Letters 02-02-2011

Sactown = coffee town

Re “Cool beans” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, January 19):

Great article about Sactown being a coffee town. My one exception is the assertion (in my opinion incorrect) that the original Sacto indie coffeeshop was Naked Lounge, originally from Chico. Loooong before Na-Lo showed its adorable face (and couches) to the Sacto scene, we had the original Weatherstone, a Coffeeworks, and at one time a small coffee empire known as Java City. These were the Sactown coffee originals; ma-and-pa coffee spots, brewing well before the latte revolution of the ’90s. While the Weatherstone evolved into a Java City spot, and is now an Old Soul location, it’s good to see that Sacramento’s coffee culture is thriving, brewing up indie coffee houses that just seem to be getting better and better.

Bella Q.

Nick Miller replies: To clarify, Naked Lounge was the original so-called “third wave” coffeehouse in the central city, treating coffee like an artisanal food (think wine) instead of just something you drink to stay warm and awake.

Crazy talking points

Re “Crazy Chamber” by Auntie Ruth (SN&R An Inconvenient Ruth, January 26):

The Inconvenient Ruth article regarding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s disregard of climate change does not surprise this professor of chemistry in view of the organization’s explicitly stated mission. Two points are worthy of note as a counter. The claim of 120 years of reserves of oil, 200 years of natural gas and 450 years of coal within the United States is only acceptable if there is no one living in here after the elapse of 120 years in the case of oil and 200 years for natural gas and 450 years for coal. It implies no more procreation in the United States and no more immigration to the United States. What happens to the rest of the humanity on this planet is of no concern?

The second point is that Chamber president [Thomas J.] Donohue needs to be advised that due to continued pollution of our planet by human activity (mindless use of fossil fuel) we have in our lifetime decimated the pristine coral reefs of Australia, Florida and Hawaii along with other damage to the oceanic water. The non-capture of greenhouse gases also makes rivers, lakes and streams more acidic, thus killing off marine life that directly impacts humans in the United States.

Brahama D. Sharma
via email

Keep arena in Sac County

Re “Hop the river for arena” (SN&R Letters, January 19):

Dear Bill Reany, in regards to your suggestion to place the arena across the Sacramento River: That’s Yolo County.

I’m not sure that Yolo County either wants it or can pay for it and pretty sure that Sacramento County doesn’t want to lose the arena income. Retrofit the existing arena, which has land and infrastructure already in place.

M. Lahann

Oh, ho, ho, it’s magic …

Re “Magic number: zero” (SN&R Letters, January 19):

I’m not positive what song was on the radio at the time, but the innocent driver who was exiting [Interstate 5] and hit head-on by a stoned driver entering the wrong way would beg to differ with the writer’s statistical analysis of deaths due to marijuana “usage.”

According to the [California Highway Patrol] report, blood-alcohol tests taken after this “accident” failed to detect any alcohol in the stoner’s blood. The report also documents the stoner admitted to smoking marijuana moments before he drove his vehicle. …

You might say “Apples and oranges, man. Smoking didn’t kill the innocent driver; smoking and driving did, man.” Au contraire, DUI breath. It’s still driving under the influence.

By the way, I’m for the legalization of marijuana. However, I think blanket (irresponsible) statements like “zero deaths in over 5,000 years of documented usage” are not only false, but also set the (legalization) movement back even further.

Richard Copp

Arena plan’s pied pipers

Re “Park and play” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, January 12):

If the city council does not submit the parking-privatization plan to the voters, its members should be expected to be removed from office, maybe by recall. Such a plan will drive business out of downtown as the parking fees rise.

We need to emphasize that NBA basketball is not really a business, but a paying hobby. A paying hobby is an activity in which the motive is fun instead of profit. Many people engage in paying hobbies such as dog breeding, horse racing, etc. There is nothing wrong with doing that, as long as one can afford it. Sometimes these paying hobbies become money makers, but usually income is poured back into the enterprise.

NBA basketball teams are paying hobbies with almost half of the teams in the red, especially if the teams are in the smaller markets. The only way these teams can continue is to be subsidized by the owner from the owner’s other resources and/or subsidized by the municipal government.

Even if we give the Kings the parking lots’ income, we are likely to see the costs go up as the owners pursue the dream of winning a championship. We then will be asked for more money. These various proposals are the pied pipers of our time; proposals for a paying hobby and not good business.

Charles R. Donaldson

Not an arena—a ‘sports palace’

Re “Park and play” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, January 12):

Owning NBA teams is a rich person’s hobby. Most often multi-billionaires spend a bundle on these teams—buy good players and coaches and contribute substantially to the venues (arenas) where their teams play. Unfortunately, Sacramento got stuck with people who’ve never had the cash to play in this league. …

So we’re constantly being lectured by a player-mayor to fill the gap. His latest gimmick is to sell downtown parking structures and on-street spaces to a private contractor for 50 years and divert this money, with money from sale of city property (all General Fund revenue) to a sports palace. Chicago and Cincinnati both did this to pay for basic services, and it’s reported to be a disaster.

The arena boosters keep bragging how the arena will give the local economy a boost. But analysis by reputable economists say the opposite; arenas prove to be a drag instead. …

It’s clear the city should facilitate the Kings’ move to Anaheim, where a rich man already has an arena and has money to bolster the team and get good team management. It would be best for the team and for Sacramento.

Finally, city government could get back to focusing attention on all our problems during this ongoing Bush recession, with cuts in police, fire and other essential functions.

Merick Chafee