Letters for December 1, 2005

Just a theory

Re “Sheriff’s critics get barred” by Jeffrey M. Barker (SN&R News, November 17):

It’s just a theory, but maybe the reason the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department refuses to talk to you guys is because of the way it is portrayed in stories like “50,000 volts” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature story, November 17).

In most articles of this nature, the sheriff’s deputies are always the bad guys who couldn’t think their way out of a paper bag, while the supposed victims are poor, defenseless angels targeted by the mean police officers.

If I was part of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, I’d be afraid of SN&R twisting pretty much every quote to fit its own ends, further raising suspicion about a public agency whose job is to protect the county’s citizens.

Chris Kennedy

Lynndie’s pranks …

Re “Lynndie, Jessica and us” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, November 17):

It’s obvious Jaime O’Neill never pledged a fraternity or had a bunch of real good friends he could harass and be harassed by.

The Abu Ghraib scandal was nothing more than a high-school prank at best, or a college-fraternity prank at worst, that happened to receive liberal media publicity in order to sell newspapers. Right, a high-school prank!

Yes, some terrorists were embarrassed. Big deal! Not one hair on their heads was injured. Christ, I try to embarrass my kids more than that every day. The terrorists certainly fared a lot better than the people who they slowly beheaded on worldwide TV.

So, before O’Neill rides his high horse off into the sunset, he should remember he’s a product of the California education system run by draft dodgers and hippies of the ’60s. Remember, it’s the soldier who protects SN&R’s right to print O’Neill’s essay, not a teacher or professor.

Lou Meyer

… are her own fault

Re “Lynndie, Jessica and us” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, November 17):

In the finest liberal tradition, the essay blames Lynndie England’s mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners on her trailer-park upbringing, society at large and American foreign policy. It’s everybody’s fault except her own.

Never mind the thousands of young Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds who join the military and conduct themselves honorably. Too bad the media concentrates on the misbehavior of a few while failing to report on the many heroic acts of the men and women who serve in Iraq.

Gregg M. Wardrip

Abu Ghraib and Jerry Springer

Re “Lynndie, Jessica and us” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, November 17):

I want to thank Jaime O’Neill for his insightful article on Lynndie England. So many stories or essays are distinctly partisan. However, in giving a fair and honest assessment of Lynndie and her situation, Jaime has written a piece that is distinctly human.

The forces at work in the world, both social and physical, are significant. In this maelstrom, journalists actually have the ability to steady nerves and enlighten minds about innumerable situations. Instead, in the interest of selling papers, they sensationalize, under- and over-report, and give us their version of the truth, because the public sucks it up.

All of this is no more enlightening than watching an episode of Jerry Springer. It would actually be more honest to see politicians and media—heck, even some actors—fighting onstage while the show’s bouncers tug at their shirt tails, holding them back.

Kirk Parker
via e-mail

You can get there from here

Re “Yolo Fruit Stand” by Kate Washington (SN&R Food stuff, November 17):

I just wanted to correct Kate Washington on her mistaken idea that you can’t reach the Yolo Fruit Stand from westbound Interstate 80.

You can get to the Yolo Fruit Stand if you are traveling westbound on I-80. Just take the County Road 32A exit, which is the first exit after the causeway ends. Turn right on County Road 32A. County Road 32A curves to the right and goes back under I-80. Continue on County Road 32A under I-80 and follow the road past the I-80 east onramp. You will see the Yolo Fruit Stand on your right.

Pete Buchman
via e-mail

What downtown is he parking in?

Re “Get a parking clue” (SN&R Letters, November 17):

I am baffled by J.T. Smith’s description of downtown Sacramento as “a ghost town, give or take a few late-night office workers” after 6 p.m.

I was downtown at 7-ish last night and couldn’t find street parking anywhere near the Crest Theatre. All the restaurants and bars in the vicinity were busy, as was the Crest. Traffic was congested, and parking was sparse. Perhaps Mr. Smith should take his own advice and “get a clue.”

Vanessa M. Rose

A better class of jerk

Re “Love me; I’m a Davis liberal” (SN&R Letters, November 17):

I’m a resident of one of the few strongholds for the low-income left in Davis. However, if Mr. Wehr believes that Covell Village was going to help lower rents and open the door to more diverse ethnicity in this city, he is delusional. How could $500,000 to $1,000,000-plus homes help anyone but the rich, predominately white, populace?

I completely understand his point about the hypocrisy of wealthy liberals, and I agree. However, I have a feeling Mr. Wehr’s criticisms come from the right, where mine come from the left. I believe it’s not saving precious green space that causes housing shortages and high rents, but the evil market forces of capitalism that put the profits of developers above the needs of middle- and lower-income working-class folk.

If Davis really cared about creating affordable housing, it would build up, not out. Many people do just fine living in apartments or condos, if the rents reflect the $11 to $19 per hour most people make. We don’t all need three-bedroom homes with garages and yards, and we don’t need to build any more of those. We need to infill Davis with multi-unit living spaces in beautiful and environmentally sound ways.

This won’t happen, of course, because these types of developments don’t bring in the big tax money Davis craves, and Mr. Wehr is right: Most Davis residents don’t want the “riffraff”—common working folks—living here.

Davis is always going to be a rich, white town, but I’m glad they are rich liberal jerks instead of rich reactionary jerks. At least they oppose Bush’s criminal war, support gay marriage and defend a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.

Now, if we can just get them to stop driving their SUVs.

Wayne Schiller

Going long

Re “Skateboarding is not a sport” by Becca Costello (SN&R Feature story, November 10):

Becca Costello’s article was an in-depth, well-written piece on Sacramento’s skate scene these days.

I wanted to write in about another side of skateboarding that is blowing up in Sacramento: long-boarding. The garage where Gail Hart and her cool crew of ladies were pictured bombing is the site for weekly “bomb sessions” of 25 to 30 men and women of all ages (short and long boards) running exhilarating races or just carving it up like a sweet mountain run without the $70 price tag (unless you count the bar tab). We roam garages around downtown and will be taking late-night runs on the hills in the Rocklin /Roseville/El Dorado Hills area. Anyone interested can go to www.bombthecapital.com.

Mike Rafter, featured on your cover and in your article, will be changing that. He came out to our sessions last week and discovered that all types of skateboarders do indeed want the same thing. As Rodriguez said, “We just want to fly.” Mike will be working with me directly to finally provide long-boarders the gear we use to do just that!

Support your local merchants! Thank you, Becca, for a great article!

Hans Eberbach

Let experts check the stats

Re “Policing the police” by Sonia K. Saini (SN&R News, November 10):

We applaud Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia for questioning the Davis Police Department’s statistical analyses regarding racial profiling. Her understanding of statistics is clear.

However, since there appears to be disagreement regarding data interpretation, might we suggest that the data be forwarded to a statistician to verify statistical significance.

The consequences of profiling are grave. We, too, share the concerns of many citizens who identify infringements of their civil rights in Yolo County. We are aware that police officers can detain and arrest with “probable cause.” Who appears to be disproportionately stopped, questioned, and/or identified as a “gang member,” and consequently arrested and/or convicted is the issue. Requesting a review board is a very reasonable recommendation that does not imply an anti-police stance.

Good officers are invaluable to any community and should be respected. A review board is structured to address problems and to be a sounding board for citizens. It’s also an opportunity for the police department to take ownership where it needs to do so.

Citizens’ concerns regarding racial profiling extend well beyond police-department practices. It is always the discretion of the district attorney’s office to decide whether to prosecute those arrested or to drop charges. It is our sincerest hope that political aspirations do not obscure sound judgment.

Barbara Ann McPherson and Dr. Denis M. Dwyre