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Letters to the Editor

You Can Go Home Again

Re "The Poet of Play" (Cover Story, Nov. 26): Somehow, it doesn't surprise me that Nolan Bushnell is back on the playing field; seems as though he never left. Every time I look around today, XBox, Nintendo, and all those "grandchildren" running around, Nolan's unmistakable stamp lives on forever. I am always running into kids who seem to have a hard time understanding how I can possibly understand the inner workings of these games. After I tell them I worked for the original Atari (1976–1977), they treat me like a God! I am forever being asked what "those days" were like. My answer is simple: all you had to do was live in Silicon Valley during the '70s. It's a hard concept for some, yet those same kids long for the "old days." Only then do I feel woefully selfish and a breath of conceit enters me.

I can well remember Nolan (yes, he preferred this informality among his people) taking his clients on tour about the facility (I started in Consumer Manufacturing and moved onto Engineering Support before the move) and randomly selecting an employee to quiz about this and that. Involvement was what it was all about, and Nolan spared no effort in his informal, easy approach to business. He never skimped on imagination and he knew how to treat his people well. He gave great meaning to making you feel as though you had meaning and involvement in the entire process. He had a way of making you feel good about yourself and what you were doing. I think he pioneered the modern concept regarding relaxed employment at a time when these things were more vogue than anything else. He had a way of leaving his stamp on everything he touched.

How delighted I was to visit San Jose for the first time in three years or so, and find Nolan looking out to me from the glazed front of a Metro rack. It was truly just like coming home again and turning back the clock for a woman who has lasting, cherished memories of her youthful life in the valley made famous by such inventive, resourceful and gifted individuals like Nolan, who forever left his mark in the South Bay town of San Jose. I read and reread Nolan that weekend and, somehow, that visit to San Jose and Metro overshadowed my eventual trip to San Francisco that week.

They say you can't go home again; the person who coined that phrase never lived in San Jose or knew Nolan Bushnell. More appropriately, one could easily say, "To know him is to love him." He was, er, is one great guy. Welcome back, Nolan.

Elizabeth M. Thauberger-Boggs

Rancho Cordova

Who Suffers?

Thank you, Erin Sherbert, for dedicating your time to write this article about Madison Nguyen and the recall campaign (Madison's Last Stand, MetroNews, Dec. 3). You chose a great topic to write about because it's unprecedented, still controversial and hot today even though it is more than a year old.

You pointed out many interesting facts. For example, I also think that it is ironic how she majored in conflict resolutions, but failed to handle this issue about the naming of a business district. She's not only incompetent but also "deaf."

This part is inaccurate: "communist sympathizer; they still bring up the fact that she traveled to Vietnam in 1996, where she taught English through a Stanford University program." First of all, this is my first time hearing about this, which means if it is a reason to think she's a communist sympathizer, it's not the main one. But it is not the reason why some people think she's a communist sympathizer. And that would not be the only reason why we should recall her.

This whole Madison and Little Saigon thing is stupid. Why couldn't she just listen to the people? Why did she have to fight for so long? Why?

It doesn't matter to me if she's a communist or not. What matters is that she doesn't listen, and that's enough to recall her butt.

I won't be sad if she gets recalled. But it would be sad if she tried to move on in life and people wouldn't let her.

Thanks again, Erin, for pointing out some of the reasons why a recall is justified, but please be more careful in making an appeal for emotion in favor of her. Who suffers more? Madison or the very people under her poor, or should I say, corrupt leadership?

Lyn Nguyen