Letters for August 22, 2013

SN&R wrong on NSA surveillance

Re “NSA surveillance necessary” (SN&R Editorial, August 15):

I think that you've completely missed the point. We don't know whether this kind of surveillance is necessary or not, because the government hid the program and then lied about it, and continues to lie about it. You swallowed the 54-terrorist-threats myth hook, line and sinker. Many reputable news sources have discounted this statistic. … Our government is out of control, and we seem helpless to bring it under control. That is the point. If the government actually felt and had proof that the program was necessary, they could have explained that to the American people and gained their support. That they lied and continue to lie about it says that they know this is not true—rather, that it is an unacceptable intrusion on our freedom that would not be tolerated by the American people.

Dan Allison


Damaging to democracy

Re “NSA surveillance necessary” (SN&R Editorial, August 15):

Perhaps you should stick to subjects you have expertise in, like Sacramento food and music. Clearly, you haven’t stayed up-to-date in the [National Security Agency] spying revelations when writing your courageous, unsigned editorial. …

You state that wiretapping is not happening without court approval. As we have learned, court approval is often overbroad. Court approval can often target keywords or behaviors, rather than just individuals. Edward Snowden said, “I, sitting at my desk could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”

And speaking of courts, should we actually be satisfied with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court? They are a secret court, and have denied only 11 out of over 33,000 requests since 1979. One such request, renewed every three months, gives access to all call records from Verizon, foreign and domestic. …

Do some research before you put ink to paper on issues that matter again. Your misinformation is damaging to democracy.

Stu Chuang Matthews

via email

Weed in West Sac

Re “What’s up with West Sacramento’s outdoor medical-marijuana garden ban?” by Ngaio Bealum (SN&R The 420, August 8):

Ngaio Bealum states, “[C]ities shouldn’t be able to ban a small medical garden.” I won’t even go into the subject of how most “gardens”—at least in my neck of the woods—have nothing to do with medicine or with being small. I also find it a curious statement, given California is skirting federal law. I guess Ngaio and his buds (pun intended) are lucky the feds don’t say, “States shouldn’t be able to ignore federal law regardless of what the citizens of those states want.” That argument can cut both ways, my friend. Enjoy your weed!

Jack Hamlin

via email

Forget arena nonsense

Re “Sacramento should vote on the arena” (SN&R Editorial, August 1):

Some weeks back, I signed a petition demanding that the proposed new downtown arena be put to a vote by the citizens of Sacramento. I signed on because I see that as a basic principle, before our elected officials commit to a project of this magnitude, we the people should have an opportunity to have our voices heard.

Now there’s a campaign to get people who signed that petition to withdraw their signatures. … Yesterday, someone left a slick, full-color door hanger [flier] on my door, urging me to withdraw my signature from the original petition, and included a postcard I could send in to do so. The name of the sponsoring organization is given as “DowntownArena.org,” but who is that? It couldn’t have been cheap to print up thousands of these fancy door hangers and distribute them all over the city, so there must be some deep pockets behind this effort, too, but I don’t see them putting their names out in public.

So, let’s forget all this nonsense about who funded which petition for what motives, and stick to the point: Should the citizens of Sacramento have a say in whether the city moves forward with this enormous and controversial project? I think we should.

David Urman

via email