Letters for November 29, 2001

Living large on $175/week
Re “Moving Targets” (RN&R News, Nov. 15):

Anyone paying rent, with a roof over his head, is not homeless. I don’t care how small his room is, or whether he pays rent weekly, or even daily. He has a home. Indeed, with his limited needs, anything more than a room with a microwave, TV and phone is wasteful.

It’s rather hard to find a room for $125 per week. Most places charge from $95 to $120 per week. If you provide your own phone services, add $5 per week to your overhead. Every hotel I know of includes cable TV in the rent. For the budget-minded, rooms are readily available in converted houses for $50 per week. The truly frugal have been known to “camp” in storage lockers for as little as $25 per month.

Finally, anyone with a bus pass, as in your example, should be able to find regular work through a temp agency, and thereby clear at least $50 per week more than the $175 used in your example.

I know these things. Working “temp” and renting rooms has been my main way of doing things since I came to this town in 1992.

Another publication, the Capitalist Tool, wrote the same week about shepherds from Peru hired to come to work in California. These folks were paid $900 per month tax-free, with free room and board, two weeks vacation and round-trip airfare. I suggest that we could make a real deal if only we would allow our own citizens the same opportunities. Moreover, such work might be particularly suited to the more reclusive of our “homeless.”

Instead, we choose to make our working poorest pay room taxes. We withhold 20 to 25 percent of their wages and make them pay for health exams and police cards. I submit that the government is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

John Steinke

Love those lofts
Re “Lofty Living” (RN&R, Nov. 15):

Thank you for profiling the most exciting thing going on in Reno’s arts scene, the Riverside Artist Lofts.

I’m an artist and a writer. When I moved to Reno in 1996, I started asking around, “Where do the artists gather?” People would shrug their shoulders and say, in effect, “They don’t.”

I would continue to ask this question whenever I would meet an artist, and they would answer that you have to dig; you have to seek out other artists on your own. Like prospecting for gold.

I was starting to get discouraged, believing that perhaps Reno is not an artist-friendly place. Then I started hearing the news about the artist lofts being built, but I was still skeptical. Then, after they were built and the residents moved in, I started hanging around there and met some new friends … kindred spirits who inspired and encouraged each other and me, too.

When personal circumstances changed, I considered moving out of Reno. The one thing that would keep me here, I thought to myself, was if I could live in the artist lofts. I put in my application—knowing it was a long shot—but synchronicity prevailed, and I will be moving in there next month.

Where do the artists gather in Reno? Downtown, next to the river, in the old Riverside Hotel. No question about it.

Genie Webster
via e-mail

Canning Hansen was unpatriotic
Re “Hansen Crossed Line” (RN&R Letters, Nov. 8):

With regard to Marsha Lee’s letter concerning Ira Hansen’s firing at KKOH, I do not doubt the patriotism of the Atlantis Casino-Resort owner. But putting a muzzle on the last local, courageous talk show host is nothing to be proud of.

In fact, it is downright un-American.

Dave Holderman

Get green, RN&R!
Every media house capable should have a wind/solar array along about now. Then report to the world in detail about your operation and the economics of your choices. Can a leader in any community be thorough without dealing with the alternative energy equipment and recommending to your readers the saving use of free fuel like solar and wind energy?

Set an example. Will some other newspaper do it before you?

R.D. Johnson