Letters to the editor

  • Wednesday December 14, 2011
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Dear Santa Claus

I've been a very good boy, and my Daddy's have been too! But I want them to be able to get married, so can we please have marriage equality here in California?

Thank you.

Bob Sodervick

San Francisco

Supportive of Starbucks cafe

Thanks for following the Starbucks issue for the building at the corner of Market and Sanchez ["Fight brewing over new Castro Starbucks," Political Notebook, December 8].

I live in a house across the street from that building, and I have to say Starbucks would be an improvement.

Even though I am not likely to patronize the new Starbucks, I am still in support of it. That building has been getting progressively worse in the eight years that my partner and I have lived in our house. As the stereo store struggled, the maintenance suffered. But since that store closed and the new tenant moved in, the situation has become even worse. The current tenant is temporary and knows it, thus he has no motivation to keep the area clean or to work with neighbors to address any problems.

The Sanchez Street side of the building now serves as a urinal for everybody drunk walking down Market Street (especially the Lime weekenders, and not just men), and is frequently used as a place to vomit as well. The Starbucks plan would address the issues by remodeling the building, closing the gaps that serve as urinals, and installing windows on all sides, thus removing the "privacy."

So, as a guy living across the street, would I rather have Starbucks, which has promised to restore the building and keep it clean (and has a history of doing so) or the guy who doesn't care? For me, the answer is obvious.

Larry Hooper

Sanchez Street

Remembering Michael Goldstein

On December 2, surrounded by close friends, gay activist Michael Goldstein died from AIDS in a San Francisco hospital. Michael was fortunate to have two primary caregivers, his closest friends Debra Walker and Lorae Lauritch. Fewer than 24 hours after Michael's death, his fellow activists gathered in support of a Castro resident with AIDS who fears eviction and cannot afford some of his medications. On the day before Michael died, at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park there was a ceremony for the "unsung heroes" of AIDS care at San Francisco General Hospital.   Mayor Ed Lee presented a proclamation. But first, he thanked Wells Fargo Bank.

As with so many people without employer-sponsored health insurance, Michael may have delayed early intervention until it was too late. Michael and his community appreciated the care he received at San Francisco General, Laguna Honda, and UCSF hospitals. Despite chronic underfunding and punishing cutbacks, San Francisco's health care workers deliver world-class AIDS care to all residents of San Francisco. The innovation of Healthy San Francisco didn't come soon enough. If only Michael and so many others didn't have to spend years before Healthy San Francisco worrying about choosing between health care and paying the rent. 

AIDS continues to be both symptom and cause of poverty. Living with HIV depends on factors over which individuals have very little control. Though AIDS affects all people, being a non-Hispanic, white, non-transgender person increases the chance of survival. U.S. citizens are at least eligible for benefits while non-citizens are only eligible for disease. Homeowners who have not been foreclosed on can worry more about the infection than eviction.

The weather in Golden Gate Park on World AIDS Day 2011 couldn't have been better. Hundreds of current and former San Francisco General Hospital and Laguna Honda Hospital health care workers embraced and were honored to receive the praise of Mayor Ed Lee. But first, he thanked Wells Fargo Bank.

The next day, Michael Goldstein died. Word passed instantly on social media: "Michael Goldstein, RIP (Rest in Power)."

Sasha Cuttler, RN

San Francisco