Letters to the Editor

  • Tuesday May 23, 2006
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District 8 lucky to have Dufty

As an openly gay elected official, I was appalled by the anonymous Web site attacking the fabulous Castro District Supervisor Bevan Dufty ["Web site urges lefty to enter District 8 race," May 18] . Of course, we live in a democracy and people have the right and obligation to express their opinion. But it is childish not to be willing to identify yourself when criticizing someone.

Some may ask, why does an East Bay person have the right to express his feelings about a SF county supervisor? Because as far as I am concerned, SF is still "the City" and is the center of the Bay Area (sorry, San Jose) and as a gay person, the Castro is still "mecca"!

District 8 is lucky to have such a caring and nice person doing an incredible job for the city and District 8. Just because Dufty does not scream at people and make an ass of himself in public, like some of his colleagues do, does not mean he is not an effective advocate.

The main charge against Dufty is that he is too supportive of Mayor Gavin Newsom. This is the mayor that allowed thousands of same-sex couples to marry. Also, Newsom has done more to truly help the homeless and improve neighborhoods than any mayor in the past 25 years.

Dufty's best work was working to get control over the Halloween celebration. I gave up on Halloween in the mid-1990's when too many out of control straight people made it too unsafe. Dufty was willing to pull everyone together and I have enjoyed Halloween again in the Castro.

Like all neighborhoods, the Castro is constantly changing. We all miss places like the Phoenix and the Patio Cafe. But the city government does not own these businesses and has limited control over the exact type of retail, bars, and restaurants that occupy the Castro.

I am sure that Supervisor Dufty would welcome a chance to defend his record. I hope his opponents will "come out of their closets" and be willing to honestly debate the issues.

 

Kevin Dowling, Member

Hayward City Council

Hayward, California

Misguided effort

The current effort to dump Bevan Dufty as supervisor is as misguided as the effort in 2001 to shoot down Mark Leno when he ran for state Assembly.

The handprints of some of the same people are evident in both efforts. The reason: Dufty and Leno are not ideologically pure enough for them. Yet both Dufty and Leno have distinguished themselves by many practical accomplishments in office.

If Tommi Avicolli Mecca undertakes a run against Dufty, as he announced he is contemplating, the results will be as embarrassing as Harry Britt's amateurish run against Leno in 2001.

Both Avicolli Mecca and Britt have valuable roles to play in our community as brainstormers and iconoclasts. But practical consensus builders and inspiring campaigners they are not.

Dufty is not perfect, but he's one of the most down-to-earth and effective officials at City Hall. When people are both decent as human beings and good as public servants, they should be re-elected.

Arthur Evans

San Francisco

More infuriated with gay leaders

Regarding your May 18 story on Howard Dean infuriating "gay leaders," ["Dean courts fundies, infuriates gays"] : this gay guy's more infuriated by the lack of wisdom and foresight by our professionally paid leaders.

Sadly, the LGBTQ movement in the U.S. has been hijacked by an upper middle class religious jihad that wrongly insists gay marriage is the most pressing issue facing our community. Matt Forman [National Gay and Lesbian Task Force], [Assemblyman] Mark Leno, et al, need to get real. Antidiscrimination laws regarding employment, housing, domestic partnerships, and other rights exist in few states. Matt, Mark, and our so-called inside the Beltway, Chelsea, or Castro leaders are playing into the hands of Karl Rove and those who hate us.

Touting gay marriage rather than civil unions has been a tragic tactical error, which may have helped re-elect Bush. After the election McGovern and Carter pollster Patrick Caddell said we blew any chance of incremental social change regarding the issue of civil unions with the full rights of married men and women.

Our community should look to New Zealanders, who after 10 years of campaigning, won civil unions with the full rights of marriage. The gay MP said the key to victory was never mentioning the "M" word, thus never giving the religious right the ammunition to defeat them.

It's all about framing. In our sound bite society civil unions easily equals civil rights and we could win. Instead, our so-called gay leaders have dragged us into an unwinnable religious war.

I cannot understand the obsession, fetishization, and glorification of the institution of marriage by some in our community. Civil unions are more progressive and inclusive, and much less divisive. Let's leave religion out of the argument and we just might win some civil rights. Insistence on marriage could alienate our allies who may start viewing us as self-involved, self-obsessed, and selfish.

John Iversen

ACT UP/East Bay

Berkeley, California

Prop D: Special district 'grab-bag'

I would like to add my opinion to Matthew S. Bajko's article about Proposition D  [Prop. D's effects on patients disputed," May 11].

Why do we have to create a special use district to open up a private grab-bag (with all the accompanying bureaucratic baggage) and push the Department of Public Health to the side when it comes to an issue that was already decided and the project is already under way? Because, if you look at all the vitriolic hyperbole put forth (by only a few self-proclaimed health policy experts) overwhelmingly reported by one Internet source (www.beyondchron.org/) and toss in the clergy who refer to it, in their words, as "shocking secrets," their gross exaggerations are peppered with words like "allegedly" to bolster their vapid arguments. It sure smacks of the old wolves in developers' clothing. My sense tells me they want to make a hospital with an outstanding history being administered by compassionate, caring, dedicated professionals seem like a wasteland where we need to outsource hundreds of fragile patients into their waiting pockets. Look at the price in terms of disruption to so many who would realistically face exportation from the city they love and a rapid depletion of the city's coffers to orchestrate such a subjective undertaking.

I've dug into the past to find specific references to all of these Yes on D Committee to Stop the Violence at LHH's assertions that conditions are rife yet they lack quoting any verifiable facts; and, I could find little reference to independent witnesses with no follow up from any major media on this "crisis." Yet, all are former employees. What does that tell you? So they resort to calling it a "cover-up?" Nor could a very popular search engine find anything originating from this group other than from those who are making statements in their printed voter pamphlet or on their site www.sf4lagunahonda.org.

The clinchers for me were D's proposed language and the cost to implement. Section 4, Severability, basically says that any of the language being inserted is to be compartmentalized so that if any miniscule part may be ruled unconstitutional (after passage,) all the other parts remain intact. This guarantees years and years of expensive litigation to unravel this yarn. Secondly, there is no mention from proponents about the enormous expense to be incurred to retool this massive project if Prop. D passes. Who pays for that? Our city controller, Edward Harrington, estimates $27 million annual additional costs while continuing to maintain a 1,021 bed hospital after dumping 300 of the original 1,021? In what parallel universe?

The truth is, the admission guidelines at LHH have since been redressed, as is always the case when the need to evolve is apparent to the DPH (federal and state regulations are always steadfastly enforced.) The proponents seem to have concocted scare tactics and slanderous hyper-rantings ["O'Donoghue poem takes aim at trans politico," April 20] wasting everybody's time in their feeble attempt to be hurtful. This represents the caring that they bring to the table? Think again.

This is why I'm voting no on D.

T. Willis

San Francisco

Supports Mike Nevin

I was pleased to see your endorsement of Mike Nevin for the state Senate seat [B.A.R. election endorsements, May 11] . I have known Mike since 1984 when I first ran for the Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County. At that time Mike was the mayor of Daly City. He worked hard on my campaign and brought along the entire City Council to support my candidacy.

While today there are many, but not enough, office holders here and around the country who are members of our community, I can assure you that in 1984 in San Mateo County it took political courage to support and stand by a gay man seeking and then holding this office. Mike never wavered in his support for me and for our issues.

I'm delighted that Mike Nevin is gaining so much support, including your endorsement.

Tom Nolan

Supervisor, San Mateo County, 1985-1993

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