Please let him know that I just received a call from Conrad Hilton, who read the article and Jack's description of my home: "like a hotel from the board game Monopoly." The Hilton chain has made me an offer for my modest three-bedroom home that I just can't refuse!
Water Row Books
Ass-Covering Is a Lawyer's Job
I was disappointed to read your lengthy article attacking Mr. Joel Blackman ("The Weasels Behind the Headlines," Mecklin, July 22). Let me note from the outset that Mr. Blackman is a friend. I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Blackman, and know him to be an ethical attorney and a decent human being. My displeasure on reading the article went far beyond seeing a friend bashed in the press.
Calling Mr. Blackman an "ass-covering weasel" is a rather base use of metaphor. It constitutes nothing more than name-calling. Your chief charge against Mr. Blackman is that he asserted legal claims which delayed your delving into the personal affairs of various San Francisco Housing Authority employees.
A lawyer employed by a government agency is not the usual check-the-boxes bureaucrat. A lawyer for a governmental agency is supposed to assert every claim supported by a scintilla of fact, law, or reason which will keep his/her client out of lawsuits, and to defend its conduct when the agency is sued. If a lawyer's assertion of a good faith argument to prevent his/her client from getting into legal hot water is "ass-covering," then ass-covering was Mr. Blackman's job.
You suggest that the SFHA had no need to defend potential privacy interests of its employees. If you believe that the agency has no legal duty to defend the privacy interests of employees then your understanding of the law is wrong. If the SFHA is sued by employees who are unhappy about the details of their personal lives being bandied about in the press, will SF Weekly pay the attorneys' fees and any judgment, or will the taxpayers have to pay the tab for the consequences of the Weekly's journalistic zeal for revealing those whose sins the Weekly has declared make them unworthy of public employment?
You have a pulpit from which to attack Mr. Blackman. He is bound by duty to his client and must exercise discretion in dealing with you. I suggest that in the future before you personally attack people that you address the issues -- even if those issues (like the privacy of SFHA employees) are inconvenient to you.
Antonio A. Celaya
I've just finished reading your expose of the fine, civic-minded, and rational hiring practices of the Housing Authority ("Project Employment," July 22). I was appalled and vexed as I noted the frequency with which an obviously brain-damaged judiciary has meted out the time-tested crime-stopping sentence of "probation" to these miscreants, who have been convicted repeatedly of drug-dealing and various weapons charges.
I can hear the judge as he takes off those kid gloves and dishes out his get-tough-don't-mess-with-the-law-type punishment: "Now, Mr. Dope Dealer, do you promise, this time for real, that you will stop being naughty?"
"Yes, Your Honorness, I do, for sure, really, no BS this time, sincerely promise to change my pattern of repeat criminal behavior," responds the giggling, smug-faced purveyor of death and mayhem.
"Well then, I think a little of that crime-stopping probation will ensure the public's safety, don't you?" says Judge Bozo.
"Thank you, Your Honorness. I know you won't be disappointed," replies our convicted deviant.
Please continue your great work in this and other areas needing some scrutiny. Oh, and to hell with the Chronicle and Examiner not giving you the credit due to you ("The Weasels Behind the Headlines," Mecklin). Folks who pay attention to these things know who is and isn't a weasel.
In our July 22 cover story "Project Employment," SF Weekly incorrectly reported that former San Francisco Housing Authority employee Donald Watts was arrested on drug and gun charges in 1997 after a raid on his mother's apartment. Watts was arrested at his own apartment, not his mother's.
A capsule film review of The Negotiator was printed incorrectly last week. The correct one is in this week's film section.
SF Weekly regrets the errors.