Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 33 / 17 August 2017

Letters to the Editor

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Tragic day in US history

On August 12, the president of the United States could not find it in himself to instantly repudiate praise by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke or condemn white supremacists waving Nazi swastikas parading in his name through the streets of an American city. He could only equate alt-right bigots and those who oppose them – equally – and condemn "violence." My country is adrift with amoral leadership. I am more dejected than at any point since Election Day.

And now, at least one purposefully dead in Saturday's violence, two other members of the police killed in a helicopter crash, and 19 others injured. All of us: wounded. The greatest death so far is the murder in real time of our Republic at the hands of Donald Trump and his still unrepentant supporters.

I know these people. Like Steve Bannon I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy. We both served on the altar of St. Paul's Church. We both attended St. Paul's Catholic School. We both graduated from Benedictine Military Institute. We both spent many a day in the shadow of Monument Avenue's pharaonic statues to "the glorious dead:" Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, and Jefferson Davis. I like to think I learned the right lessons from those tributes. Bannon, clearly, did not.

I have no adequate words to describe my grief. No words, by anyone, can wash away this filth now opened to the air by Trump. The prejudice and bigotry of the neo-Fascists and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville used to hide in the fetid swamps of their nihilistic ideology; under the stinking rocks of their hatred.

Through his candidacy and now his presidency, Trump has uncovered and given permission to this entire despicable breed.

Have you no sense of decency, Mr. Trump, at long last? Clearly, this is a rhetorical question.


David Perry

San Francisco


Prop Q is unfair, period

The fact that Proposition Q is rarely used is beside the point ["Prop Q tents measure rarely used," August 10]. It is used, and it is harmful to people sleeping on the streets in that it is like an ax hanging over their heads. Every day I see people who have nowhere to go, no housing, no shelter, and they live in fear of being hassled by the police, being criminalized for being homeless. I smell the fear, I feel the fear, as I feed them and listen to them. Housing is impossible in San Francisco for people who do not have money to begin with, if you are homeless, it is impossible. It is that way all over the country.

So first of all we need to decriminalize sleeping on the streets, and provide bathrooms and showers for people.

Secondly, we need to remove our homeless service people from being placed in a position of enforcing or even being a part of the enforcement of Prop Q and other laws regarding homelessness. They need to be allowed to work with people without placing themselves in a position that can be construed as a part of that enforcement structure.

Prop Q is unfair, period.


Fr. Christian River Sims, sfw, D.Min.


Temenos Catholic Worker

San Francisco


Reem's Bakery protest

I'd like to take this opportunity to clear up some inaccuracies in Christina A. DiEdoardo July 27 column "Resist: Refuse Fascism takes to the streets." A retraction is in order.

The vigils at Reem's Bakery in Oakland are not about Jews versus Muslims, or about left versus right.

The vigils protest the symbol that Reem Assil has chosen for her bakery, a symbol that should be offensive to anyone whose life has been touched by violence. Thousands of Native American activists have protested the Washington Redskins logo because it is offensive to their heritage. African-Americans have protested the Confederate flag, as a potent symbol of slavery and supremacy. Symbols, like words, have power.

Rolling vigils have been held at Reem's for several weeks, protesting a mural that features a convicted terrorist, Rasmea Odeh. Odeh confessed to the bombing of the British Consulate and a grocery store after one day in custody. Bomb-making equipment was found in her home. Two were killed and nine injured in the attacks. In a widely available Arabic language documentary, the organizers of the bombings can be heard proudly boasting of their roles.

Participants in the vigils at Reem's include such "deplorables" as local LGBTQ activists and Bernie Sanders delegates.

At the July 8 vigil a wheelchair-bound participant and a 78-year-old survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto were attacked by patrons and employees of Reem's. Police reports were filed. This incident was documented in the local Jewish paper, and by photos and videos taken by bystanders at the scene. Attackers danced around with the signs they ripped out of people's hands.

The only fascism seen at these peaceful vigils are Reem's repeated attempts to use the police power of the state to silence the voices of those in protest. At the last silent vigil, two squad cars and four officers were dispatched to deal with seven protesters, in an effort to deprive them not only of their rights to free assembly, but their rights to free expression.

In a community devastated by violence, why is Reem's Bakery glorifying Odeh, an unrepentant murderer? Why has she chosen to decorate her shop with a portrait of someone who targeted innocent civilians in a grocery store? 

The Bay Area Reporter and DiEdoardo have done a disservice to our community by not fact-checking the original July 27 column.


Faith Meltzer

El Cerrito, California

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