I have great respect for Roberta Achtenberg (“Achtenberg's Third Act,” Aug. 30). Her intelligence, integrity, and dedication are exemplary. However, I cannot let her question — “What exactly has he [Willie Brown] gotten done?” — go with the limited response in Amy Linn's article.
Here are a few other examples of Brown's achievements: He helped stop the construction of a freeway through Golden Gate Park; he fought to expand and maintain public funding for reproductive health services and abortion rights; he secured $10 million for creation of Art Agnos' Candlestick Point State Recreation Area; he created the California Housing Insurance Fund to offer state-sponsored mortgage guarantees for first-time home buyers; he fought for no tuition in California's junior colleges, and when he lost, he secured a minimal student fee; he pushed through legislation safeguarding funding for San Francisco's recycling community; for 16 years as speaker, he presided over the California State Assembly with a skill unmatched in the history of the Legislature.
Sparks Will Fly
Thanks to Amy Linn's fascinating political reflection (“Achtenberg's Third Act,” Aug. 30), I foresee our next mayor. (But I'm not telling!)
Linn's pivotal question — “… isn't it even more important to be a good cheerleader, to throw such sparks and work so hard it makes people want to stand up and do the wave?” — brings to mind my father's first encounter with then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy. As my dad, a lifelong Republican, bolted from his chair, he exclaimed, “Kennedy's got spunk!” The “sparks” factor indeed!
Though I now foreknow the winner of the mayoral race, I still need to decide whom I would like to win. To that end, here's hoping for a lot more of Linn's political coverage.
Slouching Toward Jerusalem
Yes, I agree with your article on Roberta Achtenberg (“Achtenberg's Third Act,” Aug. 30). She certainly “gets things done.” This was clear in June of 1992 when she was one of the people who sat on the Democratic Party's drafting committee and used her influence to make sure that there would be a staunchly pro-Israel platform for the Democratic Party, one which stated that Jerusalem is “the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city.”
Achtenberg apparently believes in social justice for everyone except Palestinians, since East Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs and has been illegally annexed by Israel. The more important question your magazine should address is, how will Achtenberg promote her pro-Israel agenda once she gets to be mayor or, perhaps later, congresswoman? Do her views on the rights of Palestinians reflect the views of people in the San Francisco area, who are fairly knowledgeable on this subject? Perhaps they might like to know her views on this subject, which has not been covered in any of the local papers.
I take issue with two of Arthur R. Boone's points on recycling scavengers (Letters, Sept. 6).
Boone says, “Any material taken with its owner's permission is not poached/stolen.” Gosh, I don't remember giving anyone but Oakland Scavenger permission to pick up recyclables that I place on my curb every Friday for pickup by Oakland Scavenger in bins the company provides me just for that purpose. Stealing recyclables I provide to a clearly identified party is theft. The fact of theft isn't altered by the value of the stolen material. It's still theft.
Boone says, “The public-at-large is truly ambivalent on prosecutions.” I don't know whom he's talking to, but people I talk to, from the Rockridge to Laurel neighborhoods in Oakland, are tired of being roused from sleep by recycling thieves rummaging through bins, sometimes leaving a mess in their wake on porches and in yards. Several people I know take down thieves' license plates and turn them in to the authorities. I did this myself one morning with a white Ford Bronco whose owner came up my front stairs to try to steal my recyclables. I shooed him away, and made sure he saw me taking his license number.
Boone can give his recyclables to whomever he wishes. So can the rest of us.
In “Parking Pass Pikers” (Bay View, Sept. 6), Lynn Ludlow's name was misspelled.