Letters for August 4, 2011

Letter of the week

Before the flood

Re “Flood future” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Frontlines, July 21):

Reading about flood insurance in this article raised issues about how insurance—in all its forms—enables people to gloss over the risks and uncertainties that we undertake every day. Building a house in a flood zone is a risk that homeowners allow themselves because they can buy insurance to supposedly cover costs in case of flood damage. The problem is that insurance can’t always cover all the costs, especially emotional ones that come with loss, and insurance permeates our lives so completely that we’ve forgotten about our personal responsibilities.

If we wanted to build a house in a known flood zone and there was no insurance, would we build it?

It’s true that disaster-level flooding is rare now, but recent weather patterns are showing that disaster, when it does occur, is much more costly that it’s ever been in our history. Pressure to change laws about risk and insurance are really a battle about money, about insurance companies worrying about their own profit margins and the life of their company and jobs. On the other side is the individual who doesn’t want to give up the fantasy world of thinking that insurance will cover all possibilities of loss.

Think about if none of us had insurance for anything. We might be more aware of what’s going on with ourselves, our bodies and how we treat those bodies, our driving habits, where we live and how we live. We would learn that we can be responsible for our own actions. On the financial end, prices for just about everything might not rise so quickly, since insurance is a huge hidden cost of doing business and living our lives.

Sacramento may be in danger of being flooded at some future time, and I agree that the levees need to be strengthened to help avert that flooding, but we should understand that we also need to prepare for possible flooding as a community and put a plan in place for helping each other should a major flood devastate the city and surrounding areas. Insurance companies are worried about profit, not the community. But this is our community, and if we really care about its future, we will plan in a way that takes responsibility for where we are and what we will do for all its citizens should a flood sweep through our streets and homes.

Ellen McMahill

He’s got a bucket list

Re “Sacto bucket list” (SN&R Feature, July 28):

Trees and flowers in Capitol Park—unique!—riverfront and American River bike trail; the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts; California Automobile Museum; Crocker Art Museum; Wednesday noon concerts (free!); honey! (and Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies on X Street); Kobasic’s Candies and ice cream (truffles!); the vibrant local theater scene; hot-dog vendors; the Casa Garden Restaurant on Sutterville Road; the parks everywhere.

Evan Jones

Her bucket list includes SPW

Re “Sacto bucket list” (SN&R Feature, July 28):

If you’re going to talk about wrestling in Sacramento, you are horribly negligent in leaving out the longest-running company in town: Supreme Pro Wrestling. This is clearly an oversight by your editors, since you covered them just a few months back (“Lords of the rasslin’ ring” by Jason Probst, SN&R Arts&Culture, April 14).

SPW has been putting on monthly shows for 11 years and has the distinct honor of being the first wrestling home of current WWE star John Morrison.

Jessica Honsinger
West Sacramento

Expand community gardening

Re “Grow your own” by Nick Miller (SN&R Beats, July 28):

Thank you for writing about the community garden movement.

I am a community gardener myself and a big fan of Bill Maynard. My garden is in Midtown, where there is huge interest and long waiting lists for the little bit of space we have. We need many more community gardens.

Yes, it is hard work, but the other gardeners with established plots are always ready to lend a hand with advice and muscle power to newbies. In our garden, we welcome new gardeners and share freely. Everyone has a special talent for some part of the process. That is one of the best things about community gardening, along with seeing the absolute joy on the faces of passers by who are delighted at the sight of lush crops growing right in their city neighborhood. Lack of experience shouldn’t stop anyone who has the desire and the willingness to become an urban farmer.

What I would like to see is some kind of tax incentive which rewards owners of unused land who allow community gardening on their property.

Mary Ann Martorana

Think human-sized

Re “Solar wars” by Rebecca Bowe (SN&R Frontlines, July 28):

It’s ironic that the author concludes that gargantuan, desert-sited solar units like those of Bechtel [Corporation] will bring solar power to the impoverished masses. Let’s not forget that the reactors at Fukushima were manufactured and built by General Electric Co. and Bechtel.

My testimony last week to the California Energy Commission, on its biannual report regarding nuclear power, included references to the feminization of household-generated power and community inventories of locally produced power.

Harbor Freight [Tools] sells a small solar panel for about $250. My neighbor had a small windmill made from soda cans. Although this produces small amounts of power, it can be woven into the electric supply grid.

California produces over 60,000 megawatts annually, but only needs 40,000. Electricity is elusive, a wanderer, ionic in character. We, the people, should be producing power on our porches, backyards and available common spaces. We, the people, should deny electric subsidies that encourage waste at businesses like open refrigeration units in grocery stores, and perpetual lighting at automobile dealerships. Did you know that residential rates are two to three times higher than the electric rates for businesses?

I say there are too many contradictions, and not enough popular empowerment.

Michael Monasky
Elk Grove

That darn arena!

Re “Off the bus” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, July 21):

The bus trip by the Think Big Sacramento folks was just part the dog-and-pony show Mayor [Kevin] Johnson is running to keep the media hyped up on the proposed downtown arena. It’s part of the lead up to the September get-together with the press and the taxpayers to explain just how they plan to finance the arena. They should also present realistic figures for the total, all-inclusive cost of the arena. I can hardly wait to see how the construction funds flow in without a hit on the taxpayers.

Incidentally, I noted some city employees have been detailed to work out a plan where both the transit center and the arena can share the site. That’s like trying to put 2 quarts of water into a 1-quart jug. I would assume the arena proponents will reimburse the city for the cost of the time these city employees spend on their work.

James G. Updegraff