Letters to the Editor

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As I read Jason Bourne’s article about the cost of retaining commercial college counselors (“Families Retain “Counselors” to Negotiate Daunting College Application Processes,” July) and the quotes from an unnamed parent who felt that using these costly services exacerbated the divide between the haves and the have nots, I kept waiting to read a paragraph about ScholarMatch. But there was none. 

ScholarMatch was started by Dave Eggers, of 826 Valencia fame, to “make college possible for underserved youth by matching students with donors, resources, colleges, and professional networks. ScholarMatch has expanded rapidly from serving just 39 students in 2010 to working with more than 500 students per year. Though crowdfunded scholarships remain at the core, our college advising, career coaching, and other services are an essential part of each student’s college journey.”

I’ve volunteered for ScholarMatch. The kids who come for college counseling there are bright, shining stars. Perhaps Potrero Hill families with sufficient funds to pay for commercial college counseling services can help level the playing field by spreading the wealth and supporting ScholarMatch as well. 

Jilanne Hoffmann


In the July edition, there’s an article by Jacob Bourne that I believe gives an unbalanced view of the situation at San Francisco State University and our communities at large (“Lawsuit Filed Against San Francisco State for Fostering Anti-Semitism). The author points out that the University has allowed anti-Semitic activities on the campus, mentioning pro-Palestinian supporters interrupting a Jewish speaker at an event, and allegedly not allowing a Jewish student group to participate in a campus civil rights fair.

The article doesn’t speak to the daily racism that Muslim students and their families face in communities across our country. The Trump Presidency has given rise to both anti-Semitic and Islamophobia fervor. Yes, there’s anti-Semitism all around us, but not to mention the plight of the Palestinian people and the injustices suffered at the hand of the Israeli government is presenting only one side of an ever-worsening situation.

The Potrero View was started in the early-1970s; my mother, Ruth Passen, was its editor for the next 40 years. I’ve come to appreciate the ongoing success of the paper since Steven Moss took over the reins many years ago. The paper always tried to be fair and balanced in its reporting of the news and its impact on our communities.  In my estimation, this article fails to meet that standard.

Marc Passen
El Granada, California


Jacob Bourne’s article on a lawsuit accusing San Francisco State University of “fostering anti-Semitism” is deeply flawed.  Bourne quoted numerous proponents of the lawsuit, but doesn’t seem to have spoken to a single person on the other side. He references a Tel Aviv report claiming that U.S. campuses are a “hotbed of anti-Semitism,” but doesn’t mention that many such alleged incidents, rather than representing anti-Jewish bigotry, are actually actions in support of universal human rights.  He fails to report that Israel and its partisans have worked to change the official definition of anti-Semitism to a new, expanded, version that includes criticism of Israel, and that the SFSU lawsuit cites this new, distorted definition.

Bourne omits the fact that the right-wing organization that filed the lawsuit, the Lawfare Project, describes itself as “the legal arm of the pro-Israel community,” and that its director claims, “There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person.” Bourne does not mention the detailed statement by California Scholars for Academic Freedom, a group of more than 200 academics who teach in 20 California institutions, that concludes, “The intent of the lawsuit is clear: to silence researchers and advocates for Palestinian rights and to ensure that they are punished.” Bourne mentions a campus demonstration against an Israeli official, but leaves out the fact that the official was responsible for a massive expulsion of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes.

San Franciscans need full, accurate, coverage of a lawsuit targeting a major San Francisco university, its professors, and its students.  American taxpayers give Israel $10 million per day. It’s essential that we be fully and accurately informed.

Alison Weir
Executive Director, If Americans Knew