Letters for April 18, 2002

Unitus they stand

Re “Field Guide to Sacramentans” (SN&R Cover, April 11):

The guide did an excellent job reporting on the habitats, migration patterns and behaviors of species ranging from the Dudus tattoous (Midtown hipster) to the Lobbyist gladhandus (political hack). However, the criteria for identifying the Bureaucratus minor (state worker) sadly relied on age-old misconceptions and unreliable sightings. In reality, the Bureaucratus minor is a stalwart and industrious breed. Members of this species have the distinctive trait of serving the taxpayer while also paying taxes themselves.

Many state worker subspecies, such as nurses, workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles, teachers and information technology employees operate in habitats that are woefully understaffed. Naturalists report large migrations from the public to private sector because state worker salaries are often significantly lower than their counterparts’ in private industry.

In the face of its many natural predators, the Bureaucratus minor keeps its characteristic stiff upper lip. The instinct to do a good job for fellow Californians and protect hard-earned worker rights has evolved over many years to create a hearty breed that has sustained threat after threat from creatures lower on the food chain.

Instead of a cave, a tree or a beehive, state workers obtain their safety and support from their unions. Evolution has taught them that flocking together with other workers will ensure their survival. The result is a symbiotic relationship with other working people, for when the state worker receives justice in the workplace, the reverberating benefits are eventually felt in workplace habitats statewide.

Perry Kenny
California State Employees Association

Jewish anti-Semite?

Re “Get U.S. Out of Israel” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Guest Comment, April 11):

Mr. Sandronsky’s suggestion that the United States cease shipments of weapons to Israel will immediately precipitate an invasion by the surrounding Muslim states, the defeat of Israel, and a subsequent program of genocidal extermination.

If Mr. Sandronsky’s plan is not an expression of anti-Semitism, then Hitler lit Sabbath candles on Friday night. It is interesting that Mr. Sandronsky only refers to his being born of Jewish parents rather than professing his identity as a Jew. Thus, his attempt to dignify his proposal as one that purports to represent a Jewish point of view is deceptive. He is an anti-Semite and a Jewish one to boot.

Martin W. Schwartz

Oy vey, can’t we all just get along?

Re “Get U.S. Out of Israel” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Guest Comment, April 11):

Mr. Sandronsky presents a very calm and balanced, yet forceful humanist position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He cuts through all the “can’t both sides just get together” rhetoric we’ve heard in the corporate media for so many years.

I will also add a third proposal to Sandronsky’s two proposals: support the growing international boycott of Israeli goods. Just like it took an international divestment campaign against South Africa to end apartheid, it will take international economic pressure to break the hold of the religious right wing in Israel. A group of Israeli Jews and Arabs, along with numerous organizations in Europe and throughout the world, are asking consumers to boycott Israeli products and leisure tourism.

Dan Bacher

Smoke this

Re “Talkin’ ’bout my Generation” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, April 4):

What’s the point? As far as I can see, the main point is right there in the very first word of his title: Talkin’.

Secondly, the whole story fails to point out how the former hippie helped create the culture. That’s strike two, and I’m still not done raving about the subtitle.

Thirdly, what epidemic? An epidemic is a sudden outbreak, and O’Neill even later pointed out that drugs never left, only habits changed. Maybe O’Neill should still be on the other side of the desk.

Furthermore, O’Neill, “your generation” merely created a problem. Drugs are not to be blamed, people are. Far too many people get bent on trying to change things. Let life be, good or bad. It’s the essential fallacy of man to question the faculty of consciousness. It is the person who does the abusing; drugs are merely there. It’s like saying guns kill people. No, they don’t, people kill people. Think positive. My advice to you is stick with the hash and pick up a dictionary. Look up “psychological dependency.” Then put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Damian Burgess Sacramento

Gratefully undead

Re “Talkin’ ’bout my generation” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, April 4):

It was amazing to me that Jaime O’Neill blamed the whole drug culture on the hippie movement. I was a ’60s generation child and yes, we used too many drugs and there were too many drug casualties, but come on Jaime, drugs were prevalent before our generation. How about the Roaring ’20s with marijuana and cocaine use? The ’50s was a generation of tranquilizers and alcohol. Society has always used drugs to kill the pain of life and live in denial.

Our big mistake was using drugs, but my generation contributed to overcoming abuse and instilling human rights, women’s rights and civil rights. It was a time of all races coming together in peace and love. It was a good time for standing up for what you believed in.

Please do not say that the Grateful Dead contributed to as many deaths as the senseless Vietnam War; that’s absurd. My generation just tried to find a new way, a peaceful way, of living and stopping hatred and racial prejudice. Sure, we made mistakes, we were young and idealistic, but we also paved the way for the next generation to have lives that were not oppressive with bigotry and hatred. We stopped the Vietnam War and brought home the remainder of the young men who weren’t killed in a war that was only profitable for the politicians of that day.

Vera Farris
Citrus Heights

Bites bites

Re “Webber Needs a Timeout” (SN&R Capital Bites, April 4):

Capital Bites wrote: “Webber did finally address the issue in an interview with ESPN over the weekend, denying he accepted money from Martin. Answering that legitimate question is something he should have done right away instead of throwing one of his hissy fits.” Yet Chris Webber answered a subpoena in regards to the Ed Martin case and testified before a grand jury more than two years ago.

Capital Bites wrote: “Not that Sacramento Bee basketball beat writer Martin McNeal has pushed very hard, seeing as he has a book deal with the mercurial superstar.” Marty McNeal actually has access to Chris Webber and the entire Kings organization. This makes him a respectable and valid sports journalist, not just some self-important writer with opinions and visions of grandeur such as being an insect on the wall when another journalist pursues a story.

Chris Webber, along with the Maloof family and Geoff Petrie, is one of the best things to happen to Sacramento in a very long time. I imagine anybody even remotely interested in the Kings is excited about the level of play being exhibited by and the bright future of the best team in the NBA. I suppose it’s easy for a writer to dwell on negativity and phantom stories when they hide behind a cute pseudonym to write a published column. But then, “Bites” is just doing their job like the good corporate lackey they probably so vehemently convince themselves that they are not.

Mark Ishizaki