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Hastings vs. the Tenderloin

I am a first-year law student at UC Hastings ["A Lot of Problems," 3/6/02]. I chose Hastings because it is a state school and, considering its location, I believed that it must be progressive at least by law school standards. I was wrong. Public interest, progressive, and activist students receive little support from the administration, which is at the mercy of the conservative Hastings board; the Hastings board is separate from the more well-known UC Board of Regents, which administers the rest of the UC system. Students on campus under the leadership of Kevin Aaron had been organizing an effort to stand against the parking garage that, according to your article, Hastings claims it is building for us. Hastings students either know nothing about the garage, know little about the garage and are too overwhelmed to give it much thought, or are doing the best that we can to make sure Hastings does not further alienate itself from the community. The community should know that there are politically conscious students on Hastings's campus who want to help lift the Tenderloin up, not wall it off entirely. We know the Tenderloin does not need a massive parking garage. The Tenderloin needs more housing for Tenderloin residents, not exclusive housing for Hastings students.

Mona Dee San Francisco

Milk's DCCC victory

San Francisco, the most liberal among the country's major cities, has a majority nonwhite population. It is an almost "one-party city." An election analysis of the Democratic County Central Committee is relevant and crucial to understanding future political trends in the city. The DCCC controls local endorsements and therefore who gets elected in San Francisco.

I want to comment on this because I put a lot of work and enthusiasm into helping elect our mostly "first-timer/grassroots" candidates for the DCCC progressive reform slate of the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club. The DCCC used to serve as one of the most important conduits for soft money for machine politics in San Francisco – until two years ago when the first wave of progressive reformers won seats and started the change, with the support of the Milk Club.

This time, the slate backed by the Milk Club won nine seats in District 13 and four in District 12, replacing the majority of the DCCC (representatives of political consultants, soft money, and negative campaigning) with an even stronger progressive presence than before. Given the all-pervasive climate of bigotry, racism, and xenophobia that arose in the United States after Sept. 11 (evident in San Francisco with the recent strong defeat of Proposition C, which would've allowed non-U.S. citizens to serve on commissions), it was not a minor accomplishment that we helped elect a truly diverse slate that includes two African Americans, two Asians, and one Latino.

This group is not only ethnically diverse but also inclusive in terms of gender, age, and sexual orientation (with women, youth, seniors, and queers represented). I am particularly pleased with the election of Robert Haaland, who will go down in history as the first transgender person to win an elected position in the city, as well as the election of current and former presidents of our club: Debra Walker, Criss Romero, and Jeff Sheehy.

As a queer activist and immigrant from Argentina who considers San Francisco one of the few places in the United States where it is safe to be a "naturalized American citizen of color," these recent achievements of the Milk Club are a good reason for personal joy and political pride.

Enrique Asis Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club San Francisco

Britt's spam

I think Tim Redmond is correct in writing that "we can all go on for hours" discussing why Harry Britt lost to Mark Leno in the primary [In This Issue, 3/13/02], but I'll tell you why he lost any chance at getting my vote. Spam – whether e-mail or unsolicited calls – is likely to be one of the consumer protection issues the state assembly will be called upon to address in the near future. I don't trust a politician who spams me himself to take my side against the corporations on this issue, so when I received an automated message that started, "Remember when Willie Brown appointed Mark Leno? ..." the choice was clear. Of course, the source of the message was not clearly stated ("plausible deniability" on the part of Britt's campaign, I suppose), but that just made it even sleazier. With the margin of victory so close, I'm delighted that my vote actually made a difference in this case. If Leno's campaign made similar unsolicited calls, I never received one.

Alexander Akin San Francisco