Letters for April 1, 2004

Cheap lease— at City Hall

Re “Closing credits” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, March 25):

What a terrific deal for Century Theatres and the city!

As a small-business owner, I want to know how I can lease prime retail space from the city for just 85 cents per square foot and get two years free up front. I’ll take it at the drop of a hat!

The lease rate quoted in the article is more in line with industrial rates you’d find off Power Inn Road or Florin-Perkins Road—where basic industrial with common-area maintenance runs at about 65 cents per square foot per month ($7.80 per square foot annually). Retail space in our city is over $12 a square foot annually, at the cheapest.

On behalf of all the small businesses in Sacramento, maybe the city should consider offering that lease to locally owned businesses first. For my firm, I’ll opt for a nice storefront downstairs at the new City Hall, right where all those taxpayers can buy my graphics. Where do I sign up?

Brad Getter

At last … vegan doughnuts!

Re “Feed me, Sacramento!” by Becca Costello (SN&R Arts&culture, March 25):

Thank you, Becca Costello, for writing the article I’ve been meaning to write since I switched to a vegan diet a year-and-a-half ago. I’m going to send copies to all the local restaurants I no longer patronize since there is nothing on their menus I can eat anymore.

I appreciate the information about Sacveg.com, too, as the restaurant critics for local news publications seem to feel no obligation to find out which restaurants carry vegan menu selections. The most exciting thing about my visit to Sacveg.com, though, was discovering that I can buy vegan doughnuts in Sacramento. Pure bliss!

Pam Giarrizzo

Vegans can bloody well stay home

Re “Feed me, Sacramento!” by Becca Costello (SN&R Arts&culture, March 25):

Why don’t more restaurants cater to vegans? Money.

Everything in a restaurant should contribute to the overall concept, because every square foot of space is valuable—from the lobby to the tables to the kitchen. Everything must earn its keep, even a menu.

Say my restaurant is a seafood-centered Pacific Rim concept. My menu would have fish and some chicken and probably a steak on the menu. There would be a selection of salads suitable for the health-conscious, and a pasta dish to attract the frugal or the ovo-lacto vegetarian. Everything on that menu would have been carefully gauged as to how much it costs to make, how much profit it nets me and how popular the dish is.

I’m not going to waste valuable menu space on a vegan dish that’s going to appeal to maybe (if I’m lucky) 3 percent of my clientele. And [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] could laud me to the skies for my vegan-friendly mock “prawns,” but if they don’t make me money, off they go to the menus slush pile.

In my opinion, a vegan shouldn’t expect a restaurant to cater to their own ethical choices any more than a halal-observant Muslim or a Jew who observes kosher laws should expect a restaurant to offer them special meals. The country is now full of Atkins freaks, and not a single high-end restaurant in this town has an “Atkins section.” If you’re on a special diet, you have three choices: You can ask for substitutions (no buns, or no bacon bits, for example), you can go to a restaurant that serves the type of food you eat (like Subway for Atkins items, or a vegetarian/vegan place for the vegans, or the kosher deli for observant Jews), or you can bloody well stay at home.

We’re in this business to make food that pleases the majority palate and makes money off the majority diner. This article is so woefully ignorant about that concept, and about how a kitchen works and how a restaurant works, that it’s laughable.

Michelle Bruton

Light rail and long vision

Re “Riding a new rail” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, March 18):

Thank you for a timely article. I just wanted to say a few things about the issue of transportation.

I lived in an exclusive high-rise apartment years ago, near shopping and schools. My young child could walk to hospitals, libraries, parks, etc. We had pools and a parking deck. The people who lived there were neighborly but not chummy.

In Germany, there is enough population density to provide brain input to maintain and contribute to improvements in quality of life. It seems like we could look around to various geographic areas’ population densities and determine what the target number of people could be to optimize quality of life. Then we could start hiring people to build suitable infrastructure required to support that many people.

[Former California state Senator] Quentin Kopp long was an advocate of high-speed rail to connect all points of California, and ultimately the world. We need that kind of long-range vision.

Fern Henley

Comment is Bush fund-raiser

Re “Disrespecting tragedy” (SN&R Guest Comment, March 18):

Just when it seemed that the relentless hate speech being spewed by liberals could not possibly become even more ludicrous, vile or hypocritical, Ryan Rose pens his Guest Comment.

Rose sets a new standard in ludicrousness by stating that President Bush, by merely approving a political advertisement that contains images of the September 11 terrorist attacks, is as guilty as those who perpetrated the attacks that slaughtered more than 3,000 Americans. Rose then achieves epic vileness by questioning whether President Bush, a devout Christian and the commander in chief of our valiant war to bring murderous terrorists to justice, has a soul, and adds: “I wager Bush has but one prayer: giving thanks for the September 11 attacks.”

Rose concludes his malicious essay on this hypocritical note: “I will not stand for such disrespect of a national tragedy. Neither should you.” Quite right on that point and that point alone, Mr. Rose. I do not stand for your disrespect of September 11 or of our president. But I do thank you for one thing and one thing only: reminding me that I need to send another check to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

Kyle Orr

Christian worships the disciples

Re “Free jazz and no Ross” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Clubber, March 18):

I was dismayed to read Christian Kiefer’s review of the Ross Hammond Trio, sans Ross, in SN&R.

Kiefer makes a point of raving about the musicians playing without Ross Hammond and at the same time emphasizes the fact that Ross couldn’t be there, without giving any credit to the fact that the specific gig would not have happened and the band would not exist without Ross. More than anyone else on the local scene, Ross has consistently promoted jazz as an art form these past few years.

I am aware that your publication has devoted space to Ross’ efforts in previous issues. That is why it bothered quite a few of us in the musicians’ community that the tone of Kiefer’s article had a subtext of disrespect in it. If I have misinterpreted what was in your critic’s mind, forgive me, but at the very least, he should have been clear about Ross’ contributions. He was worshipping the disciples and forgetting who first preached the sermon on the jazz mount.

David Sapphire

Stewart gets workers’ comp-licated

Re “Insurance flawed” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, March 18):

I’ve worked in the workers’-compensation industry for 14 years and seen how inequitable and dysfunctional the workers’-compensation system is firsthand.

Ms. Stewart is one of the few journalists who really did her research and came to the correct conclusion: It is the trial attorneys, and the Democratic legislators that take campaign contributions from them, who do not want the workers’-compensation system reformed. Because of their greed and lack of vision, California’s workers’- compensation system is the worst in the nation.

This corrupt system hurts employers who, in turn, cannot hire new employees or must lay off others, or who cannot afford to increase benefits for their existing employees. This is a huge economic drag on our state’s economy.

Until this system sees some real workers’-compensation reform, you can forget about businesses or insurance companies coming back to California, with its hostile business climate.

Kent Woodward

Why settle for less fun?

Re “What punk jerky looks like” (SN&R Letters, March 18):

I’m not a big 7Seconds fan, but I feel compelled to write in and stick up for what they’re doing.

Charlie Barnes’ letter suggesting that they grow up is ridiculous. Those guys were lucky enough to be a part of one of the few musical movements in U.S. history that actually meant something beyond basic entertainment, and obviously it’s stayed with them enough to keep going.

Not everything you come up with when you’re young becomes automatically foolish or stupid when you’re older. It looks like they can still tour, have fun and make enough to support themselves. If that’s the case, where’s the argument for settling down and getting a “real job”?

Scott Miller
via e-mail