Letters for February 21, 2008

It’s just as bad for private forests

Re “Unnatural preservation” by M. Martin Smith and Fiona Gow (SN&R Feature, February 14):

While the choices facing our public-land managers are indeed stark when considering the implications of global warming for national parks and national forests, another concern should be the land-management regimes we have on private land.

Consider California’s private forests. Forests cover 45 percent of the state, 35 percent of which is private, commercial forestry. Much of the management on these commercial forests is clear-cutting, followed by plantation conversion. One company alone, Sierra Pacific Industries, plans to do this on up to 1 million acres by the end of the century.

A state commissioned report projects that due to warming, plantations will have a drop in productivity of up to 30 percent by the end of the century; i.e. the trees will grow slower. Additionally, global warming models show longer, hotter and drier summers in the Sierra Nevada. Young plantations are particularly susceptible to catastrophic fire; the trees are of even age and height, meaning fires can jump from the crown of one tree to the next at alarming speed. With plantations growing even slower in the future, they will be susceptible to catastrophic fire for far longer in a warming climate.

The consequences of our public-forest management in the face of climate change must be considered, but so too must our commercial-forest management.

Joshua Buswell-Charkow
Forest Ethics, San Francisco

The editor replies: I have nothing to add to Mr. Buswell-Charkow’s fine letter, but in the interest of full disclosure, we also received a letter not for publication accusing SN&R of having pilfered “Unnatural preservation” from High Country News. Actually, we bought the story but mistakenly omitted from the print version the following note: “M. Martin Smith and Fiona Gow are journalists living in San Francisco. This story was reprinted courtesy of High Country News Syndicate.” The note is included with the online version of the story. To HCN, the authors and conspiratorial readers, we apologize.

Time to pay-as-we-go

Re “There will be blame” (SN&R Editorial, February 14):

This editorial would raise taxes to pay for the looming California state deficit. That will average $500 additional for each taxpayer, each year. Great; I’m in.

But wait! Will that solve our financial problems? No! Legislators will soon uncork new “needs,” and we will be in debt again. Past is prologue.

Just as we have mandated overspending in the past, let’s mandate ourselves out of debt by dictating the maximum administrative costs for each state service, and by having an overseer approve each request for new hires, raises and perks. And furniture. And buildings. All pay-as-you-go.

Evan Jones

Where’s Dexter?

Re “Pimping and pandering” (SN&R Bites, February 14):

I’m sure you have got a thousand messages about this already, but isn’t Dexter on Showtime and not on HBO? Either way, great show, though I am a little concerned that it might lose a lot of its edginess on broadcast TV.

Andrew Hall

Bites replies: That’s what Bites gets for Netflixing everything.

But Dexter‘s bad

Re “Someone’s a little confused” (SN&R Letters, February 14) and “Pimping and pandering” (SN&R Bites, February 14):

After collapsing in laughter at the bizarre letter about Dexter from the good folks for “moral clarity,” I was stunned at the resounding endorsement of this crapola (Dexter) by Bites. Sure, I’d argue ’til the cows come home for our First Amendment right to view Dexter, but let’s save those arguments for some artistic piece actually worthy of that venerable legal guarantee.

As brilliant as Michael Hall was in Six Feet Under, he’s quite obtuse as Dexter, a not-so-morally clear (but clearly demented) police forensic analyst who’s the self-appointed butcher (literally drawing, quartering, filleting, and mincing—yuck!) of bad guys using a ménage of tools and apparati worthy of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, but without the great laughs, of course. More blood than one can even imagine.

Kind of a second-rate Hannibal Lecter, Dexter out-Rambos Rambo in this clunker where he’s depicted (in the two episodes I mistakenly watched) barely escaping—by his blood-and-guts-spattered short hairs—detection by his seemingly dimwitted colleagues. The sappy/sadistic message here, I guess: Since we’re an admittedly violent lot, it’s okay to wreak outrageously illegal revenge as long as we win (that is, don’t get caught).

That’s something like our intended conduct of the Iraq war. “One of the best shows on TV?” Sure, that’s the consensus; we are what we are. But for my money, Bites, normally one of the last bastions of honest journalism, seems to have been trippin’ on some bad s**t this time.

Chuck McIntyre

Shameless (Davis) self-promoting

Re “Diary of a mad contractor” by Ken Widmann (SN&R Greetings From Davis, February 14):

I have read Ken Widmann’s Davis [column] in SN&R a couple of times and while, initially, I had my reservations about having made my move to Davis three years ago, I conclude that I have more fun than he does.

I keep a blog about day-to-day stuff, but living in Davis and my hijinx here are pretty much the soup of the day. Check out my blog at www.xanga.com/queenie if you care to. Let me know if you would like me to suggest some social events or ne’er-do-well escapades to add to your calendar in our little piece of Dogpatch.

Cassi Patterson

Big, sloppy kisses for Josh

Re “Elvis Le: bad-ass guitarist” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Music, February 14):

Big, sloppy Valentine’s kisses to Josh Fernandez for his comments about music in this profile of Elvis Le. The best part? “And genre, anyway, is one of those things that only matters if your music sucks (e.g., if it weren’t for emo, Fallout Boy would just be a gang of beautiful tattooed men).” Priceless. Golf clap for Mr. Fernandez.

Jonnethann Gilden

For shame!

Re “Pro-life doctrine” (SN&R Letters, February 14):

In all my years, I have never read a letter filled with more inaccurate information than that of Ron Lowe. First, he mentions 35 years after Roe v. Wade, but conveniently fails to mention that almost 50,000,000 American children are now dead because of this case and the holocaust called abortion. I challenge Lowe to show up outside Planned Parenthood at 29th & B on a Tuesday or Friday morning, the killing days at the gates of hell. He will not see “… intimidating, harassing and stalking …” but a group of gentle, prayerful people who simply want to hand a brochure to a mother so she will know the truth and be able to make an informed decision.

Abortion kills children. That is a scientific, medical and spiritual fact. If one disagrees, then they need to have the integrity to investigate and they will discover they are dead wrong! Lowe has the audacity to talk about “… the elimination of a woman’s freedom of choice.” In a civilized, moral society, no one has the “right” to choose death for a child.

He is right that the signs sometimes present are “grotesque and obscene.” That is because they accurately reflect what an aborted, dismembered child looks like. America needs to face the truth. Abortion doctors tearing limbs apart and puncturing a child’s skull is what abortion is all about. Given that more of our children are killed by abortion every year than soldiers killed in all our wars combined throughout our history, it is amazing you can walk down the street and not step in the rivers of blood that run through our cities.

And for Lowe to call people who stand up and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves a “fringe movement” is indicative of how far he is from reality. But he is right that Republicans, in general, believe in the sanctity of life and in defending the right to life. God forgive us if we elect a Democrat like Obama or Clinton, who are pro-death and fail to understand that there are two lives involved in every abortion. How sick and demented is a society that fails to protect the lives of the most loving and innocent of its people? And if there is a pro-choice person out there who believes in God, does not your heart convict you of the truth that God is pro-life?

How far America has fallen. Shame on us all.

Terry McDermott

More help for ALS

Re “Ruleboy lives” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature, February 7):

Dr. Martin Welsh and his family are just one example of our brave patients and families that struggle with the reality that is ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a devastating disease, but there is hope, and through the greater involvement of our community we can start to make great progress in fighting this fatal disease.

The Greater Sacramento Chapter of the ALS Association serves patients like Dr. Welsh every day, but we do need your help. We need your energy and contributions of all kinds. To get involved, go to www.alssac.org or call me at (916) 346-9795.

Sean South
Greater Sacramento Chapter ALS Association

Somebody’s cranky

Re “Dos Okies, una noche” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Trust Your Ears, February 7):

Griffith, Merle Haggard was born in Oklahoma, not California. He is from Oklahoma. Do you know of the Oklahoma-Texas-Arkansas migration to Bakersfield, and why? Ever heard of the Dust Bowl? You need to research your history a lot better, man.

I guess you might wanna stop hanging around those big-time hotspots, True Love, Old I, Luna’s, Fox & Goose. Next you’ll tell us Buck Owens, too, is a Bakersfield native. You don’t know your *** from your elbow, Jack. Your column stinks, too, like the Little League bands you review and praise.

Go see a real group, man. It’s A Beautiful Day, maybe. You must have come from San Francisco during the Jello Biafra debacle period. You’re always lampooning the great ’60s Bay Area bands. That’s really because you don’t know anything. So go study music, OK?

Charles Hollingshead

The editor replies: Merle Haggard was born in Bakersfield on April 6, 1937. His parents moved to California from Oklahoma before his birth. Buck Owens is from Texas, and adopted Bakersfield as his hometown in adulthood. Mr. Hollingshead is stuck in a time warp with nothing to keep him company but his resentment of a music writer with a paying gig.


Truth is missing from “Diary of a mad contractor” (SN&R Greetings From Davis, February 14). That is, the words “from the truth” were inadvertently left off Mike Pesola’s column-ending quote, which should be: “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

This is correct online.