Letters for April 22, 2004

Officers aren’t cartoon goons

Re “Correctional action plan” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, April 15):

Every time I read an article on correctional employees, they are portrayed as ogres and bullies. If journalists researched their stories, they would find that most correctional officers are nothing like the cartoon you chose to accompany your story.

Correctional officers are just like you: They take their children to soccer or swimming, they volunteer in the community, and they are men and women. Inmates incarcerated in California are far from brutalized; they have access to more services than most taxpaying citizens.

Unfortunately, only negative events make the press regarding prison employees. It is not much of a story when a correctional officer does their job. For every incident that makes the press concerning a rogue officer, numerous assaults on staff occur. There are hundreds of officers unable to return to work because they were victims of an attack.

I will acknowledge that the latest union contract was steep, but in order to retain staff, an incentive to remain was needed. The department is not the most desirable place to work, due to the environment and risks. How many of you worry about contracting HIV or hepatitis C because your clients may throw urine or feces at you?

If you know a prison employee, take the time to thank them for the job they are doing. They are the guy in line next to you at the grocery store, the mom watching her son or daughter playing T-ball, and the family next-door. They are not the image depicted in the SN&R cartoon or the “bully” guard seen in movies!

Michael Joseph

Not so Hope-ful

Re “The re-education of Sacramento High” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, April 8):

If the reporter had dug a little deeper, she would have found plenty of community concern about St. Hope/Sac High. The Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education continues to monitor as best as possible what goes on at the school.

She could have talked to the parents who withdrew their children from the school because they weren’t happy with the education their child was receiving (or not receiving, in this case). She could have talked to the parents who withdrew their children after they were assaulted on school grounds, one badly enough to be hospitalized.

By their own accounting, St. Hope/Sac High has 300 fewer students this semester than last fall. Soon, there will probably be even lower enrollment, since St. Hope is telling its low-achieving students to bring up their grades or leave the school. Dig a little deeper next time and don’t try to write a story that fits the catchy subtitle.

Kate Lenox
Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education

Gov’s beer healthier than his smoke

Re “Governor’s asset overexposed” (SN&R Bites, April 8):

When some poor schmuck uses the sort of creative initiative (which the governor is supposedly seeking) to find a way to put more food on his family’s table by creating a brewed parody of the governor, Arnold shuts him down, and Arnold’s spokesperson proclaims, “You don’t overexpose an asset like the governor. … You lose an advantage that we otherwise would have.”

So, how come the governor doesn’t consider it too overexposing of his assets when he exposes his subordinates to the potentially fatal risks of secondhand smoke from his cigar smoking on the patio inside the Capitol? And why doesn’t he consider the potential loss of those state employees or the cost of treating them if they contract smoke-related illnesses to be “[losing] an advantage that we otherwise would have”? Get your priorities straight, Guv; let the man brew his beer, and you lose the smoke inside the Capitol.

G. Sawyer

SN&R in the twilight zone

Re “Vote down a hijacking” (SN&R Editorial, April 8):

When, in the course of organizational events, an organization becomes out of touch, irrational and non-responsive, a reform movement is born.

Current leadership of the Sierra Club no longer represents the sensible environmental policies of many of its members, and that’s why the reform movement is under way to replace them. Refusing to take a stand on illegal immigration (what part of illegal do you and the Sierra Club not understand?) is a self-serving disrespect for the law! SN&R and the Ben-and-Jerry’s crowd are of the same ilk, not confronting in a rational way what needs to be done to restore this country to a free country with respect for our laws. Our environment deserves this respect and consideration.

You are the ones (a definite minority) advocating hijacking of our laws by refusing to cooperate with the government and protect our borders and ultimately our environment and freedom.

Is it not obvious that we cannot let the whole world into our country? So, who do we let in? Democracy and laws determine this.

SN&R’s editorial policies, as well as those of the current leadership of the Sierra Club, are in the twilight zone of lunacy. Replace them!

SN&R will do anything to sell advertising, with your fish-wrapped, inane editorials.

Nick Schrier

Lefties eat their own

Re “Vote down a hijacking” (SN&R Editorial, April 8):

As a charter member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (VRWC), I resent the notion that we’re trying to “hijack” the Sierra Club. Frankly, I don’t need the VRWC membership thinking that we’re wasting resources on taking over an organization the liberal left is all too willing to destroy on its own.

Some clarification is needed here as to how the term “anti-immigration” is being tossed about. I am against immigration (legal and otherwise) because I see my country being colonized and Balkanized by people who refuse to become Americans like my various ancestors did before me. The Sierra Club is quite clear that it opposes immigration because more people will need more water, more electricity, more freeways, more sewers, more dumps and more homes that will inevitably be built on productive farmland.

I’m curious: When will the liberals start calling it “racist” to oppose building dams to provide water for the 10 million people (mostly Mexicans) we expect here before 2020? When will a Democrat ask Congressman John Doolittle for his votes on the Auburn Dam? When will you start up Rancho Seco? Or clear-cut Headwaters?

Personally, I’m enjoying the spectacle of the liberal left having to finally admit that they only used environmentalism to further their political agendas. You people never really cared about the trees, the rivers, the fish or the birds. It was always about votes, power and money.

Peter Finn

Helping volunteers

Re “Volunteer in waiting” (SN&R Guest comment, April 8):

Thanks to Kristopher LaGreca for pointing out an important fact: Successful volunteerism doesn’t happen on its own.

Volunteers are an important asset for any community, especially in a time of budget cuts and tough economic times for local nonprofits. But, as LaGreca asks, who will be the liaison between needy programs and willing volunteers?

Currently, Hands On Sacramento, a program of the Community Services Planning Council, tries to answer this call. Recognizing that many people have busy schedules but still want to give back to the community, we spend time developing unique, meaningful and fun “hands on” service projects, scheduling them on evenings and weekends and requiring no minimum commitment. Anyone can volunteer on a one-time basis and still make a difference.

In the last few months, Hands On Sacramento, the Community Services Planning Council and the Volunteer Centers of California have begun working hard to develop a new volunteer center, Volunteer Sacramento. Our vision, as appreciated by LaGreca, is to promote volunteering as a way of life and to provide meaningful opportunities for everyone. However, this cannot happen without sufficient funding from community leaders and those who recognize the value of one of our greatest local resources: volunteers.

We invite Kristopher, and all readers, to join in the good work that we are doing at Hands On Sacramento. Visit our Web site: www.handsonsacto.org. In observance of National Volunteer Week, April 18-24, I invite you to be involved not only by volunteering but also by supporting us as we attempt to build the desperately needed infrastructure that will provide an effective, engaged and caring community through the spirit of volunteerism.

Abbey Feely
program manager, Hands On Sacramento/Volunteer Sacramento


Re “What’s your favorite food?” (SN&R Streetalk, April 15.)

In last week’s Streetalk, we mistakenly ran a photo of Jackie Kuhwarth with a quote from Nadia Bashamak.