Letters for August 5, 2010

Letter of the week
Quiet zombies

Re “Battle for Midtown” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, July 22):

The Trash Film Orgy Zombie Walk [was] 100 decibels? Really?

According to the American Tinnitus Association, 100 decibels is equivalent to a blow dryer or subway train. I and my son followed the zombies for nearly the entire march, and they were (relatively) quiet, they were respectful and they added a fun twist to Second Saturday. They were not as loud as a blow dryer at close range.

I and my son had no issues with the sound until we reached the 19th Street venues. Now, the bands that perform at the 19th Street businesses are a different story, and maybe that’s what SN&R was picking up.

Show the zombies some love. While they weren’t as quiet as the grave, the zombies were never loud enough to wake the (un)dead. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

John Jaramillo
via e-mail

Quit talking, start asking

Re “Super green!” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Feature, July 29):

If [Mayor Kevin Johnson] or anyone else really wanted to find a solution to this energy crisis, they would put out an open call for ideas and be willing to look into the submissions rather than just putting words that sound good to the media and to the voters. Stop the wordspeak and ask. Let’s sit down, and I will share my vision.

Steven Griffitts
Elk Grove

Is it hopeless?

Re “Where’s the revolution?” by Kylie Mendonca (SN&R Frontlines, July 29):

Reading this article gave me a real feeling of hopelessness regarding the future of this state. California is a mess, and it is sad to see that obvious and necessary change is brushed aside because our elected officials’ careers and those of the special interests rely so heavily on the ever-worsening status quo. It amazes me how fast our politicians forget who they work for once they get elected.

M. Robinson

Cartoon off-base

Re “Cartoon” by John Kloss (SN&R Opinion, July 29):

I am writing to convey my disgust that your paper, which is supposed to be a progressive paper, would portray the mayor of West Sacramento, the area’s only openly gay elected official, as a cross-dresser. It is the most uneducated thing I’ve heard since Sarah Palin coined the term “refudiate.”

By publishing that cartoon, you’re spreading the stereotypes that people sensitive to GLBT issues have been fighting for decades. Being gay does not mean that you are a cross-dresser, and being a cross-dresser does not mean you are gay.

I think you owe an apology to a lot of people and that you should print a retraction specifically stating why it was wrong.

Liz Burk

John Kloss responds: I apologize for any misinterpretation of gender roles in the drawing. A more accurate cartoon would picture the two characters, politician and big developer, without clothes and in bed together. The main issue is preserving old-growth trees in a rapidly growing West Sacramento region.

Love the ugly

Re “Mutt ugly” by Kimberly Horg-Webb (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 29):

Go Team Icky!

Larry Groves

No place for ugly

Re “Mutt ugly” by Kimberly Horg-Webb (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 29):

This is the ugliest dog. What is his place in life looking like that?

Garrett James

Stay in Roseville

Re “Battle for Midtown” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, July 22):

Get over yourselves already—there’s just not that much in Sacra-ghetto’s Midtown for those of us who live in suburban areas like Elk Grove, Folsom and Roseville. Who wants to slum it with drug addicts and panhandlers on every corner? Who wants to pay for overpriced parking and risk the chance of being mugged and having your vehicle damaged or even stolen?

Roseville has better shopping with more variety, along with ample free parking and security patrols.

If we suburbanites want something different, many of us bypass Sacra-ghetto and go to the Bay Area instead.


No leaf blowers, bums, tickets or bikes

Re “Battle for Midtown” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, July 22):

So what’s the “battle”? The first part of the article follows the plot of the movie Footloose, a gimmick which SN&R has now flagellated for decades: the stuffed-shirt old stick-in-the-mud fuddy duddies vs. the young, hip, free-spirited rock and rollers. Lots of stuff about liquor licenses and noise complaints and bars and drinking and rowdiness and that crazy rock and roll music—yeah, but these artists are what make this town vibrant, man; they give this place its pulse.

But then that story arc is abruptly abandoned, and some guy who is all but identified in so many words as a carpetbagger, who runs a chain of parking lots (!), ushers in the forward-looking, proactive, innovative, outside-the-box brochure-speak from garden-variety oligarchs, which fills up the rest of the space in the article. The denouement is the chorus, which features the meaningless word “diverse” a stunning six times.

As a Midtown resident since 1995 (and even then, we still didn’t call it “Midtown”), there are four major elements of concern directly affecting the neighborhood’s livability: (1) leaf blowers, (2) bums, (3) parking tickets (not parking-space availability, but the tickets themselves—they’re now $60), and now (4) people riding their bikes on the sidewalk. These are addressed nowhere in the article, save for a couple of nonsensically flip allusions to “inner-city facts of life.”

Skyrocketing numbers of cars, increasing alcohol abuse and oligarchs trying to out-“vision” one another don’t at all distinguish Midtown from a zillion other places. But ask anybody who has spent any appreciable amount of time living, working or hanging out in Midtown what the effect would be if the four things I listed were dealt with effectively, and make that your “vision” for the neighborhood.

Jeff Field

Can’t rent apartments

Re “Battle for Midtown” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, July 22):

Your Midtown article fails to cover the damaging effects the overconcentration of alcohol establishments in the Midtown and their customers cause to nearby rental properties. Patrons’ repeated destructive actions, excessively loud music and other noise (as shown by your sidebar, “How loud Midtown?”), drunk driving, fighting, knifings, shootings and other misbehavior cause high vacancies, turnover and various kinds of vandalism to nearby apartments.

For years, one fourplex owner near 21st and Q [streets] has been able to scarcely generate enough income to pay her mortgage—some months not even that, due to vacancies. [She] spent [$40,000] inside and out to attract tenants. This is typical of the problem rental-property owners experience. I’ve been told by bar and club employees that they won’t live near where they work because they know the problems and want to get away from them.

Those—including the city and council members—who advocate for more such establishments need to “put their money where their mouth is” to curb such destructive behavior.

Robert Winger
Whisler Land Company

Do panic!

Re “Don’t panic” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, July 22):

If the Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro didn’t think their Proposition 23 would kill California’s clean-energy and clean-air standards, they wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars to deceive California voters into voting for it this November.

You need only look at the exact ballot language to see how radical Prop. 23 is: It says “while suspended, no state agency shall propose, promulgate, or adopt any regulation implementing Division 25.5 (commencing with section 38500) and any regulation adopted prior to the effective date of this measure shall be void and unenforceable until such time as suspension is lifted.” This includes the low-carbon-fuel standard, energy efficiency, renewable portfolio standards, solar roofs, green buildings, and residential and commercial energy-efficiency retrofits, as well as the requirement mandating the state to get one-third of its energy from renewables that is driving massive investment in California’s solar and wind industries.

Furthermore, Prop. 23 is not a “titantic battle between Big Oil and big green.” In fact, it is a battle between two Texas oil companies (80 percent of the money is from out of state and 79 percent is from oil companies) and California’s major new economy employers. Companies ranging from Google, eBay and even PG&E have lined up against it, as have the American Lung Association in California, AARP, and the [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People].

Prop. 23 is a major threat to our economy, the growing renewable-energy industry and thousands of jobs in Sacramento’s clean-tech industry. Any attempt to paint this measure as anything less than that only aids the efforts of Texas oil companies to hoodwink voters.

Steven Maviglio
Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs

Friendly food is unaffordable

Re “Sleeping with the enemy” by Jennifer Davidson (SN&R Essay, July 22):

In her short essay piece regarding Monsanto’s monopoly on GMOs and, therefore, the food market in the United States and perhaps the world, Ms. Davidson pleads for everyone to take what seems to be the only ethical option in our dietary needs: “Eat organic, and you become the voice for every little creature on this fragile planet Earth.”

Although I am sure everyone (everyone besides Monsanto, that is) would agree to that solution, just how likely would it be to have it be realistically implemented? After all, as a poor student, the price signs at the local farmers’ markets often send me cringing and returning home empty-handed. For the large portion of the population that falls within “low-income” status, it is far more practical to succumb to these evil monopolies than to do the heroic thing and buy bell peppers for $4 per pound.

This issue of income and practicality, also covered by Food Inc., the documentary to which Ms. Davidson referred in her essay, is one that should demand more attention and attempts at solving. Perhaps if we could implement a system where it is feasible for a majority of the population to purchase organic produce, fighting these big, bad monopolies would not seem such a daunting and impossible task.

Floreta Liu