Letters for January 19, 2012

Brotherly love

Re “Bond of brothers” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, Jan. 12): I was hesitant about reading Ken Smith’s story. There are so many ways a piece like that can go sideways and become self-indulgent or maudlin, weaknesses the writer skillfully avoided while telling a moving and important story.

If I were still teaching writing to college students, I would use Mr. Smith’s piece in classes. It has lots to teach about the choices writers make in order to share deep feelings without sentimentality. The writer’s love for his brother, and his skill with language, were apparent in every line.

Jaime O’Neill

Thanks so much for this wonderful story and your willingness to tell it. It shows those who’ve never experienced mental illness in their families that it happens to real people. It reminds those of us who have had family members with schizophrenia that many have walked this road. I like to believe that the experience makes us kinder people. Thanks again.

Patricia Seaton

I have a brother with the same illness. He was diagnosed soon after serving in the Army. He was 23. Now he is 58 but looks so much older.

He too had to find the correct meds and doctors, as in your brother’s case. He was married for 20 years, and it took a toll on that. He’s lived with my parents for the last 15 or more years. My parents are in their 80s now and still in pretty good health. In my heart my brother keeps my parents strong. He gives them the need to protect and help their child no matter what ….

Amanda Wood

Letter was private

I am the author of the letter “Where’s the money going?” published in the Jan. 12 issue of the CN&R. I want to clarify that it was inadvertently published despite my stating that it was not meant for publication. My intention was purely to gather further information from the CN&R about its Jan. 5 Greenways story, “Grow, buy, eat local,” by Claire Hutkins Seda.

If my previous letter made anyone uneasy or upset, I offer my sincere apology because it was never meant to be printed. I had no malicious or nefarious intent.

Joel Mitchell

Editor’s note: Mr. Mitchell is correct that the CN&R failed to see that his letter was not intended for publication. It has been removed from our website. We apologize for the error.—ed.

Bag ban’s bad impact

Re “Perplexing plastic” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, Jan. 12): Sounds like the concern is that the bags are lightweight and blow in the wind. At the dump, isn’t that the responsibility of the operators to get the trash within the confines? So if you use heavier bags there are more resources, so usually lightweight has lower impact.

But if we use the reusable bags they get dirty, take up space, pushing us to have bigger houses and cars. For instance, in my small car and apartment I have no room for reusable bags. Maybe people who have reusable bags are wasting resources owning larger homes and cars.

I hope people are washing their reusable bags before they bring them to the grocery store. But what is the environmental cost of pumping water out of the ground, heating it with fossil fuels, using detergent, sending it down the sewer, where it then gets dumped into the Sacramento River, harming salmon and contaminating downstream water supplies?

I think this is a feel-good measure for people with extra time to waste and lots of space to fill and hasn’t been thought through objectively.

Michael Jones

Good riddance, Wally

Re “Herger says ‘no more’” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Jan. 12): Thank you, Mr. Herger, for NAFTA, TARP and NDAA in particular, not to mention the rest of the unconstitutional bills you voted for. Wise move on your part—don’t think you could have won anyway.

Doris Duncan

War is the real outrage

I am outraged about the outrage!

This morning we saw the news that exposed four Marines urinating on an enemy corpse. While that is completely inappropriate, we never seem to see the real outrage: the dead body! We do not concern ourselves with the killing of another human being as long as we don’t “harm” them after they are dead.

Do we really think that our enemies are more enraged by the inappropriate act of four Marines than the killing of civilians?

We Marines realize the nature of warfare. Participants in war, and especially combat troops, are pushed to the limits of their sanity. Many are able to cope with the trauma of combat, but a percentage will live with the memories for the rest of their lives.

I don’t excuse those Marines for what they did, but who is really to blame? I say it is the fault of every citizen. We allow our country to participate in warfare with no genuine rationale. We don’t consider for a moment what we are doing to the individuals fighting the war. We allow ourselves to think about how we can “help” the troops only after we have physically or psychologically damaged them, and only relatives and friends think of the fallen.

Why there isn’t overwhelming support not to place troops in harm’s way in the first place is the real outrage. The military will punish the four Marines. After all, we have to protect our good name. Where is the punishment when we anonymously via drone attacks kill civilians? That seems to be OK. Which of these two offenses is most severe, urinating on a dead body or killing civilians?

Let us work to end this war. Please!

Anthony Matulich

Early start not needed

A popular misconception among CUSD parents and teachers is that starting school in early August allows more instructional time before students take STAR tests. This is incorrect. The California Standardized Testing and Reporting Program 2012 Test Administration Setup Manual states on page 2:

“The date on which a school completes 85 percent of its instructional days will determine when the multiple-choice tests will be administered. Schools must complete all regular and makeup testing within a 25-day window comprised of 12 instructional days before and 12 instructional days after the date on which 85 percent of each school’s, program’s, or year-round schedule’s instructional days are completed.”

In plain English, that means that if the school year starts earlier, then STAR testing must be scheduled earlier. If school starts later, STAR testing must be held later. There is no increased instructional time before STAR testing resulting from an earlier start to the school year.

I encourage CUSD to start the school year the Wednesday before Labor Day.

Linda Dunstan

Ron Paul means change

They say Ron Paul is anti-establishment. So am I. I think Washington is “broke” and the system “broken.”

Ron Paul wants no more needless, endless wars. So do I. We have no right, authority or ability to determine the government of other countries or their actions. Especially with the use of war or economic sanctions that merely harm or kill the citizens of the other countries and not the leaders.

Ron Paul wants our freedoms in this country returned. So do I.

Ron Paul wants a sound economic system and currency. He would do this partly by slowly eliminating the Federal Reserve, which creates unlimited amounts of money out of thin air and distorts markets and is now encouraging borrowers and penalizing savers (you don’t get out of debt by spending more).

Ron Paul wants to cut back on government spending to get us back on the path of economic growth. I consider these actions necessary for a prosperous future.

If you are young, old or in-between, you should seriously consider getting behind his election to make your future better.

Ron Paul will be seriously attacked by the establishment and the talking heads on TV. Check out the facts yourself; then decide if his election would mean good, meaningful change!

Norm Dillinger

Democrats pushing business out

Re “Where are the data?” (Letters, by Charles W. Bird, Jan. 12): Charles, I can show you a list of major corporations that have left this state due to over-regulation and high taxes. But in the meantime, why don’t you supply to me and the public your data that says and supports your opinion that business, big or small, just loves this state?

Better yet, let’s start with workman’s comp. They (the insurance industry) decided to raise their rates upon us business owners again this year. I’m a business owner, and it raises my overhead again to the point that makes one’s net yearly profits not worth doing business in this state. How’s $31,000 a year sound, Charles? And never a claim in eight years.

Everyone knows that the insurance industry owns the state Legislature and every member in it through campaign contributions. Guess what, Charles? The Legislature is dominated by Democrats, your boys. They have sold out big- and small-business owners over getting that campaign re-election check for themselves over and over and over and over again. How many times can you say “over,” Charles?

Obviously, you don’t own a business.

Rick Clements

Make voters care

Re “Another severe budget” (Editorial, Jan. 12): Why do budget cuts always have to be taken from the disabled, the children and education in general, for Pete’s sake? Those groups are barely making it now.

I guess it’s because those are the people with the smallest voices. If you want to change the minds of voters, take the cuts from police and fire services, close the courts and the DMV down to three days per week, and see how fast the increased taxes pass! College tuition, public schools and disabled services? Nobody cares—well, at least not the voters.

Toni Carrell