Matte’s Blog

Letters

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

A couple of years ago i got myself invited to a meeting of the Editorial Board staff at The San Francisco Chronicle where John Diaz, the editor, introduced me as a frequent flyer in the letters section, giving me an opportunity to remark that i’d been subscribing to The Chronicle longer than most of them had been able to read it.  And yes, i’d banked that one and it got me a chuckle.

Anyhow, it occurred to me to do a search for my letters in the Chronicle’s archives, and oh my goodness, there sure are a lot of ’em, especially if you include those from my friend Louis.  Here’s a representative sample from the past four years.

sfchronicle 2/20/15 Regarding “Controversy advances archbishop’s agenda” (Feb. 19), I don’t understand the furor over Archbishop Cordileone’s efforts to force everyone to obey the rules of his church, since that is the very nature of churches. We should be grateful that our founding fathers wrote a Constitution that prevents Cordileone from following the example of his predecessors and burning us non-conformers at the stake.  Matte Gray, San Francisco

sfchronicle 3/8/15 Regarding “Farmers’ market cultivated success” (March 1), what a splendid article on the rise of farmers’ markets in San Francisco. Splendid in a different way was the photo of the customers “inspecting potatoes”. The dubious look on all their faces can probably be attributed to their never before having seen whole lugs of potatoes all shaped exactly like pears.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

sfchronicle 12/12/15 Regarding “Envisioning a new life for S.F. icon” (Dec. 11): I applaud John King’s article on the transformation of the Palace of Fine Arts into expansion space for the fine arts museums, but I do have one concern: The exterior. As King put it, the Palace is a “glorified shed.” A shed is a shed is a shed, and there may not be enough lipstick.  Matte Gray, Petaluma

sfChronicle 4/14/16 Regarding “Vatican OKs sainthood for Junipero Serra” (May 7): So the Pope is praising Father Junipero Serra for proclaiming God to the Indians, who hadn’t “experienced the embrace of his mercy.” Pity that bringing the Indians into the embrace of God’s mercy required using them as slave labor.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

sfchronicle 10/13/16 Regarding those “historic cast-iron streetlights” on Market Street, I was crushed when I saw one that had been hit by a truck and noticed that it was made of molded fiberglass to imitate cast iron.  Louis Bryan, Petaluma

sfchronicle 10/26/16 Regarding those renegade bicyclists putting up posts to protect bike lanes: Of course drivers park their vehicles in bike lanes. Otherwise, they’d impede the progress of a fellow motorist.  Matte Gray, San Francisco

sfChronicle 8/5/17 Regarding “Gene-editing tool raises thorny issues of difference and disease” (Open Forum, Aug. 4): I read, not with interest but rather with mounting horror, Rachel Kolb and Dakota McCoy’s argument against gene editing in which they suggest preserving genetic deafness because of its benefit as a “generative resource.” I wonder how many deaf people would choose to have their children born deaf.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

sfchronicle 2/21/18 Regarding “Get over it” (Letters, Feb. 20), in which the letter writer states that no one has come up with a plausible explanation as to why the Russians supposedly preferred Donald Trump, I suggest that Vladimir Putin and Hillary Clinton’s long enmity is sufficient reason for the Russians to support any candidate other than Clinton.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

sfchronicle 2/23/18 I’m all for suspending the drivers’ license of anyone, not just a minor, who’s caught driving under the influence of marijuana, but first we need a test sensitive enough to determine whether they had ingested marijuana an hour earlier or two days earlier, when they would no longer be impaired.   Matte Gray, San Francisco   [Little did i realize when i wrote this one that only six months later a company would announce the impending release of just that kind of test.]

sfchronicle 2/27/18 Perhaps the Democrats didn’t endorse Sen. Dianne Feinstein in our primary because she voted to extend the Patriot Act, promoted extension of National Security Agency surveillance of private citizens at the same time she denounced the CIA for spying on her staff members, criticized the NSA for monitoring the phones of friendly foreign leaders while promoting warrant-less monitoring of her constituents, called Edward Snowden a traitor for providing proof that the NSA was monitoring our phones and emails, and sponsored a bill that would criminalize all forms of strong encryption in electronic communication between citizens. Yes, maybe the Democrats don’t want to live in a surveillance state in which Big Sister is watching them.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

SFChronicle 3/22/18 Regarding “Put the brakes on bikes” (Last Word, March 21): Marshall Kilduff’s claim that bicycles “clutter the sidewalks” suggests that he considers them to be an egregious form of litter. Actually, a bike chained to a utility pole or bike rack suggests that one less car is on the street and should be applauded.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

sfchronicle 4/22/18 Regarding “Motorized scooter” (Letters, April 18): I was shocked and saddened by the letter in which the author argues that sharing bike lanes with motorized scooters defeats the lanes’ purpose. Hmmm, the scooters run at much the same speed and have a smaller footprint. What’s the problem? I’m a disabled veteran and get around town on my Segway, a different form of motorized scooter, and on a few occasions I’ve got snarls from passing bicyclists so entitled and mean spirited that sharing a centimeter of the bike lane is unacceptable. As Rodney King said, “Can we all get along? Can we get along?”  Matte Gray, San Francisco

SFChronicle 5/24/18 Regarding “Teachers are overlooked” (Letters, May 23): The letter about the exploited part-time English as a second language teachers brought back memories from the late 1970s when I was one of the exploited, cobbling together a marginal living by working at both Chabot College in Hayward and City College here in San Francisco. I am shocked and saddened to learn that this exploitation has continued for forty years.  Louis Bryan, San Francisco

SFChronicle 7/14/18 Regarding the need to head off PG&E’s “return to bankruptcy,” I remember that it did quite well in its previous bankruptcy by immediately beforehand transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to one of its entities back East and granting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to its top executives — and then, after the taxpayers had bailed it out, rising from the ashes like a phoenix.   Louis Bryan, San Francisco

Meanwhile, another San Francisco garage door.

garage door

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6 Comments

  1. ckm3
    Posted 7 December 2013 at 09:18 | Permalink

    For most people, what stays in Las Vegas is the money.

    Most excellent turning of the phrase

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 7 December 2013 at 14:26 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

  2. Chimpus_Dorkus
    Posted 21 December 2013 at 19:59 | Permalink

    Ouch. Poor bb, here’s hoping you have some good holidays etc to cheer you up and a speedy recovery.
    Be careful, will ya?!?

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 21 December 2013 at 20:50 | Permalink

      The holidays are most definitely cheerful, the recovery is progressing apace, and the caution level has been dramatically increased.

  3. Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Thank you for remembering Barry. And for loving him, as I did. I am glad he got to see a loving face before he died. You are right, he wanted to go out on his terms and it was never going to be pretty. Barry, even though he’d be cleaned up, was always disappointed after falling or having a heart attack, being picked up by ambulance, treated and then dumped right back onto the streets… He gave up hope for a place indoors after realizing that even that level of frailty was not enough to deserve housing in this city. he did admit to me he would have preferred to live inside. As you said, he was not crazy. 🙂 Again, thanks for the love and kindness you and others showed him. I know he appreciated it.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:26 | Permalink

      Since i wrote that account i’ve been back to the makeshift shrine several times and have talked with folks who knew him longer than i, people who were also there the afternoon before he died and to whom he also expressed very clearly that he did not want to go to the hospital. Some of the people who knew him better are organizing a little wake for him on the 1st of February, and i’ll post more details here as i learn them. Meanwhile, a useful resource is castrobiscuit.com, with an article on 22 Jan that has extensive comments.

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