Letters for December 22, 2011

Our point, exactly

Re “I don’t snow much” (Editor’s note, Dec. 15):

In December 2010, the Old Farmer’s Almanac told me to expect late snow and mild weather this winter. This is based on their record keeping. Fear not, dear liberal, the sky is not falling as much as you would like.

Phil Morel
via email

You’re welcome

Re “Winter Guide” (Editor’s note, Dec. 15):

I find it so ironic that in the Winter Guide issue of RN&R, there are two half-page articles—“Reno, so great it’s depressing” (and) “We must get serious about pedestrian safety,” with focus on our DUI-related, pedestrian-fatality epidemic. On the facing page is a full-page color ad for holiday specials on alcohol. I am not criticizing you but thanking you for so poignantly illustrating the grassroots nature of our society’s problems. Awareness is the first step in transformation.

Shel Davis

Office politics

Re “I don’t snow much” (Editor’s note, Dec. 15):

You’re right. It is not unprecedented for a public official to use his office to promote private business. I recall receiving a postcard in the mail several years ago. The card announced the opening of a new Jiffy Lube in the Northtowne area. Among the reasons to attend this grand opening was a chance to “meet the Mayor.”

Tracy Figler

Editor’s note: Reno City Councilmember Jessica Sferrazza had the ad pulled. In her press release regarding the action, she wrote: “I have been employed part time by a clothier in Reno for the past year. I appeared in a television commercial, which was produced and aired to help boost holiday sales. Unfortunately, despite my specific direction, my City Council title was used to identify me in the ad. I have demanded that the commercial be withdrawn from airing and have been assured it will never reappear. I realize that I am ultimately responsible for protecting the integrity of the public office I serve. That’s why I acted immediately to rectify this unfortunate, and I believe, inadvertent error.”

Food for thought

Re “Dear interim President Johnson” (Guest Comment, Dec. 7):

Thanks for getting my letter out on short notice and taking a stand for the kind of discourse that promotes possibilities that are a departure from mistakes of the past.

The interest in the Ag Station rezoning request resulted in the interim president requesting a continuation of the discussion so the Council decided to hold off on a hearing for 90 days. More than 100 people showed up to voice their opposition to the rezoning and articulate their reasoning. I believe this is the beginning of continued public discourse on the value of local food security, the intrinsic value of open space and responsible analysis of the long term value of agricultural lands to the community at large for generations to come.

Darin Bue

Keep on truckin’

I just heard a story about the food trucks being kicked out of downtown. I think this is a horrible tragedy and should not be allowed to happen. I think competition and choice are key to a robust and lively downtown economy. While we are trying to build up our downtown area, we are making it harder for people to do business. I will be boycotting—and encouraging other to do the same—businesses that support this measure. I encourage others to join in the boycott to send a message that we will not allow one business to bully another out of town. This starts us down a slippery path if we allow this to happen. What is next? Not allowing more than one pizza store per five square miles for fear someone might open another store and hurt your business? I think as consumers we should have the right to choose and the more choices the better. I would like to see this debate discussed more in the public forum and would be greatly interested in others’ reactions to the story.

Daniel Rigdon

Truth or consequences

Re “The plight of the paper pushers” (Feature story, Nov. 24):

Dennis Myers has written an article that should be required reading for the politicians who have abandoned public-sector workers and anyone who heaps scorn on those public-sector workers.

I have worked for more than 20 years in private industry (including the defense and energy industries), over 10 years in government service, and over five years in academia. In my opinion, based on my experiences, organizations in all three of these sectors are very much like families; some are dysfunctional to some degree—sometimes very much so—and some function well, including some government agencies that operate very competently and efficiently. (I can cite the National Geodetic Survey as an example of the latter.) The idea that for-profit businesses always operate more efficiently and cheaply is a canard.

There are many powerful interests that spread misinformation, and with the cuts in reporting budgets, many false stories become “common wisdom.” As Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Jay Goldfarb

Radar love

Re “Radon Radar” (Greenspace, Dec. 8):

Thank you for printing information about radon and our program.

However, I must point out some errors in your brief.

1. The free kits are for the month of January only … before and after January, kits are $5.

2. The only illness that radon gas causes is lung cancer.

3. The only symptom is lung cancer, and lung cancer can be detected after someone contracts the disease … which is then too late.

4. Our program is year-round, but we are hoping to make presentations in December, January and February.

We have several programs scheduled in the Washoe County area, as well as Douglas and Carson City areas and all over the state.

Susan Howe
Nevada Radon Education Program

Aw, mom!

Re “Let’s dance” (Musicbeat, Dec. 8):

Thanks for doing the story on this new and upcoming band, Na Na Nonchalant. They truly get the crowd going quickly and get lots of attention wherever they land. As a devoted fan—and mother of the drummer—I’m so glad to see them getting the public’s eye. They are far from “nonchalant” once on the stage, and no one leaves disappointed after seeing a show!

Debra Burns
Virginia City

Who’s a racist?

Re “Votes and vetoes” (News, Dec. 1):

“A state that is still struggling to overcome its racist past.” Really? So, if you are a legislator who votes against bills that favor extending special status and privileges to felons, poorly performing students, folks who are ignorant of such things as insurance, people who want free food, or even against district-wide instead of city-wide elections, it clearly is just because you are a racist! PLAN managed to find racist issues in every one of the seven bills mentioned in your story. Thus, ethnic minorities are criminal, academically substandard, federally-fed, mortgage-defaulting folks who cannot properly identify themselves before doing something as important as voting. Sheesh! PLAN makes some pretty disgusting presumptions about what a “stereotypical” representative of a racial minority looks like. Is that baseless, formulaic image getting as old for you as it is for me?

Rick D. Williams