Letters for December 20, 2012

Long(er)-term fixes

Re “Freshman disorientation” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Capitol Lowdown, December 13):

It is truly a wonder how so many novice legislators become experts on seemingly every subject just after being elected. Of course, most are merely repeating the party line. It will be refreshing to see how this newly elected group compares with the former kick-the-can-down-the-road, six-year-term-limited assembly members. I have the feeling that they will move to learn how the Legislature works, and in many cases, be more responsive to those that put them in office, because strict party-line positions could well be political suicide. Can you imagine losing after the third term? It is a killer. No one will want a lame duck one-term senator, and being re-elected after losing is highly improbable. Twelve-year terms hopefully will correct some of the ills associated with the former catastrophe of six- and eight-year term limits. Let's hope so, anyway. Great article, Mr. Lucas.

Celes King IV

Los Angeles

Ad awareness?

Re Buy Sell Trade it All Guns, Jewelry & Loan Company advertisement (12 Days of Giving: SN&R’s Nonprofit Giving Guide, December 13):

As a personal friend, co-worker and colleague to all of you for many years, I hope you will take these words seriously. I was very disappointed by the full-page advertisement for handguns, semi-automatic rifles and ammunition I found in the middle of your Nonprofit Giving Guide supplement. I understand the SN&R has a liberal advertising policy that promotes free speech, but to place such an ad in the middle of a section promoting community-minded, charitable organizations is extremely careless. It is an insult to the organizations featured and totally ruined the spirit of the supplement.

It was even placed directly facing the World Impact Ministries ad featuring a headline reading “Empowering the Urban Poor.” Did no one involved even consider the irony of that mixed message?

SN&R is a community-minded company whose own mission statement promises “to have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live.” I believe the company is dedicated to living up to those standards and to do so it is absolutely essential that it change it’s policy regarding gun advertisements in the News & Review publications.

Don Button


Publishers’ note: Two local businesses underwrote listings in last week’s Nonprofit Giving Guide, but unfortunately we did not explain why their ads also appeared in the guide. We regret this omission. There has always been and will continue to be a clear separation between the ads that we run in the paper and SN&R’s editorial mission and content. We share Don’s grief about the events in Connecticut and welcome a national discussion about the many issues that may have contributed to this tragedy.

Bowling alley not cool, K.J.

Re “K.J.’s next act” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature Story, December 6):

I just read the interview with Mayor Kevin Johnson. While I applaud his desire to get people living downtown, the notion that a national chain of “entertainment” bowling alleys will somehow be a “cool” thing that will turn downtown Sacto into a hip place to live is not only the lamest thing I ever heard, but is also about 20 years out-of-date and the example of everything wrong with K.J.’s approach.

Every half-assed city in America thinks all they need is a few gimmicky chain restaurants, a convention center, or an outdoor mall with a brewery and movie theater, and suddenly urban folks will flock to downtown. K.J., do you have any ideas that have anything to do with reality? Try starting to build a downtown culture that is actually Sacramento’s, even if it isn’t accomplished in one shiny new swoop of development. You might not finish building the downtown of your dreams before your term is up, but building a foundation for something real would be an actual legacy and not a novelty—a word which is, at the moment, pretty much the story of your mayorship.

Jane Watson


Why not Cosmo?

Re “K.J.’s next act” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature Story, December 6):

The fact that Mayor Kevin Johnson opted to interview with Nick Miller instead of “sacking up” to interview with Cosmo Garvin told me before I read the article that this would be a gutless avoidance of hard questions (what Nick Miller would vacuously describe as “pivoting”). And so it was. What an empty emerald dream, and what a deceptive monologue of smoke and mirrors.

The last time I was at K.J.’s K Street makeover on a Friday night (about three months ago), I walked out of a brewery at 9 p.m. to a witness a miniriot among young toughs. No cops, no security, just us yokels watching the fight and wondering when the shooting would start in K.J.’s West Side fantasy. And the storytelling continues.

Benjamin Bannister


Carbon-free energy trumps renewable

Re “Bicycle dreams” by Todd Walton (SN&R Essay, December 6):

[Todd] Walton cites Truthdig, which asserts that “Germany has converted 25 percent of its power grid to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass.” It is important to remember that renewable doesn’t mean carbon free. Renewable sources such as biomass and ethanol are still carbon-producing fuels. In fact, by reducing the need for coal and petroleum, they keep the prices of those fuels lower and delay the day when low-carbon sources such as wind and solar become cost competitive with fossil fuels. Renewable fuels are not the answer to global warming: carbon-free energy is.

Jack Kashtan


Retreat mission impossible

Re “Good council” (SN&R Editorial, December 6):

The Ralph M. Brown Act prohibits locally elected officials from meeting, as a body, unless the meeting is publicly announced and open to the public. Two years ago, the council met for a “retreat,” but did not accomplish much. It sounds like SN&R is asking the council to meet in a similar fashion as it does when it begins its budget-building exercise. Those meetings are held at the library and hosted by the city manager and finance director. The meetings are open to the public, but rarely anyone other than the unions and staff attend. If SN&R truly means what it writes here, “This means that council leaders need to get to know each other by taking a group retreat, both the mayor and the eight members alone, and also with staffers. Yes, this sounds easy, simple, perhaps silly. But it hasn’t happened,” unfortunately, what you’re asking is illegal. Please do more research before you write another editorial; you’re getting to be almost as bad as The Bee.

Dave Bivings