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Burton and the cops

For San Francisco voters, Kimiko Burton's support by the San Francisco Police Officers Association tells the whole story ["Kimiko's Burden," 1/30/02]. Like it or not, public defenders defend people accused of crimes. Most are guilty. But remember, these lawyers are defending more than just an accused criminal. They are defending every citizen who wants the protections provided by the Constitution and protection from overzealous police and prosecutors. One need only look at the Night Rider scandal in Oakland and the Ramparts scandal in L.A. to know that not every police person is protecting your constitutional rights. When you, your son, daughter, or neighbor is accused of a crime and their public defender is cross-examining the police officer, do you want that lawyer's boss to be someone taking money from the Police Officers Association? When the decision is made to attack the police officer's credibility, do want that public defender to base that decision on the merits of the case or to be concerned about the next contribution from the witness?

If you learned that the San Francisco Drug Dealer's Association supported a particular district attorney, would you wonder?

Clarke Holland


Quoting the cops

The response by A.C. Thompson to "The Petrelis Camp Responds" [Letters, 1/16/02] clearly exposes the role of the media, even "progressives," in America. You just quote the cops.

Rarely are charges issued by a district attorney accurate. Cops usually overcharge defendants.

"The quotes in our article are taken verbatim from the indictment." Yes, "verbatim" from the mouth of the lying cops.

I accept some responsibility, because when A.C. Thompson stopped us in the hall for a quote, from the defense, the lawyer pretended to be too busy to speak to him. I should have at least listened to his questions.

Paul Kangas

Private investigator for Michael Petrelis

San Francisco

Another advantage of IRV

Most Bay Guardian readers are probably already inclined to support Proposition A at the March 5 election (Prop. A is instant-runoff voting). But here's another good reason to vote yes on A: If it passes, a judicial threat to write-in voting will no longer be a threat.

The right of a voter to vote for anyone he or she wishes is a valuable asset. Write-in space on ballots helps preserve that asset. In 1985 the California Supreme Court ruled that all California ballots must always contain write-in space.

Louise Renne, before she left office, was so determined to eliminate write-in space on San Francisco runoff ballots, that she asked the state Supreme Court to reverse the decision. And, ominously, on Jan. 16, 2002, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the city's appeal.

However, if Prop. A passes, the whole issue of write-ins on runoff ballots would be moot, since San Francisco would no longer be holding runoff elections. The threat from the state Supreme Court would be canceled.

Richard Winger

San Francisco

Hello Kitty's code

In response to the cover article you published for the Jan. 23, 2002, edition ("The Apotheosis of Cute," 1/23/02): As Annalee Newitz points out, "there's a certain amount of love and theft involved in the Asian-pop side of American cuteness.... Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with 'stealing' Asian icons for deployment on American T-shirts." Much of the rise of the Hello Kitty and fellow cutie-pie characters we see emblazoned everywhere are made and distributed by Asians and Asian Americans.

Many Asian American females, and the occasional male, employ cutie-pie monikers as a kind of code. Having grown up with old world Asian customs and images that our parents impressed on us to define us (whether U.S.-born or not), cutie-pie kittens and such with the clear mark of Sanrio became an "identifier" for many Asian American girls (and boys).

Yes, Hello Kitty cuteness is contextual, and for Asian Americans who have been seeking validation and portrayals of complex characters (not stereotypes) in mass media, the disturbing truth is that Sanrio and friends offer that in an accessible format (with so many choices). Sanrio indicates that you've been raised here in the United States (not FOB!) and have a sense of humor, playfulness, and cheekiness – traits not stereotypically associated with Asian women.

Donna Han


For the record

Owing to a reporting error, the Bay Guardian misstated whom San Francisco Tenants Union executive director Ted Gullicksen is supporting in the public defender's race. After dropping his endorsement of candidate Jeff Adachi, Gullicksen decided to remain neutral.