Letters 

"Just today, I realized that I have completely forgotten about reading the East Bay Express anymore, which is a shame."

Get it right

I am appalled at the lack of journalistic integrity your newspaper possesses. In your "7 Days" column article (October 31), you grossly misrepresented my statements per a phone conversation with one of your reporters. First, you misspelled my name. I am Simeon Gant. Get it right. Second, your article mentioned that I confirmed that Senator Don Perata "was on the verge of withdrawing his support" from Jane Brunner's bid for the State Assembly. This is an outright lie and makes your paper a classic "rag." If your reporter asked me if Senator Perata is withdrawing his support for Jane and I say, "No, he is not withdrawing his support," then that is what you should print. You printed the exact opposite. Why would anyone read or support your "rag" if they know you are going to write the exact opposite of the truth?

The first thing your reporter asked me was, "Did the Senator urge Jane Brunner to drop out of the race?" My answer was "No." He asked me the same question, and again I said, "No, the Senator has not urged Councilwoman Brunner to drop out of the race." Then he asked me if the Senator was withdrawing his support; as mentioned earlier, I said no.

Your "rag" called Senator Perata's office and claimed they heard a "rumor" that Brunner was dropping out of the race. Since your office feels the need to twist my words, outwardly lie, and say that I am confirming your rumors, then you should no longer expect to get any information from me, Senator Don Perata's Press Assistant. We have done you a favor by speaking to you on the record, assisting you with important political information for public consumption. However, since you cannot get it right; since you rely on innuendos, lies, and misrepresentation; since you prefer to report as a tabloid, pseudo-news organization, you will be treated as such.
Simeon Gant, Oakland

Chris Thompson replies:

Simeon Gant's reaction to my item about Jane Brunner is truly mystifying. I called Gant and asked if it was true that Don Perata had advised Brunner to drop out of the Assembly race. He denied the rumor, but promptly said Perata was about to withdraw his support for Brunner. To be precise, he said it twice. The first version was "We're still trying to confirm whether he's going to be neutral in the race. But he wants to make it clear that he definitely didn't advise her." The second version, five minutes later, was "More than likely, he is going to stay neutral in the race." Gant can call us any name he pleases; I stand by my version of events in no uncertain terms. But I'm sorry I misspelled his name.

Where have all the memoirs gone?

Congratulations on finally printing a piece that's worth its lengthy word count ("The Media Is the Message," October 31). Since the East Bay Express has gone the path of looking more and more like SF Weakly, I've found the paper to be sorely lacking in interesting content. If I wanted the Weekly I would take BART to San Francisco and read the Weakly. Jesus. Who are you trying to target? People who love to read really long journalistic articles about nothing relevant? Or people who love to read about the teeth-grindingly slow process of city politics in aggravating detail? If you're going to print long pieces, at least have the literary aesthetic that the old East Bay Express had -- bring back the personal narratives, the memoirs, the slices of life that readers are not afforded when you only offer journalism. The old Express used to be on my coffee table for two or three weeks -- the new East Bay Express is in my recycling bin by next Wednesday. Thanks for the cleaner "look"; now can we have some more interesting reading?
Christine Wong, Oakland

Call It "Stealth Teaching"

Katy St. Clair's article about McClymonds High School's Youth Sounds Program (October 31) pointed to how important nonacademic activities and programs can be to high school students these days. But in a subtle way, a program like Youth Sounds teaches important and invaluable communicative and academic processes often difficult to convey to high school students: interviewing techniques (articulating thoughts in a clear, understandable manner), tape transcription (word processing), script writing and editing (sentence structure, word choice, creative writing), publishing (phone contact, meeting coordination), and presentation skills (confidence speaking in front of groups).

Also, the humanities can become real to students researching and writing a documentary, compared to what a history textbook might offer. In many ways, the academic information garnered through a program like Youth Sounds often has the potential to stick with students in more powerful ways than that being taught in traditional American high schools today.
Sara Marcellino, Berkeley

Sounds good to us

Once again, the East Bay Express shows how little it knows about the local music scene, this time by printing a full-page puff piece about Thunderbleed aka Blind Vengeance ("Metronome Diary," October 31). So a bunch of sissy indie-rock poseurs wanna play dress-up and try to rock out. Big whoop. Is that really worthy of an article in your rag? Those guys only play metal 'cause they know that all the really hot-looking chicks go to the metal shows. Duh. Why don't you write about some worthwhile local metal bands, like Insane Reign or Bloodhouse or Crucifiction Addiction (who blew Thunderbleed off the stage at my friend Nate's birthday party last summer, by the way). These bands are the real thing, not a bunch of part-timers desperately trying to look cool and get laid.

Thunderbleed can eat my dump.
Johnny Safety, Oakland

What about Hogan's heroes?

October 26 by Ask Jesse: If whoever does this strip thinks that the concentration camp was in the least bit funny, they must indeed be a very sick person; and I am dismayed that a Berkeley paper would print this.
Gerta Wingerd, via the Internet

What's alternative about uniformity?

I moved to Berkeley in 1981 and have read the East Bay Express practically every week since then. That is, until recently. It now looks and feels like all the other arts rags, which is a negative in my book. The pages are too crammed and too busy, and the type is too small. And instead of an easily read calendar section with the movies up front and easy to read (e.g. with larger font), and with a suggestive star or some sort of code for recommendations, it is buried deep in the tabloid. Just today, I realized that I have completely forgotten about reading the East Bay Express anymore, which is a shame.

It feels like a part of the local culture has been misappropriated. Any chance of bringing back the old format?
Jeff Eckber, Oakland

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