Letters to the Editor

  • Wednesday July 26, 2006
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Library renovation on track

The article regarding the hiring of Gensler architectural firm to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed new site for the GLBT Historical Society museum space and archival center mentions the Eureka library's renovation project and I want to clarify that the project remains on schedule and is not stalled as the article implies ["Historical society hires planning consultant," July 13]. The Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Branch renovation project is scheduled to go out to bid in early 2007. Staff from the Branch Library Improvement Program has been working with the city's architectural team to develop design options for the planned renovation. A community meeting will be scheduled within the next two months to present these options to the neighborhood residents. This will be followed by a review by the Library Commission in the fall to approve the budget and schedule and proceed with the renovation in 2007.

The Library Commission and library administration welcome ongoing dialogue with the GLBT Historical Society to realize their respective goals. To that end, it is important that the library be involved in the process that Gensler architecture will undertake to evaluate the potential utilization of the site, which is part of the library property. We look forward to that opportunity.

Luis Herrera, City Librarian

San Francisco Public Library

Opening new doors

Regarding the July 20 article by Matthew S. Bajko, "Project will alter Castro's iconic rainbow steps": The article discusses the loss in the removal of steps in favor of a ramp. I see gain in the inclusion of those who have historically been left out. People with disabilities have always been a fact in the LGBT community, but not always a welcome one. The ramp moves us forward; it is living history as we expand to take all of us in. Paint the ramp in rainbow colors! Celebrate the opening of new doors! An open heart and open spirit make for good business and good community. What a fitting way to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Herb Levine, Executive Director

Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco

A lot less of Les

Now that Les Natali has sued the city's Human Rights Commission ["Natali sues HRC, July 6] and considering the continued closings of his Patio Cafe, Pendulum bar, and Detour bar, the neighborhood obviously deserves LESS Natali. A lot less. Let's hope he packs his carpetbag and departs our fair city before he ruins the Castro forever.

Mike McKee

San Francisco

Accepting the challenge

Regarding my comments ["Staff layoffs scheduled for Ward 86," July 13] and responding to Bob Lehr [Mailstrom, July 20], let me be clear: For doctors at Ward 86 – the AIDS Ward of San Francisco General Hospital – to be fired for lack of funds is unacceptable.

One part-time physician is gone and two nurse practitioners lose their jobs on August 31. That is fact.

We are told: "The (funding) mix is just really not keeping up."

My response: Redo the mix and find the money.

Lehr hopes I can "understand that this action was not desired by anyone."

My response: Then they shouldn't do it!

Lehr suggests trying to influence Bush, Schwarzenegger and the Republican dominated Senate and House. I submit they could care less.

Last week, Bob Lehr challenged me. I accept and pledge to contact Mayor Newsom, the Board of Supervisors, Health Director Dr. Mitch Katz, and members of the Health Commission. I believe they will listen to every San Franciscan who takes time to make their voice heard.

I will tell them I believe lack of funding is not an acceptable reason to fire doctors from Ward 86 at San Francisco General. I will ask them to find funds to keep these medical professionals.

History, countless times, demonstrates the power individuals have when their collective voices come together to confront community issues. To be clear, how we respond to continued funding of doctors at Ward 86 is a defining moment in San Francisco's response to HIV and AIDS.

I encourage those who care not to sit this one out. Take a stand and speak out. Together we might just turn this around.

Allen White

San Francisco

JROTC should go

We support ending JROTC in the S.F. public school system despite the immediate pain and loss that this curtailment may cause ["Support JROTC program," Guest Opinion, July 6]. In a mitigating step, the school board resolution calls for creation of a task force to create an alternative to JROTC that is civilian-based. Since the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was adopted 12 years ago, over 10,000 enlistees have been discharged for homosexuality. The pain and loss caused by DADT is also quite real to those discharged by the various military branches as well as those who live in fear of discovery while serving the nation. By participating in JROTC programs in the public school SFUSD is violating its own antidiscrimination policy by doing business with an institution that discriminates openly and overtly against LGBT people. This results in de facto discrimination against students and likely in the hiring process for JROTC instructors.

JROTC discriminates against LGBT students because it does not offer equal "benefits" in return for enrolling in JROTC.

First, openly LGBT students are not entitled to enlist in the military. This reality denies LGBT people one of the principal benefits of participating in JROTC. According to DOD Instruction number 1205.13, of February 6, 2006: " A student presenting evidence of successful completion of at least 2 academic years of the JROTC program under any Military Department is entitled to advanced promotion to the grade of no less than E-2 on initial enlistment in an Active or Reserve component of a Military Service. At their discretion, the Military Departments may award the grade of E-3 for successful completion of 3 academic years of the JROTC program."

Entering the service at a higher grade translates into higher pay. In addition, one of the primary motivations for young people to enter the military is access to money for college and job training. LGBT people are denied all access by law.

In addition, LGBT are ineligible for ROTC scholarships. Section A student presenting evidence of successful completion of 3 academic years of the JROTC may be entitled to not less than 1 year of credit in the Senior ROTC Program.

Finally, LGBT are ineligible for military academy nominations. Army Regulation 145-2, which governs the Army JROTC program, says this about military academy appointments: Nominations to Service Academy's selected schools conducting Junior ROTC programs will be designated as an Honor Unit with Distinction under the provisions defined by CG, USACC. Schools achieving Honor Unit with Distinction (HUD) are authorized to nominate candidates for the designated ROTC appointments to the Service academies as outlined in the appropriate service academy catalog."

So, although the local JROTC programs may not discriminate in terms of which students are allowed to participate in the program during high school, the long-term "benefits" i.e., the possibility of a military career or scholarship for college, are denied all LGBT students.

It is important to understand that the military has a job and it isn't to educate our young people. Education is the role of civil society and in a democracy it is important to maintain a separation between the role of the military and the role of civil society. One of the prime purposes of JROTC is to have a positive military presence in public schools in order to create a better attitude toward the military and military recruitment efforts. American Friends Service Committee also notes that where and when true financial figures are analyzed, JROTC actually costs school districts public funds. We encourage readers to write the school board in support of the resolution to end JROTC (address SFUSD Board, 555 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Alan Lessik, Regional Director

Stephen McNeil, Assistant Regional Director

American Friends Service Committee

San Francisco

No 'old farts,' please

David Lamble could have reviewed Larry Clark's Bully ["Life before 'Wassup Rockers,'" July 13] without using the term "old farts."

That term isn't cute and it certainly isn't funny. It's just another unprofessional, homophobic, ageist slam.

Ron Grether

San Francisco

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