Letters for August 7, 2003

Parra should be a model—for change

Re “The daily bread of politics” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, July 24):

After reading the description of Assemblywoman Nicole Parra walking the runway in the Legislative Fashion Show fund-raiser, removing her jacket and twirling in a camisole to a cheering audience of colleagues, lobbyists and the heated-up speaker of the Assembly—who was praying to a priest (of all people!) to help him control his urges—I imagine she might now regret her foolish behavior.

Certainly, she wasn’t elected to the Legislature merely to flaunt her body. In fact, I hope she remembers her regret, if any, as she performs her role as chair of the Select Committee on Megan’s Law. She has the power to effect changes in California’s current legislation that brands men as sex offenders for life, based on one moment of poor judgment.

I’ll bet she’d like the whole fashion-show stunt to just go away—to take back that moment in time. The men whose lives are ruined by one fraternity streaking prank or a single misdemeanor plea bargain of sexual battery that resulted from a leveraged charge in a he-said-she-said case—men whose single regrettable acts had nothing to do with children—they’d like to take their foolish actions back, too.

I hope Ms. Parra has the courage and consciousness to effect such changes—and not just a nice body used to raise money.

Marci Rosenthal

Rowling nails Ashcroft

Re “Riled about Harry” by Kiel Lamar (SN&R News, July 24):

I beg to differ with the descriptions of the Harry Potter books given in this article.

The Harry Potter books do not anywhere teach anyone how to do “magic.” They contain a lot of nonsense words used for methods and procedures, unless you know of a place where one can purchase “batsling” with which to make a potion to change yourself into a likeness of someone else.

It’s not complete fantasy, either. I’m barely halfway through the fifth book, and fantasy it may be on the outside, but it truly is pure political satire.

With apologies to those who haven’t read it yet, if Delores Umbridge, a character in the fifth book, isn’t John Ashcroft, then show me someone else so determined to deprive us of our civil rights.

The reason the book was so late was because J.K. Rowling wanted to wait and see if the United States would really attack Iraq. She shows that the ones in charge are as much of a danger to us as the ones who hate us. The ones who hate us can only bomb us. Our own government would demolish the Bill of Rights, if given half a chance.

Personally, I’m much more afraid of John Ashcroft than I am of Saddam Hussein—or Delores Umbridge.

C. Jones
via e-mail

Choices have consequences

Re “Double jeopardy” (SN&R Guest Comment, July 24):

At various times in each of our lives, we enter a store that has only two rules: (1) If you touch it, you buy it; and (2) There is no price tag on anything.

If and when you bring something to the counter, you get the true cost. That item will cost you your reputation. That other one will cost you your health. Yet another one will cost your marriage or your kids.

The cost is not the same for everyone, but the cost is there. When you are an ex-felon, you are an ex-felon with all the cost associated with it.

I know the Guest Comment writer feels that he is penalized twice. Will he be the one to “give up in disgust and wind up perpetuating the cycle of crime and recidivism,” which, as he stated, is a choice?

Or, will he get past that and live his life the best he can? In time, he will know.

Craig Lavezzo
via e-mail

Snapping at Bites for writing “cat bait”

Re “Adventures of Subversive Kitty” (SN&R Bites, July 17):

Youse guys at SN&R were probably laughing your arses off, but, I think that it’s pretty catty that Bites sets up his “very own 8-year-old loin-fruit” to do his dirty work.

This act reminds me of Fagin of Oliver Twist. (Did any of youse grungie-pups read that Dickens classic?)

I dig the Bites write, but, it’s apparent that as a man and a father, Bites has been sniffing his own kitty litter for too long.

I ask the question: Is it professional to get to a man through his wife—even in newsprint? Even I can compose cat bait: Bites’ reference to Mrs. Davis “looking like the stewardess she once was” makes me wonder if Bites is secretly signaling Nibbles’ mom (Cat lady?) to switch from an alley can to Purina.

Last tom-cat swipe: Didn’t we just send our own kitties to Iraq to do our job? Bites, you be write in tha’ flo, Dog—uh, huh!

Rick Martin

Why mix the spiritual and the spicy?

Re “Freedom” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, July 24):

Why is “Ask Joey” located next to the “Spicy Personals”?

Is this like a kindergarten near a red-light district (young children are also original and joyful)?

Spiritual seekers do not object to sexuality, but this placement is a little weird, sort of like running the obituary notices next to wedding announcements.

“Ask Joey” is one of the best things about SN&R. Yes, I prefer spirituality to ads about horny people. This column has run for about six years. When will you give Joey’s ideas a much needed “promotion” by moving it? After year 10?

T.M. Acord
via e-mail

An Amber Alert for missing pets

Re “Dog gone blues” by Carol Terracina Hartman (SN&R News, July 31):

As a recent Davis “tourist,” I came across your very wonderful story about Janessa Niskey and Jake. The topic of canine theft and lost animals in general has recently grabbed my attention.

More than 7 million pets annually are lost or otherwise become separated from their loving families and are not reunited. The ones that are not adopted are usually euthanized.

In an effort to help pet owners find their lost or stolen pets, to help people who find stray animals reunite them with their partners, and to alert shelters and vets to lost or stolen pets, I have begun to develop a National Pet Registry (NPR).

The NPR will be similar to the Amber Alert system, but for pets. When a pet goes missing, an e-mail message will be sent to all those registered in the NPR network who are within a radius of the pet owner’s residence. Neighbors, local vets, animal shelters and pet-rescue centers will also receive the alert.

When a pet is found, those registered with the NPR should be quickly identifiable through a series of keyword descriptions about the animal, making it possible to quickly locate the family.

The development of this network is just getting under way. Once the NPR is in operation, it should help people like Janessa not only find Jake, but also find comfort and reassurance that word will get out on the street that a pet was stolen.

Work on the Web site has only begun, and most of the pages are not working yet. However, if you are interested in following the development of NPR, check back at www.NationalPetRegistry.com in mid-September, by which time we hope to be up and running.

Avram Grossman

Don’t worry about SARS; Jandek fever is coming

Re “Spontaneous combustion rules” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Music, July 31):

I am usually disappointed by the acts that you champion in your music articles, but every so often you will redeem yourself. The quadruple Blue Oyster Cult CD reissue review won my heart so many years ago, and now you’ve name-checked Jandek. Jandek!

Well, hopefully this isn’t the last time you mention Jandek, as a documentary entitled Jandek on Corwood is set to be released in September, and a tidal wave of Jandek fever is about to grip the planet. Mark my words.

Allen Maxwell
via e-mail