Letters for August 19, 2004

Protect speech, not violence

Re “Protest this law” (SN&R Editorial, August 12):

I feel that your editorial’s statement that Sacramento’s sheriff’s and police departments, as well as the California Highway Patrol, “overreacted” is an overstatement on the part of SN&R. With the 1999 violence in Seattle by protesters as the example of how this type of protest likely would unfold, it was better they prepared well than allow for another Seattle-style outbreak of violence here.

It is not within the right to free speech that citizens are permitted the freedom to express themselves using violence. The people have the right to peaceful assembly, not the right to be destructive.

Violent protesters should be prosecuted in accordance with the law, not proclaimed as patriotic.

Philip K. Eyrich
via e-mail

Veterans for Peace is always an option

Re “Aftershocks from Iraq” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, August 5):

I feel sorry for Sgt. Richard Sandoval. In his mind, he served his country, got rid of “bad guys” and liberated someone or other.

Now there is mounting evidence that the war was based on lies, the Iraqi people are resentful, U.S. forces are engaging in human-rights abuses, and the administration’s corporate allies are fleecing Iraqis and U.S. taxpayers alike. When the facts clash with one’s beliefs, they create a situation known as cognitive dissonance.

In such a situation, usually it is the facts that are dismissed, as core beliefs are central to one’s entire understanding of the world. However, for someone who has sacrificed as much for his beliefs as a military serviceman has, the internal conflict must be overwhelming. If he were to give up his illusions, he would experience an emotional crisis of overwhelming proportions. Nevertheless, perhaps in crisis there is the opportunity for Sandoval to recover his mental well-being. Maybe it is time for him to contact Veterans for Peace and get a more harmonious set of beliefs.

Phillip Fujiyoshi

Shake the economy, not spears

Re “War is not the answer” by Tom Walsh (SN&R Editor’s note, August 5):

I agree with Tom Walsh that John Kerry should forsake the heavy military stuff. A less-hawkish Kerry would be more consistent with the candidate’s past. And it seems as though Kerry is letting George Bush define the issues when he goes this route. But then again, very highly paid Democratic consultants may be giving different advice.

I’ve always thought that Kerry should frame the election by focusing on economic issues, like the deficit and oil prices. Leave the spear-shaking to Bush and Dick Cheney.

Paul Kekai Manansala

Lessons from the last quagmire

Re “War is not the answer” by Tom Walsh (SN&R Editor’s note, August 5):

Thank you for the excellent editorial. I agree war is not the answer.

When I was young and naive and in college (1968), I could not vote for Richard Nixon because he was too conservative. I could not support Hubert Humphrey because of his support of the Vietnam War. Many thousands of people did what I did and supported a third-party candidate. Because of that, Nixon and Gerald Ford spent eight years in the White House, and their appointments to the Supreme Court have lasted for decades.

The lesson I learned from that experience? I think very seriously now before I vote against a Democrat. I will be supporting John Kerry this time in spite of some reservations I have about him. I hope you will, too.

Gary Miller

Stoops to conquer in Natomas

Re “Stoops to conquer” by Frank Marquardt (SN&R Essay, July 15):

I enjoyed your porch article very much. I noticed you researched the Bee archives for references to Sacto front porches and came up empty.

It’s a little-known fact that the North Natomas Community Plan includes several residential-home designs that encourage the use of front yards. Among the recommendations are front porches or patios, no “snout houses,” living areas facing the street side, and narrow streets with sidewalks. As I understand the drafters, the rationale was to increase security and encourage neighbors getting to know each other by spending more time in their front yards.

I hope the city gets more recognition for doing some things right in North Natomas.

Marni Leger

Stewart misses the bottom line on Proposition 13

Re “By the people” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, August 5):

Jill Stewart calls herself a “journalist.” That’s laughable. Mindless diatribes do not a journalist make.

Stewart’s ignorance of all things political was readily on display in her discussion of Proposition 13. Who were the real winners under Proposition 13? Apartment-house owners, like Howard Jarvis, the man who wrote Proposition 13. The biggest winners were the biggest property owners: Pacific Telephone, Chevron/Texaco, Bank of America, Pacific Gas & Electric, etc.

In the 26 years since Proposition 13 was approved, California’s property-tax system has become so skewed that any semblance of fairness is gone. A friend recently sold her home in Carmel for $1.2 million. Her last property-tax bill was only $530 annually.

Stephen Green
Fair Oaks