June 05, 2002




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Herrera and pot

Thank you for covering my interest in exploring the idea that San Francisco be the first city in the nation to get involved in the production and distribution of medical cannabis ["Two Good Ideas from Leno," 5/22/02]. I am outraged by the recent federal crackdown on medical cannabis clubs and the arrest and prosecution of local activists who stand up for the value of cannabis as the life-saving and pain-relieving medicine it is.

I am grateful for the active participation of a core group of energetic and compassionate activists from the medical cannabis community who came to me in 1999 to form a task force that has produced some of the most groundbreaking legislation in the nation around this issue. Together with representatives from the City Attorney's Office, District Attorney's Office, Department of Public Health, and San Francisco Police Department Narcotics Division, this dedicated group has crafted our groundbreaking medical cannabis ID card program, produced a police bulletin training all officers on how to compassionately and professionally deal with medical cannabis users, and written a resolution declaring San Francisco a sanctuary for medical cannabis use, cultivation, and distribution.

Though our task force had been advised of the legal risks by deputy attorney Rick Sheinfield, I have only recently discussed this with City Attorney Dennis Herrera. He has told me that his office will continue to support the Board of Supervisors' efforts to effectively implement Proposition 215. His office has already worked with my office and the Department of Public Health to develop guidelines to implement Prop. 215.

Herrera has committed to providing us with legal advice to ensure that we, as policy makers, are aware of all the potential ramifications that our proposals will face. It is important that we establish these policies with our eyes open to the potential federal reaction and its impact on our city services.

Sup. Mark Leno San Francisco

Bite the bullet

I think that people who say things like Bruce Balshone's negative comment on naming things using "bullets and guns" analogies need to stop worrying about stupid crap and instead worry about things that matter, such as actually getting this train into service ["The Shot Heard Round the Legislature," 5/29/02]. Does he really think that people are going to associate Caltrain's Baby Bullet train with violence? What an ass! At any rate, guns and bullets did not play any part in the hijackings.

Shall we never use the phrases "on the cutting edge," "slashing prices," "cutting back," et cetera, because they will be associated with Sept. 11? Are people like Balshone really protecting anyone with these language concerns (which are potentially damaging to the First Amendment), or are they just troublemaking sensationalists who don't want to see any progress unless it has their input?

Josiah Legro San Francisco

Skate story not in line

Euuww ... c'mon. That article is ludicrous ["Roller-skate or Die!," 5/22/02]. Not to mention a blindsided slap in the face to skating. This kind of journalism only confirms my belief that the Bay Guardian is a tool of urban myth propaganda and absurdist misinformation. To represent skaters as "gangs" is insipid, contentious, and divisive and only serves to alarm those who cast a wary eye at skating in general. Don't believe the hype.

Kevin Bernard San Francisco

Teng's real legacy

Suddenly, Mabel Teng is posing as an advocate for schoolkids, stating that "every student ... deserves a quality education" ["Teng Opposes Yee's Plan," Letters to the Editor, 5/29/02]. How ironic that the former supervisor would spout such a slogan, considering that she spent her time on the board ensuring that developers were able to swindle the San Francisco Unified School District, and taxpayers, out of uncounted millions in facilities fees. A lot of families had to leave San Francisco because of Mabel's work, so their kids aren't around to endure the substandard buildings, unheated classrooms, broken plumbing, rats, leaks, and lead that Mabel didn't want her contributors to have to help fix. And now she wants to become assessor so she can help her friends save more money. Only in San Francisco.

Gary W. Moody San Francisco

Questioning Ron Chun

Carol Belcher's letter (May 22, 2002) to the Bay Guardian praises former assessor candidate Ron Chun's decision to take a newly created job in Assessor Doris Ward's office, citing his experience as a CPA and attorney ["Hire Ron Chun," Letters to the Editor]. Given that Mr. Chun spent most of the campaign slamming Ms. Ward for cronyism and incompetence, I question Mr. Chun's motives for taking the job. We need qualified employees in the Assessor's Office, not another political backslapper willing to trade his support for a high-paying job.

Courtney Haslett San Francisco

For the record

Last week's In This Issue mischaracterized the plaintiff's legal team in the Judi Bari trial. Lawyer Bill Simpich is still part of the team.