Fair comment at the Library Commission 

The context for Ray Hartz’s comparison of library commissioners to Roman emperors was that Jewelle Gomez had been re-elected president of the commission after she had been found guilty of “official misconduct” by the Ethics Commission (“Taped comment stirs controversy,” Wednesday).

That finding was not only for willfully violating someone’s right to public comment, but abusively shouting them down.

The finding of Gomez’s official misconduct is the only process of accountability that she is subject to, and when the mayor failed to act to remove her in the first place and tolerated someone found guilty of official misconduct in his administration, he was basically encouraging it.

The library commissioners could have responded that they don’t consider themselves to be Roman emperors. The only way Hartz’s comment could be even metaphorically threatening was if they considered themselves at risk precisely because they do consider themselves Roman emperors. That it was merely a metaphor was unmistakable, but it was clarified anyway.

But the crucial issue is that after proclaiming her retaliation in profane and violent language, she used her position as a public official to seek her revenge by swearing out a police complaint.

That is the misuse of police power as retaliation against free speech — free speech that was unquestionably fair comment.

If that is not grounds for termination, what would be?

James Chaffee, San Francisco


Muni Fast Pass is a deal

After reading Marc Schoenfeld’s response to your article regarding Muni pass prices (Letters, Friday), I had to wonder what planet this guy was from.

He missed the point that taking Muni and/or BART is a selective choice. It’s a convenience. I have no problem paying $72 a month for my combo Fast Pass. I can ride Muni and BART all month as much as I want within city limits. Maybe it’s because I don’t ride the notoriously congested 30-Stockton or 38-Geary lines, or that I get to work before 7:30 a.m. and leave work by 4 p.m., that I miss a lot of the madness.

As a native San Franciscan, I have decided to make the best of my Muni and BART choices and plan my trips accordingly.

If you try to compare public transit to accomplishing your travel needs as if it were a chauffeur service, of course you’ll be disappointed. Maybe he should ask those of us who used to ride the streetcars downtown — before they went underground around 1977 — what our commutes were like.

I’m loving it now!

Paul J. Weber, San Francisco

Beef about pink journalism

The whole “pink slime” ground beef controversy  is an example of how poor journalism is in this country. If it’s pink and it’s slimy, it must be bad. Actually, what they call pink slime is a lower-fat meat than the meat they are adding it to, which is, after all, the rotting carcass of a dead cow.

Technically we’re all made out of pink slime.

If journalists had any white slime between their ears, they would understand that.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy


Alternatives to bad beef

Republican governors defend the pink slime. Still, “pink slime with a side of fries” doesn’t cut the mustard here.

Tuna fish or even jellyfish with a side of barnacles sounds better.

Al Ujcic, San Francisco

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