Letters for February 16, 2006

Best. Issue. Ever.

Re “Divine secrets of the Ben Wa sisterhood” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, February 9):

This was the best issue of SN&R ever! And I’m not saying this is exclusively due to Jonathan Kiefer’s sex article (all five pages of it), but it sure contributed!

Starting with the editorial on the Kings’ laundromat, the essay on squirrels (of the human kind), the changing of the guard at the Observer, Joey Garcia’s debunking the soul-mate myth and the “sexual education of Jonathan K,” this reader actually needed a longer lunch hour to get through the in-print version of this issue.

How old is Allison Rood? Altruism gone bad is what comes to mind reading her essay. You want to do something nice? Do it! Leave your friggin’ politics out of it, for cryin’ out loud. Nobody goaded you into saying anything. Sounds like you were rubbing your liberal flag in everybody’s face to begin with by reacting to things that had very little to do with the task at hand: rehabbing orphan animals. So speaketh this liberal.

This city needs the Observer. We need diversity—in all things. A huge thank you to William Lee and best of luck to Larry Lee. He’s got big shoes to fill!

Jonathan? Where do I sign up for the next Passion Party? “Wider” is definitely “in.” Ahem. Personally, I have no trouble walking into Goldie’s downtown or Kiss N Tell closer to home. I love swaggering (gee, that sounds butch—not—and no offense intended) up to the magazine rack at Goldie’s and reaching for the latest Leg World to send a close friend as a tease. I get a kick out of making the guys nervous for a change. Most of them move away. But, I have to admit, I don’t take the rabbit pearl vibrators out of the package. What I do like is that Goldie’s tests the batteries for you. That’s great if you are a girl on the go and get the urge on the way home.

Joey? Where have you been all my life! Wish I’d read this a couple of relationships ago. I think “Brian” is my alter ego.

Lastly, only because I’m not a huge sports fan, the editorial hit it right on: Artest’s arrival changes the whole nature of the team. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Gee, I might even start watching the games again.

Danalee Lavelle

Criminal minimal wage

Re “Working for minimum” by Jeffrey M. Barker (SN&R Feature Story, February 2):

I was so hopeful when I saw the cover of your latest issue. At last, someone was going to tell the truth about the consequences of working for minimum wage.

Alas, Mr. Barker’s article didn’t so much as scratch the surface. Unlike the people interviewed for this article, most people are mad as hell about having to fold laundry, serve coffee or scrub toilets for a demeaning $6.75 an hour. This is largely due to the fact that no one can survive on $6.75 an hour, no matter what they do for it. Period.

Does it matter that for $6.75 I’ve cleaned up vomit, feces, spilled Big Gulps and cigarettes—all while working at a bookstore? No. What is more important, and what this article fails to take into account, are the young fathers barely scraping by earning a quarter raise every three months, the young mothers whose financial situation has left them sleeping in their car and the 50-year-olds still having to live with a group of roommates so they can afford a roof over their heads.

These examples come from one bookstore. There are lots of bookstores. And for every complacent teenager with a parent to fall back on, there’s an embittered citizen getting screwed by a system that doesn’t care if they can afford health insurance. Where was that story?

Minimum wage is important not because people are being inconvenienced by it, but because they cannot live on it—not if they desire anything approaching a decent standard of living. The fact that a country as rich as America can even get away with paying people this excuse for an income is criminal.

Hannah Martin

Get those trains running!

Re “Sacramento on empty” by Cosmo Garvin and Kel Munger (SN&R Feature Story, January 26):

I hope future stories on peak-oil solutions will include the railway transport component. Northern California’s rail footprint, past and present, will be very competent infrastructure for dealing with mobility and distribution requirements through the oil interregnum.

The former EsPee lines to Josephine, Kentucky House, Placerville and Isleton demonstrate rail’s reach into California’s breadbasket and must be rehabbed for maintaining viable agricultural deliveries. Additionally, Sacramento Northern’s footprint is worth inclusion in Mr. McKeever’s planning document as well.

The fact of a plan, a fallback as we enter a prolonged energy crisis with little relief and much disruption ahead, will be of inestimable value. Hopefully, [the Sacramento Area Council of Governments] has matured to the point of moving past a 1960s approach to transport planning. Please encourage the rail component upgrades.

Gunnar Henrioulle
via e-mail

Don’t count on the government

Re “Sacramento on empty” by Cosmo Garvin and Kel Munger (SN&R Feature Story, January 26):

While reading this article, I could not help but laugh at our society’s current revelation on the future of oil scarcity.

In 1986, the United Nations’ top scientists wrote a declaration to all governments. This predicted a 25-year limit on endless oil supplies and a rise in global warming due to our consumption patterns. The document was meant to be a wakeup call to the world on environmental catastrophes we could still alter in a positive direction. Unfortunately for all, special-interest concerns trumped these world-renowned scientists and buried or ridiculed them for their concern.

Here we are 20 years later scratching our heads. How did this happen?

We need to start educating people on the real hope of biodiesel, ethanol, hydro, wind and solar power. The first car invented ran on vegetable waste. Why is it that more than 100 years later, we are still unable to harness this clean, recycled fuel? Dare I say “special interests”? Until we force our government to subsidize green energy and to tax depleting and polluting energies, our nation will never become the leader of sustainable innovations.

Locally, there have been very real alternatives to the predictions of this story. The Ron Mandella Community Garden offered a real living example of sustainability: organic for 30-plus years. Hundreds of pounds of fruit and vegetables were grown by and for the community, composting on-site, reducing overall landfill and fuels to transport. I always felt the location of the garden (three blocks from the Capitol) was the exclamation of sustainable infill. Our city felt differently, and now we have housing alongside an open pit (housing so needed that there are still many vacancies over six months after opening).

If you trust in politics to find solutions look no farther than our local garden example for insight into the future. By city-council declaration, the remaining third of the garden was to be “finally” owned by our city’s Parks and Recreation Department and remain a garden resource to the community. To date, it is owned by the land developer, and [the Capitol Area Development Authority] has plans to build a bocce-ball court in its place.

So much for trusting politicians to fight the good fight. Our state and federal governments’ decisions regarding fossil fuels and alternative energy may very well decide our fate on this planet.

Rita Oden-Gonzales
via e-mail

Eulogizing cannon fodder

Re “Words don’t come easy” (SN&R Unfiltered, January 26):

I don’t have a problem with you choosing to eulogize soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. But whoever wrote the two introductory paragraphs to this piece must surely be brain-dead or totally hypnotized by media propaganda.

I quote: “Each time a soldier … dies in the war on terror,” which presumably means soldiers who have died invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

Oh, please! Why must you perpetuate this outdated lie? Neither invasion had anything to do with reducing terror—and you know it!

Neither country had attacked us. Neither country was threatening to attack us. Neither country possessed weapons of mass destruction. These invasions have not reduced hatred of America; they have increased it. Even the excuse we used, 9/11, did not happen as we have been told.

I further quote from one of the letters: “Words cannot adequately describe the personal sacrifices that members of our armed forces make in defending our nation.”

Defending our nation from what? From an oil shortage? From higher gasoline prices?

Face the awful truth: These soldiers died as cannon fodder, just as all soldiers die. They were used by the rich and powerful to promote their own interests and fooled into thinking they were doing the patriotic thing. When you promote them as some kind of “super patriots,” you play into the whole perpetual war scenario that keeps our military economy afloat.

Eulogizing serves a purpose, I suppose, but wouldn’t it be better to just wake up and stop the killing? Just think: You could show some insight and lead the way!

Rio Lambie

Movie or voter’s pamphlet?

Re “Bloody bored” by Bob Grimm (SN&R Film, January 26):

Under the guise of a movie review, Bob Grimm slips in what is easily recognized as advice for readers’ next return to the voting booth: “many of the characters look and sound the same. You might want to take along a notepad to keep track of who is whose brother and which guy is the ‘father of all vampires’ and whatnot. Prepare to be infuriated.”

No thanks, Bob. I’ll stick to the voter’s pamphlet.

John Leech