Letters for September 21, 2006

Business as always
Re “Suck it up, Sparks, you might like Lazy 8” (View from the Fray, Sept. 7):

The public should not be surprised at Harvey Whittemore’s threat of a lawsuit and Sparks city attorney’s recommendation that the placement of Lazy 8 Casino Resort on Pyramid Highway should be allowed by Sparks City Council. So all right, the recommendation and its acceptance under duress should be in open meeting.

This is not a new tactic. In 1994, it was decided that the city of Reno did not own the space above and below the streets for which it had been collecting lease-money from casinos for nearly 20 years. The ensuing lawsuit has cost and is still costing Reno untold tax dollars, which were collected to pay for basic street maintenance and police and fire service.

Instead, the tax money is spent to relocate St. Vincent’s Dining Room, Reno Sparks Gospel Mission, the men’s drop-in center and plaintiff-prescribed downtown street improvements, which include moving the municipal bus depot two blocks east.

That is the reason Reno keeps trying to find other sources to replenish the money needed to supply those basics. Notice the current requested ballot initiative, which would supply one-quarter cent tax increase (of which Reno and Washoe County would each get 40 percent and Sparks would get short-shrift of 20 percent).

Maybe the public—especially Reno’s newer resident-taxpayers—is surprised because the Reno lawsuit and its resultant penalty wear a public relations mask.

Beth Miramon

It’s not the feds
Re “Commander abandons soldier” (Editorial, Sept. 7):

The editorial should have been run past a fact checker.

The Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery is not run by the Veterans Administration. It is not a national cemetery. It is a state cemetery run by the state of Nevada. Therefore the VA has nothing to do with the clergy at a burial at that cemetery, and neither approves nor disapproves them.

In regards to the claim that the VA does not “recognize” the Wicca faith, that is an incorrect observation. While the VA has not yet selected a symbol to put on headstones for the Wicca faith, they certainly recognize its existence. Even though a pentacle (pentagram within a circle) is often worn so one Wiccan can recognize another, it is hardly a uniform symbol of the faith. A search for “Wicca Church” turns up a number of Web sites, and when you look, you find many different symbols representing the churches. A search for “Wicca Symbols” turns up over 30 different symbols. The pentacle is only one of many. What would really help this soldier, his family and his faith is if the various Wicca churches would use the same symbol. Until there is some consensus within the religion, I do not see the VA adding a symbol that may very well be rejected down the road.

Lastly, by publishing editorials without saying who wrote them, you encourage your writers to take the lazy way out. If they have to take responsibility for what they say, perhaps they would be less emotional and strive for some accuracy.

David P. Johnston

Fear is the mind-killer
Another election on the horizon and President Fearmonger trots out his well-worn rhetoric. Well, the Grand Old Party can keep chewing their cud, but this time Americans are willing to question it. Try as Bush and his puppeteers have with their nefariousness, we aren’t as scared of the boogie man as they would want, and that bodes ill for their upcoming election plans. The majority of Americans know the most frightening terrorists are the secret prison creators, torture condoners, self-righteous spies, crime committers, civil rights tricksters, and oil-hungry chiefs running this country. You know, the ones bombing Iraq right now. Yeah, they’re the ones that freak me right out. When this place sinks into its own cesspool, we’ll have to bear the cross of our crimes against the earth and humanity. We’ve blistered our time-honored image as warriors for peace and freedom.

Come on, what are we really afraid of? Fear is the real boogie man—it keeps us from being bold and courageous enough to make a difference. Fear is the oppressor that dampens our strengths and leads us into believing oppressive lies and acting foolishly. Maybe we’ve charred our revered image as a leader in peace, liberty and reason, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get it back. This election, we have an opportunity to reclaim people power and renew hope.

Frances Arnold

Re “Follow the flatbread” (Foodfinds, Sept. 14):

In our food review, we made frequent references to “flatbread.” We should have written “frybread” instead.

Re “Not so super” (Film, Sept. 14):

Due to a miscommunication, the review of Hollywoodland received a rating of “poor.” The author intended the review to have a rating of “good.”

Re “Vote? What vote?” (News, Sept. 14):

In this story, we incorrectly identified a Reno Gazette-Journal reporter. We called the reporter “Randy Radazzo,” but his correct name is Ryan Randazzo. We apologize for any confusion our mistakes have caused. Now you can go read the Editor’s Note and find out how great we are when we aren’t screwing up.