Letters for the Week of January 18 

Readers sound off on the Air Jordan frenzy, Grand Tavern, and Yelp.

Page 3 of 5

As long as we define the American Dream as "living the good life" — doing it better and in a bigger house than our parents did, and making sure our children do the same, we are playing into the hands of the One Percent who want to keep us in our place. Consumerist culture is not realistic for the earth, or for any economy, but if everyone is trying to "get it" for themselves (as long as we have enough cops and prisons), we can sell lots of "stuff" made in China, and stock prices will soar (and tank).

We have to look clearly at the propaganda that corporate and other advertising is streaming at us, and we have to teach our children to analyze it. Adbusters magazine is a good place to start. Read it with your kids; use it at your church and community groups.

Sandra Streifel, Vancouver BC

Claim Your Freedom and Power

This is a call to the young people of the Bay Area to claim their power: Tell your friends that you won't let corporate America run your life, that you have the power of choice, that you may "live in a sea of seductive corporate messages," but you know a hook when you see one, and that you refuse to add to the bank accounts of the One Percent by biting their hooks. What power is in your hands to tell corporate America that you will not let it continue to control our politicians, our economic system, and our freedom to think for ourselves.

Thank you for claiming your freedom and power.

Saunterre Irish, San Francisco

"Jerry Brown's Hypocrisy," Seven Days, 1/4

Good Riddance, Redevelopment

It's probably not what Jerry had in mind, but given how Oakland redevelopment turned into a predatory assault on the city's productive citizens in the case of Fung and Revelli, and then added insult to injury by spending the taxpayers' money in court for years to legitimize the reality distortion field that productive, taxpaying businesses could be declared blighted and seized to suit the convenience of a developer to serve some fanciful "greater good" that was all about the benjamins, it is extremely satisfying and just to see the redevelopment agency not merely sent to the penalty box but sent into oblivion. Finally, some accountability. Thank you.

Mary Eisenhart, Oakland

"Handicapping Legalization in 2012," Legalization Nation, 1/4

Unite Around "Like Wine"

Regulate Marijuana Like Wine sent an email around announcing over $120,000 in receipts for 2011. We need to get behind one initiative and it looks like Like Wine is going to be it. The longer we are bifurcated, the worse our chances get. If we don't move the ball down the field this year, we will lose everything, including medical marinuana in California.

Mathew Barnes, state field coordinator for Like Wine Now

"Ten Great Things About Grand Tavern," Last Call, 1/4

Grand Tavern Rocks

Love this place. Thanks for the reminder that I don't frequent it enough even though it is a short walking distance from my house.

Tracy Arrowsmith, Oakland

"Long Live Bette's," Restaurant Review, 1/4

Sustainability Is Possible

The recent review of Bette's Oceanview Diner displays a common but invalid perspective many people share about sustainable food. The article declares: "Though she'd prefer organic meat, diner price points make it cost-prohibitive to shop from the fancy ranch."

As the chef of The Sunny Side Cafe, I can say that this statement is not true. Bette could easily afford it; she is simply choosing not to make sustainability a priority. I run two Sunny Side Cafe locations in Berkeley and Albany with equivalent prices to what Bette's is charging. At this price point I do have to make some compromises, of course. However, I am able to buy my beef and turkey from "fancy" BN Ranch right here in Bolinas when it is seasonally available. These animals are cared for personally by Bill and Nicolette Niman and are as local as one can get. For another example, I purchase sustainable Wild Planet tuna and I am able to keep my costs the same as for conventional tuna by altering my portion size. Now I can offer a better-tasting Pacific tuna that I know is in harmony with the ocean, my prices are the same, and my customers are happier.

I am not the only local restaurant who is able to offer quality, sustainably minded ingredients for this price point. Saul's Deli also has the same prices as Bette's Oceanview and The Sunny Side Café, and the December 28 issue of the Express describes how they made the switch in 2011 to more sustainable meat sources.

It takes a lot of work and diligence to source sustainable products for a restaurant. But it is false to pretend that we can't all do our part, no matter what the price point is.

Aaron French, chef, The Sunny Side Cafe

"Punk Rock Cabaret," 1/4

Thanks ... But

Hey, Rachel,

Thanks for writing about me. Most of what you say in this article is right, more or less, but some corrections/clarifications are in order: As I pointed out in my first email to you, I do sing. In fact, I sing songs by most of the bands that you mention here, whose music I cover. I also sing most of the songs on my album. You can hear a few of them at myspace.com/rockpiano. At this point in time, though, my vocal performances are few and far between. Thus I am indeed an instrumentalist, as you say, at Disco Volante and the other venues mentioned. (Kevin of Disco Volante has expressed interest in hosting a DJ Lebowitz vocal performance in the future. When I'm ready, there'll be an announcement, and I'll do it either there or somewhere.)

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