First of all, I think it's great that CityBeat now has an amusing editor with a teen-age daughter. As a parent, your tone and perspective seem less assured, less doctrinal and more humanly relatable. Second, the idea of a conversation on race relations with any stranger sounds like a terrible idea for way more than the commercial reasons you mention ["Coffee talk on race relations," April 1]. Besides which, as a white person, I have never had a black barista at any Starbucks anywhere. Maybe Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz should start talking to his own personnel office. Finally, there also was a hilarious op-ed expansion on this well-meant clinker of an idea in the Los Angeles Times: "And now a word from our PR team on racism" by John Kenney.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman, La Jolla
ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE
Thank you for this great editorial ["Coffee talk on race relations," April 1]. I have been participating in a racial focus group for the past year and a half in my community. As a result, about a year ago I was compelled to go into the Starbucks on Fairmount Avenue in City Heights to get some coffee. While there, I noticed that most of the customers, with the exception of myself, were people of color. I noticed a white woman who appeared to be the manager at a table, going over some paperwork. I asked her if she had a moment and asked her if Starbucks had a diversity policy when hiring baristas. She said they did, and I then asked her to look around the store at her customers and then view the all white baristas behind the counter. I told her that while they may have a policy, it did not look like they were implementing it. I can see if it is a Starbucks in a mostly white neighborhood that they might have white baristas, but in City Heights, come on now. After reading your editorial, I decided to drive by the City Heights Starbucks and sure enough, only one Hispanic and the rest were white baristas, while customers in the store were very diverse. Talk is cheap and nobody seems to really get this.
Dorothy Kwiat, Talmadge
NEW EDITOR ALERT
I picked up a CityBeat and was pleasantly surprised to see Ron Donoho in the editor's chair. How lucky they are to have him at the helm. I have followed the journey of the paper since its inception, and was always disappointed that it never positioned itself to be a respected rival of The Reader. The audience was there, but I felt the editorial content never delivered the goods to be taken seriously. It smacked of the old "underground" newspaper rhetoric that left town years ago. The editorial on Starbucks [April 1] is very "Donoho," coherent and witty, and was a delight to read in CityBeat. I hope this sets the tenor for the other writers on staff.
Jack Lane, Encinitas
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