Letters for November 25, 2004

Don’t drink and drive
Re “A life cut short,” (RN&R, Cover story, Nov. 11):

I just read Michael Sion’s poignant cover story about Vanessa Marie Fernandez and Shawn Patrick Scott, and I felt compelled to throw my two cents in.

I’m writing to you, the editor and readers, as a 23-year-old near-6-month sober alcoholic who almost became and caused another statistic earlier this year. I work in a restaurant/bar, which when you’re a problem drinker is the perfect environment for an after-shifter or five.

It was Cinco de Mayo, and after many shots, beers and cocktails, I snuck out an alternate exit, stumbled to my car and started the trip home. I had driven it intoxicated many times before.

This time it turned out differently. Two miles from my work, I passed out behind the wheel, crossed the median, struck another car head-on, continued to drive another 500 feet, went through a fence and lodged my car in a tree. It wasn’t until a witness ran up to my car to check on me that I even woke up.

Both cars were totaled. I walked away with a sore ankle and a 2-inch scar on my arm. The girl I hit had her pelvis broken, serious bruising from the seat belt and serious chemical burns from the air bag.

I know I’m lucky beyond belief, and I thank God every day that the circumstances were not worse. I never would have forgiven myself if I had seriously hurt or killed someone.

Much litigation and many fines later, I’m alcohol-free. I have a great circle of friends and family that supported my decision to go sober. I still have fun when I’m out, but I find that I have more fun without drinking.

I’m telling my story because I was once like most people who drive drunk who read that story and probably said to themselves, “That could never happen to me.” Well, it did happen to me. I learned a good lesson the hard way. I could have ended the life of a girl I had never met, and I could have ended my own life as well. Would that Shawn Patrick Scott were here to say the same thing.

If you’re getting behind the wheel, one drink is too many. It can happen to you.

name withheld

About that mandate
Re “Bush received a mandate,” (RN&R, Right hook, Nov. 11):

Mike Lafferty’s last column was missing the love, the “compassionate conservatism” that I expect from Republicans, especially given the results of the recent election.

Rather than hope to “steamroll the conservative agenda,” I figure Mike and his ilk better make nice and pick up some friends because Republicans lost seats in the Nevada State Assembly and still lack a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.

Bennett Kottler

Talkin’ trash
Let’s talk garbage. Every couple of months I use a 1951 GMC pickup to take trash to the transfer station (dump) on Sage Street in Reno. About a year and half ago, a full load cost me $3 to $5 dollars to dump. Six to eight months ago, they charged me $10 to $11 dollars for the same size load.

I figured with fuel costs and such, a little raise in cost was justified.

But a month ago, I had a smaller load of mostly leaves, and they charged me $21. When asked why, the person in charge said it was due to the Reno City Council OK-ing a cost-of-living raise. He also gave me a copy of a letter showing this to be true. I don’t like when other people dump their garbage behind hills and such, and I would never do so myself, but now I can somewhat understand if it starts to happen more frequently. What’s next, $50 a load?

Gene Newhall

Get off the road, Van Dyke
Re “Drive fast, too,” (RN&R, Notes from neon Babylon, Nov. 11):

I really hate drivers like you! As a transport worker, driving around Reno/Sparks 8-10 hours a day, I see the worst drivers on a daily basis. Why is it when people, mostly males, get into their car, they get maniacal and think they’re all powerful with all that horsepower under their dumb asses?

You show one of the worst traits by doing what you say in your column. The other drivers are not “lamebrains,” “sub-moronic” or “lemmings.” They show driving courtesy and know they are going to merge and begin to do so when it is safe to merge.

They don’t leave their manners and act like an asshole and push their way in the merge lane at the last minute.

I hate letting drivers in that lane, and I wish I could plow right into them. Get in line and merge slowly like everyone else! We also like to get home sooner.

I really, really hope drivers like you crash and burn! Shame on you for driving like you own the road.

Gerry Pong
via e-mail