the board of the German chemical cartel I.G. Farben when it made it the decision to build slave labor camps at Auschwitz. Is it bad reporting not to have mentioned Abs' well-documented Nazi past, or am I a conspiracy nut for noticing? Was Mae Brussell so wrong if war criminals are buried with the praise of the most powerful men in our country?
Napoleon said, "History is a series of agreed upon lies." By what boundary is your truth conformed?
Robert Carl Miller
Ignorance is DIssed
I just read "Conspiracies by the Bay." I am a white, well-educated, upper-income, Republican male, hardly the demographic image of your targeted readership, and I am not a follower of what are termed "conspiracy theories." However, your article's interweaving of ridiculous fables with poorly researched half-truths came across as nothing more than a rather amateurish attempt to tar everyone who would seriously investigate the activities of our military and intelligence agencies as kooks.
If Paul Critz and Rich Wang would like to imply that the majority of the people who do research into underreported criminal activities are essentially paranoid, aging hippies who have read one too many spy novels, they're going to have to do better than that.
The most baneful thing about Critz and Wang is that their thesis of wacky ridicule is largely dependent on the reader's ignorance of the events and people covered in their article. If Joseph Goebbels and David Letterman had a baby, it could probably find a job at your smart-alecky corporate paper writing these pieces. Perfect for those undereducated, public-school Generation Xers.
Pump up the Volume
In her interview with the band Royal Trux ("Let It Bleed," April 12), Sia Michel suggests that lead singer Jennifer Herrema "is one of the most underrated women in rock" and that "partly, she's been overshadowed" by boyfriend/lead guitarist Neil Hagerty. Yet Herrema herself only appears once in Michel's article -- when she is sent out to the 7-Eleven to buy cigarettes.
In the Trux's show at the Great American Music Hall on Friday, Herrema uttered only one audible sentence between songs, apparently addressed to the sound technician: "John, these people can't hear my voice, man." Maybe the Weekly could do her the same service that John subsequently did, and try to include that voice in the mix.
Sia Michel responds: Jennifer Herrema canceled her share of our scheduled phone conversation because she was tired from doing interviews all day, which was sorely dis-appointing but her prerogative.
In a Fog
As a customer of Fog City Diner (but not an employee or owner), I could not help correcting an inaccuracy by Barbara Lane (Eat, April 19): When patronizing Fog City Diner, "leave home without it." Fog City has not been featured in an American Express promo, nor does it accept the card. Visa is accepted and is the plastic to which your critic alluded.
Blown out of Proportion
As the developer of Altamont's first utility-scale wind-power plant, I was not planning to dignify the inflammatory hyperbole of "Whirly Birds" (March 29) with a response, despite the importance of the avian mortality issue. But the Sierra Club's letter (April 19) blurs the issue as greatly as the article, so I'll try to generate some perspective.
Fact: In an average year, Altamont Pass produces the wind-energy equivalent of the oil lost by six Exxon Valdez spills, which killed over 200,000 birds. Yet the Sierra Club wishes to prevent further development at Altamont because of a possible several hundred raptors per year.
Fact: Modern civilization kills birds at the rate of over 200 million deaths per year, with plate glass accounting for nearly 100 million deaths per year. The wind industry would have to grow 4,000 percent to account for one percent of the existing problem. Loss of habitat and even feral cats are a far greater problem than windmills.
SF Weekly distorted the scope of the problem. Wind power produces no greenhouse gases, while other power industries likely cause accelerated global warming. One does not need to safely store used windmill tower struts in leakproof casks for 20,000 years.
The Sierra Club has fallen asleep on this issue, as wind power must continue to grow, especially at Altamont, where existing infrastructure needs the efficiencies of the new technologies to operate under today's absurd PG&E prices.
Wake up and smell the diesel fumes. My windmills may not be perfect, but they're orders of magnitudes better than any power source that's come before. Shouldn't there be so much wind elec-tricity around that we can cut into the transportation sector, whose burnt fossil fuels may be choking our grandchildren, or ourselves?
Wind Power Management
An editor changed the meaning of a key sentence in the April 19 review of Anthony's restaurant. In the original copy, the writer stated that Anthony's resembles restaurants in Chicago owned by ex-athletes.