Letters for the week of October 4-10, 2006 

Readers comment on Wineau, Proposition 36, and Health at Any Size.

Page 2 of 3

To my mind, it would be a successful program if only a tenth of the offenders remanded to its jurisdiction successfully completed the Prop. 36 program and continued on to live productive loving lives.
Dana Edward Layton, Union City

"Fat! Fit? Fabulous!" Feature, 9/13 <

Not parroting the pain
Thanks for such a great story that shows the other side of the constant barrage of weight-loss ads and health scares. Good for your editors that they were willing to print a story that doesn't just parrot the industry of pain and shame's ever-present message of hate.
Lisa Patakas, Alameda

Sanity in an insane world
Thanks so much for this article! It's wonderful to hear a bit of sanity in an insane world. I struggle with this every day.

Jackie Gehring, Berkeley

< Nutritious and easily digestible
Thanks so much for writing the fabulous article on Health at Every Size! I am the codirector of the Body Positive with Elizabeth Scott, and am thrilled that you published such a wonderful piece on HAES. I also enjoyed your writing style! We are in the process of expanding our work to reach parents, with the hope of bringing the HAES principles to the general public in an easily digestible form.
Connie Sobczak, Berkeley

Trim up, America
In 1970, after returning from my tour of duty in Vietnam, I was walking up Geary Blvd. in SF in my "military best," trim, fit, and ready for action. All of a sudden, my path was blocked by a very obese woman leaving a local shop. Huffing and puffing, I watched her flag a cab and get in. Walking another two blocks or so, I saw this same cab pulled over, with this woman laboriously getting out to go into a pasta place.

Back in those days, I was a "true believer" in America and the American way, but this seemingly insignificant experience changed my life forever. At that moment, I couldn't help thinking, "I went through hell in Vietnam, involved in a fight to the death with starving natives in their own land, so that this fat pig and others like her can stuff their faces until they get a fucking heart attack."

From that day forward, I've seen fat people as living symbols of what's wrong with America: growth for the sake of growth. In other words, the philosophy of the cancer cell. Giving it [obesity] a false legitimacy will only make it worse. America needs to trim not only its waistline but its expectations — and has failed miserably on all counts. It's time for a change of priorities.
James J. Fenton, Oakland

"Gas, Break, Dance, Crime," Close 2 tha Edge, 8/9

The spread of hyphy
Thanks so much for your informative articles on the Bay Area cultural movement of hyphy. This piece was yet another article that I found interesting, as it seems many of those critics that are quick to scapegoat and attack hyphy do so in a very uninformed manner.

I was wondering if you were aware of an incident that recently occurred in Modesto in which cops began attacking minors after a event, promoted as hyphy, left a flock of youth outside the venue to congregate. Apparently, articles state that the group began getting hyphy, upon which point cops began sending attack dogs on the minors and greatly overreacted.

I blogged briefly about this incident recently. But I thought that this might be of interest to you, especially since it shows the spread of the movement beyond the Bay Area.
Matt Ledesma, San Diego

"The Plot to Oust Randy Ward," Feature, 8/16

Petty politics harm students
I am writing to express my thorough appreciation of the excellent reporting on this story. Presently, I am a graduate student at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Prior to my studies this year, I was a founding educator at Think College Now in OUSD. As a supporter of Oakland public schools, a former educator of Oakland's children, and a supporter of Ward's reforms, I thank you for giving the public a more accurate version of this story.

I left Oakland a year ago to pursue my master's in education at Harvard, in large part because I was frustrated by the petty politics that continue to hinder education reform and harm the educational opportunities of Oakland's students. Having received my degree in education, I chose to pursue additional studies in public policy and administration, in hopes of offering my skills to Oakland in the future.

Again, many thanks to your staff for this excellent account.
Jane Stollenmeyer, Cambridge, Massachusetts

"Ear-Waxing Philosophical," Music, 9/6

Storming the airwaves
Since coming back to San Francisco from an extended stay in a media black hole, this is yet another ear-opening shock at the innovative ways underground musicians are getting their tunes out to the public. Thanks for highlighting this cool event and giving more emerging artists another way to storm the airwaves.
Stephanie Don, San Francisco

"Spare the Hot Air," Bottom Feeder, 8/30

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