July 17, 2002

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talkback...

Newsom's heartless homeless plan

Thank you for your recent article on Sup. Gavin Newsom's proposal that will cut General Assistance benefits to the homeless ["Getting Careless," 6/19/02]. It is unfortunate that Newsom drafted the initiative so poorly. There are two poison pill issues in Newsom's proposal that are bad for women and gays and will make the homeless problem worse in San Francisco.

For example, if a woman or a gay person is assaulted in a shelter, that individual could lose their G.A. benefits automatically if they refuse an offer of a bed in that same shelter (Sec.20.59.3(b)). I'm sorry to say these are common occurrences.

That same provision also provides that if a person who has housing gets evicted, their G.A. benefits are discontinued. These poison pill provisions are intolerable, and Newsom is heartless for pushing this initiative.

Robert Haaland San Francisco

Celebrating the female woman

I am writing in response to your cover story "Who Belongs in Women's Space?" [6/19/02]. I don't know how old Judith Cohen is, but I would suggest that she spend some time researching the history of the women's movement. If she would spend a little time talking to older generation dykes she might not label them as naive and stubborn. Even as late as the '70s these women were struggling to obtain basic human rights not only as lesbians but as women as well. We owe them appreciation, not put-downs. Part of the struggle was learning to accept their female bodies that societal pressures taught them to hate. They created women's space to celebrate their femaleness and their love of women free from male energy. It is obvious why these dykes do not want to share this hard-earned space with women who have chosen to surgically remove their breasts, pump themselves full of testosterone, and call themselves men.

Name withheld San Francisco

Just bad shit

Thoughts on Abigail Goldman's sentence as an N.Y. fashion intern ["Confessions of a Fashion Drudge," 7/10/02]:

The '80s were a little embarrassing even while they were happening. The metallic belts, shoes, clutch purses; the puffy shoulders, the ruffles, the unbridled asymmetry. Shouldn't just Deneuve and Jagger and Phillips be wearing this, blowing on the Riviera? The only good thing about the '80s comeback is laughing at club rompers looking smug in what is just arguably bad shit. I liked Cessna's comment on our fear of the future of fashion and our reliance on the tried and rubber-stamped. When we wear "vintage" concert baseball Ts picked up for a cool $50 on eBay, we get to identify with a quantifiable past and co-opt its groundbreaking efforts without throwing ourselves on any unchartered fashion or political limbs.

Robin Goldman San Francisco

Military opportunities

In her June 26 article "The Problem with Pride," Alissa Chadburn asserts that "the mainstream gay movement has, in focusing on issues like ... gays in the military, turned its back on marginal queers – the poor and working class, people of color, the genderqueers, [and] the trannies." While Chadburn and others should be applauded for bringing attention to the challenges facing our community, her statement about gays in the military is simply inaccurate.

Our nation's military – the country's largest employer – remains for many low-income individuals, people of color, and youth an opportunity for financial independence and educational scholarship. By working to tear down the ban on gay service members, and to erase the misconceptions of gender stereotypes, LGBT military advocates are working to make the opportunities of military service available to every member of our community.

Steve Ralls Washington, D.C.

Secret birth records

You were right to endorse SCA 7 (Burton-San Francisco), which would place the right of public access to records into California's constitution, and place the burden of proving a record shouldn't be accessible onto the state ["Good News for Sunshine" 7/3/02]. In a chilling coincidence, S.B. 1614, Sen. Jackie Speier's bill to pull the state's Birth and Death Indices from the Public Records Act, passed by partisan majority during the same June 28 Senate Floor Session. In a political move that would make Attorney General John Ashcroft blush in its draconian scope and audacity, the governor and Speier are promoting a bill that, as of last week, will make telling someone who was born and who has died in the state of California a criminal offense.

Ron Morgan San Francisco

For the record

The Portland-based band mentioned at the end of "17 Reasons to Save One Sign" [6/26/02] is actually called 17 Reasons Why and broke up in 1999.

The caption for our July 3 "No-bid Nightmares" chart notes that the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury has criticized the city's overreliance on sole-source contracts. This is not meant to imply that every one of the contracts in the chart could – or should – have been put out to bid.