Letters for August 19, 2010

We built this city

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

I read with interest and concern the article, “Pride and Prejudice,” in the Aug. 12 Reno News & Review. If I were straight, I would say it was the gay community flaunting itself again. Yes, the article may be from the perspective of a 21-year-old gay male, but he didn’t look under the right rocks and bushes when doing the story. Reno has a very alive, active gay community—what it does not have is a “gayborhood” like so many cities.

There is no single gathering place or location that is straight or predominately gay in Reno. The gay bars, many of which are no longer strictly gay, are scattered in all parts of town. We have no community center, another traditional gathering place. So the Northern Nevada GLBTIQA have to seek out each other.

In this technological day and age, there is YourGayReno.com, StandupShowup.com (for lesbians), Sierravoice.com and TheRenoGayPage.com, which all are huge sources of information about the community.

Your reporter pointed out he attended the University of Nevada, Reno. Is he active in the Queer Student Union, one of the most respected groups on the campus? The QSU tells me they have no idea who this person is. If he truly feels the way he wrote, then there is an issue that he did not look hard enough [for community]. When I attended Nevada, the six of us gay guys who met were not allowed to be a group at the university. The QSU offers GLBTIQA a place to meet others and discuss issues and have social activities, creating a community there.

As for the community at large, Spectrum Northern Nevada is a social organization that provides activities outside of the bars, and it’s been around for 12 years. It is composed of special interest groups dealing with anything from the outdoors to reading and many things in between. There is the Silver Dollar Court, which has been around 35 years raising money for charity. There are 17 local groups and organizations offering a wide variety of interests. To say there is not a community is just wrong.

In recent years, the community has even become active in politics. Community members were in Carson City last year fighting for passage of SB283 with counterparts from Las Vegas. There is an active chapter of Stonewall Democrats lobbying for GLBTIQA issues. Your reporter said there are no openly gay candidates. There is an openly gay candidate for Washoe County recorder, Paul Cain. The RN&R has done stories about him and his partner of 21 years.

There are many in the community who fear cameras and are still behind that so-called “closet door.” I am proud of my community and who we are. I look forward to the day when those 18-30 are in positions of leadership and power as the whole world will be different. That group has no-fear, but they also don’t know how those of us more mature folks have fought long and hard to get where we are today. The young generation is proud to be gay wherever, and their peers are very accepting.

Pride is a celebration of our culture. It is not political. Political activities happen at Pride because it just happens to be where a predominately gay presence is. In Reno, that is only 2,500 to 4,000 at Reno Gay Pride. The community here is estimated to be near 25,000. It is not small, and many do not go to the bars or participate in anything “gay” that might out them. Nevada is looked on as redneck. It is not. It is the land of you can be who you are. It is tolerant. You just don’t throw it in people’s faces, no matter who or what you are.

Your reporter’s perception of the gay community is just wrong. There aren’t just the bars; he didn’t look hard enough or in the right places.

Paco Poli
Editor, The Reno Gay Page

Dead quiet

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

I was dismayed at reading Fred Fichman’s Letter “SNCAT Deserved to Die.” First, the tone of the letter is disturbing. A community access executive director is someone who can relate to people as individuals, as groups, and as a community. For someone who leads such a vital organization to cut down the efforts of producers, volunteers, and community members is very disturbing.

I was a producer at SNCAT for almost six years, hosting a public affair show about various current events and community issues. Most of the people I worked with were wonderful, dedicated people volunteering their time to produce, serve on a crew, and come as a guest. I do not understand Mr. Fichman’s efforts to put us down. SNCAT had its problems, as does every nonprofit; my disappointment is that the community has lost the important voice of independent producers.

Community access television plays an important part in a democracy. It allows those voices to be heard which the corporate media usually succeed in keeping silent. It allows opinions, people, and organizations to have a face and voice in our community, becoming part of conversations aimed at making the Reno/Sparks area a better place to live.

I am saddened that community leaders did not come forward to try to save the station, or are not coming forward to begin efforts at reviving community TV in the area. We have lost a resource that has taken away a voice for the otherwise voiceless. Sam Dehne’s letter, “Community silenced” is absolutely on target: The community has been silenced.

Lisa Stiller

No jobs for criminals

What is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run. The 1986 Immigration Reform Act (RICA) called for sanctions against employers for hiring those not legally entitled to hold employment in the United States. For a variety of reasons: economic, political, social, self-interest, etc., this provision was not effectively enforced. During better economic times, most of us did not care if it was enforced as long as there was an abundance of jobs available at reasonable wages. Now, there is a newfound desire for enforcement and even more draconian measures that are tearing at our social fabric.

It was in the self-interest of many groups to ignore enforcement in the short run, which in the long run has proven toxic for any reform. Had there been a good faith enforcement of this provision and others, the support for reform would be much greater today and probably would have passed already. This is a lesson that we must continually re-learn in our politics and the one that will probably determine our survival as a species.

Dan Porath

You’ll miss me

Re “Gone but not forgotten” (East of Eden, Aug. 5):

I read Jen Huntley’s article, and I have to take issue with her concept of new taxes. 1) It stinks to high heaven. 2) Nevada’s school districts have been playing games with the graduation rate for years, and it sucks. 3) Huntley put the needs of the state ahead of the people. The people will leave. I can and will, too. 4) Education must go through a reinvention period. When the federal funds run out—and they will—the state will have a massive layoff instead of a moderate one. 5) 69.9 percent of all mortgages are under water in the state, and Huntley wants to raise taxes and create a die off worse than any before? 6) Does she know that Nevada has the worst unemployment in the nation at 14.85 percent? She wants to raise taxes, and employers that are not gaming related will flee the state. In general, I believe she is living in a reality distortion field!

Paul Lucero