Letters for April 8, 2010

Letter of the week
She’s sick of pink

Re “Know your breasts” by Nora Heston (SN&R 15 Minutes, March 25):

Enough with the breasts, already! I am so sick and tired of hearing about breast cancer that it’s reached the point where I actually hate the sight of pink! There’s awareness and then there’s obsession.

This business regarding breast cancer has turned into an obsession, and it’s been my experience that no obsession is ever healthy, no matter how well-intentioned it may be. I am not a pair of breasts, nor am I a colon or a female pelvis; so why must early detection and cures for cancer always be about these three areas of the body, plus prostate cancer in men?

I recently lost my uncle to bone cancer. That’s right: It did not start in his colon, it did not start in his prostate gland, it did not even start in his breast (yes, I’m well aware of the fact that men can get breast cancer, too, but not in his case); and since he wasn’t a woman, he had no cervix for it to start in. So what is the message here? Did my uncle deserve to die in terrible pain because he didn’t get cancer in a popular part or system of the body? I also lost my father to skin cancer, and I can’t help but wonder how many times doctors tortured my loved ones by jamming fingers and foreign objects up their backsides, looking for problems that didn’t exist, all the while that cancer was forming in the aforementioned parts of their bodies, but nobody paid any attention until it was too late.

Cancer is cancer, no matter which part of the body it strikes first. Without early detection, bone cancer will kill you just as surely as breast cancer, skin cancer just as surely as prostate cancer. I’ll get on the cancer bandwagon when all cancers are covered and not before!

Rainbow Singer

Concessions? What concessions?

Re “Strapped” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, March 25):

I was struck by the comments of Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy on whether the city ought to seek contract concessions this year from Local 39, the city’s largest public employees union and the only union that refused to forgo wage and benefit hikes during last year’s $50 million city budget crisis. “Local 39 lost a lot of people. I’d say that’s a pretty big concession,” Sheedy said.

On the surface, she appears to have a point. The city did fire a goodly number of 39 members last year, all of them junior workers just starting out in life with young families to house and feed. And the city laid off 41 percent of its park workers, mostly Local 39 members.

But what Ms. Sheedy fails to mention is why these workers were fired. The old bulls who run Local 39 refused to forgo generous wage and benefits hikes last year, thumbing their nose at the city and Sacramento residents, while throwing their own junior members under the bus. Remaining 39 workers are enjoying fat pay and benefit hikes while their younger “brothers” are standing in unemployment lines and losing their homes. Current Local 39 employees have sacrificed absolutely nothing in the current crisis. In fact, they are enjoying higher incomes and benefits at a time when state workers are struggling to cope with 15 percent pay cuts.

The leadership of Local 39 is so intransigent that rank-and-file members working for the city of Auburn last year filed a grievance against their own union officials for unfair labor practices in refusing to negotiate in good faith with city officials.

Ms. Sheedy’s “spin” on the plight of Local 39 reminds me of the old story of the young man who, after being convicted of killing his own parents, pleads for compassion and leniency, claiming: “Judge, I am an orphan now.”

Craig Powell

Sacramento County Taxpayers League

R.V. blames Israel …

Re “Foreign affair” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Frontlines, March 25):

Like most articles about Israel, R.V. Scheide started with the premise that all the woes in the Middle East are Israel’s fault. Read most articles about Israel in any media and the real truth comes out in the last two sentences: “Israel was attacked.” What is it about the media that doesn’t get that Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorists? What doesn’t the media get about a terrorist people who hide in schools and homes and use children as shields so that more people are killed, or those terrorists that blow up buses and airplanes? I am really tired of Israel bashing.

My understanding is that Hezbollah, the PLO, Fatah, Hamas and most of the other factions in the Middle East are terrorists! What is it that you are not getting? If your article wants everyone to divest from countries to penalize terrorists, I’m all for it. But if you want to penalize a country trying to defend itself from terrorists, I must divest from your publications.

Sandra Turner

… and Israel can’t take criticism

Re “Foreign affair” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Frontlines, March 25):

Sadly, I find that the only country above and beyond criticism on this planet seems to be Israel. Are they scared of criticism? Are they scared of being objectively addressed? What have they to hide? What are they afraid of?

Openness is the hallmark of a democracy, I believe. Israel claims to be a democracy, so what are they ashamed or afraid to disclose to the rest of the world? Free people welcome criticism.

Andrew O’Donnell

Justice and mental health

Re “Mind games” by Amy Yannello (SN&R Frontlines, March 25):

“When will justice come to Athens?” they asked of Thucydides. He answered, “Justice will not come to Athens until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are.” His words are as true today as they were 25 centuries ago. Will we ever understand that if we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat it?

I am grateful for Amy Yannello’s article for calling attention to the dire needs of those in our communities challenged by mental-health realities and needs which, once again, are given the lowest priority by city, county and state leaders whom we elected. My heart was filled with joy and hope in 2004, when a convincing majority of voters supported the measure which secured (as untouchable for other purposes) funds to meet the sobering needs of our fellow citizens who have a mental illness.

It would appear that we are breaking our word (once again) to provide even a minimal quality of life for the most fragile of our neighbors whose lives are as worthy as ours. Must we continue to ignore history’s lessons? There, but for the grace of God, go we.

Sandra Little