Letters to the Editor
Gary Singh's column on One Step Beyond ("Steppin' Out," Silicon Alleys, Aug. 26) was really good. I wanted to add some of my own experiences, as well. As you alluded to, it was a good place for punk, metal and other kinds of rock. While I missed the Ramones, I did see some awesome shows: Death on the "Human" tour, the Atheist/Gorguts/Cannibal Corpse tour, Henry Rollins Band with a then new group named Tool as openers. Another highlight was interviewing the Melvins in February '93 for KSJS. Dale and Buzz let me talk to them for nearly two hours, and I got to watch their soundcheck. Hearing them play "Night Goat" three times that night was amazing as was their backstage vat of Crunchberries cereal.
I also took in shows by other artists ranging from Dick Dale to MC 900 Ft. Jesus. Plus if I didn't have finals or midterms at SJSU the next day, I could've seen Entombed and Dead Horse or the equally awesome triple bill of The Boredoms, Pain Teens and Brutal Truth.
All that said, there was a downside. They had a shitty pay-to-play setup for local bands. A lot of bands had to buy up to 25 to 30 tickets and sell them back. Yet the owner was a already successful businessman who had a patent on the Nady wireless guitar and mic system. It was weird to see pay-to-play happening in San Jose, much less in 1991–92. That should've been left to poodle rockers from Hollywood and Sharon Osbourne.
KSJS 1991–94, KZSU 1999—now
Kudos to Tony Beers and Dave Powell, owners of the VooDoo Lounge in San Jose, for canceling the Oct. 13 performance of virulently homophobic Jamaican musician Buju Banton, whose lyrics call for gay men to be shot in the head and burned with acid. I was one of the community members who started the outcry against Banton's performance in San Jose, and I speak for many when I say that we are most gratified that Beers and Powell decided immediately to cancel the event, after learning about the controversy surrounding Banton and his lyrics. San Jose joins cities such as Orlando, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, Columbus and Los Angeles, where local folks have stepped up to the plate and said that this kind of hate-mongering and inciting of violence will not occur in their communities. Speech may be free, but it comes with responsibilities and consequences.
Dean M. Harpster
Good Grief! So many of the names [running for county supervisor] mentioned are lifetime public trough-feeders ("And They're Off," MetroNews, Oct. 7). Forrest Williams has actually done other things, but in watching him when he was a member of the City Council, it sure seemed like a lifetime—yak, yak, yak!
Peter Arellano or Mike Wasserman appear to be the most qualified and competent.
Let's Get Stoned
Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone has repeatedly identified himself as a "friend of labor", yet he adds fuel to the fire threatening the retirement benefits of employees in his own department ("Taking the Safe Course," MetroNews, Sept. 23). I'll bet he doesn't really believe that when 50-year-old county employees retire they're going to continue to collect 90 percent of their salary. To do so, one would have to have worked 30 years as a firefighter or deputy—only "safety workers" get 3 percent per year of service. In order to retire at age 50 with 30 years of service, one would have to begin employment at age 20—the minimum age for "safety workers" is 21. Employees who have served in the military may pay to apply those years of service towards their total time as a county employee, so it's possible that some individuals may fall into this retirement group. But how many fire or police personnel last 30 years on the job? Mr. Stone's remarks are a cheap shot at frontline workers, and should be taken with a grain of salt since they come from a county manager earning in excess of $150,000 per year, who is required by law to be in the office only a minimum of one day per week, and who can't be reached while spending consecutive days on the golf course.