Letters for April 11, 2002

Poll vaulter

Re “Parole Violator” (SN&R Editorial, April 4):

One needs to recognize Governor Davis is not a thoughtful person with a limited understanding of law or that he is without any sense of mercy. He is motivated solely by polls, and as long as the public supports a tough policy against criminals he will block pardons for convicted killers.

If the public attitude changes towards a more lenient policy and becomes supportive of paroles for rehabilitated murderers, just watch Davis flip-flop and stop blocking approved paroles. The man is a chameleon with no apparent core values.

James G. Updegraff III

No dumping

Re “Radioactive Landfills” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Environment, March 28):

The decision to allow unregulated disposal of low-level radioactive waste in landfills is revealing. Let’s not forget that there is substantial disagreement among experts as to the dangers posed by such materials.

The fact that unregulated dumping will still be allowed despite such uncertainty reveals another crack in the nuclear panacea. Decommissioned nuclear plants are liabilities to the industry, which apparently cannot afford proper disposal at facilities in South Carolina or Utah.

Even more disturbing is the revelation that older regulations allowed the possibly untraceable dumping of even more dangerous nuclear waste.

Paul Kekai Manansala

You call that Latin?

Re Sammies Award Show (see Sammies results, SN&R, March 28):

I just recently moved to Sacramento from Los Angeles this past January. I attended the Sammies Award Show in hopes to get a glimpse of the music scene that Sacramento has to offer, mainly the Latin music scene. Being Cuban-American, I was really looking forward to getting to know some of the area’s local Latin bands. I am aware that there are clubs in Sacramento such as Club Conga that have DJ music, but I need to feel the vibe of live instruments. As soon as I saw that !Bucho! would be playing at the Sammies, I couldn’t wait to hear them play. When it was announced that they had won the award in their respective category, I anticipated hearing a really good world/Latin music band.

Well, I must say I was disappointed. Let me explain—I really enjoyed their music. Good band, good music—wrong category to be nominated in. I was born in Miami, raised in L.A., and where I’m from, when someone sees that there is a band nominated for an award in the world/Latin category, you expect to see bands that are true to that form.

No disrespect to !Bucho! whatsoever. You guys are great! But if this is what Sacramento calls its best Latin music band, then I’m almost scared to see who the other bands in this category are.

Zoraya Blanco
via e-mail

Mediation primer

Re “Mothers, Interrupted” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, March 21):

It is interesting that these women have exposed themselves as the victims in this article. In so many custody cases, the parents see themselves as the victims. The reality is that the child usually becomes the victim. Anytime you have a high-conflict divorce with children involved, the parents are often not going to be in agreement over child custody. Our family court system requires that if the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan for their child, then they must attend family mediation. They can choose to attend mediation through Family Court Services, or they can choose to attend mediation with a private mediator.

Mediation with Family Court Services is usually a one-time shot with the mediator. It is inexpensive and there is little time for issues to be thoroughly discussed, researched, or evaluated. Mediation with a private mediator involves several hours of mediation with both parents, the parents individually, the child with each parent, the child individually, and any spouse or other person who may live in the home. The mediator may make contact (with the parents’ permission) with teachers, daycare providers, psychologists, and others who may have knowledge or information regarding the child and family.

If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the mediator makes a “recommendation” based on his/her findings to the court. If the parties do not agree with this recommendation, the attorneys present their client’s argument to the Court and ultimately, it is the judge who adopts all, part of, or none of the mediator’s report and the judge makes the final order determining child custody.

In a conflicted situation, there is usually a parent who will be unhappy. The ultimate goal is a 50/50 shared parenting plan whenever possible. If this is not the case, there are many reasons why. Some of these include substance abuse, verbal and/or physical abuse, exposing the child to persons who are dangerous to the well being of the child, alienating the other parent by constantly exposing the child to negative remarks, comments, and inappropriate discussions, and a failure to follow the Court’s orders.

I am sure there is a lot more to this story than what these women have chosen to portray to Chrisanne Beckner. However, there is no way of knowing the situation without reading a copy of the mediation report, which is confidential. It would be interesting to read exactly what the mediators had to say in their recommendations to the court to justify the judge ordering more parenting time to the other parent.

Christine Rentfro
via e-mail

Feats don’t fail me now

Re “Sounds Good on Paper” by Craig DeLuz (SN&R Guest Comment, March 21):

Mr. DeLuz states that Senator Deborah Oritz promises in many instances “pie in the sky” to her constituents with little regard to final outcomes. I feel compelled to refute these remarks and look to Senator Ortiz’s leadership and service to the northern area of her senatorial district as something we have long awaited, and cheer her on to think that we could even accomplish some of the feats proposed. I have been told on many occasions that those people who think outside the box and in non-traditional ways can accomplish great things.

I believe the examples that Mr. DeLuz used were in many instances incorrect—specifically the reorganization of the north area school districts in which many individuals have worked hard to see that it comes back to the community for a vote, and for a final approval of the County Reorganization Board and ultimately the State Board. There is a true desire that we look at how business is conducted and do it better and with more creativity. Members within our community know that business as usual only produces business as usual and that we deserve better. Senator Ortiz agrees with that thinking and we applaud her for her efforts and dedication to the children and communities within the northern section of Sacramento County. If there were more people who stood up and faced issues that oftentimes may be looked at as unpopular, perhaps effective change would happen more often. Thank you, Senator Ortiz, for everything you do for us.

Dennis C. Tillett
District Superintendent
North Sacramento School District

Need a sitter for that rugrat?

Re Planned Parenthood Ad (SN&R ongoing ad):

According to the Planned Parenthood ad that runs in your paper, over 300,00 women are sexually assaulted each year. Because of these assaults, they say we should kill 25,000 unwanted children. On the one hand, these children did nothing to contribute to these assaults. But on the other hand, they will require babysitters if the mother wants to go to Polly Esthers or other social obligations that do not include a rugrat.

According to the FBI, a smaller number of women, 90,186, are assaulted each year. Using Planned Parenthood’s estimates, about 8,000 unwanted children will result from these assaults.

Whichever number is correct, it is a tragedy for all parties concerned. But it is especially a tragedy for the unborn child. Can we not find 8,000 adoptive couples in this country? Or at least that many people willing to babysit? I will be the first in line.

William R. White