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Letters for the Week of June 8

Readers sound off on the Pacific Pinball Museum; our new food writer, John Birdsall; and Oakland's budget crisis.


"The Pinball Wizard," Feature, 5/25

Wake Up

Michael Schiess is dreaming if he or the board of directors of the Pacific Pinball Museum thinks that they will get any kind of municipal support in this financial climate, particularly from Alameda, which is already strapped and trapped by supporting the USS Hornet with berthing space. Add to that two other equally struggling museums in Alameda clamoring for municipal support (the Alameda Naval Air Museum and the Alameda History Museum), and it is easy to see why Alameda cannot support the Pacific Pinball Museum.

It was foolhardy for the Pacific Pinball Museum to collect so many machines when they were already hard-pressed for space. Museums should take space constraints into consideration before collecting. The question they should be constantly asking themselves is, "Can the museum care for and meet all of the long-term needs of these artifacts in perpetuity?" This is a very tall order. If the answer is that there is no more room — stop collecting! Collecting for museums is a long-term, ongoing responsibility that often requires vast resources to accomplish well.

In the end, Pacific Pinball Museum has an issue with image and message — people see it as an amusement center/arcade run by hobbyists that they pay admission to, not as a community asset that meets a nonprofit educational mission; builds, preserves, and maintains an historical artifacts collection; serves a constituency; and deserves community support beyond the admission they pay at the door.

Pamela Kruse-Buckingham

Museum/Nonprofit Consultant


Room in Denver

I'm just saying that Denver has plenty of empty space. There are plenty of people supporting the local museums and this one might get some chamber of commerce and local interest. Denver does Americana.

The Colorado Rail Museum is a big draw, so this venture might be a winner here.I'm looking at a big, empty space where an Albertson's used to be. And there are stores like it all over Denver. You could probably get Coors/Molson to do the heavy lifting. They have the fleet of railcars. Heck, they could set up the museum across the highway from the Colorado Rail Museum.

Just thinking outside the box.

Art BlackwellPinball Addict

Evergreen, CO

"Meet Your New Pot Dealer: Big Pharma," Legalization Nation, 5/25

Do More Research

I believe David's interpretation of the DEA list of producers is incorrect. Based on my experience, there are not 55 companies that hold licenses to grow marijuana in the United States. Instead, the list from the DEA is composed almost entirely of companies working with synthetic cannabinoids for sale for development of drug tests and analytical methods, training of drug-sniffing dogs, etc., and in some cases, animal and human studies. 

I noticed that in David's article, the only marijuana producer mentioned by name was ElSohly. I suggest you call a random sample of 10 of the 55 companies on the DEA list and see if any confirm they have a license to grow the marijuana plant for natural extraction. I doubt you will find even one other than ElSohly.

I'm Rick Doblin, Ph.D, executive director of the nonprofit pharmaceutical company, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS, MAPS has coordinated a lawsuit against the DEA regarding its refusal to issue a license to Prof. Lyle Craker, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to grow marijuana for federally regulated research. The DEA has indicated that it will reject the recommendation by DEA Administrative Law Judge Bittner, made after extensive testimony in her courtroom at DEA headquarters, that it would be in the public interest for DEA to issue a license to Professor Craker. 

MAPS is sponsoring Professor Craker's efforts and would cover his production costs with the marijuana grown to be used for MAPS' research conducted with FDA and DEA approval. For more information, see

In the Craker case, DEA is fundamentally obstructing privately funded drug development research with the marijuana plant itself, smoked or vaporized. David's article makes the mistaken comment that the DEA licenses 55 marijuana growers for Big Pharma, "a fact that contradicts the widespread belief that there is only one legal pot farm in America, operated under the DEA for research purposes." Rather, this article presents a belief without basis in fact. If you do find that even one of the 55 companies on the DEA list other than ElSohly actually does grow marijuana for natural extraction of cannabinoids, which I don't anticipate, please let me know so I can inform Craker's lawyers at ACLU and the major DC law firm, Jenner & Block.I think it is incumbent upon you to explore this matter further and correct the record as quickly as you can.

Rick Doblin, Ph.DMAPS Executive DirectorBelmont, MA

"Off the Grid Coming to North Berkeley," What the Fork, 5/25

More Yuppies ... Fart

"Off the Grid?" Hardly... more yuppie "foodie" bullshit ... more yuppies in lines blocking foot and car traffic to stuff their faces. Another "delicious revolution" ... fart ... the bourgeoisie takes to the streets ... fart ... it's revolting alright ... will sit-lie apply to these slobs?

Carl Martineau, Berkeley

Tasteless Writing

So John Birdsall has flown over to the East Bay Express and is now feathering two nests (also the SF Weekly). While it's great to see the new section, "What the Fork," its smarmy, pseudo-hip title makes me wonder if Birdsall's foot-in-mouth disease style of dining commentary will also infect your paper. Judging from his writing at the Weekly, will Express readers now be treated not only to filler disguised as pretentiously irrelevant and annoying personal asides concerning his dining companions, but also to his phenomenally tasteless culinary tropes, like the one in a glowing review of the now shuttered Berkeley restaurant Locanda da Eva, where he compared consuming lardons on one of their pizzas to "slurping moist condoms"? With favorable reviews such as that, it's no wonder the restaurant went out of business.

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