Letters for the week of April 13 - 19, 2005 

Scorn for Bono. Scorn for scalpers. Scorn for Ticketmaster. And scorn for the CoCo Times.

"Roboscalper," Feature, 3/30

A working-class hero is something to be
I thought the reason I couldn't score U2 tickets is because I didn't want to, because they're a boring, pretentious band and Bono needs very badly to be smacked and told he's not John Lennon.
Katie Allen, Oakland

Sunday, bloody Sunday
I was one of the thousands of U2.com members who tried for hours online to get tickets during the presale and finally got two nosebleed seats for the San Jose April 9 show. I can tell you that there are many U2.com members that didn't get tickets at all, so I count myself as one of the lucky ones who at least got in the building. I've posted your article on U2.com so the other members can see what's really behind the whole fiasco.

It is outrageous that this is happening and so far hasn't been stopped. I recently tried to buy tickets for the Killers at the Fillmore and since it's sold out now, the prices listed on Craigslist are obviously from brokers/ scalpers/assholes who are charging over $100 a ticket for a $20 show!!

I don't think that Ticketmaster and Tickets.com care much about concertgoers. They're in it for a buck, just like the scalpers are. They are going to sell the tickets regardless, so what incentive do they have to protect us? It's sad that the people who love music can't afford to see the bands they love so much.
Melanie Paulina, Berkeley

Buy the ticket at SBS and the CD at Amazon
In David Downs' otherwise well-presented story on the online ticket industry, he described me as a "ticket broker." I had to chuckle, as Sports Business Simulations (SBS) carries no inventory of tickets and I'm CEO without the time or desire to walk around with a stack of U2 tickets in my pocket.

SBS' primary products are sports organization simulations, but we market the availability of tickets on other Web sites we have agreements with. This process is called "affiliate marketing," and is the untold story behind the growth of the online ticket industry. SBS -- like Yahoo, ESPN.com, AOL, and other sites -- receives a fee for every ticket transaction done by visitors to our site who click through to StubHub, our affiliate marketing partner (Yahoo's partner is RazorGator). StubHub has grown substantially using this strategy of having other Web sites drive traffic to it. Ticket affiliate marketing also helps SBS not just in money, but in indirect marketing of our core simulation product, the Oakland Baseball Simworld. People seldom look for simulations online, but they look for tickets all the time.

But as ticket affiliate marketing grows -- and it shows no signs of slowing down -- it will force the very ticket industry itself to be almost entirely online. And, yes, the target of more creative bots made by programmers.
Zennie Abraham, chairman and CEO, Sports Business Simulations, Oakland

Use of the phrase "ticket broker" was the work of an editor and not writer David Downs.

"The Revolution Comes to Rossmoor," Feature, 3/16

The rise of corporate living
In highlighting the human-interest report on a generation gap at Rossmoor, you have obscured a much bigger story. Near a quarter of Californians of all ages now live in various kinds of housing associations. These associations are considered private, run by lay boards with no checks and balances. The protections of freedom of speech and assembly and a fair trial that we are used to expecting in the public government sphere do not apply.

Marjorie Murray of the Common Interest Development Homeowners Bill of Rights Coalition testified recently at a California Assembly Housing Committee hearing. She says, "This setup guarantees that disputes will arise, because the homeowner is essentially powerless under it." But the corporate industry that develops and sells services to these complexes apparently finds it quite convenient. There is an erosion of freedom in this growing association way of living, and I hope the senior, consumer, and civil-rights groups can help reverse it.
Marie Kochaver, Richmond

Caught napping
Thanks for Chris Thompson's thoughtful cover story, which takes a perceptive look at issues involving tens of millions of Americans, not just the nine thousand residents of Rossmoor. Chris' insightful feature goes deeper and wider than expected. Even those of us who are mere children, born during the last year of Harry Truman's administration, might reflect on the volunteerism of the World War II generation vs. the brattiness of the boomers, and what this portends for our nation.

And to think it took an alternative weekly, the Express, to cover this looming juggernaut, which caught the Contra Costa Times, busy with wire service rehash, napping.
Mike Scott, Walnut Creek

"Games Without Frontiers," Feature, 3/23

What do you know, respectful coverage
There've been quite a few articles done on Second Life's economy, but none have been as in-depth and all of them have had a somewhat condescending incredulous tone. Yours nicely avoided that.
Chip Matthews, Germantown, Maryland

Our Best Of item about Carrara's Cafe ("Shortest Brunch Lines," Restaurants & Bars) erroneously stated that the cafe is no longer open on weekdays. Happily for Oakland breakfast and lunch patrons, that was an error. Carrara's is open for breakfast Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and for lunch from 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Sunday brunch is from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The cafe is closed on Saturdays.

Farmstead Cheeses was identified incorrectly in a photo caption in our April 6 Best of the East Bay issue.

In our March 23 Billboard story on the tribute band Crucial Crüe, the name of the band's manager was incorrectly reported. Crucial Crüe's manager is Jason Eldredge for Anatomic Music Productions in Foster City.

Last week's review of Look at Me was incorrectly credited. It was written by Melissa Levine.


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