Letters for November 12 

Readers sound off on the A's, unprofessional journalists, and East Bay history.

"30 Years of East Bay History," Feature, 10/15

Yay for You

Bravo! You continue to be the greatest weekly in the world.

Scott McAfee, Albany

Thanks for the Props

It was good to see that in the 2004 section of East Bay History you wrote about the stuff the people at the Liminal, Ego Park, Nimby, Lobot, the Command Center, and the rest of the art warehouses as well as what me and my crew were doing at the Noodle Factory back in the day.

I think we were all just trying to have fun and be creative at the time. However, looking back at the whole thing and after hearing the stories people have told me, it seems like we really made things happen in the community. Most of us have moved on to other things now but it's good to know that we made a little blip in history.

Brandon Solem, San Francisco

Happy Anniverary Indeed

I just wanted to drop you guys a line to thank you for being the reason behind my wife and I meeting.

Although you usually have really good news stories, and I still try to read you guys every week, that's the real reason you'll have a special place for both of us.

We met ten years ago on October 8, and are now celebrating our seventh year of marriage on September 29.

I know my life would be very different in a lot of ways if I didn't have my wife, so please take a moment to congratulate yourselves for helping at least two people have a much more positive life.

Wishing all of you have a good life, and thanks again for helping us find each other.

P.S. Oh yeah, keep up the informative stories/news as you always do.

Todd Manning, Oakland

"A's Fremont Deal on the Line," Full Disclosure, 10/1

They'll Have to Ride a Helicopter

I lived in Fremont for years. The ballpark would be on the west side of the freeway, by the Auto Mall and the city dump. BART runs alongside the hills, on the east side of the freeway. Warm Springs BART would still be on the east side of the freeway. So buses would have to run from east to west, pregame, and from west to east, postgame, to shuttle fans from BART to the ballpark, and from the ballpark to BART. This will involve many buses traversing over 880, back and forth. Not even a ferry will run to the ballpark. Besides the freeway gridlock, the lack of parking (6,000 spaces for a 32,000-seat stadium) is ridiculous. I guess the box-seat holders will have to take their helicopters to and from games, arriving in the third inning to only leave in the sixth inning, and not even paying attention to the game while they're there. I have been an A's fan since they moved to Oakland from Kansas City in '68. What will become of all the old A's fans who can't get to the stadium, let alone get a seat inside the too-small venue? Stupid plan by a stupid owner and a stupid mayor.

Robert Krikourian, El Dorado Hills, CA

"Searching for Home," Your Words Here, 10/8

Searching for a Professional Journalist

Having kicked Maggie Gilmour out of my house for being an obnoxious and unprofessional "journalist" (she was a UC Berkeley journalism major at the time), I guess I'm not surprised that several years later she would write a vindictive version of her brief moments at the "ecovillage." She was obnoxious then, and she's obnoxious now.

About the only part she got correct in her story was that she showed up late. Having done so, the first thing she did was to walk into the house alone, unannounced and unattended. In all of the tours I've given at the ecovillage, I've never had anyone just walk into the house.

That was weird.

Tours start on time and they're "open house" because prospective housemates who contact us by e-mail or phone are all welcomed. Maggie did not RSVP and was not invited. Instead, she figured out where the house was and let herself in ... as a journalist looking for a story.

After walking around for who-knows-how-long (it's a large, two-building property), she eventually found the group, said she was a journalist and could she tag along for the tour. I told her that I wasn't doing a story, or an interview, but she could join us for the rest of the tour. But instead of tagging along, she immediately started asking questions unrelated to the moment and breaking the flow of the tour. I told her she would have to wait in the courtyard.

She went outside, but was soon back inside. "Dan, it's cold outside. Can I wait inside until you're done?" I hesitated but said yes, feeling sympathetic for the wannabe journalist, and unbeknownst to me she eavesdropped the rest of the tour and took "notes." After the tour I agreed to show her the rest of the ecovillage, but she showed no interest and instead began paraphrasing me from the last part of the tour. And she struck up a conversation with a housemate and asked journalistic questions. Maggie was clearly on her story and wouldn't take no for an answer!

Her language and paraphrasing were completely off the mark and at that point I told her to leave. No interview, no story. She claims she "slipped out and went to BART," but the fact is, I kicked her out. And I was glad to see her leave. Imagine the creepy feeling you get when someone wants to write something about you and they're obnoxious, disrespectful, and clearly aren't getting their facts straight.

Maggie was so unprofessional I later e-mailed her and cc'd the director of student affairs for the UC Berkeley journalism department, explaining her unprofessional conduct. She needed the feedback, acknowledged the e-mail briefly with a single-sentence reply, and I thought that was the end of it.

Given the tone of her article, she's got a long ways to go. Her facts and quotes are wrong. Her story is twisted. But then again, the paparazzi is usually hiring.

Is this journalism?

Dan Antonioli, Oakland

"Consider the Bat Boy," Theater, 10/8

Amateur, but Great

I just saw this production on Sunday and it was excellent! As just an amateur show-goer I did not find any issues with the vocals or songs. I was completely enthralled in the performances and story. I had not previously known the story of Bat Boy, so it was very new and fresh for me. I would recommend this show to all I know. Although there was some blood and sex, it was not overdone and it was portrayed in a way that was fantastical and amusing. A definite A+ from me!

Sara Kaplan, Richmond

"Oakland: An Alternate Universe," Full Disclosure, 10/22

Increase Class Size, not Teacher Pay

As a teacher in Oakland USD, I was intrigued by Robert Gammon's statement that "a starting teacher's pay in San Francisco Unified is $53,000 compared to $39,000 in Oakland. That too can't be allowed to stand." As much as I'd like a raise, it is only fair to point out that, according to the SFUSD website, a starting teacher makes $45,697, not $53,000, while a starting teacher in Oakland makes $39,700. More importantly, the easiest way to increase teacher salaries is to increase class sizes, and indeed, the contractual high school class size maximum in San Francisco is 34, while in Oakland it is 32. I tend to doubt that giving me a raise, but increasing my class size, would truly benefit students.

Gordon Danning, Berkeley

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