Letters for August 30, 2012

Get off my river

Re “Rage over troubled water” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Feature Story, August 23):

I’m one of those who strongly suggest that Rafting Gone Wild be banned. There is absolutely no reason for drunks to be out trashing the area and making it unsafe for families who want to enjoy the day.

You can “be young and enjoy nature” by not trashing the American River, acting like a bunch of drunken idiots and flashing everyone. There may have been over 3,500 people rafting the river that day, but I’d bet that over 95 percent of them should not have been there at all.

Alex Brown

Gone Wild vows to ‘plan harder’

Re “Rage over troubled water” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Feature Story, August 23):

The Rafting Gone Wild event this year was incredible! We met so many fantastic and giving people who allowed us to tie to their boats, listen to their music, drink with them, laugh, and then move on and do it again.

I think the most important fact to remember from this is that over 3,500 people rafted the river that day. Yes, some fights broke out (but that’s typical of any event with alcohol and a lot of people—just look at the clubs downtown on a Saturday night), but no deaths occurred. Not a single one! With so many people and such powerful forces of nature, this is what needs to be reported.

There was a sense of unity on that river that I have yet to experience in the club scene in Sacramento. It was a successful gathering, and people who voted to ban alcohol on the river need to understand that doing so will not stop this event nor slow it down—on the contrary, it will make us plan harder, stronger and more strategically to freely unify and celebrate being young and enjoying nature.

Amy Geiger

Butterfly Man: ‘Worm’ is a caterpillar

Re “Do the worm?” by Jonathan Mendick (SN&R 15 Minutes, August 23):

In 1950, a Mexican entrepreneur, Jacobo Lozano Páez, began putting a “worm” in bottles of his product, mescal, made from the juice of the blue agave (Agave atrovirens).

The “worm” is actually the caterpillar of a giant-skipper butterfly (Aegiale hesperiaris). It bores in the pith of the agave plant, and the idea was to show that this was the genuine article, made from the correct plant.

It eventually spread from mescal to tequila. But most of the “worms” one sees today are not Aegiale; in fact, it seems nowadays almost any old caterpillar will do. So much for authentication!

And no, contrary to popular mythology, the “worm” is not an aphrodisiac (unless you think it is).

Arthur M. Shapiro

In K.J.’s defense

Re “K.J. Inc.” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, August 16):

Thank you for spotlighting Mayor Kevin Johnson’s efforts to involve more citizens in efforts to promote the arts, create green jobs, reduce homelessness, improve schools, revitalize downtown and inspire more volunteerism. It’s unfortunate, however, that the focus was not on the hundreds of community volunteers and talented students involved or their good work in service to our community.

Despite an exhaustive attempt to paint these efforts as “sinister,” the fact remains that all of initiatives comply fully with local, state and federal disclosure requirements and laws. Every intern, volunteer and employee working regularly in City Hall on these mayoral efforts has an ID badge. All complete the paperwork required by the city, and some even complete Statements of Economic Disclosure.

Just who did SN&R quote to “raise eyebrows” about these collaborative partnerships? Two sources: an “expert” from another part of the state with zero knowledge of Sacramento city government and a candidate for the charter commission (Derek Cressman) that the mayor opposes. But you wouldn’t know that from the article; Cressman’s identification was buried as a footnote under an illustration in a type size smaller than the page number. Talk about a lack of transparency.

As far as transparency of funding goes, most donors to these efforts have been highlighted in public forums, press releases, media events and websites. And the mayor’s office has routinely disclosed behested contributions for years. I’d hardly consider that hiding the ball.

Do some have business before the city? You bet. Just as many of them donate to city council members in their election campaigns. And all of that is public. I’m sure Save Mart Supermarkets has business with the city, too, but I’m sure glad they’ve collaborated with the mayor and city to keep pools open this summer. Ditto for Wells Fargo and the many businesses that helped keep the Clunie Community Center open. The mayor’s initiatives are no different.

Let’s face it. In these difficult fiscal times, the city doesn’t have the bandwidth to address all the issues it faces. But there are many citizens who want to support the arts, attract solar investors to Sacramento and help our homeless. The mayor has stepped up and harnessed this energy into collaborative efforts. And he’s attracted some of the brightest minds in the country to help. Public-private partnerships are becoming commonplace throughout our nation. Mayor Johnson is proud to accelerate the creation of similar efforts here.

Steven Maviglio
Mayor Kevin Johnson’s campaign manager

Salmon in Dry Creek, too

Re “The salmon boom, bust” by Maria Finn (SN&R Green Days, August 16):

Thank you for the excellent article on the plight of our native salmon.

Many are familiar with the annual salmon run up both the American and Sacramento rivers. Few, however, are aware that there is another salmon run into the Dry Creek Watershed.

The Dry Creek Watershed includes, in general, the cities of Roseville, Rocklin, Auburn and Loomis. Almost all of the salmon finding their way up Dry Creek are native chinook.

The Dry Creek Conservancy, working with local partners, has spearheaded stream-restoration projects within the Dry Creek Watershed. Through its efforts, chinook salmon now have expanded natural spawning beds.

Those interested in our local salmon run might enjoy viewing a short YouTube video on the topic; simply Google “YouTube Dry Creek salmon count.”

Mike Stark