Letters for December 26, 2002

Homeland offense

Re “Deported to Cambodia: a Love Story” by Shonda Swilley (SN&R News, December 12):

This story makes my blood boil! The INS—a.k.a. Incompetent Nonsense Service—is going to send Mr. Chhoueth back to Cambodia, which is a big mistake. Whoever is in charge of this case has used poor judgment. And those lawmakers and INS officials who have known about the Order of Supervision and have not modified or made exceptions to it in certain cases are lazy.

I can relate to Mr. Chhoueth because I have a non-citizen brother-in-law from Cambodia, and I’m from Southeast Asia (Vietnam). I came to America with my family when I was 4 years old to escape from communism. Fortunately, I’m an American citizen, and I love this country. I have never been back to Vietnam since I came to the United States 20 years ago. I hardly know anything about Vietnam.

But just pretend that 10 years ago, I was convicted of attempting to rob a bank—with no weapons involved—and that as a result, I was sentenced to three years in prison. I served my time. Additional years have gone by, and now I’m driving down Alhambra Boulevard. Out of nowhere, a cop pulls me over and arrests me because I don’t have a driver’s license (yep, that’s my crime). The next thing I know, I’m in jail, and the INS is going to deport me back to my “homeland,” Vietnam—a country I don’t remember and don’t know anything about.

This is not justice; this is outrageous. Sending Mr. Chhoueth back to Cambodia goes against everything America stands for.

Hieu Tran

Guitar-centric SN&R

Re “ ‘Command Collective’ Lights up Espresso Metro, Kinda” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Clubber, December 12):

The less-than-enthusiastic review of our Command Collective show was just a cheap shot at the obvious and inherent frailties of live electronic music. We are computer nerds at heart, as all electronic musicians are. Even our heroes—Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards Of Canada, Kid 606—are all just bobbing heads behind a laptop (who also happen to sell out entire tours on the merit of their music alone). For this genre, it’s a given, and anyone familiar with our musical subculture would have known that before they paid their $4 at the door.

It’s about music, not showmanship.

I’m not mad that your reviewer was bored. I understand why a folk singer was bored at an electronica show; it’s the same reason I get bored listening to folk singers. We ask different things of our music. I am angry that he used me and my friends as scapegoats for what is really his larger criticism of the live-electronica phenomenon as a whole.

We have a hard enough time trying to foster a community of electronic-music enthusiasts in a city still intent on dragging the long-since-dead corpse of Sac pop up and down our fair streets. It’s the artists at the fringe of Sacramento’s music scene right now, the ones who aren’t playing it safe, who are probably ensuring its hope of evolving into something viable.

How about adding an electronic (non-DJ) category for the Sammies this year? You’ve got plenty of established Sacramento electronic acts to choose from: Park Avenue Music, Dusty Brown, Tycho, Fruitbat, Musical Drum Key, Faster Faster, Homo Erectus, Sussex, C/A/T, Idiom Creek, Hysterisis Loop, Crawl Unit and more up-and-coming underground kids than you can imagine.

Or, are you too busy organizing your much-hyped “all-acoustics” Sammies CD? This area has one of the richest rap and hip-hop scenes in the world, and you’re putting out an all-acoustic CD that is supposed to be a comprehensive overview of the best Sacramento has to offer? Sounds a bit like rigging the game before it starts, don’t you think?

The only reason I’m coming down on you guys is because I think it’s well within your means to reverse your guitar-centric point of view on the scene, and honestly, I’d rather be a part of your club than the angry jackass shaking his fist in the air outside your office. Let the Sac Bee be the musically unenlightened codgers in their ivory towers. You guys are better than that.

Hey, thanks for the press, though.

Chachi Jones

Step in time

Re “More Steps to Peace” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, December 12):

This reader thanks you for the bright lights along the path to peace.

I especially appreciated your non-authoritarian and un-self-righteous way of presenting some needed movements in developing peace, and your emphasis on both inner and outer work. This double awareness, I believe, will make us better peacemakers than our ’60s forerunners.

I’d add to your steps: (1) Turn off the TV. A study of Gulf War viewing proved the more you watch the less you know. (2) Tune in to non-corporate news sources—94.1 (KPFA FM), 89.5 (KVMR FM) and, of course, Because People Matter.

The sacpeace.org Web site has a lot of Web site references for further self-education. The war choice loses support daily as people become better informed.

Jeanie Keltner

Because People Matter

Komen bashing unfair

Re “The Marketing of Breast Cancer” by Mary Ann Swissler (SN&R Cover, October 31):

As a volunteer with the Sacramento Valley Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, I was disappointed to see that SN&R chose to print Swissler’s misleading and irresponsible opinion piece. Swissler’s article doesn’t acknowledge the unprecedented advancements in the fight against breast cancer made possible by the Komen Foundation. Instead, it’s full of finger-pointing and factual inaccuracies. For the record:

The Komen Foundation never opposed—or endorsed—any version of the patients’ bill of rights because we felt that none of the versions went far enough to protect women and their families.

The Komen Foundation dedicates 75 percent of its funds to programs for the underserved, including minority, poor and lesbian women.

Less than 1 percent of the foundation’s revenue comes from pharmaceutical companies, and that’s only in the form of local race sponsorships and unrestricted education grants.

Sacramento’s local Komen affiliate has two staff people and 400 volunteers and has raised nearly $3 million. Seventy-five percent of our net funds go back into the greater Sacramento area. All of the remaining 25 percent goes to national research-grant programs.

I, for one, will continue to join with millions of women, families and other volunteers to support the critical efforts of the Komen Foundation in advancing research, education, screening and treatment until we can eradicate this disease.

Lisa Yost
via e-mail

Mary Ann Swissler responds: When Yost says the local Komen Foundation does good works in Sacramento, I believe her. Just as with the American Cancer Society, Komen’s local affiliates throughout the country manage to hold on to their souls. However, the agenda carried out through Komen’s national offices still trumps well-meaning but toothless grassroots efforts. The Komen group did oppose a patients’ bill of rights that included enforcement provisions benefiting patients, according to a public-policy official with a top breast-cancer-advocacy group who was in the same room with Komen people during negotiations. Komen’s board did decide on a position; the board just didn’t write a press release about it, according to my eyewitness source. Speaking of which, I used federal documents to write this article during a two-year period: lobbying records, campaign donations, tax records and so forth.