You cannot begin to imagine the damage your article Gays Can't Dance erroneously naming Rancho Relaxo has caused (NOW, May 27-June 2). I thought maybe with a bit of NOW's help we could correct this thing, get the word out, do some damage control. Everybody at NOW was very apologetic, and somebody said we'd get it off the Internet right away. OK, good start.
Thursday night, sales are down a bit, but not bad. A couple of nasty calls and my first e-mail. OK, maybe this will blow over. Friday night my restaurant is empty!
Do you know that almost half my clientele are gay? The other half are people like me and you who detest homophobic people and would never support a place such as the one that was mentioned in the article.
Saturday, one of our promoters wants to pull all his shows until we convince him that NOW just made a little mistake about the name. Saturday night some of our supporters rally to try to support us, but still not much of a night.
Sunday, I'm driving to work. I stop at a red light. Two women spot my Rancho Relaxo van and start calling me a "pig" and other nice names. I try to tell them NOW made a mistake. It didn't work.
I arrive at work. More e-mail and phone calls. Sunday night I'm home by 9. I have no business. My staff are angry and scared. Me, I'm hurting.
I've worked hard the last six years. I was just starting to be comfortable.
A good portion of my business is catering. The NDP is one of my good clients, but mostly we do catering for film and TV. Our best show this year, the one that loved us the most, was Queer As Folk. I can hardly wait for the fallout from that end of my business.
Everyone tells me I need to sue NOW. Me, I'm thinking no. These are good people. They do a lot of good for Toronto, champions of all causes. As a matter of fact, when NOW reviewed Rancho in those early years, it was the first boost that helped us on our way. I'm thinking NOW will do the right thing and try to fix things up.
Dressed to look like servants
RE Dressed To Clean (NOW, May 27- June 2). The Park Hyatt wants its housekeeping staff to wear dresses and pantyhose to present a "luxurious image?" Let's not beat around the bush here: what the hotel wants is for its maids to look like maids. The perceived "luxury" is for its guests, who allegedly expect a clear line to be drawn between those being served and those doing the serving. If guests absolutely must be forced to look at these women - for they are virtually always women - they should at least look like servants. God forbid one might mistake a chambermaid for a member of the front desk caste.
The Hyatt's Stephanie Carpenter justifies the requirement as a "hotel tradition."
Rather than being forced by a union to ensure that their staff are comfortable and treated with dignity, the Hyatt should be looking at uniform alternatives and seeking staff feedback, simply as a courtesy to those who have to do the worst jobs and for the least pay. It is a luxury hotel, after all.
Wappel needs whacking
In your very welcome piece about Toronto Liberals who deserve to be dumped (NOW, May 27-June 2), you rightly include my MP, Tom Wappel. It's long past time this disgraceful politician was shown the door. Not only did he punish a war veteran for not supporting him in previous elections by withholding advocacy he is paid to provide as an elected MP, but Wappel has also campaigned against the rights of lesbians and gay men. When he first ran for Parliament, I was privileged to receive one of his anti-abortion pamphlets at my front door.
You characterize NDP candidate Dan Harris as a "political neophyte." If by this description you mean someone untainted by corruption and scandal, one who offers new and fresh ideas that advance social justice for all, then perhaps the description fits.
This Liberal is too lazy
Thanks to NOW for the article on Liberals who could do us a favour by giving up their seats to worthy NDP candidates. My MP in Parkdale, Sarmite Bulte, rarely shows her face in my part of the riding and is generally loath to respond to questions.
After a few months trying to get her to tell me how she felt about expansion of the Island Airport, I didn't get a response.
This is no real surprise, I guess. Other than businessmen, the only people I can imagine using the Island Airport are downtown Liberals too lazy to make the trip up to Pearson like the rest of us.
My Doras dilemma
As a member of the Dora jury this year, here is my response to your article Doubting Doras (NOW, May 27-June 2). It's my way of helping myself process the interesting phenomenon called the "jury process." I never thought I would say this, but I now understand critics better after seeing 80 shows this last year. I can't say I came out free of cynicism, but it's funny how you can get 10 people to vote on something and then, when the announcements are made, you think, "What were the other nine people thinking?"
Although you hope you're listening to the angel on your right shoulder, you question the other voices in your head. Or at least I did. Or did I? AHHHHH! We are only human after all. Well, at least I didn't vote for myself.
Gosh, I am getting tired of being "the only good Indian." But I guess I should be thankful that I'm there at all, because 10 years ago I wouldn't have been. Nor would there have been anyone of colour, or any representation of diversity on that jury. I suppose I should be thankful.
Harp! Who goes there?
Stephen Harper wants Canada to be a lower tax jurisdiction than the U.S.? And many applaud this? Are we not aware of the unsustainable half-trillion-dollar American deficit spawned by George W. Bush's massive tax cuts? Has the $6 billion Ontario deficit fuelled by Mike Harris tax cuts disappeared from our radar screens?
Turn shelter into housing
RE Selling Salvation (NOW, May 20- 26). Bunton Lodge at 422-432 Sherbourne houses 35 individuals who had previously been serving sentences in major federal prisons. W. P. Archibald Lodge (Maxwell Meighen Centre), located at 135 Sherbourne, houses 12 offenders. The Salvation Army's contract with Correctional Services Canada for W. P. Archibald is for 12 individuals. They plan to increase their contract by six, for a total of 18. Instead of leaving these 18 individuals at 135 Sherbourne, the Salvation Army wants to relocate W. P. Archibald to the St. Leonard Hotel at 418 Sherbourne, thus concentrating a total of 53 offenders in close vicinity (35 at Bunton Lodge plus the proposed 18 at the St. Leonard Hotel).
I am appalled that Councillor Kyle Rae and his allies find it normal to place any criminals next to the children who will attend Lady of Lourdes public school. If anything, these buildings should be turned into affordable housing. Aren't there 70,000 people on a waiting list for reasonable accommodation in Toronto?
Hooks in a BMW and fur
While I am the first to acknowledge the thought-provoking insight that bell hooks has initiated in her career, she has become irrelevant due to her absorption into the mainstream she once criticized (NOW, May 13-19). This becomes evident in her "fashion crisis" that you report. I myself witnessed the once sassy hooks become the object of ridicule in Boston when she arrived at a lecture in a huge BMW wearing a full-length fur coat. To many who attended her lecture that day, she seemed to have lost touch with the "common" folk, and many of her ideas are just rehashed lectures from years ago.
Maybe she shows the inevitability of what happens to critical thinkers when they achieve success. Yuck!
Bullets over Baghdad
So we're proud Canada didn't support the war in Iraq, eh? Well, turns out that bringing all that freedom and democracy to folks in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has virtually exhausted the bullet supply of the U.S. army. According to some headlines, 300 million to 500 million more bullets per year will be necessary because the U.S. is "using so much ammunition in Iraq." The solution proposed by General Dynamics, the U.S. defence contractor, would see "Winchester, Israel Military Industries and Canada's SNC Technologies meet the army's gap" (Financial Times, May 26, U.S. Asks Private Sector To Ease Bullet Shortage, by Christopher Bowe).
Once more, Satan's little helper Canada to the rescue. We don't support the war, but we'll sell you the bullets. And finally, this from SNC's Web site (www.snc-lavalin.com): "It is the policy of SNC Lavalin Group Inc. to maintain the highest standard of ethics in the conduct of its business." Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!
A pox on all of you
RE Change Your Enemy Views (NOW , May 13-19). To the letter-writing warlock who didn't even have the guts to sign his own name: considering the clash between the Muslim diaspora and the cult of the free-market global corporate military-industrial complex, I state (that) both philosophies are seriously flawed, warped and mutated.
Whether they're blowing beggars to oblivion from 30,000 feet or reducing discotheques, vegetable markets, school buses and daycare centres to charnel houses, it will be a cold day in hell before I "change my view" of all such activities as anything but those of "the enemy." A pox on both your citadels. Oh, and peace, man....
Your Eco-holic column is long overdue in a paper such as yours, and it has contained some sustainable advice, but your recent feature on the eco-friendly closet (NOW, May 27-June 2) failed to mention the most important step - to stop shopping.
Due to an unfortunate editing error, an article last week reporting on a College Street club that prohibited two gay men from dancing should have been identified as El Rancho instead of Rancho Relaxo. NOW apologizes to the proprietor of Rancho Relaxo and deeply regrets the mistake.