Letters for April 15 

Readers sound off on Yelp, Berkeley High small schools, Amazon.com, and marijuana safety.

"The Manhattan Project of Marijuana," Feature, 3/4

What About Pesticides?

Oh puh-leeze!!! You go on and on for five pages about dog dandruff and mold, and never mention PESTICIDES.

Could it be that DeAngelo (founder of Americans for Safe Access) never heard of PESTICIDES? That he never heard of Sister Jane? Or Counterpunch? Or Fred Gardner?

I have long been critical of ASA, and have even been banned from their forum for not cheering them on whatever they do. Well, I feel much better about all that now. I consider it an HONOR to be banned from their forum.

This really takes the cake. Talk about putting the SAFE back in access ... how could the so-called founder of Americans for Safe Access ... oh, never mind, I don't want to know.

Let me just put it this way, as a patient I am far more interested in knowing my medicine hasn't been sprayed with poison than I am the exact percent and ratio of THC and CBD.

I think profiling the herb is very important work and I'm glad someone is doing it. It is something Dr. Cavanaugh wanted to do before he died ... but PESTICIDES!

J. Craig Canada, Santa Cruz

"Allegations Against Yelp Stack Up," News, 3/18

A Better Yelp Experience

I own and operate two cheese and wine shops, Farmstead Cheeses and Wines in Alameda and the Montclair Village section of Oakland, and have been a Yelp "sponsor" (their word for "advertiser") since 2005.

I have never been told that I can reorder the ways that reviews appear on my Yelp page, or that I could have negative reviews disappear by anyone on the Yelp sales force, even though I have asked for the ability to do both in the past.

I've found Yelp to be an effective marketing tool for my stores, and have never felt the slightest bit of intimidation from Yelp.

Yelp executives have asked me to donate product for several promotional events in the past (as has the East Bay Express, by the way). I declined their offer, and did not notice an increase in negative reviews or a decrease in positive reviews on my Yelp pages. Nor was there ever a hint of a threat of repercussion when I declined their offer.

I've found that I get lots of response from my Yelp sponsorship, and customers refer to my positive Yelp reviews when they visit my shop.

(Parenthetically, I also advertised in the East Bay Express for over a year, and never received the level of customer feedback about my advertising presence there. In fact, no one ever mentioned seeing my ads in the Express).

I can't explain the impressions of the folks you've interviewed for your articles, but they seem to be describing a different Yelp sales force than the one that I encounter.

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