Letters for December 21, 2006

Pay for Web news

Re “Greedy vultures” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Feature Story, December 14):

Thanks for a good editorial by a good friend to readers. News will always be necessary. The only question is by whom and in what format—whether I read it on paper or on a screen, I still need my news.

Most people I know read the news more now because it’s online. That’s more eyes and more potential customers for advertisers; ad revenue should go up with online readership because it reaches more people. Who cares what the medium is if people still read the content/ads? Media companies should have been on top of this already, devoting everything to online news.

It still amazes me that I can get more news online than on paper and I have to pay money for paper and online is free. Subscriptions are way overdue and fair. I’ll pay if it’s good content, just like with cable TV. Taking something for free is arguably unethical and can’t continue as a practical matter anyway.

Jim Reilley

Wolf’s no journo

Re “Free Josh Wolf” (SN&R Editorial, December 14):

Shooting video of a protest does not a journalist make. An anarchist shoots video at a protest to document the event, to rally the troops at home, but maybe more than anything to catch their city’s finest in the act of foul play.

I wonder how differently this editorial would read if the story had been of an off-duty police officer who caught footage of police brutality on tape? When he refused to release the tape, would you have staunchly defended his journalistic freedom or claimed bias and corruption?

Good on Josh for not snitching. Bad on him for claiming journalistic freedom. Bad on you for buying into it.

Christopher Kohler

Need to get ready for floods …

Re “The shadow of Katrina” (SN&R Editorial, December 7):

This editorial was right on target. We live in a location that is especially vulnerable to flooding. It will be years before the current round of strengthening the levees is completed. Only the future will tell us if we have done enough soon enough.

There is something ordinary citizens can do to improve their situation. The Sacramento Regional Citizens Corps Council has developed a two-hour Neighborhood Emergency Training workshop. The workshop provides essential information about basic disaster preparedness.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Sacramento currently is recruiting persons 50 years and older to become certified NET instructors. The eight-hour certification classes will be given in January of 2007. Beginning in the early spring of the coming year, RSVP will sponsor NET workshops at various locations around the Sacramento metropolitan area. Anyone over 50 who is interested in becoming a NET instructor can call RSVP at (916) 875-4459 or (916) 875-3631 for more information. More information is available on the SRCCC Web site at www.srccc.org.

Gary Jones, volunteer
Sacramento Senior Corps Programs

… and they are

Re “The shadow of Katrina” (SN&R Editorial, December 7):

The California Primary Care Association, a nonprofit health-care organization, would like to help ease some disaster-relief fears.

More is being done in the disaster-relief arena than the columnist may be aware. For example, CPCA, through a grant from Direct Relief International via FedEx, has developed a statewide telemedicine video-conferencing system to assist its member CCHCs in preparing for and dealing with natural or medical disasters. CPCA’s system will allow its regional CCHC groups to act as video conferencing “points of access” so that the remaining member CCHCs can communicate with one another via video conferencing in the event of a natural or medical disaster, including a pandemic influenza outbreak. CCHCs will use the system to ensure local clinics are fully prepared to provide health-care services in the event of a disaster.

Although these disaster-relief efforts may not be visible to the public, this is a very important step in ensuring the availability of health-care services for the populations that may be hit hardest during a natural or medical disaster—California’s low-income and uninsured populations. These are people who likely would have no other options for receiving quality health-care services during a natural or medical disaster. While other state and local agencies may or may not be adequately prepared in the event of a disaster, CPCA and its member CCHCs remain committed to providing health-care services to its current and future patients both year-round and in the event of a disaster.

Nora O’Brien, senior regional advocate /emergency-preparedness specialist CPCA

‘P’ stands for ‘public’

Re “TV times, they are a-changin’ ” (SN&R Letters, November 30):

What a PR campaign for KVIE! Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is a high-quality program that educates, enriches, enlightens and inspires children. It should be kept on the air because of its exceptional quality of content, not for “nostalgia’s sake.” Its messages are important ones that focus on teaching children to love themselves and others.

Although some children may not have an adequate attention span to maintain interest in Mister Rogers, I can assure you that many do. For decades, children have loved Fred Rogers and have looked forward with anticipation to each new day that they can spend with him. I can testify to this and so can many others.

To compare the educational value of cartoons like Curious George with a program like Mister Rogers is a joke. And educational value is what we should be focusing on. The real question is, “Should the children in our community have the opportunity to benefit from a wonderful program like Mister Rogers?” Clearly, I feel that they should.

It is true that the times have changed and children have more options. Because of this, a ratings war seems to have developed between PBS and cable stations for the children’s’ viewing audience. Cable stations air many funny and entertaining cartoons that children love, drawing audiences away from PBS stations. In response, PBS stations are trying to air more funny and entertaining cartoons, too. Some PBS stations like KVIE have chosen to sacrifice Mister Rogers in this endeavor.

PBS originated as a channel where success was not measured by ratings; instead, success was measured by the imprint on viewers. Probably more than any other children’s program, Mister Rogers has left a positive imprint on its viewers. Through his wonderful program, Fred Rogers continues to change lives for the better. By taking Mister Rogers off the air, KVIE is hurting our community.

The “P” in PBS stands for “public.” The public helps support PBS stations like KVIE with its pledges. KVIE should be accountable to the public for its decisions. If you feel that the decision to drop Mister Rogers is wrong, please let the management of KVIE know. And if the management of KVIE fails to listen, please remember Mister Rogers at pledge time.

Susan Vanderbout

Dissing Carter from the right …

Re “Mr. President: ‘Tear down this wall’” by John Freeman (SN&R News, December 7):

Listening to Jimmy Carter, the stumbling, bumbling, one-term, worst ever president of the United States lecture anyone about anything is about as useful as listening to a dog fart. I knew that the article was a bunch of gas when it started out “When I was president …”

Dennis Johnson

… and the left

Re “Mr. President: ‘Tear down this wall’” by John Freeman (SN&R News, December 7):

Whenever I read about the good works of Jimmy Carter, I have to remind myself that he’s the idiot who let the Shah of Iran into the United States, and that he’s got his name on one of the great killing machines: a nuclear attack sub, the USS Jimmy Carter.

William J. Hughes

Thanks a lot (not!)

Re “None dare call it sprawl” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, November 30):

None of the city of Sacramento’s current politicians dare call North Natomas “sprawl” because they created it, but us hapless residents of North Natomas sure do!

Lacking adequate police, fire and emergency services, bus lines, or even roads or sidewalks in many places, poor residents must wade through heavy traffic congestion in only our cars (no bus or light rail) as we pass more and more high density apartment blocks and super-mega retail centers that are under construction (or proposed), seemingly everywhere. And then we pray hard that we don’t need any police or firefighters—because there don’t seem to be any!

Coming from the same city politicians who brought us the arena-tax fiasco, we are condemned to live forever in their nightmarish “vision” for North Natomas: traffic-choked, starved for police or fire service, super-high-density housing and super-mega retail over-employment opportunities. And now these same politicians want to expand their botched empire by annexing even more land in an active flood plain north of the city limits!

Thank you, Sacramento politicians. You have built a rapidly expanding permanent legacy for us to remember you by: the sprawling mega-disaster that is North Natomas—and by now it ought to be a textbook example of what not to do!

Thomas Reavey