Letters for February 12, 2009
Letter of the week
Best bees take flight
I knew that Terri Hardy was not long for [The Sacramento Bee], given its current state of affairs and that her pieces exposing Kevin Johnson and his band of boondogglers ran against the grain of Bee editorial board members and senior managers alike, but I am going to miss her all the same.
She and Dotty Korber were investigative journalists par excellence, and Terri’s work on unearthing the managerial abyss that has become St. Hope is a lesson in how collusive and corrosive backdoor relationships have lent to toxicity in local public education masked by near impenetrable facades painting a pretty picture of dire circumstances.
Mary Lynne Vellinga was at her best when revealing [real-estate] project details, particularly regarding financing (and especially public financing), in major projects in our area that would have gone largely unnoticed had her words not appeared in print. Her best work was formidable and I admired her at her best.
I will miss the work of both of these excellent reporters, and I hope SN&R will engage them both from time to time for special pieces, especially now that they are no longer hindered by a stunningly stupid and restrictive [Bee] editorial board and management.
And now to K.J., our mayor: He’s had to shed more than merely his misplaced ambitions to circumvent legal bidding processes and council dispositions regarding his wanton power grab. In this very poor buyer’s market, the only people selling real-estate assets are those who are liquidating junk properties or those who are offering desperation sales—but this only holds for assets that have some intrinsic value. Johnson’s assets are junk and have little or no intrinsic value, and have been offered for whisper sale (unofficially) for at least a year now.
This is a key indicator that this profoundly inept recent incumbent is also a profoundly inept businessman whose record was all but ignored by voters. He is a fool in business and now seeks to inflict his foolishness upon us all in the same manner of someone writing a book without ever having read one.
Victims of law
Re “Down by law” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature sidebar, February 5):
I admire all [these people] for having the guts to fight the fight.
As a victim of the probate system, which is housed in the same court and using this same judge, I have witnessed the unfair and unlawful tactics being used by these so-called “professionals.” They have been getting by with these crimes for too long, and it needs to stop.
Judges like [Peter J.] McBrien leave victims in financial, physical and mental devastation. One attorney, while discussing his desired end result on a case he was involved with, told me that he and McBrien “are on the same page.” This attorney, in my opinion, is one of the most evil and greedy.
What does that tell me? Shame on you, McBrien! Thank you to SN&R, Mr. Scheide, Ulf [Carlsson] and all of these other people for exposing the truth and hopefully putting an end to the needless suffering of children and all victims of the probate and family-court systems.
Families do time, too
Re “Change of heart” by Amy Yannello (SN&R Frontlines, January 29):
Thank you for printing the story about LaVette Columbo and her son. She’s right. When a loved one goes to prison, you actually do the time with them.
First, your heart breaks, from the loss of loved one, and the shame and embarrassment. Then you find out you need to “toughen up” and figure out how the system works (or doesn’t work, in many cases). The excessive telephone charges she pays? That’s the norm. She fails to mention that the state gets a large chunk of that telephone payment. Therefore, she is being punished financially for keeping in touch with her son.
That is plain and simple abuse of the family of the prisoners by the state. The thing nobody understands is the family of the inmate is a victim, too; not just a victim of the result of criminal behavior and the ensuing punishment of the inmate, but also from the state and prison system as well.
We out here who have loved ones in prison did not commit a crime. We merely want to love and support our husbands, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons. In my book, it is not a crime to give love and support. I took a vow when I married my husband to stay with him through good and bad. I should not be treated as a criminal because I choose to honor my vows. Seems to me keeping a vow is a good thing … or at least it used to be.
Miller melts in the rain
Re “Get your head out of your book” by Nick Miller (SN&R Arts&Culture, January 29):
I was just curious if your staff ever runs what they want to print past some screeners or editors or do any fact checking. I mean, in that article Josh Fernandez wrote about his epic walk [“Walking the map,” SN&R Feature, January 22], he mentioned something about Amtrak tracks, when Amtrak actually has no ownership over them. That’s all fine and good, not a big deal; I mean, when he isn’t writing about hip-hop culture, long enough to step outside the safety of his vacuum, he’s either talking some nonsense or condescending to people that aren’t exactly like him. That’s actually more of his niche than anything else.
But as for Nick Miller’s article about the library: For someone who spent two days in the library, you’d think he’d be able to get a small, basic fact straight. The computers are on the third floor, not the second. And in reality, most people flock to that floor and the fourth floor, not the first and second.
I think one reason that just rubbed me the wrong way is because I am a former employee. Sure, the upper strata of Sacramento Public Library management have been involved in scandal, but that doesn’t really mean it’s a place where the action is. I understand that the reason for him coming to the library was stated on that first page, but really, guy, did you think you were gonna see a librarian with a pistol running out with a briefcase full of money?
Reading his article was like hearing a spoiled 5-year-old complain that there’s nothing good on TV. It’s as if he expected the poor, lowly homeless patrons, who for some insane reason appear to wear the same clothes two days in a row, to put on a circus for his amusement. So, bundling up his disappointment, he decides to wait an entire hour for the slight sprinkle to let up so he can ride home.
Please, I implore you to let him know that the library is not very far from Midtown and bikes are surprisingly capable of riding in the rain. It almost doesn’t surprise me that he would want to read a book about train hopping and vagrancy so as he could learn about being exposed to the elements without actually having to do it. Kudos!
Cuts—or bites—both ways
Re “To be Edward” by Ted Cox (SN&R Essay, January 29):
The phenomenon of unrealistic ideals hits home for women as well as men. Not only can it impede a person’s ability to see him or herself in a realistic light (like when women that are not “fat” think they are unattractive, far more common than is understood), but it keeps people from developing realistic, healthy relationships at all.
My personal experience with this “general prejudice” is twisted at best, and mildly amusing. I have been labeled a “skinny bitch” for no reason other than body type (I have excellent manners). I have been criticized for dating men that are not rich. My family has even ostracized me for not marrying a man that they thought was “as good as a man can get.”
All of the presupposed assumptions are so much opinion, so much baggage and so much bull. Even for an intelligent, attractive female, prejudice will abound if you allow it. And please, don’t watch the soap operas; they are poison.
If it’s clear, he’s cooking
Re “The dish on solar cooking” by Emily Scott (SN&R Green Days, January 29):
Emily Scott is incorrect when she states that in Sacramento “it isn’t possible to solar cook year round, especially in the cold winter months.” While she is correct for the simpler cookers, I use what’s called a Global Sun Oven, which works very well in December and January, and here I emphasize: when there is clear sun.
This hasn’t been much of a problem this year, due to the shortage of rainstorms. I have been able to cook potatoes, winter squash, dried beans (after soaking, of course) and a small pork roast. On the last day of January, I cooked a whole chicken, and the meat was so tender it fell off the bone.
Anyone interested in exploring the possibilities of using the sun for cooking should make a visit to Solar Cookers International at 1919 21st Street.
We get it
Re “One for the (all) ages” by Nick Miller (SN&R Arts&Culture, January 22):
For me, I got into ’20s music a couple months ago, and discovered that they played the ukulele. A lot of ukulele. So I immediately went out and bought one. It’s not so much a Hawaii thing for me; I’ve never been there. I hear it’s warm?
Finally someone realizes and/or admits that the all-ages scene is on fire! Thank you for saying what we’ve been trying to say for a long time.
On the wrong list
Re “With friends like these” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, January 15):
I also found myself mysteriously on the new [Kevin] Johnson e-mail list promoting his city charter change. The source of my e-mail: “Friends of Obama.”
I never authorized my e-mail address be used by another politician or campaign. The only Obama donations I made were directly to the official campaign, through Obama’s Web site. I did, however, phone bank at the local campaign office and attend a recent December official Obama event, and signed a sign-in sheet.
Cosmo [Garvin] is correct; the assumption that Obama supporters are automatically Johnson supporters is incorrect, and quite frankly, offensive. There’s no comparison.
[Steve] Maviglio’s response that what’s good enough for some Obama supporters is good enough for all, and justifies the abuse of campaign lists, is flat out disrespectful to supporters and voters. It’s exactly the opposite of open, accountable, genuine and honest.
This kind of response is what makes people cynical about politics, exactly what Obama worked so hard to overcome; Johnson is reinforcing cynicism.
What does Johnson have to say? Where did he get my e-mail address? I demand to know.