Thursday, May 3, 2001
Who Might That 'We' Be?Re: Rebecca Crocker's rail report ("Locals, Yokels and Tourists," April 29-25). What is it with the crusade to resurrect the Del Monte Express? Your article scratches the surface, but when will we see a thorough report on why this ridiculous concept continues to be championed by TAMC?
Thanks to Jyl Lutes and a few others with common sense, TAMC reluctantly agreed to begin the funding process for the Salinas-Gilroy commuter extension. This extension follows the true intent of funding for mass transit and the relief of highway congestion. The Del Monte Express, however, reminds me of the infamous "Dead Parrot Sketch" from Monty Python.
Hello, TAMC! Are you listening? There's a reason the line dried up years ago. It is slow. (Where did this term "fast rail" come from?) It is noisy, messy (look along the rail lines of active routes throughout the Bay Area), and few are going to ride down from San Francisco to buy decent art or drop a bundle on clothing at the corner of Canyon Del Rey and Del Monte. Although, after having tasted Union Pacific food, I believe the McDonald's will definitely benefit.
I don't think people in this county realize how much effort and money is being spent on this. TAMC has great influence on the way state and federal funding is used, and few local politicians have had the nerve to press them on this. Again, I say someone needs to dig deeper. Who benefits from this? Who constitutes the "we" in Mary Orrison's statement, "We need to get the Del Monte service started"?
--CURT CHAFFEE, MONTEREY
Some NerveAs a lifelong resident of the Peninsula and a member of the hospitality industry for 25 years, I took great offense at Mr. Napolitano's review of Indian Summer ("Garden of Delights," April 19-25). Although the restaurant received a rave review, his highly prejudicial statement that "the only glitch in the scenario was a Mexican front-of-house staff" truly left a bad taste in my mouth. He stated he "let the fantasy rule out anyway." Perhaps, sir, the only fantasy you should let rule out is the one where you believe you are a restaurant critic. Are you suggesting that because I am Italian I should only serve lasagne? Are you aware that Mexicans make up for more than half of the staff in any restaurant on the Peninsula? Granted, they are usually placed in the "back of the house," but not for lack of a work ethic. They are the hardest working group of people I have ever known, doing the jobs that most folks like yourself would only scoff at. I know many people who were hurt by your statement, including Indian Summer employees. Since I have no power to stop your so-called reviews, I will do the next best thing. When I get to work and see that Weekly display in the lobby, I will pick them all up and file them where your review should be... IN THE TRASH!!!
--ROSEMARIE RUSSO, MONTEREY
That Was MeTwo weeks ago, the Weekly featured a beautiful write-up on Indian Summer, the restaurant where I work. The writer, Mr. Ray Napolitano, along with his friends, seemed to enjoy the meal at the restaurant along with the ambiance. The only thing that, according to the write-up, bothered them was that their waiter was "Mexican."
Indian Summer does not have a very large waitstaff. There are three waitpersons and three buspersons. Out of these three, one is Indian and two are Hispanic. Since Mr. Napolitano and friends dined in the evening, I must have been their waiter. The other Hispanic waiter works lunch only.
I would like to mention a few things here:
A) First, I am not "Mexican." Anyone who speaks Spanish cannot be loosely called "Mexican." My native country is El Salvador, but I have been in the United States for more than 18 years. B) I have been with Indian Summer from the day it was being planned. I have known the owners for a very long time and am practically a part of their family. C) I know the menu and the items on it as well as any Indian, if not better. D) My roots do not affect the standard of service I provide to guests.
Nowhere does the write-up say that Mr. Napolitano or his friends were displeased with the service, so why would having a Mexican/Japanese/Italian or a waiter of any origin other than Indian bother them and take away from their experience? Mr. Napolitano's remark has made Indian Summer look bad for employing a person who is not from the country whose food and culture they are trying to promote. WHY???
--CECILIO AVILES, MONTEREY
State of the UnionI couldn't resist answering James L. Ford's letter ("Big Surprise," April 12-18). There are two giant issues that effect us "all" on many levels. First, the outrageous housing costs on a Peninsula that depends greatly on the tourist trade and related services. Believe me, this is not limited to our city--all resort communities have this problem with middle-income housing, partly due to past greed and partly due to the "not next door to me" mentality. The wealthy want and require people to pump gas, wait tables, wash dishes, be store clerks and groundskeepers for both their homes and businesses. Do they want these sometimes large families with their old cars, hanging up their laundry in the yard next door?
Then there is the issue of unions. At one time they had a purpose. Now unions just tend to protect the lazy and inefficient from being let go, as long as they pay the dues. This might explain why there "may" be less loss of jobs at union properties. Businesses would be "stuck" with possibly second-rate employees. And if you don't think this happens, check out Vegas. I personally believe if you do your job well and show up for your shifts, and not always be late or calling in sick, you can still find many great jobs at any number of our businesses that aren't union.
Now I don't claim to have the answers, but I believe unions are not the answer. With everyone's genuine concerns surfacing, let's hope we may be able to work out some of these housing problems and hardships, helping us all to make our future better.
--KAREN JOHNSON, MONTEREY
Him Again, AgainPeople keep asking me when I'm going to respond to Stephen Moorer's response to my letter commenting on his attack on local theatre critics and some of the silly things he said about directing and acting.
Well, to answer them, I'm sort of caught between Scylla and Charybdis. If I respond I appear defensive; if I don't respond, I appear quiescent. So, I'll suffice it to say that the scores of people who have, in the month since my letter appeared, stopped me in public, sent me free drinks, called and emailed me; who've congratulated and applauded me; who've posted my letter on their wall or have read it in their staff meetings--these people, most of whom know Mr. Moorer at least as well as I do and know the kind of person he is, know damn well that my criticism of him does not stem from some ridiculous old grudge.
And I'll leave it at that.
--JAMES BRADY, PACIFIC GROVE