Letters 

Listen to Your Nurse; White Man's Burden;That's a Doggone Shame;Why Do You Think They Call It the White House?

Listen to Your Nurse

Oh no, here we go again ("Local Hospitals Are Bleeding Money," August 1).

The only thing that may be bleeding soon will be the patients without adequate nursing and/or ancillary staff. As a registered nurse in critical care at Alta Bates Hospital, I am truly frightened when I hear there will be three hundred jobs eliminated. Will this include the couriers who take our STAT (urgent/immediate) blood samples to the lab for STAT results? Who will get us our medicines and supplies 24 hours a day? Without the couriers, nurses will be running to the lab, pharmacy, or central supply -- taking us away from our patients on the units.

Or maybe it will be the transporters who accompany us to CT Scan and X Ray, pushing the beds and the complex array of intravenous poles with fluids and/or medicines running in so we can watch the heart monitors and carry the emergency drugs. Perhaps it will be the housekeepers. Yes, they are not needed, or maybe not as many. Well, when that happens our vacated rooms in critical care stay dirty, preventing admissions to critical care from the emergency room or transfers from the medical and/or telemetry floors when our patients decompensate and need critical care beds STAT? They cannot lie in the hallway waiting for the room to be cleaned as their blood pressures are dropping (hey! maybe these duties could be added to our job descriptions, too).

Alan Fox -- would you want your loved one's health jeopardized? Instead of hiring the consultant to strategize on downsizing, why not spend that money on improving working conditions for nurses so we don't have so many temporary nurses? Or maybe Alta Bates managers/CEOs need to attend some cozy seminars on better budgeting, the way we as nurses have to attend seminars and complete written tests on improving customer satisfaction.
Honor Dickenson, Berkeley

White Man's Burden

I vividly remember a few years back when the Express caught all kinds of flak for a cartoon of a "techno-nerd," a bespectacled Asian in cowboy garb, damning it as vile, stereotypical and racist, with the predictable contrition that followed. On the other hand, for the past several years, the SF Weekly printed a regular-running strip called The City, penned by cartoonist "Derf," which featured a recurring character, a dysfunctional "superhero" named White Middle-Class Suburban Man, with paranoiac behavior, sexually repressed conditioning, and generally fucked-up values.

There was no outcry against "WMCSM" even though he blatantly stereotyped and maligned that segment/demographic group as the Asian "techno-nerd," and even though WMCS Males of any whites or middle-classes or suburbanites or males are just as different from one another as blacks, Latinos, Asians, lower-class folks, upper-class folks, ruralites, and urbanites are different from another.

Sadly, the Express now prints this new racism. Apparently, it is quite permissible in these politically correct days to malign whites -- the more heterosexual, middle-class, and suburban the better -- and while you may think it's so hip and liberal, even from whites (I wouldn't be at all surprised if Derf is white), don't you at the Express think that instead of finding a new PC-sanctioned group to stereotype, it would be better to end all such negativity against all racial/gender/ethnic/geographic/economic groups?

If you think I'm too thin-skinned, so be it, but I doubt you'll be publishing any more "techno-nerd" Asiatic caricatures any time soon, even though it's no more offensive or generalized than WMCSM. Similarly, I won't likely see Derf depicting Latino Barrio Dwelling Poverty-Line Man as a low-riding, illegal father of nine kids still in his twenties or Black Inner-City Welfare Chick as a teenage mother who snorts coke, puffs crack, and gives blow jobs to augment her government aid. How about a WMCSM who works hard to provide a good life for his family and pays a major share of the taxes? Not funny enough?
George Warren, Alameda

That's a Doggone Shame

Kudos to Emily Wilson for her article ("Pit Bulls Need Friends Too," July 25) about the myths about pit bulls. I am the proud owner of two such dogs, considered the all-American dog at the turn of the last century. Both of them are case histories of abuse.

My female was thrown in the ring to teach males how to kill, and showed such defensive prowess that she was then selected to become a fighting dog. She was so sweet-natured she could not be tortured into aggression, or "turned" as they say, so she was apparently tied to a bumper and dragged down the street to tear her back legs off and punish her.

Almost a thousand dollars in medical bills later, she is the greatest dog I have ever had, but I am very careful with her around other dogs. I put up with people shouting, "Those dogs should be put down!" on a weekly basis, but everyone who knows them loves them dearly.

Apparently I was lucky -- most pits who won't turn are lit on fire, and sometimes half of all pits in shelters have full-body third-degree burns. Amazingly, even as they are dying, they will still lick your face and hands.

Please continue to combat this prejudice, and please check out the BadRap.org Web site for excellent info and histories on these magnificent, loyal, strong, and horribly abused animals. They deserve so much better, as anyone who has ever rescued one can tell you. My apologies to the little boy and his family, but those were profoundly abused pit bulls, and are not representative of the norm.
Lara Dale, Berkeley

Why Do You Think They Call It the White House?

Great article in the July 25 paper ("Let's Sell the Sidewalks") -- well-written, informative, and a little horrifying.

But I was taken aback by a casually racist comment in the first paragraph: "As white homeowners capped property taxes...." Minor objection: If you think Asian homeowners voted against Prop. 13, you might want to check your facts again. But the real question is: What does the race of the homeowners have to do with this article? "As wealthy homeowners capped property taxes..." Sure. "As conservative homeowners capped property taxes..." You bet. But "white"? Is that really the point?
Alex McEachern, Via the internet

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