October 23, 2002

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talkback...

Brown's candidate

What was missed in your story on the District Eight race ("Ballot Box Bellwether," 10/16/02) is the fact that Mayor Willie Brown is supporting Bevan Dufty, his former director of Neighborhood Services.

What Brown would gain in Dufty is the fourth vote he needs to sustain his vetoes. If you care about San Francisco, that should scare the hell out of you, because Brown has not acted in the best interest of the poor and working people of this city. Many of the very things that Dufty supporters complain most about – homelessness, dirty streets, etc. – have become far worse during Brown's eight years in office. While our city was in dire need of housing, our mayor was busy feeding downtown interest. As a longtime Castro resident who worked on Castro Street for almost 10 years, I saw how Brown's policies translated into more homelessness, higher rents, and the displacement of long-term renters (including people with AIDS) and small neighborhood businesses.

Supporting Dufty is supporting more of the same. Supporting Eileen Hansen, a progressive with no ties to Brown, is supporting change.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca

San Francisco

Icing on the cake

I want to let people know that there are important distinctions between the candidates in District Eight. Eileen Hansen has experience in the nonprofit, queer, labor, and AIDS movements. As a nurse who has been involved in AIDS care and union organizing over the years, I would particularly welcome somebody such as Hansen with the savvy to handle the epidemic that hasn't gone away.

Sasha Cuttler, R.N.

San Francisco

Vote for Eileen

It is precisely Eileen Hansen's determination to identify state and federal as well as city-wasted monies that could help San Francisco get through this economic downturn with soul and services relatively intact. Hansen's many years of public policy and advocacy work, particularly in the areas of women's health and HIV, may aid in the survival of one of San Francisco's treasures and a nationally endangered species: our public health system.

I agree that the tenor and force of the District Eight race raises significant class issues. But the "progressive" choice between Hansen and Radulovich beckons us also to the question of gender. Why does it not figure in the "left" equation that the election of such a solid progressive as Hansen would address, at least incrementally, the sore underrepresentation of half the population of San Francisco? Yes, you guessed it, women's fair representation is still a progressive issue after all these years. Vote for Eileen.

Mary Magee, R.N.

San Francisco

Gordon's ideas

I take issue with your assertion that I am short on details ["Endorsements," 10/2/02]. In fact, I have spoken and written about my ideas for solving District Six's problems in more detail than any other candidate has. My economic development program for Sixth Street was detailed enough to secure $750,000 in city funding in this difficult budget year. Don't get me wrong: I don't think I have all the solutions, but I know that the ones that work are based on experience, not textbook theory or good intentions. So here's another one I have been working on:

The city should develop a pilot program under which G.A. funds are paid only into bank or credit union accounts that are tied to money management services. Free credit unions already exist that are experienced at serving very low-income customers, and they are starving for members. If they had enough members (and under this program they would) then they could provide budgeting, check cashing, direct deposit, direct rent payment, financial literacy classes, credit repair, and other services for free. The benefits of these services are obvious, as should be the benefit of taking cash off the streets on the 1st and 15th of every month.

Roger Gordon

San Francisco

Problem with Prop. N

I recently visited a local Care Not Cash promotional office near Ninth Avenue in order to obtain a Proposition N campaign sign. Sounds simple and straightforward? The experience turned out to be mystifying: I was challenged on the neighborhood I live in and on which supervisor represents my neighborhood. On the last issue I was given the opportunity to choose between Leno and Ammiano. This was after I had already stated that I lived in Glen Park, District Eight. I found the experience unpleasant and the staff condescending. The shoddy treatment was enough to make me reconsider my support of Prop. N; any individual who fails to comply with the strict rules of the program is liable to lose all benefits offered by the program, care as well as cash. Given that many of the program's recipients are homeless, living in unstable conditions, and subject to mental illness and substance abuse problems, Prop. N is likely to cut a hole in an already inadequate safety net.

Ken Richard

San Francisco

For the record

The information on Greg Osby's San Francisco Jazz Festival performance in the Oct. 16 issue was incorrect. The Greg Osby Quartet performs at Herbst Theatre Nov. 2.