Letters for February 7, 2008

North Highlands non-trash

Re “A star is porn” by Matthew Craggs (SN&R Feature, January 31):

I was in the same graduating class as Sasha Grey, although I went to independent study at Choices Charter School. I am, as you would say, “just another girl from North Highlands,” except that I “got out” by getting accepting and attending Stanford University (from which I write this).

Not everyone from North Highlands is trash, and it would be great if the media, teachers, counselors and parents stopped assuming that the best we could do for ourselves is to become porn stars. The low expectations for the youth of this community (and indeed, for the youth of all low-income communities) are among the chief reasons I watched so many of my friends turn to drugs or get pregnant. It would be great if just once someone pointed out that it is possible to escape that life with education and hard work.

I am not the only example of this in the graduating class of 2006, but I would love to see many more examples and some more North Highlands kids at Stanford with me. It is possible.

I realize that as a journalist, the story was so sensational that you had to write about it, but you didn’t have to lump all North Highlands girls into one category, as if Sasha Grey is our fate.

Heather Buckelew
Stanford University

Nader haters?

Re “For president SN&R endorses …” (SN&R Editorial, January 31):

Ralph Nader keeps American politics honest, and that is why you hate him.

In 2000 and 2004, he offered the Democrats progressive issues which would have won the election. But Democrats would rather lose and blame Nader.

In 2004, he was the only one to oppose the war and offer an opportunity for people to vote their opposition. The Democrats moved heaven and earth to keep him off of the ballot while they lost to Bush.

Nader will run with or without your editorial support. His fight against corporate control of American political life is lifelong.

Steve Conn
Las Cruces, N.M.

Morant’s fan

Re “Best wurst” by Kate Washington (SN&R Food Stuff, January 31):

It’s about time someone wrote up Morant’s. Every time someone mentions sausage, I tell them to go check this place out. My family has been getting bockwurst from them for years, and it is always incredible!

Pete Buchman

Random attitude-bashing

Re “Butterscotch? I hardly know her scotch” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Feature, January 24):

Thank you for putting into words so elegantly your feelings on abortion, which so closely echo my own. For years, I’ve been told that the crucial element upon which the abortion argument turns is “When does life begin?” It’s hard to deny that a fetus, or even a zygote, is alive. It’s made of living cells or growing. But it’s not a person the way that a baby or a mother living in the world is a person.

I was very upset to read about the federal restrictions on “partial-birth abortions” last April. Especially after reading the stories of many women who had experienced the later-term abortions (usually under quite difficult medical circumstances), I felt angry that our government feels justified in trapping a growing embryo inside the mother’s body even when obvious medical issues are involved. Most of the women whose stories I read weren’t having late-term abortions because they had no regard for human life—it was because either mother or child was not going to make it or was going to have major health issues.

Although it seems better to have an abortion as early as possible if one is going to have one, the scare tactics used by the anti-abortion crusaders to chip away at the control we women have over our own bodies is an offense to our individual freedom as women. As someone who also believes that a fetus is not a baby, it’s particularly alarming that the fetus should have more human rights than a grown woman.

Elizabeth N. Ball

… but God knows …

Re “Preg knot” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, January 24):

There are no such things as unwanted children, ’cause if God didn’t want them, He wouldn’t have made them.

William Keevers

… we can’t make up our minds …

Re “Preg knot” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, January 24):

The first two-thirds of this article was just like every other article about the argument over abortion: “pro” this and “pro” that, as if there are only two sides to the issue.

Finally, at the end, Kel Munger started to get it. There’s more to the issue of abortion than being “for” or “against” the termination of a pregnancy. The insistence that we all should decide if we’re “pro-life” or “pro-choice” keeps us from talking about anything. I’m not either “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” I’m both! I think that whether you call it a fetus or a baby, it’s alive. And no matter what you think about abortion, no one with a conscience would ever consider it lightly. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some situations where it ought to be a legal solution to an awful situation.

Too bad Munger didn’t start getting to the point until the very end of her article.

Jan Kline

… so let’s just make something up

Re “Preg knot” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, January 24):

Think about it: A minister or priest can pray like hell for a departed soul, but they can’t tell you where it comes from or when it enters the body. Neither can they tell you when “life” begins. Well, it begins when the soul enters the body. This is the crux of the whole issue of abortion.

The “Ancient Wisdom” has always said that the soul is attached to the embryo at conception but does not enter the body until the end of the first trimester, because there is no body until then. According to the “Ancient Wisdom,” the soul exists in the walls of the womb, where it grows the body until it reaches a point where it can enter and take control of the next stages of growth. Yes, we grow our own bodies!

Is abortion murder? Not before twelve weeks.

Is it okay to have an abortion? Many children being born today are accidents or not wanted. If they grow up unloved, they may well develop tendencies that will cause them to do harm to others. Thus today, abortion is the lesser of two evils. That could change later as the world changes.

What is the karma of abortion? That soul will have to be brought in again in a future lifetime. Should a woman have control of her own body? Of course, but she should know all the facts, and they certainly are not available in mainstream religious institutions.

Burt Wilson
Academy of Ancient Wisdom
Rancho Cordova

Who’s paying the bills?

Re “My so-called life” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Feature, January 24):

The abortion issue was well-done, and I really liked Liz Cazares’ comparison of the different agencies that purport to help women.

I’d like to see a follow-up story on how these agencies are funded. Do you think the people who provide financial support to the Sacramento Life Center and Alternative Pregnancy Resource Center know (or care) what a lousy job those places are doing?

The lack of accurate information and real help makes me wonder if those places care about preventing unwanted pregnancies. If every woman had access to birth control and accurate information, there would be no need for abortion. Then the religious zealots would not have an issue on which to hang their hat or raise money.

A word to the people who protest the work done by clinics like Planned Parenthood: If Jesus encountered a woman who needed help, would he judge her? Or would he provide compassion and care? Do you think your behavior is Christlike?

Fran Carlson

Call the tow truck after the accident

Re “My so-called life” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Feature, January 24):

I’m sure you got a lot of laughs asking for birth control at the pregnancy-crisis centers. But it makes about as much sense as expecting the guys at the body shop to prevent a car accident. Their job is to fix the dents, not prevent accidents. Same principle: The pregnancy-crisis centers are there to help after you’re pregnant.

V. Smith
via e-mail

Go local for trees

Re “Ready, set, vote!” (SN&R Editorial, January 24) and “Truly ‘green’ trees” (SN&R Ask a Treehugger, January 24):

Thanks for putting your voter recommendations in early enough!

But the response to the Treehugger query about a lost shade tree from the storm was inadequate. The study cited was made back east. Many of the trees in the study were in no way suitable for Sacramento’s climate and city.

The questioner should check with SMUD and local arborists. Many trees that are great for some sites could be disasters in the wrong one. Big considerations include actual planting space, whether you’d like a deciduous tree or not and air pollution benefits (redwoods are among the best).

William Michael Wauters

Selling out takes work

Re “How not to sell out” by Bill Forman (SN&R Arts&Culture, January 24):

You know, knocking another artist while extolling the subject of your article may seem “cool” in SN&R, but it just shows how unqualified both the author and his subject are to say anything about art or artists. If Bill Forman or Amy Hemmens had deigned to research the subject of their derision, they’d have found that NeckFace is a well-known graffiti (omigod!) artist from Stockton—practically a local boy.

Now, I realize that Stockton is not as debonair and happening as Sacramento’s internationally known art scene (ha!); nonetheless, NeckFace has managed to get out and live and make art in San Francisco and New York City, while our Ms. Hemmens has elected to continue to grace us with her presence here in Sacramento, despite the fact that she had a full-ride scholarship to California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Hmm, last time I checked, CCA’s tuition was around $30K/year. Brave, Ms. Hemmens! Way to buck the system! At CCA, you would have been exposed to world-class visiting artists and educators and made lifelong friends and contacts in the art world. The influences on your art-making would have been incalculable. You might have brought a wealth of experiences back with you to Sacramento and manifested them in a way that could have started an art-fashionista movement here.

Oh well, I guess it’s better to suffer in relative obscurity and have a provincial rag like SN&R write articles about how you chose “not to sell out.”

Gus Gilmore