Letters for December 15, 2005

Can’t hurt what’s not there

Re “Neither radical nor bizarre” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, December 8):

Jill Stewart writes that the controversy over Governor Schwarzenegger’s appointment of Susan Kennedy as his chief of staff makes “my head hurt.”

That’s odd. There’s nothing in Jill Stewart’s head.

Stephen Green
Fair Oaks

Fiction hurts

Re “Flash! It’s fiction” (SN&R Feature story, December 1):

Well, thank you, Mr. Nye, for your story, “Ink Love.”

I had no idea that truck drivers’ daughters had physical characteristics that set them apart from other people’s daughters. They lack natural beauty! Huh, never knew that. Couldn’t tell by looking at either of my beautiful sisters.

I wonder if any of Mr. Nye’s students have truck drivers for parents, and, if so, could he clarify something for me? Are their sons equally physically unappealing? I have a brother as well. Certainly without ever having seen him, Mr. Nye could let me know how he rates, as I have obviously been a poor judge thus far.

Tracy Ahlenstorf

Tookie’s legacy

Re “Dear Governor” (SN&R Editorial, December 1):

You seem to suggest that Tookie’s innocence is somehow, as you put it, “almost beside the point.” Actually, his guilt is exactly the point. This guy killed at least four people. Killed. Dead. Where is your hand wringing for his victims? You don’t even mention them. Your moaning about this murderer insults their memory.

You clearly put the price of four human lives at nine anti-gang books, some tapes, talks and a “positive impact” that you imagine those things generated. You note that “we won’t know how many young he might have saved.” Perhaps, but we also won’t know how many young his victims might have saved. They had a right to life, too, and it’s a sure bet their impact would have collectively been greater than that of Tookie. If Tookie had such a wonderful impact, the violent gang that he co-founded would have faded away years ago. Instead, it’s his legacy.

Nothing Tookie will ever do short of dying for his crimes will ever begin to pay us back for the four lives he took. Let him have “impact” by demonstrating that one cannot avoid the consequences of his actions.

Dave Garner
via e-mail

Not all liberals support clemency

Re “Dear Governor” (SN&R Editorial, December 1):

Please don’t misunderstand my intentions. I’m a flaming liberal, born and bred. But I offer these humble suggestions as constructive criticism in an effort to thwart the perception that liberal reasoning /writing is at best sloppy, at worst misleading.

Midway through the editorial, it is stated that Mr. Williams’ actions since his incarceration have been a model of rehabilitation, “winning both a citation from President Bush and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.” My understanding is that a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize is purchased for a substantial “donation.” I’m not sure that “winning,” as breathlessly written, is the most appropriate verb in this case.

The next sentence, “He’s written nine books on the evils of gang life” would be better served by stating that he co-wrote nine books. Perhaps I quibble.

But what obviously is meant as the editorial’s tour de force: “If you don’t [grant clemency], he’ll die, his work will die with him, and we’ll never know how many young [lives] he might have saved.” While I understand this to be a rhetorical device, it is ill-suited here. It strikes me as a juvenile attempt at what should have been a rhetorical question, an intangible question not meant to be answered.

But, in fact, one can answer the inverse, blunting the impact the writer intended. How many lives have been snuffed out because this man lived? Four.

D. Flores

Upside-down taste

Re “Flash! It’s fiction” (SN&R Feature story, December 1):

SN&R readers arise! Lend your voices to bring some light to the dim bulbs at SN&R!

I refer you to their listing of the fiction-contest winners in almost exact reverse order. To wit: First-place winner Paula Zaby has a nice, tight piece. Unfortunately, it’s the opening scene of yet another damn CSI television show.

The last finalist listed, Danielle Best, must like Mark Twain. Her hero’s impish behavior comes, charmingly, out of a sense of duty. Good stuff.

The second-place winner is glibly stereotypical: “she looked exactly how you’d imagine a truck driver’s daughter.” Huh?

The second-to-last finalist listed is, well, just read it. It’s too good. I’ll just say that the line “In Jorletta’s palm, miles of red unraveled” ought to stay with you for a while.

Am I crazy, or is the world upside down?

Bruce Peterson

Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true

Re “West Sac’s Catch-22” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, December 1):

I would like to thank Cosmo Garvin once again for writing an in-depth article concerning the unfair gang injunction implemented here in West Sacramento.

Other media sources seem content to simply recycle statements made by Police Chief Dan Drummond and Deputy District Attorney Jeff Reisig in which they cite a “significant” drop in violent crime as a result of the injunction. However, they offer no concrete evidence that support their claims.

Just as they decided not to grant residents served with this injunction their right to defend themselves in a court of law before being served, they apparently see no need or reason to provide facts to support their so-called success in controlling “gang activity” or even evidence that an organized gang actually exists in the first place!

What infuriated and baffled me the most about the Yolo court’s decision was the statement that the four defendants represented by ACLU lawyers had no right to challenge the gang injunction because they are not gang members, but they are living under a gang injunction that restricts their lives on every level because the West Sacramento Police Department and Reisig have decided to brand them gang members.

It eerily reminds me of President Bush’s tactic of spouting the same thing over and over again in hopes the public will finally decide one day to believe him simply because he says it is so. Our president—the emperor—has no clothes, and, believe me, neither do Drummond and Reisig, and West Sacramento knows it.

Cheers to Mr. Garvin for being a voice of reason.

Amanda Ridge
West Sacrament

What does SN&R use for brains?

Re “Dear Governor” (SN&R Editorial, December 1):

I read your letter to the governor and decided to never pick up this rag again. Tookie may have done some good, but it does not undo cold-blooded murder or a conviction or a just sentence.

I cannot fathom what you and Snoop Dogg use for brains.

C.C. Robertson
via e-mail

Just another theory

Re “Just a theory” (SN&R Letters, December 1):

It’s just a theory, but maybe the reason SN&R portrays law-enforcement officers the way it does is because the cops deserve it.

Despite what you learned during your cradle-to-the-grave brainwashing as a kid, the police exist to protect the interests of the wealthy and elite, not the common people. Ask any person of color growing up in the ghetto. Ask any activist who has ever tried to bring about positive social change that conflicts with the status quo.

Take, for example, the counter-protest against the Minuteman Project rally at the Capitol in October. The police decided to charge at a group of protesters who were completely peaceful at the time. I was there. I was almost beaten and arrested by police officers.

Or, take Sacramento Food Not Bombs, a group that gives out food to the needy twice a week. Just because we do not have a permit, the cops will harass and occasionally cite the members for the crime of helping people without a permit. In San Francisco, Food Not Bombs members were arrested hundreds of times. They were also beaten by police, and one member had his neck broken by the cops.

This is only a partial list; add to it any number of Driving While Black arrests, illegal searches, coerced confessions, forged evidence, brutal beatings and wanton murders.

If this is the work of an “agency whose job is to protect” citizens, then I suggest they get their act together fast. And I want to commend SN&R for not backing away from a story just because it challenges authority. Keep up the good work!

Alex Berkman

See green, save the river

Re “Seeing green” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, November 23):

I appreciate your article on the Upper American River Project.

I would love to see more articles like that one in the future. Our public needs to be more educated about the fact that rivers are part of our ecosystem, that SMUD has the responsibility to ensure that the American River be protected, and that we live in harmony with our rivers and nature. The public needs this information to understand that when the ecosystem is jeopardized, we will be the ones to suffer the ultimate consequences.

Thank you very much.

Bonnie Wann