Letters for April 17, 2003

A uniform suit

Re “The night they pulled me over” by Stephen James (SN&R Cover, April 10):

What a horrible experience Andrea [Torres] has been through. The low mentality of the officers is uncalled for, and they should all be brought up on charges.

I hope that Andrea and her family will be able to get past all of the horrible things that have happened to them. Time for her to proceed and sue the pants off all of them.

We wish her well and hope and pray for her well-being.

Barbara Volson
North Highlands

The guv is blameless

Re “Total recall” (SN&R Editorial, April 10):

Blaming Governor Davis for the energy crisis and the state’s fiscal crisis flies in the face of reality.

As even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (with the majority of its Bush administration appointees) finally admits, the California energy crisis largely was caused by market manipulation by Enron and other energy generators. Californians were robbed blind while federal regulators sat on their hands and let generators conspire to drive up prices and cause power outages.

To his credit, Davis refused to pass along 400-percent increases in rates and is fighting aggressively for $8.9 billion in refunds for California ratepayers. He also doubled the state’s commitment to renewable energy, launched the nation’s most aggressive energy-efficiency program and has cut red tape that has led to the construction of 19 new, clean-burning power plants that are producing enough electricity to serve more than 5.7 million households.

As for the state budget, every governor since 1959 has had at least one term with expenditure growth greater than the growth during Davis’ first term. Moreover, spending growth under Davis is significantly less than the average growth for each gubernatorial term since 1959—even when that growth is adjusted for inflation.

As Arkansas’ Republican Governor Mike Huckabee rightly asserted, “If this [economic downturn] were unique to one or even a handful of states, then it would be a legitimate political issue to say a governor was responsible. But a governor surely can’t be held responsible for the collapse of the national and, in fact, the international economy.”

And as far as the budget “devastating” schools, even if the governor’s proposed budget is adopted, school funding will have gone up by $12.6 billion from 1998-1999 levels—a 31-percent increase over five years, with per-pupil spending increasing by $1,066 during that same period of time. No other California governor can match this historic commitment to California’s future.

Steven Maviglio
press secretary to Governor Gray Davis

Homeless camps are no civic enhancement

Re “Arrested development” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, April 3):

A few observations regarding the cover story and the related Editor’s Note and Guest Comment:

The city council and Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency are not the only parties interested in the homeless being removed from our city streets and river levees. The author of the Guest Comment clearly expressed her frustration and offered a viable solution to this problem. I, too, believe that there are enough resources available to the homeless to help them out of their plight.

I don’t know anybody that thinks the homeless, their camps or the garbage they leave along the river enhance our city. The city ordinances apply to all who reside in Sacramento, not just to the responsible, but also to the irresponsible. So, if you wish to camp along the river, you need to go where that is permitted. I don’t know why these people will work hard enough to buy beer and cigarettes and take care of their pets but won’t work hard enough to take care of themselves.

D.J. Zentner

Shelters are not boot camps

Re “Arrested development” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, April 3):

This article suggests that the homeless and their advocates feel the county should provide private rooms so that they can drink alcohol and sleep with their girl/boy friends or dogs.

I have been to the clean, dry, warm, safe county-operated homeless shelter, which has a large-screen TV in the lounge. They’re not perfect, but they’re no “boot camp,” nor are they run like prisons, nor are homeless people warehoused. For obvious reasons, operators have rules prohibiting alcohol, violence, fighting, dogs and people sleeping together.

Have military barracks been better than shelter conditions? Shelters are far better than what fellow students and I paid colleges for the privilege of living in some years back when student housing was at a premium. So rotten of officials to infringe on students’ rights by prohibiting alcohol, dogs and girlfriends staying overnight!

Loaves & Fishes knows that no accurate count of the number of homeless exists—only estimates. Possibly, there are more than the vacant beds at shelters. However, homeless providers and advocates have strongly opposed county efforts to get an accurate count because they contend that is an infringement on homeless rights!

Could it also be that an accurate count might show fewer homeless? Followed by our county board of supervisors needing to allocate fewer dollars? Belatedly, the Department of Housing and Urban Development now requires such a count.

Dale Kooyman
a member of the Sacramento County and Cities Board on Homelessness

Spare-changers are my people

Re “Just say no to panhandling” by Juniper Rogers (SN&R Guest Comment, April 3):

I spent four years on the street. Why I was homeless doesn’t matter. The people of downtown are homeless because of anything from alcoholism and drug addiction to being a runaway or suffering from a mental illness. Rogers’ insinuations of violent, aggressive panhandlers that have a master plan to intimidate or rob are ridiculous.

I never saw anything like that while I was on the streets. Maybe in Rogers’ sheltered world, a person in need is viewed as violent and aggressive, but in my world, I’ve slept right next to these crazy people on the concrete, and they never assaulted me, even though I was only 20 years old and female when I first became homeless.

Her list of suggestions on how to deal with a spare-changer is offensive if not laughable. Did she ever consider that these people would understand when you said, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t give you anything right now”?

Despite ignorant beliefs, the homeless are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons. I wasn’t hatched from some factory that produces degenerates, and as frightening as it may sound, I could be your sister or daughter.

In the past 11 months, I have gone from the streets to a promising job and become a taxpaying citizen that gives not just to spare-changers but to anyone I can help.

For those who are not so fortunate, I would like to say that I love you. I will never forget your kindness, and I feel that the extended family of the streets is much luckier than the families some people have.

Cynthia Keagy

Self-obsessed Sammies?

Re “Come with me, baby, to loveland” (SN&R Arts & Culture, April 3):

Please rename the Sammies the Porno Magazine awards, because the 2003 winning lineup looks like a serious case of Obsessive Valley Masturbation to me.

W. Major
via e-mail


Re “Slipped through the cracks” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Arts & Culture, March 27):

At the end of this article, you referenced a Web site, www.sacramentorocks.com, about protesting the Sammies. I decided to check it out. What I found was a rant. The Web site made strong arguments against the Sammies, stating they were corrupt, that women had been attacked by Crest security and so forth.

I sent an e-mail to the Web site host, Michael Moore, asking questions about his allegations of corruption and violence. His response was immature and vindictive at best; including a harassing call at my place of work, and e-mails.

I feel that the real reason Michael Moore is so upset about my e-mail is that he knows his argument is flawed. What’s more, he is angry that I wasn’t swayed by his Web site and actually questioned his sources. I have no idea if any of the allegations on Michael Moore’s Web site are true, which is why I asked about them. But judging from the response I got, it leads me to believe that Michael Moore’s argument is based more on misplaced and overzealous righteousness instead of fact.

By promoting his Web site, SN&R is sanctioning such behavior.

Emily Cole
via e-mail