Letters for April 27, 2006

Discourse better than debate

Re “More than one way to wear a coat” (SN&R Letters, April 20):

Kudos to Richard Leimbach for reminding us that we don’t always have to argue about perceived religious differences. There are universal truths common to all faiths. It’s nice to know there are those, other than myself, who want to engage in constructive discourse about religion, as opposed to incessant debating, tuning out, walking away mad or thinking you’re right because you’re the president.

Curtis Hill

‘True colors’ of hypocrisy

Re “True colors” (SN&R Editorial, April 13):

There can never be a proper dialogue on illegal immigration until those supporting illegal immigration see the “true colors” of their hypocrisy.

The constant claims of racism regarding those opposed to illegal immigration are most evident. It has been said that only white people can be racist, but the fallaciousness of that argument is apparent in this controversy. After all, a group called “La Raza” (or “the race”) is intimately involved in the pro-illegal-immigration protests we have seen.

Laws regulating immigration are not racist when those laws allow people of all races, creeds, nationalities, etc. to become citizens of this country. What is racist is to expect a group to be allowed to usurp a place in the line ahead of those waiting for citizenship based simply on race.

It is also racist to claim that groups such as the Minutemen are racist simply because most are white. The Minutemen have done nothing but attempt to assist the government in enforcing the law by providing more eyes on the border. With groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union watching the Minutemen, if they had done anything untoward there would be proof. There is no proof; there are only racist accusations made by those who want open borders.

These current “immigrant rights” protests are not about all immigrants, but are simply a smoke screen for Latinos to gain more power in U.S. politics by ignoring the laws of this country. To allow this to continue would allow foreign citizens to dictate American law. What I would like to see would be native-born and naturalized citizens of all races shouting “somos mas Americanos” (or “we are more American”) to the protesters.

After all, it is true.

Robert Ingersoll
Fair Oaks

Just enforce the law

Re “True colors” (SN&R Editorial, April 13):

I find it ironic that SN&R, a publication that has told us how bad our schools are, how expensive it is to obtain health care and how much crime is polluting our streets, is on the “Everyone against illegal immigration is a racist” bandwagon. The editor’s opinion is obviously that any border enforcement is rampant racism and that the flood of illegal immigrants is a positive force in our state and country.

My differing opinion on this issue has been stated over and over by many greater minds than mine and is always countered as being racist conservative hyperbole. The facts remain that schools that are forced to be bilingual by educating people who choose not to speak English are going to have a tough time educating everyone in an efficient manner; health-care costs will rise for everyone when there is a whole class of people who have no insurance and visit the emergency rooms for everything from the common cold to a gunshot wound; and those that show little regard for our laws about entering the country are not going to be afraid to bend a few of our other rules while they are here.

If the real issue, as the editor believes, is the fact that these illegal immigrants are willing to work for wages that naturalized Americans won’t, then we need to find a solution to that problem.

Here’s one man’s opinion: How about we enforce our border and immigration laws as they are written? Make sure that everyone who wants to cross our borders is checked out and willing to be a contributing member of our society. Legislation should be introduced that sets a reasonable minimum wage and forces employers in the agricultural and construction industries to offer insurance to all of their employees. This would give those formerly dependant on the government for survival a decent wage and the same health benefits the rest of the working class enjoys.

How could this not work? More jobs and insurance for Americans that have never had the opportunity to work and make a decent living has to be a good thing, right? Unless—and this could be the rub—offering manual-labor jobs that pay lower than professional occupations to undereducated or unskilled American laborers is also some kind of racist or classist school of thought.

Phil James
Elk Grove

What good is ‘free’ Internet without a computer?

Re “Rethinking Wi-Fi” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, April 13):

I think the city’s experiment in Wi-Fi is a wonderful idea. While I welcome the ability to sit in Cesar Chavez Plaza, take advantage of high-speed Internet to write this e-mail and perhaps surf the Internet, I don’t see this as an economic-development tool.

Rob Fong, one of the council members being appointed to the ad-hoc committee to negotiate with MobilePro, sees this as a way to bridge the digital divide. In the early days of digital-divide analysis, the availability of Internet access at an affordable cost was the key issue. However, this distinction became obsolete with the social penetration of the Internet and technological advances. Many people can get free access in local Internet cafes—for example, at Butch-N-Nellie’s, an independent coffeehouse at 18th and I streets—without banner ads.

According to a MobilePro press release on March 30, 2006 (www.hawkassociates.com/mobilepro/mobilepro208.htm), “The multi-spectrum Wi-Fi, multi-radio mesh network will enable a range of free and fee-based services and provide secure high-speed access to data, voice and video throughout the proposed coverage area. Subscription services will be offered on an annual, monthly, daily and hourly basis and will allow access to multiple Internet service providers (ISP).” This release indicates the service may not be as free as we think.

Today, the digital-divide argument has moved to skills and literacy—training people in computer skills—which often entails teaching them to read and write first. Moreover, a wireless laptop ranges in price from approximately $500 to $1,500. If we want to bridge the digital divide, we must be able to provide cheaper personal computers and improve our teaching of literacy and computer skills.

Betzaida Arroyo
via e-mail

Thanking Becca—and her ‘lucky stairs’

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

Thanks, Becca, for saving me and all the others from being trapped inside the “psychic’s” den. I have gazed, for years, at the neon sign while gassing up my car at the Arco. I have remarked to friends how someday I am going to make the leap and climb those stairs to self-discovery.

I laughed out loud while reading your article and just thanked the “lucky stairs” (or crystal ball) that it wasn’t me shelling out 45 bucks just to get out of that room. Sitting through an evening of the Village People certainly would have done a lot more for my psyche.

Linda Kingsley
via e-mail

We’ve still got native bees!

Re “The honey flow” by Kate Washington (SN&R Arts&Culture, April 6):

Author Kate Washington interviewed Nancy Stewart for her article on the beekeepers of the Sacramento Valley. Ms. Stewart claimed, “The wild [bees] are pretty much gone, though some years are better than others.” This statement may be clarified for better understanding.

Yes, many of the wild bees have lost their native (pre-Columbus’ arrival) habitat, though there are still many places where significant populations of wild native bees remain. Vernal pools are some of these habitats; here, native solitary bees live in the wild and interact with their host wildflower species during the accelerated blooming season.

Vernal-pool wildflowers depend on the seasonal spring rains to fill up the pools with water, and the pools quickly dry as the summer begins. That gives the wildflowers only a few months to emerge from seed, grow, bloom, pollinate, fertilize and reseed the ground. The native wild bees evolved symbiotically with specific vernal-pool wildflower species.

Competition from honeybees isn’t the greatest threat to wild bees, as both bee species prefer different food. Even wild native bumblebees can live symbiotically with these other smaller bees, provided they have access to flowering plant species.

The greatest modern threat to native bees is suburban sprawl, Wal-Marts and other intrusions that replace vernal-pool habitat with pavement. If anyone wants to view some vernal-pool habitats and their brilliant wildflowers that include every color of the rainbow, visit www.vernalpools.org to begin your search for a vernal pool near you.

Doug Meadowfoam
via e-mail

Isn’t it ironic?

Re “Sacramento Earth Day Celebration 2006” (SN&R Special Advertising Supplement, April 20):

Oh, you pranksters at SN&R! I picked up the latest issue this morning, which included the Earth Day Celebration 2006 Official Program (complete with the optimistic “Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow” motto).

As I started to open the program, what dropped from between the pages? An “American Spirit 100% Additive-Free Natural Tobacco” ad. Subliminal social commentary or unintentional irony? Regardless … it was hilarious.

Margaret Lambright


Re “Re-usery” by Saunthy Nicolson-Singh (SN&R Night&Day, April 20):

The artwork shown was incorrectly attributed to Kristi Green. “Oaktown I-A-N” is the work of Jen Stract. We regret the error. This has been corrected on the Web site.