Letters for December 6, 2007

Grub hubbub

Re “Food fight” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, November 29):

As Eric McDavid’s partner, I would like to clarify a couple issues surrounding his situation at the Sacramento County Jail. Captain Scott Jones’ flippant attitude about Eric’s food is baffling. Perhaps someone starving while in his care is not alarming to him, but it certainly is to the person who is starving, and to his family and loved ones who are then forced to watch him wither away before them. This is all greatly exacerbated by Eric’s heart condition, pericarditis, which despite Jones’ reluctance to speak about the issue, Eric has suffered from twice since entering the jail. He never had health problems such as these before entering the jail.

Based on a diet analysis recently done by a licensed nutritionist, there is no way Eric can possibly receive the proper nutrition from the regular meals served to him by the jail (by eating only the vegan items). When doing this, he only receives about 32 percent of his energy needs, and only 37 percent of his protein needs. Perhaps even more alarming, he has not received any B12 since the start of his imprisonment, almost two years ago. B12 deficiencies can cause extreme complications, including nervous system damage and death. Eric only gets about 50 percent of his vitamin C, 0 percent of vitamin D, 9 percent of vitamin E, 31 percent of his potassium, 23 percent of his zinc and only 25 percent of his calcium.

While the implications for Eric’s overall health and well-being are dire, this information also casts into light his pericarditis. Scott Jones denies that Eric’s health problems are caused by the food he is receiving at the jail and perhaps he is correct in this, for it would seem that Eric’s health problems are actually caused by the food he is not receiving. The literature on pericarditis recommends an increase in proteins and calories, as well as supplements for potassium, B12, zinc, magnesium and vitamins C and E all of which Eric is currently receiving little to zero.

Several jails and prisons across the country have policies regarding food for vegan prisoners. In California, San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties all have vegan options for prisoners. Florida’s entire prison system uses vegan food to meet the needs of a variety of different diets.

Garvin suggests in his article that Eric’s jailers have their “hands full” with Eric. This statement is completely laughable and ludicrous to anyone who knows Eric at all. He is the most compassionate, caring individual, and everyone who interacts with him picks up on this immediately. The jail claims that they have separated him because of his “notoriety” and to protect him from other inmates, but all of Eric’s limited interactions with other inmates have been positive (he has been in Total Separation, or solitary, for two years). This is just another attempt by those in power to break down the will of those they have caged and to vilify them in the eyes of the public. But Eric has proved his will not be broken. He will continue to fight the outrageous charges against him, and he will continue his struggle for vegan food (Eric ended his hunger strike after two weeks, realizing that he was soliciting a humane response from an inhumane system. He will continue his struggle for vegan food by other means). He is firmly committed to living in the most compassionate, ethically sound way possible, even from inside the jail walls.

Scott Jones’ comments about Eric orchestrating some sort of staged response to false claims about his health and well-being are offensive and insulting. Eric is not fabricating his very serious health and medical situation. And standing up for one’s deeply held principles is never a joke. The jail fed Eric vegan food for 16 months before abruptly cutting off his access to vegan food. While his vegan diet in jail was still far from adequate, he was able to maintain a higher level of health during that time. Even before his hunger strike, in the two months since the jail stopped feeding him vegan food, Eric lost 20 pounds and suffered a new bout of pericarditis. When they stopped feeding Eric vegan food, they told him that the previous arrangement was a “gentlemen’s agreement” between him and the previous jail commander. I guess this begs the question: Are there no gentlemen at the jail?

Jenny Esquivel
via e-mail

The crepes of wrath

Re the Dish teaser headline (SN&R cover, November 29):

A few months ago, Kate Washington reviewed a creperie (“The French Connection,” SN&R Dish, October 4). It was a strongly positive, you could even say glowing, review. Nevertheless the front-cover squib plugging the review billed it as “A Load of Crepe.”

In the November 29 issue, Kate reviews another crepe place. This time the front-cover squib says, “Fulla Crepe.”

Gee, I guess when you’ve got a real thigh-slapper like that, you can just never get enough of it.

Listen, do you suppose you could possibly get Kate to review another creperie real soon? Because those squibs are just so hilariously clever and original.

David Urman

Yellow journalism

Re “Stand and deliver” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Arts&Culture, November 29):

I was struck by your anecdote about the man who taught a woman how to pee standing up. (“After she did it, she came over, gave me a hug, then kneed me in the crotch for not showing her earlier.”) It was so funny that you used it as your teaser-sidebar to entice people to read the article.

It reminded me of another funny story. Years ago, a girl I know taught me this dance move that I’d been admiring for a long time. I was so grateful that I hugged her—and then I punched her in the face for not teaching me earlier. (Wasn’t that an incredibly funny anecdote? Am I missing something here?)

So anyway, I can’t wait for your next sanctimonious article on how there’s never an excuse for domestic violence.

Fred Hayward
via e-mail

Piss and vinegar

Re “Stand and deliver” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Arts&Culture, November 29):

While I am all for women’s liberation, after reading this article, I felt more repressed than ever. First, Rich is making money off a WOMAN’S idea (probably his ex no less, who should be getting some of his profits!!!) Second, he is making money off of teaching chicks how to pee like a man—that alone is shady! I am not saying that I wouldn’t be interested in learning, but I am not paying $300 bucks for some strange dude who just wants to get into my pants to see my labia and vagina. Eww.

Even though his Web site suggests “female freedom,” I found his Web site and the business really repressive. There is nothing wrong with being a woman, nor urinating sitting down. To free women, if those are his real intentions, maybe Rich should go into the business of teaching men to sit down on the toilets to urinate instead of peeing on the toilet seat and floor! Female freedom is not about being like a man, or peeing like one either.

Yes, having the freedom to pee whenever and wherever I want sounds liberating, but if that kind of liberation comes with a price tag sold by a man whose urination courses are “interactive” and started “the night before,” I am better off waiting in line. Rich, how about you start spreading your acquired knowledge to health practitioners and women free of charge? This way the power is literally back in our hands—women teaching other women, if they are interested.

via e-mail


Re “Father knows molest” by Gustavo Arellano (SN&R News, November 29):

The article itself was well-written, in-depth and compelling. Now, knowing that writers rarely get to pick their own headlines, can I lay the blame for this choice of wordplay at the desk of editor Matt Coker? Indeed, I’m hesitant to blame reporter Gustavo Arellano, an otherwise competent journalist and fellow beneficiary to the mixed blessings of Rotten.com’s NNDB biography.

In all seriousness, I’m sure the intent was to grab eyeballs roughly and readily. Along those lines, you done good.

But please … never again!

Adrian Lamo
via e-mail

Matt Coker responds: Blame me for the headline.