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The Petrelis camp responds

Your story on the arrest of the two AIDS activists, "Are These Guys Terrorists?" [12/26/01] has several errors.

The cover teaser claims two ACT UP S.F. members are facing a large bail. Michael Petrelis is not a member of ACT UP, only David Pasquarelli is.

The bail for the codefendants is $1.1 million, not $600,000.

No one has ever said, and Michael Petrelis never said, Eileen Shields had a "diseased snatch," nor has he ever told her, "we're coming to get you."

The article claims that Petrelis called Dr. Jeffrey Klausner's wife, Tammy, and made references to "fucking her with his syphilitic dick." On the police tape interview with Tammy, played in court, she clearly said, "Petrelis asked me, 'Did your husband fuck you with his syphilitic dick last night?' "

The story claims October news stories on rising rates of syphilis among gays made Petrelis and Pasquarelli angry. What made them angry was the stories failing to apply skepticism to Department of Public Health claims. As the annual DPH STD report claims, five times, "the law does not require that the sexual orientation of people with STD's be reported"! So how could they claim it is "gay syphilis"?

The final paragraph states that "given the pair's vitriol-laden history, the masses aren't exactly rushing to their rescue." Well, maybe 200 people who signed the letter of support for them are not exactly "the masses," but they ain't chopped liver, either.

Paul Kangas Private investigator for Michael Petrelis San Francisco

A.C. Thompson responds: Though closely associated with ACT UP S.F., Petrelis should've been tagged simply as an AIDS dissident.

Kangas is correct about the bail amounts. I misunderstood information given to me by the District Attorney's Office.

Regarding the calls Petrelis allegedly made to Eileen Shields and Tammy Klausner, the quotes in our article are taken verbatim from the indictment. The defense disputes the indictment and may be correct. We simply reported the charges, accurately.

Cancer and shampoos

I'm glad to see that somebody is beginning to crack down on such things as carcinogenic ingredients in shampoo ["He's No Flake," 12/19/01].

I've been concerned for a long, long time about the etiology of such "inevitable," "unexplainable," "random" diseases such as Alzheimer's, for instance. Instead of looking for potential causes we can avoid (dandruff shampoo, for example), whatever research money is spent goes for patch-it-up-after-the-fact remedies – pills, of course – from Big Pharma. It would be interesting for somebody to interview several hundred or thousand mate-caretakers who could look back into Alzheimer patients' premorbid history and see if there are any significant commonalities.

Mary Gillespie Malvern, Pa.

Leno supports Prop. A

Among the list of supporters of Proposition A (Instant Runoff Voting) listed in my commentary, "The Value of IRV" (Jan. 9, 2002), the name of Sup. Mark Leno should have been added. Leno has been one of the strongest and most articulate supporters of this measure.

Steven Hill San Francisco

Homeless fantasy

Gavin Newsom and his rampaging herd of Pacific Heights nobility maintain a fantasy view of homelessness.

Joe Wilson, of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, estimates that 16,200 San Franciscan children – ranging in age between birth and five – live in low-income families. And some 2,000 to 6,000 are homeless.

Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness tells me that there are some 17,000 people waiting for subsidized housing in San Francisco and that there are over 150 families waiting for emergency shelter. Some 1,100 people are waiting for substance abuse treatment, and there is up to a one-year wait for residential mental health treatment.

I remember when there were virtually no homeless people. And I remember when "war" was declared on poverty. Whatever happened to that?

Harry S. Pariser San Francisco

What SFUSD won't do

Re. "The Invisible School" [1/9/02]: Nice article. As someone who has worked in the district as a special education teacher, I do want to point out a red herring with a particular bad stench to be aware of when discussing the SFUSD. Credentialing and all it entails is no excuse for either a lack of teachers or bad teachers. Fact is, the district (while claiming all kinds of programs exist) does absolutely nothing to help a decent person get credentialed to help kids like those in Phoenix House.

The district would have you believe that problems in the school system have to do with a lack of qualified, idealistic, often young, people assuming the role of teachers and mentors. One way that the district perpetuates this hyperbole is to constantly bring up the issue of credentialing, as though it was a factor beyond their control.... Bullshit. I am taking my family to a place where, when I get hired as an educator, my tuition will be reimbursed because they need teachers.

Darrell Simon San Francisco