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August 30-September 5, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Piercing Commentary

Thanks for Metro's "Confessions of a Bike Nerd" (Cover Story, Aug. 16). Yes, the South Bay is home to an abundance of bicycling cultures and subcultures. But bicycling is not the exclusive domain of the body-pierced, the coffee bean worshipper, nor the fixed-gear aficionado. You don't have to wear Lycra or pierce your body to ride a bike. The circle of bicyclists I know includes doctors, lawyers, CEOs, retirees, students, nurses, police officers, and just about any other type of person you can imagine.

Bicycling is not just for weekend fun or exercising, it's also the ultimate egalitarian mode of transit. Nearly anyone can ride a bike. And a functional used bike can be had for less than the cost of an iPod. Yes bicycling is good exercise. Sure, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Of course it cuts down on air pollution. But best of all, it puts a smile on your face. Just try running an errand or riding to work once a week. If your bicycling skills are a bit rusty, the City of San Jose offers free Bicycling Skills Classes. For more information, email [email protected]

John Brazil, Bicyclist/Pedestrian Program, City of San Jose

Is it just us, John, or do you have a thing about cyclists with body piercings? Don't be too hard on 'em, they have it bad enough. Ever had your tongue piercing caught in the spokes? Yeah, not good.—Editor

NAFTA Disaster

Thanks for your recent article "Tricks of the Free Trade" by Diane Solomon (MetroNews, Aug. 16), showing the negative effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Our 18-year-old human rights organization, Global Exchange, has been working in Mexico since well before NAFTA came into effect in 1994 and we have seen the social disruption and environmental damage it has caused—not to mention the jobs that have been lost here in the United States.

Kevin Danaher, San Francisco

Step Up, San Jose

I just spent a week in New Orleans, helping an organization called Operation Blessing gut and rebuild homes destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. With the anniversary of Katrina (Aug. 29), its important that people realize what is going on in Louisiana and Mississippi. It's been a year, and the residents there are still devastated. They live outside their damaged-beyond-repair homes in FEMA trailers. Most of them don't even know where to begin. The reality is that there is too much to do and not enough volunteers to do it all. So I'm urging people everywhere to take time out of your busy schedules and help. The only way things are going to get restored is for us to step up to the plate. Please come work side-by-side with the residents of this area to rebuild and restore New Orleans.

Tara Lynn O'Sullivan, Santa Clara

Chavez vs. Reed

Anybody who is/was close to Ron Gonzales is controversial; and Cindy Chavez is/was his closest pupil, ally and protégé. So what do you expect from a student of the most corrupt mayor in years?

In the Tropicana debacle she sided with the administration and outside contractors, against the area's merchants and shoppers; the court had to stop Ron G. & Co., in favor of Tropicana folks.

In the San Jose Hospital case (downtown), the hospital is gone; she led us on all these years in the false hope of keeping it here, downtown.

Finally, her mentor's administration stuck us, the people of San Jose, with the bill for the cost of the fantastic, but unnecessary, new City Hall; in the two half-blocks it occupies, 25 percent of offices have no room in that White Elephant. Like her boss, she favors rich businesses and organizations and self-promotion, not the needs of the people.

She's probably the main member of San Jose's version of the Enron gang. You're a fool if you trust her captivating smile, her speaking ability and her shrewdness. Chuck Reed is conservative and old-fashioned, but harmless. Cindy is dangerous; she deserves a serious ethics investigation, not the mayor's office.

Sistilio Testa, San Jose

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