Letters for December 5, 2002

Not ’emotional sincerity,’ human necessity

Re “Garden of Emotions” (SN&R Editorial, November 21):

It is disappointing that a publication such as SN&R, which justifiably prides itself on being a community-oriented newspaper, would offer an editorial that is so completely out of touch with the sentiments of a great majority of local citizens.

The Mandella Garden members and neighbors are not fighting for the survival of the garden out of “emotional sincerity” as the writer stated. Our advocacy is based on our desire to preserve a thriving community center and ecosystem that has served the Downtown and Midtown neighborhoods for three decades.

At well-attended community meetings held last spring and sponsored by the Capital Area Development Authority, as well as at last year’s City Council meeting, local citizens made it clear that the garden should remain at its present location and at its full size. These same citizens supported a large residential development to be built north of the garden on the state parking lot. Unfortunately, the City Council, CADA and now apparently some writers at SN&R do not believe that community input should be respected and given the weight it deserves.

The gardeners are ready and willing to take on the responsibility of remediating the soil, even though the contamination was surely caused by leaded gasoline and paints, which are now banned, as well as the pesticide DDT, which was discontinued 30 years ago.

Sometime in the coming weeks, CADA will be asking the City Council for a large subsidy, as demanded by the Portland, Ore., developer to proceed with the project. We respectfully ask all garden supporters to contact the Web site www.savethegarden.org or a City Council member for more information.

Many of us believe that maintaining a strong connection with nature is not an emotional desire but rather a matter of human necessity.

Marc Brandes

An impressive CD

Re “Tooting Our Own Horn” (SN&R Scene&heard, November 27):

I am very impressed with your A Call for Unity CD, not only the live recording, but also the song by the Galena Street East Youth Interfaith Fireside Choir. Especially since so many schools have deleted music programs, it’s great to see young people participating.

And most dramatic was California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jim Harris’ rendition of “God Bless America,” with what sounded like full audience participation. That was a real tearjerker.

Steve Clausman

Sugar water for hummingbirds

Re “The Junk-food Wars” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Cover, November 14):

They give out health warnings about diseases that may or may not reach us, like West Nile virus or a new strain of flu, while nutritional weapons of mass destruction are doled out to the public under many guises.

TV commercials are notorious in the proliferation of dangerous health habits. Inanimate objects are selling products to a brain-dead public. Brittany and her Pepsi, Billy Sardell with his pizza, and Ronald McDonald with his charity work are highly effective in this ongoing promotion of unhealthy Americans.

The promotion aimed at getting kids to eat five fruits and vegetables daily is about as effective as getting teens to wear sensible clothing. Availability of wholesome food ranks right up there with affordable health care. As long as profits exceed health concerns, we shall see Americans ballooning into massive giants of their own self-destruction, and more children with diabetes.

Schools could turn the tide of the nutritional war if their leaders had more guts. We could leave the sugar water for hummingbirds, but probably not in my lifetime.

Helen Sudul

Unsafe neighborhoods + no outside play = overweight kids

Re “The Junk-food Wars” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Cover, November 14, 2002):

I do understand that we have a national health crisis with overweight children. What I don’t understand is why nobody has touched on the main reason our children are fat.

I believe the chubbiness and hours in front of the television are due to the fact that we can’t let our children go outside unsupervised. We, as parents, do not feel safe letting them go riding on their bikes ’til dinner is ready or visiting a friend a few blocks away.

This past summer, children were taken from their beds at night while they slept and while they played five feet from their front doors, and the stories continue.

I do go outside and play with and watch my children when I can. I work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and am a single mom. We get home and have quite a schedule. In three hours, I have to cook dinner, give baths, do homework and get them to bed at a decent hour. It would be wonderful if they could play while I did some of these things, but who knows what might happen?

When I was a child, we were on our bikes from the moment we got home from school until dinner, and then again until we had to go to bed.

Konni Coppin
via e-mail

Ratepayer support needed to save Trinity River

Re “SMUD Muddies Trinity River” (SN&R Guest Comment, November 7):

My thanks to the chairman of the Hoopa Valley tribe, who described the devastation we Central Valley energy users are causing his tribe. However, Chairman Marshall misstated when he said that Susan Patterson was the only SMUD director supportive of the move to ensure that the Hoopa Valley tribe has more local control of the river that gives life to its lands.

It is my understanding that the SMUD board voted 6-1 to continue discussions to drop the lawsuit, not to continue the lawsuit. The SMUD board has not yet voted on the issue of dropping the lawsuit; that decision will be made in the near future.

I ask my fellow SMUD energy users to please write to SMUD in favor of dropping the lawsuit. This action’s estimated cost to users will be about $2 per year. Please volunteer to pay!

Imagine how you would feel if you walked to the American River and saw thousands of dead salmon as a result of the Hoopa Valley tribe’s use of energy for their own pleasure and comfort. While we watch television and play on the Internet, the very energy we are using is causing misery to tribe members and fatalities among the salmon.

The SMUD board’s finance committee was scheduled to meet on December 4. At the meeting, SMUD board members were to discuss spending $7 million to beautify the streets of Sacramento, as proposed by SMUD Director Larry Carr. This is money that could be going to reduce the pain and suffering the Hoopa Valley tribe experiences at the hands of SMUD ratepayers. If enough ratepayers let board members know they support the Hoopa Valley tribe, the money could well be shifted to relieve SMUD’s impact on the Trinity River.

Hearing your support for the tribe might mean that money can be dedicated in the budget to replace the energy now provided by the Trinity River. SMUD directors will then have no excuse for causing this harm. Please help director Patterson and myself in our drive to reduce SMUD’s impact on the Trinity River.

Linda Davis
SMUD director, Ward 1