Letters for February 21, 2013

Even Mother Teresa couldn’t fix Sacto schools

Re “Chopping block” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, February 14):

I believe that the school-district leadership is between a deficit and a hard place. Demonizing administration is such an easy cop-out; we know some factions believe they prop up their desks with gold bars, and they hate teachers, parents and kids. But let's move past the smoke and mirrors.

The fact is that no school community is going to step forward and support closure of their neighborhood school—no way, no how. It is like the classic question where someone in charge asks, “Whoever wants to volunteer, please step forward,” but everyone takes a step backward instead, except for some clueless doofus that is left standing alone in front, and now has to solve the problem (administrators).

Let's face it: Even the board members step back with a smidge of political pressure. But the problem remains: There's a deficit and nobody wants their ox gored. But those responsible for balancing the budget are never going to get help finding answers from those who think their responsibility is to protect territory if there's a possibility someone is going to take a fork to their piece of the pie. No way, no how.

So, SN&R can decry the process until the district goes bankrupt or the cows come home, but I don't believe that even Mother Teresa would be capable of putting together a school-closure process perceived as fair by those whose school, in the end, is going to be closed. Someone has to be an adult, take the heat, make the cuts and do something to balance the budget.

Benjamin Bannister


Some upsides to Sac

Re “NYC to 916” by Dave Kempa (SN&R Feature Story, February 14):

As someone that moved to Sacramento from New York City this past Labor Day weekend, I very much enjoyed your article. Your opening line, “Why are you all so afraid of jaywalking?” was hammer-to-the-head-of-the-nail, dead-on accurate. What are they doing? I guess everyone around here has a lot of time to waste. I find it especially odd, considering that as I walk around Midtown, … nearly every time I step off a curb to wait for the traffic to pass, it stops. That still boggles my mind.

Like you, I’m a little disappointed in Sacramento nightlife and had a major wakeup call regarding Sac after dark about three weeks after moving here. I was busy one evening and into the night. … Once I had finished my project, I decided to go out and grab some carryout. What a joke. First, I got in my car, because, although I live in Midtown, there are no restaurants within blocks of my place. I then proceeded to drive all over Midtown looking for a place that I could pop into and grab something quick. I found nothing. Even Subway was closed. It was about 9:30 p.m. … I ended up grabbing a can of soup and some chips at Rite Aid and making the best of it. I felt like a suburbanite.

I think that I’m nicer here, too, and I’m not sure that’s a compliment, either. I’m still getting used to people that I don’t know saying hi to me as we pass on a sidewalk or from their porches. … What’s wrong? Do I have a coffee stain on my fleece or something? I simply do not know the proper response.

Chris Bores

via email

McKinley Village, not so much

Re “They must be high?” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, February 14):

I’ve always been mystified why developers believe that anyone would be attracted to the area currently proposed for use in the McKinley Village project. The land is framed by a man-made bowl formed by a capped city dump to the northwest (… which has a history of leaking gases) and an elevated railroad line … which is a 24-hour traffic corridor. All that bisected by Business 80. Never mind the community impacts; the project will bankrupt its developer.

Given the terrain and those two major transportation corridors, the air quality on the ground simply must be poor, and living with the cumulative noise profile of the freeway with the elevated railroad would be hideous to most of us as well. And since the rail line also serves as a major flood protection levy for East Sacramento, any tunnel dug underneath the tracks to handle traffic to and from the site connecting to the East Sacramento arteries would be an openly stupid thing to do.

At first blush, the site would appear to be most fit for commercial or light industrial development, although a big-box retail project has already failed to capture the zeal of our city parents. Yet we keep seeing proposals for dense residential use for the site anyway. … If that’s the case, a far more feasible answer in a better fiscal environment would be a simple recreational facility, with a reconstruction of the A Street bridge over Business 80 to provide access. For example, the “bad-luck lowland” would provide a superb place to build a couple regulation soccer fields with lighting for evening play. But for a self-contained residential community—not so much.

Bill Reany

via email

‘Random dudes’ have rights, too

Re “Legalize it, ban it” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, January 31):

Why should bikes be prohibited from having stereos on them? Do you seriously think this creates more of a nuisance than, say, cars and motorcycles with overblown sound systems that are driving around Midtown rattling windows with their bad (bass) vibes? Sometimes I enjoy biking around with my phone (which can play music) in my pocket, terrorizing the public with weird noise and punk rock. … It’s not particularly loud, but do you also think this daily practice of mine should be illegal? Would it be better for bicyclists who want to listen to music to take the safety risk of wearing headphones just so your ears aren’t assaulted by us “random dudes”?

Tyler Innis