Letters for July 19, 2007

Boldly to go
Re “Love letters” (Editor’s note, July 5):

I like signed letters. For many decades, I have profited from many intelligently articulate and informative letters. There are also many ignorant and irrelevant ones. I like to know who writes them and where they live. If a person has great ideas, he or she should get credit, and if stupid, take the blame.

Our nation and world are in dismal condition, due largely to the neo-fascist Cheney-Bush 2000 coup d’etat, causing the most serious regression ever of our not-quite-great democratic republic. If our nation belonged to the community of civilized nations, we would not be in this bad a mess. Bush and his cohorts would be languishing in various prisons forever, having been convicted of many treasonous domestic crimes and multiple international war crimes against humanity. As I am opposed to capital punishment, I cannot suggest it.

If CIA, etc., does not like statements like this, I could get lodging in one of the 800 or so prison camps that FEMA has allegedly built.

Walden Joura

Hidden truths
Re “Love letters” (Editor’s note, July 5):

I have no problem at all with unsigned letters, since they are probably closer to the whole truth. However, it would be nice to know something about the author, like signing it “Forty Year Old Virgin in Virginia City” or “Teen Pothead in Sparks.”

Richard in Carson City

Feed the trees
Re “Stop showering, and pee outside” (Notes from Neon Babylon, July 5):

Years ago, my brother solved the problem of peeing outside in a neighborhood where there is limited privacy. He invented a device he called “Mister Thirsty.” It consisted of a funnel and a length of hose. As you probably already have figured out, the funnel could be set up nearly anywhere in the house or garage and the hose run outside into the yard. This set-up solves the privacy problem and is nice in the winter when one might be reluctant to brave a snowstorm to relieve himself.

I would never recommend this myself, but one fellow I knew actually ran the hose under the fence into the neighbor’s yard.

I commend Mr. Bruce Van Dyke in his efforts to get us all to save water. If we are going to continue the rampant growth that we all love in the Reno area, we will need to save every drop of water we can for our new neighbors.

John Hunter

Chain or local?
Re “Grinding competition” (News, July 12):

What are the components of the coffee biz—corporate or local? Ownership: Starbucks Inc. with their execs and stockholders or a local couple of friends who formed a partnership. Employees: Company people working for a huge NASDAQ stock-exchange traded corporation or one of a dozen or less employees checking the schedule weekly to see when they’re suppose to show up. And then there’s the Consumer Satisfaction component.

Obviously, Starbucks corporate has the edge in ownership. They’re winning. They have developed a formula for opening new locations that might take eight minutes to figure out how the build-out will come together.

A local ownership may be winners as well. They may be winning through not working in corporate America. They’re calling their shots and working out work schedules among themselves while dividing up their responsibilities to make workloads enjoyable.

In the “employee” category, who’s winning? A Starbucks employee is getting something more than minimum wage, and in time, some benefits; a more than stable business and maybe a chance to “move up.”

And that employee working for the local shop, what are they getting? For sure, a chance to demonstrate their disgust for large corporate America. Those who want to open their own shop one day may already be finding out that they won’t be able to offer their employees good benefits. There just isn’t enough profit in the locally run coffee shop to really take care of everyone. So the local shop employee enjoys a non-corporate atmosphere, something near minimum wage, their share of tips and that independent attitude that fits so well in Nevada.

As consumers, the third component, we must all be winning. We go where we feel good about what we’re trying to achieve. If we’re at Starbucks, and there’s a ton of us showing up there daily, we must be seeking what they have to offer. Friendly, well-trained employees efficiently dealing with all those people in line seemingly very willing to wait patiently for their coffee choice of the day. If we’re at one of our favorite local stores, we’re not looking for that corporate rubber-stamp formula today.

It isn’t arguable—America loves Starbucks in a huge way. It also isn’t arguable that a smaller piece of America still loves the independent. Part of the independent clientele is there purely to make a statement—not to have the most coffee choices, but to say “I support Mr. and Mrs. Local Owner and their dream"—and then we take our coffee and get in the car and head off to our favorite strip mall filled with Targets, and Wendy’s, and Home Depots and Gaps.

Steve Garman

Re “Reggaeton in Reno” (Arts & Culture, March 22)

Carlos Martinez, a.k.a. DJ Alakran, is not a DJ at Coco Boom, as a caption read in the story. This has been corrected on the Web site.