Letters for August 21, 2008

Letter of the week
Patience and respect, please!

A recent phone call to my 95-year-old mother prompted me to question why supermarkets are not required to have preferential checkout services for the elderly and the disabled.

My mom is a longtime Sacramento resident. Although she has received invitations from family members and friends to live with them, she prefers to maintain her independence. Although her age is advanced, her intelligence, social and political awareness is impressive, as indicated by changing the television channel whenever President [George W.] Bush appears on the screen (a practice she began with former President Ronald Reagan).

Despite challenges, she takes care of not only herself, but also her aging 12-year-old constant companion Cuddles, a devoted miniature dachshund. She perseveres in her independent living with the same spirit that she used during the Great Depression, when she was the sole economic support for her mother and brother, or when my father was hospitalized for six months.

In the early ’80s, she was mugged in Midtown while waiting for a bus. The next day, she was back at the same bus stop. “I cannot stop living because of what happened,” she told me.

Is it reasonable for society to continue to test her endurance and perseverance, along with other elderly persons who have chosen independent living, by requiring that they wait in checkout lines like a 25-year-old shopper? One measure of civility in a society is the manner in which older persons are given consideration.

Many seniors contribute to our society in various fields. However, a segment of the older population is vulnerable to physical challenges. California needs legislation that requires all large supermarkets to have a preferential checkout counter available to all customers, with preference in service accorded to seniors and the disabled.

In the meantime, if you see a 95-year-old waiting in line at the supermarket, please ask her to take your turn at the checkout counter. It might be my mom.

Bill Honer
via e-mail

Less chemicals, more romance

Re “Chemical romance” by Sena Christian (SN&R Feature, August 14):

The otherwise excellent article last week on the chemicals in beauty products failed to note one very important aspect: We cannot buy environmental safety.

Christian did a wonderful job of reporting on the various chemicals in beauty products and their ill effects on our health. This is an important topic that the public needs much more education on, and I appreciated the honest feminist angle. But in the final part of the article, Christian mentions some brands that have signed a toxics-free pledge and reports on her trip to the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

I, too, shop at the Co-op and use products without chemicals whenever possible. But even by eating organic food, drinking filtered water and using chemical-free beauty products, we will not be free from nasty chemicals. Quite literally, no matter how you shop, you cannot immunize yourself from breathing, absorbing, eating and drinking chemicals at potentially harmful levels. We are surrounded by them and there is no place to quarantine ourselves.

So what is the solution? Not just to boycott chemical-laden products and buy safer ones, but also to demand of our government, regulating bodies and the corporations themselves to alter the production processes that churn out this garbage in the first place.

Kevin Wehr

Hip but for-profit

Re “Outsourcing gets hip” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Frontlines, August 14):

Thank you for the wonderful article, but please note that we are not a nonprofit company. We are a private company.

Rudy Rupak
founder, Planet Hospital Inc.

Where’s that scripture?

Re “Mass attention” (SN&R Letters, August 14) and “The new evangelical” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, July 24):

I read with interest the article regarding the Capital Christian Center and the letter from Mr. Patterson in SN&R. They inspired me to read the New Testament again.

I found the sermons Jesus preached (the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, etc.). I looked for the sermon where Jesus exhorted his disciples and followers to collect funds to build large churches, cathedrals and temples; fill them with costly decorations and technological equipment; and to purchase elaborate robes and headdress. I couldn’t find that one.

Sharon Goodnight

If you like sitting in church, do more of it

Re “Mass production” by Nick Miller (SN&R Sacreligious!, August 7):

Born and raised Catholic, I took for granted the importance of the Catholic Mass throughout high school. The heavier stresses of adulthood, coupled with what appears to be a growing trend of senseless violence in our world, however, have propelled me into the Church seeking answers and to renew my faith.

Of the many sects of Christianity, Catholicism boasts its Mass as being the most authentic and unchanged throughout the centuries. Though the music and aesthetics might change from church to church, the structure is largely the same throughout all Catholic churches throughout the world.

For someone who says they enjoy sitting in churches so much, I would encourage you to take your questions to a member of the church community. Maybe there is a reason for your curiosity?

Finally, I must say it shouldn’t be alarming for an atheist to sit in a church. The Catholic Church is a living organism of human beings striving to do God’s will (and, of course, an incredible institution of power). This is a daily process, and disagreements and changes occur often and are normal.

I am perplexed by how easily atheists and agnostics dismiss Christianity, or any religions, for that matter, because supposedly if you subscribe to a church you must submit to it. Many saints celebrated by the Catholic tradition were actually quite rebellious toward the status quo (see Saint Teresa of Avila).

Thank you for seeming to be an exception to this rule, and for seeing our church for its positive merits.

Justin Nash

Send SN&R to your frenemies!

Re “The 10 most awesomely bad moments of the Bush presidency” by Brad Reed (SN&R Feature, July 31):

Thank you very much, SN&R, for publishing this article by Brad Reed. It is an excellent summation of the Man Child in Chief’s ugly reign over this country. I applaud you for standing up to that bully by publishing it. I am going to e-mail it to conservative family members, just for fun.

James Morin

Population and sprawl

Re “SPRAWL-E” (SN&R Editorial, July 24):

Senate Bill 375 intends to help reverse global warming by addressing transportation and land-use strategies. Sadly missing in this bill, and in the editorial, is the recognition that relentless population increases will eventually overwhelm any short-term gains from implementation of S.B. 375.

Access to family planning, youth and women’s employment programs, reproductive health and education must be integral parts of any long-term solution intended to reduce greenhouse gases.

Evan Jones

Ramping up for Armageddon

Re “Christ, Antichrist” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, July 24):

John McCain has the fundamentalist Armageddon vote locked up. Pastor John Hagee’s end-times theology and those who subscribe to it are wildly enthusiastic about John McCain. Why not? With McCain as president, they will be a button away from their glorious Armageddon.

No, seriously, only fruitcakes want end times to transpire. Here’s the scenario: The planet is destroyed and the human population is decimated so that a few million fundamentalist foot soldiers can be saved and lifted up into heaven. How altruistic.

These end-timers and “apocalypse now” folks have prostituted Christ’s teachings, and they see John McCain as their last best chance for salvation—the world be damned!

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

But the intern who asked the question is, uh, French

Re “Do you still hate the French?” (SN&R Streetalk, July 24):

Boy, for an intelligent publication you folks can really sound incredibly stupid. I have to say I was absolutely astounded by the question.

Let’s see, which French are we talking about anyway? Was it the French who were absolutely right about the Iraq war and our own government’s blatant deception in justifying said war? Or maybe it was the French who lost more soldiers and citizens in World Wars I and II defending “democracy” than the entire combined forces of the allied armies? No?

Then it must have been the French in the late 1700s, whose government nearly bankrupted itself financing the war of independence that allowed this country to become the democracy it is in the first place. Are those the French we’re supposed to hate?

I’m confused, because I was under the impression that the concept of hating the French was perpetuated by a right-wing coalition of xenophobes and racists determined to squash any opinion that might question our illegal and catastrophic march towards war, and here I am reading it in a publication I had sort of understood was dedicated to standing against those same narrow-minded bigots and ethnocentrists and their desire to diminish the validity of free speech and the right to dissent … hmmm. What were you thinking?

Thankfully, the responses, to a person, confirm any thinking man or woman’s realization that it will probably stand as the most infantile and stupid question your editorial staff has ever had the gall to ask the Sacramento public. Good for them.

As for SN&R, shame on you for not having the creative wherewithal to ask a question more along the lines of, “Are you at all pissed off that 150,000 Iraqi citizens and 5,000 U.S. troops have been killed in a war based on innumerable lies and deceptions perpetuated by our administration to consolidate unheard of profits for oil companies and contractors with direct ties to that administration and their cronies?” Or “Are you at all upset that our media continues to censor the truth in an effort to protect an administration that will be remembered as one of the most corrupted and flagrantly criminal in the history of this United States?” Surely, you are a better and more broad-minded voice of tolerance and free-thought than this.

Jeffrey DeVore


Last week’s news story, “Hold that election!,” (SN&R Frontlines, August 14), incorrectly stated that Marjorie Koller lives outside Sacramento County. In fact, Koller resides within Sacramento County. We regret the error. It has been corrected online.