Letters for August 11, 2011

Letter of the week
Gloom, doom and media

Re “Sacto bucket list” (SN&R Feature, July 28):

Why did you have to start your story on such a negative note? Why not start with all the new things happening in Sac, as opposed to starting it with a doom-and-gloom view? Why do the media focus on the negative? Sure, you recover with a list of things to do around town, but the negative tone sticks with you throughout.

Yes, we are in hard times, but people and places come and go all the time. Things are always changing. You can focus on the past and lament what used to be, or you can look at all the cool happenings and all the positive things going on every day. Your list by itself proves what a great place Sacramento is. It is far from an endangered species.

Richard McElroy

No booths that she can see

Re “Sacto bucket list” (SN&R Feature, July 28):

Wow. With 12 authors, one would think that there might be someone in there that actually thought to go to Club Raven and see how it looks since they redid the place, what, a year ago? Please let me know where they are hiding the booths, because I certainly miss them.

Lauren Margaux

But he still reads the local paper

Re “Sac bucket list” (SN&R Feature, July 28):

After reading your bucket list, I made a mental note that I had done about 70 percent of all the activities listed, yet you forgot the one that could possibly make people the happiest yet: moving to Los Angeles. It’s the best thing someone could possibly do and should be No. 100 on your list.

Gary Trujillo
Los Angeles

Go geothermal

Re “Solar wars” by Rebecca Bowe (SN&R Frontlines, July 28) and “The air up there” (SN&R Editorial, July 28):

Thank you, Rebecca Bowe, for the article on the growing pains of the California solar industry.

However, let’s not forget another more mature source of renewable energy, especially one where California is the undisputed world leader: geothermal energy. Calpine, the largest geothermal power producer in the U.S., owns and operates 15 power plants at The Geysers in Sonoma and Lake counties, with a net generating capacity of about 725 megawatts of electricity—enough to power 725,000 homes, or a city the size of San Francisco. The Geysers power plants have been in production for over 50 years. There are plants in other parts of California where conditions are as suitable, for instance, in the Imperial Valley and near the Salton Sea, but the drilling has only scratched the surface of exploiting the natural heat of Mother Earth.

Geothermal power plants do not require large amounts of land (unlike solar farms), and do not disrupt ecosystems (unlike solar farms), are very efficient and reliable, and can run 24-seven (unlike solar farms, night and cloudy days don’t stop geothermal power production). Many will say, “The potential is huge, but a cost barrier remains.” Yet the barrier for solar is the same for geothermal. However, solar is sexy and getting a lot more of the attention, and so is getting a great deal more financial support.

Geothermal energy has the opportunity of fulfilling a huge need for power here in California. If only it were as good-looking as solar!

As for your editorial’s suggestion No. 10, which says, “Do your garden chores gasoline free. Avoid gas-powered yard tools such as mowers, blowers, edgers and trimmers—switch to electric-powered tools,” I must ask: Why use electric-powered tools at all? Are we too lazy to work up a little sweat by using hand tools? I use a push mower—perfect for small to medium lawns, yet I never see yard crews use them, let alone individuals.

Ian Crawford

Superheroes and geopolitical history

Re “Captain America doesn’t suck” (SN&R cover tease, July 28):

Since today there is still a lack of big-budget movies appealing to either female or nonwhite ethnic audiences, the movie industry decides to revive World War II propaganda cartoons defending a U.S. imperialist perspective, such as Captain America.

Movies aren’t interested in telling about when the U.S. acted as its own enemy, including when it supported foreign powers, such as Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler. However, without the U.S. involvement with World War I, and later the U.S. allowing the Soviet Union to begin to swallow up [Eastern] Europe, there wouldn’t have been support for the Nazis or the lack of other significant counterforces.

Of course, Russians and Eastern Europeans can tell you if there had been a real “Red Skull,” he’d be Soviet, and just like them, he’d always blame the Nazis for the crimes he committed, including for all the deaths of detainees in “concentration camps” in Eastern Europe. I’ve heard true stories about how Soviet military commanders would demand Russians to spit on the German flags from those whom they captured, and were disappointed when much of the Russian populace refused to disrespect or hate their government’s German “foe.”

The world policies of U.S. imperialism following World War II not only cost the lives of its soldiers who fought for what they thought was right, but resulted in fulfilling the prophecy of “gaining the whole world to lose its soul,” as did empires as Rome and Spain, who also thought themselves too big to fail.

Michelle Kunert

Don’t drink your calories

Re “Big/Green” by Christine MacDonald (SN&R Feature, July 21):

The trend of crunchy-granola brands selling out to big corporations like Kraft or Unilever started even before Mill Creek sold itself in the early 1990s (prompting the last known instance of an actual boycott at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op), because the corporation in question practiced animal testing.

But the assumption that the original products mentioned in this article are ecologically groovy is contradicted by the fact that most of them are very watery. It’s much more economical and thrifty to buy one’s calories in a more concentrated form, such as fruit, juice concentrate, soybeans, rice or cheese. Moreover, distributing all these high-margin watery products requires much more energy than is needed to send tap water to our houses, because water is very heavy. All these heavy, watery products are distributed on smelly diesel trucks. Consumers have the power to significantly reduce emissions of both diesel particulate and greenhouse gases by boycotting products that are mostly water.

Of course, the best way to save money and keep corporations in line is to never buy anything with a brand name on it, or anything you see advertised on TV.

Muriel Strand

Save the oceans—ban plastic bags

Re “Oceans are dying” (SN&R Editorial, July 14):

The urgency of this opinion piece is not overstated. Our oceans are dying, but not just due to climate change and overfishing. The Pacific “Garbage Patch” is twice the size of Texas and still growing.

This plastic pollution is killing millions of fish, seabirds and sea turtles each year. The throwaway culture that big plastic corporations have promoted for decades comes at the expense of our ecosystem. Too much of this trash heap comes from things we don’t need, like plastic grocery bags. Nothing we use for a few minutes should last hundreds of years in our oceans.

This year, Sacramento’s city council should follow in the footsteps of cities like San Jose in passing legislation to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. We need our elected officials to take this important first step in reducing plastic pollution. Shifting to reusable canvas bags is a permanent way to protect our oceans from this immanent threat.

Travis McGee

Co-op realities for cannabis

Re “Who owns the Co-op?” (SN&R Letters, July 28) and “The 420” (SN&R Supplement):

When a co-op incorporates with the secretary of state, the co-op must state whether it is a “member” or “non-member” corporation, referring to the membership’s relationship as either voting or nonvoting in corporate decision-making. REI has voting members and Costco doesn’t. Membership voting can get very cumbersome, especially in the early development of a co-op, with problems with like making quorums or enduring mob pressure.

People are often unclear of the concepts involved in who actually “owns the co-op,” and nowhere is that more evident than in SN&R’s slick new “The 420” section, where dispensary “owners” are noted and quoted amongst the ads for medical-cannabis “collectives,” “co-ops” and “nonprofits.” Nobody “owns” a collective, or co-op, or nonprofit, or a Boy Scout troop, or a blood bank, or a Moose Lodge. These entities are run by a group of individuals, as officers and directors and even voting members, and anyone who claims to own a distribution center of medical marijuana sounds like they are on really shaky legal ground in that [Senate Bill] 420 did not provide for proprietorship in medical-marijuana production and distribution. Maybe an article in “The 420” with more specific details of the technical parts of the law and how that law is shaping and evolving would help clear things up.

Missing also is information about the local politics, including which municipalities oppose the legislative intent of S.B. 420 of promoting consistency among the counties and exposing some of their efforts to thwart patient access. There are important and exciting things going on, and all I see in “The 420” are an extraordinary number of expensive ads and a couple of goofy stoner articles.

Matt Vaughn

Ride well-written

Re “The ride of his life” by Jonathan Mendick (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 21):

Wow! What a moving story about Stuart Gherini by Sacramento journalist Jonathan Mendick, written with finesse and sensitivity.

Suzanne Hurt


In last week’s story, “Top 20 big water users,” the amount of water we claimed was produced by the city of Sacramento’s treatment plants and wells last year was incorrect. The accurate amount is about 48 billion gallons. The story has been corrected online. We apologize for the error.