"Inside the Dirty Inn," Feature, 6/29
Funny stuff! Almost convinced me to give the Jack London Inn a try. Looking forward to more great writing from Mr. Jones!
James Li, Oakland
"Amazon.com vs. Local Business," Editorial Cartoon, 6/29
Amazon's Misguided Approach
The Amazon tax is welcome, but it's too little, too late for many small local booksellers. Now the Evil Empire of retail has decided that cutting off its nose to spite its face really is a viable strategy, and plans to end its relationship with its California "affiliates." Let's see what Amazon does once all fifty states make the logical decision to tax online purchases.
John Seal, Oakland
"The Kreayshawn Myth," Music, 6/29
Lauryn Hill grew up in a middle-class, mostly Jewish suburb in New Jersey, yet people don't criticize her for being fake and inauthentic. Ice Cube went to college in Arizona yet he hasn't had his ghetto pass revoked. It seems white rappers, the few worth talking about at least, always have to prove their 'hood credentials. Who cares? It's about the music. If most gangsta rappers did a fraction of the stuff they boast about they would be psychopaths. We all know this but we prefer the fantasy. I doubt any beloved black rap artist's rep would survive the kind of scrutiny you are applying to these girls.
Walter Disney, Los Angeles
"Slow Food for the People," Food, 6/29
Slow Doesn't Have to Mean Snobby
You have a skewed view of what Slow Food is. We are not a bunch of yuppie foodies stuffing our craws with foie gras and scoffing at those who don't (your article perpetuating said unfair stereotype aside). Slow Food USA is working very hard to help create a food system that is good, clean, and fair. By "good," we mean that it is good-tasting, good for you, and good for the planet. By "clean," we mean that there is nothing in the food that isn't food (and yes, if it wasn't food 100 years ago, it still isn't food), and by fair we mean both that it should be priced fairly and that the people who produce the food should be justly compensated for their efforts. Nothing snobby about that.
Kurt Michael Friese, Iowa City, IowaSlow Food USA Board of Directors
Co-Editor Robert Gammon Responds
John Birdsall is totally aware of the fine work by Slow Food USA. In fact, he included some of it in his story. But I cut it at the last minute for space reasons.
We're Working On It
Thank you for your review of Berlyn's. We are always trying to improve our food and the execution of our menu, seeing how we are only nine weeks into it. Reviews like yours helps small local eateries like Berlyn's notice flaws we need to fix, and as a new business that's trying its best to source organic produce and use natural meats, there are always flaws in doing something new.
We have a long ways to go and I'm sure most new restaurants are not at 100 percent nine weeks after their grand opening. Lake Chalet, which is about two miles from Berlyn's and has a million-dollar budget, couldn't get peoples' lunch orders out on time for six months.
I hope one day you could write an article about the lack of support for small eateries like Berlyn's when sourcing organic produce and using natural meats without jacking up the prices. If you and I had talked about Berlyn's maybe you could have included some of that in your article, but Robert Gammon, co-editor, would have just cut anyway for space reasons.
Larry McClendon, OaklandOwner, Berlyn's Eatery
"What's the Point?," Last Call, 6/29
Quit Your Day Job
Between this article and the "A Rosé is Still a Rosé" article, I think we can all agree you should stop reviewing anything to do with alcohol.
No one seems to be hipster enough for you.
Andrew Travis, San Lorenzo
Worst beer review ever. How about telling us what the beers tasted like instead of what they didn't? You must not actually enjoy drinking beer since you're trying to discourage anyone from wanting to try Pyramid's brews.
Audrey Glazier, Oakland
Where Were You?
With all due respect, you are wrong. Pyramid makes great beer, and you forgot to even mention the friendly, knowledgeable staff. I don't know where you were when you wrote this "review," because it must not have been Pyramid.
Karl Albright, Hayward
"The Blair Park Project," News, 6/22
Piedmont's Been Bought
[Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization president and spokeswoman] Jessica Berg says all the impacts have been studied and "no stone has been left unturned" — yet somehow, as [Piedmont City Administrator] Geoff Grote admits, the Piedmont City Council has certified an environmental impact report that doesn't have a traffic plan! What we have here a public process co-opted by private interests and a clear failure of due diligence.
Randy Wedding, Piedmont
"Farmers' Markets: Who Benefits?," Feature, 6/1
What's With the Prices?
I started to shop at the farmers' market few years back but stopped supporting it. For some reason, I feel like the concept itself is amazing but cannot understand how a local apple costs more at the farmers' market than at the chain grocery store. Something simply does not seem right with the high prices you pay at the farmers' market. Who truly benefits? I wonder. People want to do right and we feel good by supporting the farmer's market idea, but again, I honestly feel there are some untold stories behind the whole thing. Food for thought.