Letters for August 18, 2005

Eminently important

Re “Eminent revolt” by Ryan Rose (SN&R News, August 11):

I just wanted to let you know that I and many others appreciate your article on the fight against eminent domain. I strongly disagree with it and hope that you don’t stop telling the people of Sacramento what really is going on with our city.

I have lived in Sacramento since 1985 and have seen a lot of changes for the better and worse. I don’t want to see our great city taken over by corporations who are just trying to make money and don’t really care about Sacramento and its people. I think our mayor and our tax dollars could be working on more important things, like fixing our sidewalks; alleyways; downtown light-rail stations; and, of course, the Greyhound station, instead of spending our tax dollars helping someone who doesn’t know or care about Sacramento to take land from its longtime property owners and residents.

Thank you, Ryan Rose and SN&R, for writing a great, informative story.

David Bryant

Sheriff’s no public-health authority

Re “City of peace” (SN&R Bites, August 4):

Kudos to the mysterious SN&R Bites author who blasted Sheriff Lou Blanas’ opposition to allowing pharmacies to sell sterile syringes.

This is a perfect illustration of the nature of the crisis regarding the already failed drug war. We have essentially allowed law-enforcement officers who have little or no training in medicine to serve as the spokespeople for drug issues.

However, on an issue such as this, it does not take a medical degree to figure out that the sale of clean needles will stop the spread of infections and such public-health threats as hepatitis C and HIV. In fact, in 1999, five leading medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, urged states to remove legal barriers to provide sterile syringes at pharmacies.

In the simplest terms, who would you rather trust on the issue, the American Medical Association or the Sacramento County sheriff?

Since Sheriff Blanas will be retiring soon, he might want to think about his legacy. Taking a backward stance on one of the great public-health issues of our time is not a way to be remembered as a person of vision by future generations in this community.

James R. May

Why vote when it’s a done deal?

Re “Spoon-feeding the public” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, August 4):

One of my fellow church congregants is a naturalized citizen, born in Mexico. While his attitude toward illegal immigrants is usually more severe than mine, he asked me once if I’d ever lived in a nation where it didn’t matter if you voted or not, because the outcome was crafted through corruption.

My answer made him laugh. “Sure, I live and vote in California.”

Jill Stewart’s column describes perfectly why the will of the people is thwarted time and again by state and federal “representatives” who not only don’t need us to be re-elected, but also don’t even need to pretend that they do.

Barbara Vickroy

The dark future of West Sac

Re “Fighting a clampdown” and “Round up the hood!” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, August 4; and SN&R Cover, June 23):

I am a resident of West Sacramento since 1973, and I want to thank you for your coverage of the West Sacramento injunctions. Cosmo Garvin’s articles covered all sides of the issue and made it clear that your paper really cares about people.

Thank you also on behalf of my family. My family has been affected by these injunctions.

On July 30, at the meeting with the chief of police and district attorney, they promised a solution, but they are not keeping their promise. It’s sad that we can’t trust anybody anymore. The future of West Sacramento is dark and full of fear, and it’s just too bad.

Nora Diaz
West Sacramento

Thank heavens for changing attitudes

Re “The macho in me” by Kel Munger (SN&R Cover, July 28):

This was a good piece of writing! Sometimes I put down the long articles without finishing them, but this was a page turner—often hilarious and more often warm personal description and commentary.

I had to reflect back to my own generation’s attitudes. In the mainstream at that time, we “girls” were permitted limited self-expression. In high school, I loved to do sports (field hockey, basketball and softball). The boys dubbed us “Amazons”—that is, not thoroughly feminine. Thank heavens, many attitudes have changed.

Ruth Hultgren

Soon nobody with money will live here

Re “Natalie doesn’t live here anymore” by Shane Goldmacher (SN&R News, July 28):

You almost had me. I thought for a second that someone else got it, but I was wrong.

However, I’ll say it again, not that anyone’s listening: The rich will never, never, never, never pay their fair share of taxes. When will you people realize that?

Natalie Gulbis (by moving to Nevada) is just doing what every other rich person does and will continue to do: keep more of her money, at least until you folks realize that the redistribution of wealth never works!

Nice try with that last paragraph, though. David Geffen of DreamWorks (in the movie industry) and Lawrence Ellison of Oracle (information technology) built their respective businesses here. Just because they’re reportedly “still here” doesn’t mean their assets are here.

Sure, rich people stay in California for the beaches, weather, mountains, etc. But I’m willing to bet the majority of their money goes elsewhere.

Richard Copp

Illegal immigrants are slave labor

Re “Nobody does it better” (SN&R Bites, July 28):

I love Bites. Always fun to read. I really enjoyed the recent column in which Bites defends cheap illegal labor by challenging us to imagine a day without illegal immigrants “to wash the ride, pick the fruit or keep the course trimmed.”

What I’m imagining is a day without what is essentially slave labor artificially decreasing the price of carwashes, produce and golf outings. Perhaps if these items cost more, Americans would use less expensive, smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles (good for the environment) and eat less food (obesity epidemic, anyone?), with the added benefit of not exploiting workers who come here willing to work for pay far below prevailing wages.

I’d pay twice as much for lettuce if it meant an end to illegal immigrant slave labor.

Tyler J. Wade
via e-mail

Guest comments aren’t expert advice

Re “Don’t trust your head to the meds” (SN&R Guest comment, July 14):

I’m not sure how being a certified public accountant qualifies Mr. Patton to comment on the scientific value of psychiatry and pharmacotherapy. Perhaps I should be writing a critique of the new Harry Potter novel with my degree in biology.

His assertion that “there is no scientific evidence that supports psychiatry’s basic principles” is completely false. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy have been repeatedly validated in double-blind placebo controlled studies. These studies are the gold standard in science.

While it is true that, without proper prescription and supervision, medication can be dangerous, pharmacotherapy is by and large helpful. The track record of prescription drugs has made them the standard of care in treating mental illness. For instance, antidepressants are the first line of treatment for depression and have been shown to be highly effective in preventing suicides and causing the depression to go into remission.

What is dangerous is letting ignorant people pretend that science doesn’t have value and that mental illnesses should be ignored.

I will agree with Patton that people should educate themselves as much as possible in regard to their mental health; it just shouldn’t be from an SN&R Guest comment. Almost all scientific journals offer a free summary of individual articles, and Web sites like PubMed (www.pubmed.com) offer a searchable archive of these journals.

Finally, shame on SN&R for printing the original column. Even opinion pieces should be checked for some connection to reality. What’s next, an article praising the virtues of intelligent design?

Joe Sobolewski


Re “Rockin’ the suburbs” by Jeffrey M. Barker (SN&R News, August 11):

This article in last week’s issue misstated the homeowners-association fees at the Sun City Roseville retirement community. Each homeowner there pays $126 monthly.

This has been corrected on the Web site.