Letters to the Editor

  • Wednesday August 13, 2014
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Ting's syringe bill a 'life-saver'

Thank you for covering Assembly Bill 1743, Assemblyman Phil Ting's (D-San Francisco) pharmacy syringe access bill, in your July 31 article "Ting adds sunset to safe syringe bill." We appreciate Ting's leadership in addressing HIV and hepatitis C transmission in California. This bill is an important expansion of an established and effective program.

Studies show that the risk of syringe sharing, and the resulting potential transmission of HIV and hepatitis, increases when the number of safe syringes a person can obtain is capped. That is why we are grateful that Ting was willing to introduce a bill to allow adults to buy an unlimited number of syringes at pharmacies without a prescription.

Ting's inclusion of the six-year sunset was a strategy that the bill co-sponsors, Drug Policy Alliance and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, encouraged him to take. It removed entrenched law enforcement opposition, paving the way for the Legislature to pass this life-saving bill in the coming weeks.

It has taken years of advocacy to reach this level of progress. Ting's bill is a life-saver and we are grateful for his leadership.


Laura Thomas, Deputy State Director

Drug Policy Alliance

San Francisco


Never too late to quit smoking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is running an admirable ad campaign called "Tips from Former Smokers."

One man in the campaign, identified as Brian from California, is featured in one of the ads that ran on the back page of last week's Bay Area Reporter.

Brian's major point is: "Smoking makes living with HIV much worse. You can quit."

I'd like to echo Brian by reminding our community that free support is available through http://www.lastdrag.org, San Francisco's own LGBT quit-smoking class; or by calling the California Smokers' Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS.


Bob Gordon, MPH

The Last Drag

San Francisco


No truth in Putin's Russia

I've just finished the letter "Putin is a man of peace" [Mailstrom, August 7] by Jay Lyon and am eager to answer. As a person who is from former Soviet Union, Ukraine, Crimea I'd like to explain what Mr. Lyon didn't. First of all, there is no truth in Russia. The history of this country is a lie from the beginning till today. Why? It is very easy to manipulate people who don't know the truth. It was, it is, and it's continuing up to now. Russian President Vladimir Putin came from the KGB, whose logo is: No Person, No Problem. If someone doesn't understand it, I'll translate: If you have a problem with someone, kill him. Stalin created it and Putin supports it because it exists. About Crimea, the "referendum" was under Russian military power, and I know it from my relatives who live there. Putin doesn't really care about Crimeans, he cares about Sebastopol, where the Russian fleet is. Ask anybody in Russia who is Putin, and the answer "man of peace" will be the last one. He helps Syria because Russia sells huge amounts of weapons there. He supports Hamas, the terrorist organization.

I grew up in Crimea, where there are people from 45 nationalities and there was no problem with Ukrainian language at all. I can speak Ukrainian too, but I prefer to speak Russian. The same situation is here in America " this is up to you what language is yours. What about the Malaysian Flight 17, which crashed in Ukraine " nobody knows, except Putin. And the world is waiting for the answer from him, which will never come out because ... read the beginning of my letter.

I'd like to remind Mr. Lyon that to live here in the U.S. and write what's really going on in Russia by Putin's propaganda doesn't mean that everything that you believe about Putin is true.


Georgy Prodorov

San Francisco


Putin is an enemy of LGBTs

Putin is a man of peace? Give me a break. I don't know what planet you live on, but Russian President Putin is an enemy of all LGBT people. Just look at the beating and jailing of our people in Moscow when they tried to march with rainbow flags. He's a monster, especially with Flight 17. Move to Russia if you love him so much and see if you can exercise your rights there. You'll disappear one night and no one will ever hear from you again. Both Putin and Stalin are two peas in a pod.


Mario Benfield

San Francisco


Bias toward Israel in mainstream news

Regarding last week's letter on the Middle East [Mailstrom, August 7]: There has not been an event as tragic as the killing of children and women where the U.S. mainstream press has not been so biased toward one side as the Gaza-Israel conflict. Except for voices as Amy Goodman, Harry Seigman, Mark Perry, Uri Avnery (in Tel Aviv), Norman Finkelstein (all Jewish Americans), Radio Pacifica 94.1 in Berkeley, and the Arab American community. Including PBS and NPR Radio. Not all of them sound like Fox News but the majority of the airtime is given to Israel, reporters (Israelis and some working for the New York Times ) reporting from Tel Aviv. There's been minimal exposure to the Palestinian press or coverage from the BBC, German DW TV or Al Jazeera.

There is no mass movement among progressive mentalities in this country to stop Israel from this massacre. There is a lot of ignorance or "don't talk about it" on how we came to this tragic situation. No word is said on what has been happening in Gaza since 1948, a land that is so divided by the Israeli occupation that if we ever see a Palestinian state it would be three or four land portions with Israeli settlements in the middle.

Nobody points the finger toward Benjamin Netanyahu, a Zionist (that is not the same as to be a hard-working progressive Jew). Hamas is not the only terrorist in this non-Hollywood production. The Israeli hawks in the present government are as conservative and rightist as our local Tea Party. The Israeli army is one of the most powerful armies in the world. They are so "nice" that they call you at home and tell you they are going to bombard your house so you would have time to look for a shelter.

I hope Palestine (yes, there is a country called Palestine) would be admitted to the international court and that Netanyahu would be tried as any other strongman that uses force and machinery provided by us, U.S. taxpayers, to kill innocents. The present government of Israel does not want a two-state solution. All agreements " Madrid, Oslo, Camp David " have been boycotted and manipulated by Israel.

It is for us, all American citizens, Arabs, Jews, blacks, Latinos, Christians, and Muslims to raise our voices of protest.


Jorge Rodr'guez -Sanabria

San Francisco


Don't spam me, bro

Several pertinent facts were omitted from your story last week about my efforts to fully participate in the democratic process, as a candidate for District 8 supervisor, that I believe should be known to Bay Area Reporter readers ["Wiener won't debate Petrelis," August 7].

Last year, Judge Sam Feng twice ordered the district attorney's office to instruct the incumbent supervisor to cease communicating with me via email. He was sending me unsolicited monthly newsletters.

Strange as it seems, while he was racking up hefty legal costs for the city dragging me through court hearings, the supervisor violated the judge's order and has continued to do so.

For a few months, the emails from him stopped but earlier this year the supervisor sent me three additional newsletters, always with invitations to attend various events of his around town.

In May, the supervisor again emailed me, this time asking me to march with him and his SF Pride parade contingent in June. Copies of original emails were provided to the B.A.R., but the paper chose to ignore them. I've received a total of nine emails from the incumbent, since the legal hassle began.

A screen shot of the parade invitation is posted at my campaign site and I ask folks to look at it here: https://www.facebook.com/petrelis4supe8.

For information about my alternative candidacy and platform, readers should visit http://www.ilikemikesf.org.


Michael Petrelis

San Francisco