Letters for December 7, 2006

Yep, it’s agitation

Re “The agitator” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, November 30):

This was an excellent piece by Jonathan Kiefer about B.L. Kennedy.

The Mr. Kennedy I knew years ago was a lot more fun to be around than most poets, who tend to call attention to their neuroses by trying to hide them. Not Mr. Kennedy. He displays his personality flaws like combat ribbons.

Mr. Kiefer’s article was revealing, intricate and very well written. That tone of quiet amusement Mr. Kiefer used was only acquired after a long apprenticeship, which included repeated rejection slips and dead-end day jobs. I hope SN&R didn’t pay Mr. Kiefer its usual miserable pittance. Just putting up with B.L. Kennedy for as long as he did entitles Mr. Kiefer to stress compensation.

Good call, SN&R. Thanks.

Mike Browne

More of his self

Re “Song of his self?” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Editor’s Note, November 30) and “The agitator” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, November 30):

I’m writing to thank Nancy Brands Ward for her very, very insightful Editor’s Note.

The film I Began to Speak is indeed a project that has been housed deep in my heart for many years and it is indeed a celebration of Sacramento poetry and poets that took five years to film and one-and-one-half years to edit. It amazes me that people who have not seen the whole film—and that includes Jonathan Kiefer, who was present when we tested at the Crest Theatre and had the opportunity to see 45 minutes of a 110-minute (without credits) film—have so much to say about it. For example, in Kiefer’s article, he talks to one woman who had very little positive to say about me. What she didn’t say was that she was asked five times for an interview.

This film was made with an ArtScapes Grant and whatever money that I was able to raise. It is a first, for nowhere will you find a film about poetry that has as its subject the evolution and development of one single community of poets. San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York—not one of those cities have attempted such a project.

Yes, I am an “agitator.” I am a thorn in the side of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the city itself, many people who have not taken the time to talk with me and the Poet Laureate Program. I am a person who doesn’t bother to look a year down the road; I look 10 years down the road.

My sadness about this film is that most people, including SMAC, laughed at us. We got little if any encouragement from SMAC. I am also sad that we had to do it in one year. Well, we did it, and the film is what it is and that is not some B.L. Kennedy ego trip. Linda Thorell and I did the best that we could on a limited budget. But, hey, I don’t see anyone else doing it!

I love Sacramento. It is my home. I celebrate its essence, history and poetry. Still, it would have been nice if some of the “powers” in the arts could see beyond their paychecks. Linda and I went out there and took classes at Access Sacramento; raised money by selling my paintings, organizing benefits and even asking my heart doctor to donate. My point is that if you believe in something, if you have a deep connection, you can make anything real.

B.L. Kennedy

Quit making excuses for SMUD

Re “Hoop schemes” (SN&R Bites, November 30):

The SN&R staff, always mindless apologists for SMUD, just can’t get over the fact that the voters said “Hell no!” to the annexation of most of Yolo County.

Of the 61-plus percent of the voters who said no, most weren’t concerned with or supportive of PG&E. Their concern was with SMUD, a utility that has never brought in a major project on time and within budget in 60 years of operations. Sixty years! The delays, cost-overruns and endless litigation for the Cosumnes River Power Plant are just the latest atrocity.

SMUD’s directors spent the election talking about the millions of dollars in alleged benefits that the annexation would produce. But when challenged to detail how they arrived at those figures, the directors couldn’t do it.

To borrow Bites’ phrase, SMUD’s directors had “their asses handed to them” in not one, but two elections this year. It’s time they started concentrating on improving the management of a grossly overstaffed and poorly run utility.

Stephen Green
Fair Oaks

Too bad light rail stalled the show

Re “Miracle on K Street” by Becca Costello (SN&R Nothing Ever Happens, November 30):

I enjoyed the article about our annual tree-lighting event. Thank you to Becca Costello for attending and including us in SN&R.

It was ironic that the Folsom light rail stopped to watch, and actually stalled, the show!

Raelene Trumm, marketing director
Westfield Downtown Plaza

Out-sized portions not ‘healthy’

Re “More of Mas!” by Kate Washington (SN&R Dish, November 30):

The review of the restaurant Mas in Roseville mentions the healthy aspect of the food in the following words: “but the portions weren’t as enormous as you might think. They were quite healthy, though.”

Since when do the portions of the food qualify the dish as a “healthy food”? One can always choose to eat part of the portions served and take the rest home. Does that not make it healthy?

I have a solution to out-sized portions. I request half the serving size and promise to pay the full listed price. As a rule, any kind of gourmet food does not get its full justice when reheated the second time around at home.

Brahama D. Sharma