June 19, 2002


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talkback...

TARC's record

On behalf of the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center, I wish to correct a misimpression that was conveyed by the photograph that headed up last week's article regarding another, different agency ("Cashing Out," 6/12/02). While the photograph prominently displayed our agency's office front with its signature banner, the article concerned issues involving AIDS Financial Services and Lutheran Social Services.

TARC has been working with the residents of the Tenderloin for over 10 years, providing outreach, education, client advocacy, and direct services to citizens that are often otherwise ignored. We are proud of the contribution we have made to the community and of the recognition we have received, including our being honored most recently with the Community Services Award from the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. We invite everyone to come down to see for him- or herself the work we do and the difference we make for our clients each day.

Tracy L. Brown executive director Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center San Francisco

Missing women

I was excited to see the Bay Guardian's cover article on protest music, "The Message" [6/5/02], but I was disappointed to find that there were no women artists mentioned in the whole article; not on the list of 10 great political albums, not among any of the artists interviewed for the piece, and not among any of those mostly tiredly misogynistic artists that author J.H. Tompkins says he's been listening to lately.

This is particularly disappointing when there are so many political women artists performing these days. A very few that you could have included: Bahamadia, Ursula Rucker, Ani DiFranco, Kathleen Hanna, Bitch and Animal, or Grammy-nominated artist Mystic.

Fiona Thomson Oakland

Paris's message

While I find some of the lyrics to Paris's song "What Would You Do?" to be stimulating, I am alarmed at the references to "Illuminati" and "they gave us AIDS" ["The Message," 6/5/02].

These references really devalue his message. The "Illuminati conspiracy" was pushed by John Birch Society founder Robert Welch. It is currently a favorite conspiracy topic of far-right groups and, they maintain, the "Illuminati" are spearheaded by a Jewish conspiracy.

As far as "they gave us AIDS" goes, this type of hysterical statement needs to be backed up by facts. There are none.

Shame on Paris for helping to spread this kind of ignorance!

Harry S. Pariser San Francisco

Not a bullet train

Bruce Balshone was highlighting the absurdity of Senator Speier's championing of the title for Caltrain Baby Bullet ["Bite the Bullet," Letters to the Editor, 6/5/02]. Why? Because this is not a bullet train. The title distorts the issue, and acts to confuse future legislation that calls for both the electrification of Caltrain and a California Interstate Bullet Train. Balshone acted responsibly as a board member of San Francisco Tomorrow, a Joint Powers Citizens Advisory Member, and the Caltrain Citizens' Advisory Committee. Through his participation it is apparent that Balshone has genuine concern for San Francisco's transportation interest rather than ill-informed potshots.

David J. Forster Oakland

Gay pride and shame

There is nothing innately "progressive" about LGBTs or any other cultural group [Opinion, 6/5/02]. Some of the most class-conscious, pro-corporate people I know are gay – should the Republican Party ever support gay rights, the Log Cabin Club will likely see a huge increase in its membership.

There was hope among some gay liberationists that the movement would or should bring about revolutionary social transformation. However, as LGBTs are achieving integration into the present social and political structure, it is pretty clear that the "progressive" impulses stop there – economic justice is just not on the map. While it may seem like a "gay shame" to some activists, that place at the table is precisely what most gays are proud about.

It is more an irony than a shame that you are just as likely to be evicted, downsized, or have social services you depend on cut by someone who is LGBT (or African American, or Latino, or someone who has tattoos and a nose ring, for that matter) as you are by a straight white male.

To use "gay shame" as a way to address classist concerns and draw attention to the need for a greater liberation is an interesting tactic, but to conflate gay liberation with economic justice is just naive.

Chris Bender San Francisco

For the record

A photo of the office of AIDS Financial Services in last week's issue also showed the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center, which happens to be next door. There is no formal connection between the two groups, and TARC is not involved in any of the problems we reported on at AFS. We apologize for any confusion the photo may have caused.