Letters for April 24, 2008

Letter of the week
Too big for its landscape

Finally, a casino tribe is able to destroy Western Placer County’s visual landscape for hundreds of miles by erecting a most inappropriate, out-of-scale obscenity—a 24-story hotel. Either the expansion design is a reflection of the tribe’s total lack of sophistication and insensitivity to the land, or this is greed at its zenith on many levels.

If anything is worse than haphazardly plopping a vulgar skyscraper in the middle of our flatlands, it’s the coordinated silence and wink-wink conspiratorial approval by our elected officials who should be protecting the region from such a crass visual assault.

The scale of this tasteless, ostentatious behemoth belongs in Las Vegas, Reno or metropolitan skylines; no such shameless eyesore should be allowed to vandalize and trash our rural landscape.

The casino tribe has been greasing the skids with “good neighbor” ulterior motives—their cash cow pays off, if you play their game. Now their payback is a total exemption from height limits, look-the-other-way approvals and no public opposition.

Elected officials will be lining up for tribal campaign contributions in the next round of paybacks, while the visual shock of this monstrosity will remind us daily of short-sighted vision.

Jake O’Rourke

Go really green—as in veggies

Re “[Re]Think[ing] Green” (SN&R Feature, April 17):

It’s not about changing light bulbs anymore!

When Al Gore’s and Leonardo DiCaprio’s dramatic documentaries alerted us to the devastating impacts of global warming, many people went through the ritual of switching from incandescent light bulbs to the compact fluorescent variety. Unfortunately, in the case of global warming, good intentions and switching light bulbs are not good enough.

The most powerful individual lifestyle solution was suggested in a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The report found that meat production accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming. That’s more than automobiles!

Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools.

Moreover, animal agriculture contributes more pollutants to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal wastes, soil particles, minerals, crop debris, fertilizers and pesticides from feed croplands. It is also the driving force in worldwide deforestation and wildlife-habitat destruction.

The annual observance of Earth Day provides an excellent opportunity for every one of us to help save our planet by dropping animal products from our diet. More details are available at www.coolyourdiet.org.

Sheldon Prichter

Brown’s an alternative

Re “Hypocrisy matters” (SN&R Editorial, April 17):

It is almost entertaining the lengths Mssrs. Ose and McClintock are going to in order to show that the other isn’t a “local.” Voters only need to look to candidate Charlie Brown, decorated Vietnam veteran, retired Air Force officer and former Roseville High School teacher, who has lived in the same home here in Roseville since I moved here 12 years ago. His children were educated in and graduated from Roseville schools.

It seems to me if voters are looking for a candidate with his finger on the pulse of local issues, one doesn’t have to look beyond their own backyard. Charlie has been here all along, struggling with the same issues as the rest of us. There’s no “hypocrisy” there. Vote local—truly local. Vote for Charlie Brown.

Jeff and Robin Thompson

Slimy attack on Obama

Re “No answers, just attack” (SN&R Letters, April 17):

Dennis McMurray’s letter attacking Sen. Obama is a classic of its kind, especially the part where he quotes The Godfather.

First McMurray ascribes to Sen. Obama sentiments that Obama has never in any way expressed or endorsed; then he turns around and ridicules those same sentiments as meaningless drivel. In the process, he even manages to work in a smarmy insinuation that Obama is the type who would cozy up to Adolf Hitler.

This is character assassination at its slimiest, devoid of intellectual substance or even basic integrity. I’d say Sen. Obama must really be doing great if this kind of crap is the best his detractors can come up with in their attempts to smear him.

David Urman

Chavez is no threat

Re “Neighborhood threat” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, April 10):

Venezuela and Hugo Chavez are no threat to the security of the people of the United States. Chavez may be a threat to the peace of mind of corporate America and to the ego of George W. Bush because he refuses to bow to their dictates, ultimatums and threats.

In short, he is behaving just the way a national and regional leader should act when he sees powerful others trying to exploit and intimidate his countrymen and neighbors. The fascist blending of U.S. corporate power, banking power, government agencies, military might and political leverage are being arrayed against Chavez in ways that have been exercised against other “rogue states.”

The fact that Venezuela sits atop an ocean of oil makes our actions no coincidence. Libya, Iraq and Iran all have huge oil reserves and have also been so labeled. Having Rep. Dan Lungren labeling Venezuela a “terrorist haven” is setting the table for yet another military misadventure. “Dirty Dan,” as the environmentalists call him, has been a Dick Cheney surrogate since their early days in Congress together.

Could it be coincidence that Lungren voices his fears of Chavez and demonizes Venezuela even as Cheney comes to a posh stud farm in Wilton to fund-raise for Lungren on April 11? “So?”

Lee Grutchfield

More than one way to skin a ‘skeeter

Re “The pesticide agenda” by Kel Munger (SN&R Green Days, April 10):

Thanks to Kel Munger for reviewing the book The War on Bugs, which according to the article, appears to provide a valuable perspective on the history of pesticide use. I ordered the book the day the article came out and am looking forward to reading it.

However, I’d like to point out that Ms. Munger overreaches in the statement that “malaria, bubonic plague and yellow fever are mostly memories—at least in the United States—thanks to pesticides.” While pesticides did serve a role in the control of malaria and yellow fever, other techniques to break the cycle of disease transmission, such as careful elimination of mosquito breeding sites and widespread use of window and door screens, were probably more critical for achieving and maintaining the effective elimination of these diseases that we continue to benefit from in this country. Non-pesticide methods continue to be the primary and preferred method for control of mosquitoes in our region.

Dave Tamayo Board of Trustees member (representing the city of Sacramento)
Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District

An answer from McCain

Re “Ten answers for McCain” (SN&R Letters, April 3):

I am no Bush fan in reference to the Iraq war, but he and McCain are absolutely right on in reference to the real war in this country: abortion.

I honestly wish someone out there could explain to me how Ron Lowe and most liberals can be outraged at Bush and McCain over Iraq and the 4,000 dead Americans and yet can be so morally bankrupt as to ignore the truth that we kill well over that every two days in America through abortion.

I have an open mind and would welcome a rational explanation. But spare me the nonsense of denying the truth that abortion kills children. Everyone who has a brain and takes a few minutes to do the research will clearly see that it is a child, an American, who is killed by abortion.

And let’s address Lowe’s objection to the prosecution of a mother for killing her child by abortion. Even liberals would go ballistic if the child was actually born and the mother then tore its limbs apart, but evidently have no problem with that procedure if it is done in the darkness of the womb.

The insanity of many liberals is seen by their outrage at “waterboarding torture” of our enemies, but don’t even blink when we butcher our own children.

On many issues, I prefer Obama over McCain. Unfortunately, Obama loses credibility by his failure to stand up and speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. He needs to defend the defenseless and understand that the greatest threat to black America is abortion. Roughly 13 percent of American women are black, yet well over one-third of aborted children are black.

Satan is pro-choice. Can’t you hear his maniacal laughter from the depths of hell as beautiful black children are slaughtered at an alarming rate?

Mr. Lowe, America is already in “the fire,” and God will need a whole lot more of our tears to put it out.

Terry McDermott

We’re on the road to nowhere

Re “Peak oil’s slippery slope” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, March 27):

We have long known that this Earth cannot support us if all the countries used resources at the rate of the United States.

It took 169 million years to develop the fossil fuels that we use, and yet the human species has used up most of it in less than 200 years.

Global warming is just another step on our road to self-extinction.

James Sakauye

Avoid boot. Read sign.

Re “These boots were made for lockin’” by Nicholas Miller (SN&R Frontlines, March 27):

So what if the “parking Nazis” have a slew of new gadgets to catch people illegally parked? It’s easy not to get a ticket (and easier still to avoid the boot): All a driver needs to do is read the posted signs before he leaves his vehicle!

As a five-year midtown resident, I have on countless occasions flagged down drivers to warn them that their car is illegally parked and will get a ticket if they don’t move. They rarely seem to read the signs posted all over each block.

Those who don’t heed my advice come out only to bitch and complain about their misfortune. It’s OK to throw a fit—we all do—but get over it and just pay the fine. After all, one can pay $35 now or $75-and-up later. The choice is obvious for anyone who passed first-grade math.

Especially inane is the woman in your story, Crystal McCarthy, who lives and works on the grid but drives to work. No wonder she racked up “the most tickets ever” in the course of a month. Are we meant to sympathize with her? I only feel sorry for her roommates who shelled out hundreds of dollars to help pay her fines, when only $35 per ticket would have sufficed in the first place. They needn’t have been bothered at all if Ms. McCarthy had walked the few blocks to begin with, or at least read the signs.

Ryan Geronimo

¡Love that Mexican!

Re “Riddle me this” by Gustavo Arellano (SN&R’s ¡Ask a Mexican! March 13):

I love these articles. As a Mexican, I feel that the Mexican’s responses are humorous and carry some truth.

I think in response to the scenario, or question in particular, it is important to address the issue point by point. He starts by saying break into the house. But in reality, the house was stolen from Mexicans years before. When Mexicans stayed, they were killed. Around the time of the Depression, they were removed, legal or not. The line was modified and moved in the perspective of the United States, which does not cover the initial agreement (Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo) of what part of the house belongs to whom.

In reality, breaking into the house is the wrong scenario, and I think the Mexican made a valid point.

I agree with the Mexican in his response about jobs and work. Again, let’s look at reality. Many non-Mexican-Americans are not willing to do the jobs that Mexicans or other immigrants are willing to do. If they do it, they want better pay, sunscreen, water, benefits and other accommodations. Mexicans do the jobs, no one is arguing that. In terms of trying to reap the benefits, consider that in the case of Mexicans who do get paid in a legitimate job and do not file tax returns due to their illegal status, the government is the one that keeps all of those extra American dollars. Even though they gain some benefits from America, they also surrender extra income, so I feel this has created a balance. If anything, America still comes out better off, because people come to this country to work. They don’t come in claiming unemployment.

I agree with the Mexican when he says, “No one is forcing you to learn Spanish.” It just so happens that Spanish is the second dominant language in the United States. America as a whole does not have a recognized national language. Historically, this same argument was brought up during American expansion because German used to be a dominant language in the United States. Spanish was a part of the Western states before English was introduced, so of course, there are going to be parts of society that have adapted to Spanish usage. I can say that if you live in a state that has a large Spanish-speaking population, it is to your benefit to learn. Just as if you lived in Canada, it would help if you learned French.

In the overall view of ridiculousness, I think you can’t claim that we broke into your house. If anything, you stole our house and we tried to take it back. And when we struggle to get here, earn the money to buy back the house, you deny our right for the purchase because we are Mexican.

Benito Dimas