Letters for April 20, 2006

Go for the ‘golden oldie’ houses

Re “Rotten houses” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, April 13):

I worked in construction-defect litigation for years, representing the insurance companies who were stuck with the bill for the shoddy construction.

For part of that time, I was married to someone who occasionally worked in construction. He called me one afternoon from a phone booth near his worksite and dictated some facts to type up; when he arrived at my office, he signed this sworn declaration. A few days earlier, with a rainstorm due, they were instructed to lean the “plywood” (probably composite hardboard) against the framing. He told the foreman it was a bad idea and why and was told to do as he was told, so the wood sheets wouldn’t be on the wet ground. The next dry day, all the sheets were severely bowed from being leaned against the framing. They were told to just force it to fit “and let the insurance company pay when the nails pop out” (as they inevitably would).

I passed a construction site every morning en route to work. It rained for a week. The ground was thoroughly saturated. The first day it wasn’t raining, by 8 a.m. they were grading the area, soaking wet. That’s a definite no-no. I got to work that morning and immediately typed up my own declaration of what I’d seen, in case there was a lawsuit by the eventual purchasers of those condos for reasons related to soil subsidence.

Perhaps the worst story: A painting contractor not only painted exterior doors with water-soluble paint instead of the more-expensive weatherproof paint, but also painted them with watered-down water-soluble paint. Needless to say, in the first rainstorm, every exterior door in the entire complex washed completely clean—down to the bare wood—and warped. The homeowners association asked the subcontractor to correct the problem, but just as in my husband’s employer’s view, the subcontractor preferred to leave the insurance company to pay the bill to have someone else redo it correctly. He’d made his profits, and now it was someone else’s headache.

I could tell you horror stories from my case files that would lead you to the same conclusion I reached: You don’t want to buy any house under 100 years old.

Karen M. Campbell
via e-mail

More than one way to wear a coat

Re “Are there only faith-based coats?” (SN&R Letters, April 13):

SN&R has run letters the last two weeks complaining that Jeff vonKaenel’s essay (“What?! Religious content in SN&R?” March 23) was promoting exclusionary faith-based organizations. It’s just not so.

When I read the essay, I was deeply moved. Supporting and giving elder guidance to our youths is crucial. I was extremely proud to see that my own congregation (Unitarian Universalist Community Church on Florin Road, www.u2c2.org) was among those listed at SacYouth.com.

Our church is chock-full of the “secular humanists, agnostics, freethinkers and atheists” that writer Schultz seems to think are excluded from these faith-based organizations.

“Faith” can mean many things, not just belief in one bible or another. We certainly welcome people of all colors, backgrounds, sexuality, cultures and beliefs. We make a point of it!

I applaud Mr. vonKaenel’s essay and the work at SacYouth.com.

Richard Leimbach

Clean aura, no up-sell

Re “Psychic up-sell” by Becca Costello (SN&R Nothing Ever Happens, April 13):

Now that was a great article! We’ve always wondered what was upstairs there, and now we all know not to go up those stairs. But I can give you a reading and clean your aura for $75 if you’d like.

Thanks much and peace.

Diana Wallace
via e-mail

SN&R gets stung … er, not

Re “Table of contents” (SN&R Inside, April 6):

Hey, guess what? That great picture of a honeybee highlighting the Arts&Culture piece in the table of contents ain’t—a honeybee, that is. It’s a drone fly (order Diptera, family Syrphidae)—a true fly that gets a free pass from visual predators by “mimicking” something that can sting. Guess it fooled you, too!

Art Shapiro

‘Undocumented burglars’ has a nice ring to it

Re “Uncivil action” (SN&R News, April 6):

This article was relatively balanced, except for the term used for those who come to our country, crossing our borders without following what we as a nation have decided is necessary for legal entrance into our country.

If you break into someone’s house, you are a burglar. If you rob a bank, you become a bank robber. In any other country in the world, if you are within their borders without legal permission, you are an illegal alien. If you invade the United States through our Southern border, you become an undocumented immigrant.

What part of illegal do you not understand? If you break into my house, I have the right to shoot you. If you break into my country, you demand rights. I see very little difference. Can you imagine a protest march of burglars marching in capitals demanding they be given amnesty? Somehow, I am sure that you can.

Jack Erlich
West Sacramento

Homeless on the range

Re “Free advice for first-time home buyers” by Alexis Raymond (SN&R Home Buyer’s Guide advertising section, April 6):

Here’s some more advice: Because of all the creative financing, speculation in houses, and greed, the housing market will implode. It is not an “if” scenario, but “when.”

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley