Letters for August 12, 2010

Good riddance

Re “SNCAT deserved to die” (Letters to the editor, Aug. 5):

Never being one for cat fights, I also do not care for pissing contests in the newspaper.

However, Fred Fichman’s letter of Aug. 10 deserves fact for the record.

Mr. Fichman was dismissed for causes he probably would not prefer to have aired publicly. But with the encouragement and support of Steven Wright, then director of communications for the city of Reno, he continuously sued SNCAT for the next six years, despite several levels of courts telling him his suits were groundless, if not frivolous.

These actions caused severe drain of fiscal and administrative resources. If one examines his “40 years” resume, one will find wide gaps and holes. He did preside over SNCAT and a staff that “produced lousy and boring product”—the same staff and product that Washoe County hired.

There is always a gap between fact and fiction.

And for those intrigued with Senator Townsend’s comment (July 8): “I thought the state was going to U-turn it (income to fund public access) to the local jurisdiction. They were going to pay the same fees, give it back to the locals—that doesn’t mean that’s the way it was, that’s just the way I remember it.” I suggest the truly interested review the hearing records starting in 2005 regarding franchise fees—for all utilities.

The true loss to the community in not having public access is that there is now less opportunity for a morass of facts floating around a wide sphere in which the public does deal on a daily basis to be broken down into understandable parts and examined historically. There is less opportunity for community organizations to highlight the contributions/performances of their organizations to our community. There is less opportunity for unique communities to reach and share with one another. There is less opportunity for persons of all ages and education backgrounds to learn the technologies of state-of-the-art communications. Instead we fill screens with that which “has to be entertaining” in the profound words of Fred Fichman.

Shayne Del Cohen
Chair, SNCAT Board of Directors

Be proud

Re “Pride & Prejudice” (Feature story, Aug. 5):

Not a lot of people are as open here as in other cities, mainly because there is still a lot of hate in this area toward gays. I doubt even if gays will ever be accepted in the Reno/Sparks area, due to the heavy Mormon representation. All we can do is keep educating the ones who want to know what we’re all about. Help those who are coming out to accept who they are. And remember, it’s your life. Live it to the fullest and change only if it’s the change you want.

I.C. McNeill

Ideas exchanged

Re “SNCAT deserved to die” (Letters to the editor, Aug. 5):

How sad it is to see Fred Fichman’s vile comments regarding SNCAT’s demise. Of course, with his tenure as executive director of the organization for more than two years, he certainly couldn’t have had anything to do with creating and fostering the downfall of our community access television channel. He failed to mention the lawsuits brought against him for his lack of performance and mismanagement. While SNCAT admittedly experienced problems on many levels, printing Fichman’s one-sided, egotistical comments is of no value to anyone but himself. The board of directors, staff and management of SNCAT deserve better for their unpaid efforts to maintain a public access channel and facility for over 20 years. I know I speak on behalf of our community when I say that we’re all glad Fred Fichman is so wildly successful—in another state.

Larry DeVincenzi

Awfully bad

Re “Burger time” (Foodfinds, July 15):

I think you should do follow-up reviews on dining establishments. Grant Nejedlo claimed the Awful-Awful he’d had at the Wolf Den three weeks ago was “awfully good,” but the burger I had there the other night was just plain awful.

Although the cashier assured me that their Awful-Awful tastes “even better than the one downtown,” the shape and consistency of the beef patty—if that was, in fact, beef—resembled that of an undercooked pancake. Not only was it the worst burger I have ever had in my entire life, but it was also almost raw. The place wasn’t too crowded when I placed my order, so the kitchen staff had more than enough time to make “one Awful-Awful, well-done.” To add insult to the injury, it turned out that the Wolf Den didn’t even serve normal sodas. Instead of your usual Coke or Pepsi, there was horrible tasting generic soda. The staff said they did it in order to save money, though that doesn’t quite explain why a burger and a soda at the Den cost almost a dollar more than the exact same order at the Little Nugget. The $9.10 I wasted on that culinary atrocity could have bought me a delicious meal at one of the local buffets.

To be fair, I ought to note that the Den’s french fries were a lot better than the ones served at the downtown Nugget—they were a lot less salty and not as mushy. Overall, however, the Wolf Den stains the reputation of Reno’s most famous burger. I feel sorry for thousands of new UNR students if their first experience with the Awful-Awful will be similar to mine.

Grigory Lukin

Good news

Re “Pride & Prejudice” (The whole darned issue, Aug. 5):

Thank you for including several positive articles: Bruce Van Dyke’s remembrance of Mike McCurry, Jen Huntley’s praise of Kenny Guinn, Brian Burghart’s visit to the Korean Presbyterian Church, and Sean Mazner’s article on gay pride. So much of the news now is so negative and discouraging that one almost hates to read a paper or watch a news broadcast.

We need to have hope that there are good people doing good things.

Marge Sill
via email

Power play

Re “Can alt energy save Nevada” (Feature story, July 29):

At the start of the 1980s, I was part of the first group of operators at a new geothermal power plant east of Reno. We had a 10-year contract that paid us 6.5 cents a kilowatt. Leave a 100-watt bulb on for 10 hours, pay for a kilowatt. The builders of the plant hurried to get us on line; we had to be making power by a given date to qualify for the tax benefits started by the Carter administration. Remember those nasty gas lines in the ’70s? We made the date, and our builders got their tax savings and promptly sold us. After the 10 years were up, the then Sierra Pacific got the Public Utilities Commission to let SPPCo. buy our power for only around 1.5 cents a kilowatt—way below our breakeven point. So, lay off half the crew, do no preventive maintenance on any equipment, and, at 14 years, sell the plant for a song.

The plants still in business had 30-year contracts. Deregulation will never work until you give the utilities a choice: You can make the power, or wheel it on the tall lines, but not both. And if somebody starts a new plant, you must wheel their power to whoever wants to buy it. You see, Sacramento wanted to buy our power, but guess who owns the lines! The next week you had an article about the PUC of Nevada approving a new transmission line from north to south, with government money from the Recovery Act. Duh, no one says no to government money. Save Nevada? Alternative energy has its hands full trying to save itself.

Brandon Gentry