Letters to the Editor

  • Wednesday September 13, 2006
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I am writing to provide clarity to Rick Galbreath's assertion in his letter to the editor of September 7 that apart from himself, "all three of those quoted [in "Rosenthal loses Milk endorsement," August 31] accepted contributions from the incumbent (Bevan Dufty) for their recent DCCC campaigns."

As someone who was quoted in that article, I did not solicit nor did I accept any campaign contributions from candidates who sought endorsement at the Democratic County Central Committee. Like Galbreath, a contribution was sent to me via U.S. mail from Bevan Dufty. Also, like Galbreath, I returned the check to Bevan Dufty, however, it missed the Ethics Commission filing deadline. This should be clarified in the October 5 Ethics filing.

Galbreath also inaccurately states that I had a "vested interest in the incumbent's [Dufty] re-election." I did not vote to endorse Bevan Dufty at the DCCC. At the Harvey Milk Club I voted "No Endorsement" for any candidate in the District 8 race. My position and that of the Milk Club was correctly reported by B.A.R. reporter Matthew S. Bajko in his article.

Rick Galbreath does a disservice to both his candidate and his allies on the left when he misinterprets what he believes is fact and purports spin as the truth.

Michael Goldstein, Member DCCC

Former President, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

Aussies legalized sex work first

As a New Zealand citizen, I was happy to see Tim Barnett in the Bay Area Reporter ["Gay New Zealander fights for sex workers' rights," August 31] . Through my work in New Zealand's not-for-profit sector, (and my lobbying for the civil unions bill, when it really was just a bill) I had the good fortune of coming into contact with Tim. Unique among politicians, Tim makes himself extremely accessible to the public and is a champion for civic engagement at every level. The USA needs a few Tim Barnetts on Capitol Hill.

I fully supported Tim Barnett's move to decriminalize prostitution in New Zealand, and was happy when it passed. In my opinion, men and women in the sex industry have just as much right to protection under labor laws as anyone else in the workforce. In your article, however, you point to New Zealand as the first country to decriminalize prostitution. I believe prostitution has been legal in Australia since the 1990s, with each Australian state setting their own guidelines regarding labor practices.

Lana Nieves

San Francisco

Candidate forum a civil affair

Having attended the Community Leadership Alliance's District 6 supervisor candidate debate forum last week, I couldn't understand Supervisor Chris Daly's reluctance to attend.

The debate started with each candidate giving an introduction, then San Francisco Sentinel editor Pat Murphy read questions presented by the alliance members, then read questions from cards submitted by non-Alliance members.

Murphy was even gracious enough to read Chris Daly's explanation for not attending and asked that no candidate, present or absent, be booed. He said that applauding was okay but felt that booing was inappropriate.

There were no "gotcha" questions shouted from the audience. The people attending were genuinely curious as to what all the candidates had to say. It would have made little difference if the moderator was Pat Murphy, Mayor Newsom, or Governor Schwarzenegger.

Oh, the candidate that I thought "won" the debate (at least this round) was George Dias.

Brian Wallace

San Francisco

Support Musgrave opponent

With less than two months until the election, chances of Democrats regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives look good. One very close race is in Colorado's 4th District. Marilyn Musgrave is the incumbent Republican who was the original author of the anti-gay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Democrat Angie Paccione is running against Musgrave and has a great chance of winning the district, which would also be a big step toward helping the Democrats regain control of the House. My husband and I each have donated online to Angie's campaign (she is against the amendment and is publicly for civil unions at least). Her Web site is http://www.angie2006.com.

Joe Metro

San Francisco

Clean up the Castro

It is disheartening to see after all these years of fighting to be accepted – to be thought of as just plain old average everyday people just like our straight counterparts – that there are still some gay people who still insist upon being, how should we say it � different.

Different is not bad when it comes to shopping, for example. When you have a choice between Tide and Cheer, you know you're living in a democracy. Surely the differences between these products are negligible and would most definitely not give rise to any offense.

So why should we have to be constantly confronted with bare buttocks when walking down the streets? Why should penises be thrust in our faces from the top of Castro to its bottom?

What about the children? This is a family neighbor, isn't it? Should we be forced to lie to them, telling them that all the porn on display is art? What will the sight of men copulating do to their tender and impressionable minds?

But the in-your-face tactics of some sordid individuals in the community are staining the very fabric of our beloved rainbow flag, a stain neither Tide nor Cheer can take out. And I, for one, think it is about time for them to stop.

I will not name names or point fingers, but these people know who they are. Get with the program! Just because you have the right to express yourself doesn't mean you ought to.

None of us care what these people do in the privacy of their own homes. But when my 2-year-old points into a window and asks me "Daddy, what's that?" I don't want to have to blush and say, "Oh, that man's just kissing the other man's booboo to make it better." I want to be able to tell him the truth.

Let's clean up our minds and clean up the Castro.

Jon Faust

San Francisco

Smoking in the Castro

I am an elderly widow who has lived in the Castro for 37 years. I am happy to see that the B.A.R. is finally dealing with the problem of smoking in the LGBT community ["Tobacco an LGBT issue," July 27]. For persons affected by secondhand smoke it has become almost impossible at times to even walk down Castro Street without holding one's breath. There have been numerous occasions when I have not been able to sit down in the bus shelter because it is already occupied by a smoker. Workers in shops stand inside the doorways smoking, smoke drifts into businesses from tables where ashtrays invite people to smoke and some restaurants allow smoking on enclosed patios. Some businesses have even removed facades to facilitate smokers at tables that were once considered inside tables. Because of all of the attention directed at accommodating smokers, the rest of us are inconvenienced so the smokers won't be inconvenienced by their own addictions. Is it really fair to push the responsibility onto the rest of us when we all know the dangers of secondhand smoke?

Mary Nichols

San Francisco

Smoking is public health issue

Thank you for the recent coverage by Bob Roehr on the deadliness of tobacco in the queer community.

Letter writer Tom Soucie [Mailstrom, August 10] objected to the campaign by the LGBT Pride Committee that included a rainbow flag with a cigarette replacing the orange stripe that asked the question, "When did smoking become a part of us?" He accused the Pride Committee of endorsing discrimination against smokers. For the record, the committee was educating the public in advance of the festival about the new law making all city parks smoke free, which includes the park in front of City Hall and U.N. Plaza. He made the specious argument – long promoted by the tobacco industry – that so-called smokers' rights" are equivalent to LGBT rights. The public is harmed by secondhand smoke, even more than previously known, according to recent landmark reports by the state of California and the Surgeon General. Who is harmed by queer love?

Soucie added that the flag should not be used for one's personal agenda. The high rates of smoking and tobacco-related disease and death among LGBTs is anything but personal. It is a public health crisis. Many in our community, whether healthy or not, suffer more than a nuisance when they are exposed to secondhand smoke, even outdoors. Seventy percent of smokers would like to quit, which explains why so many of them support smoke free venues. Trying to conflate a campaign to protect the public from a known carcinogen with an attempt to stifle personal freedom is disrespectful to what the queer liberation movement is all about. Talk about having a personal agenda.

Naphtali Offen

San Francisco

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