Letters for February 9, 2012

Radio local

Re “Mixed signals” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, January 19):

This column is right on. But as we lament the loss of “local” programming on Sacramento’s public-radio stations, we shouldn’t overlook what’s happened on our private “commercial” stations. These stations hold lucrative [Federal Communications Commission] licenses to run a commercial for-profit station, but with an FCC requirement that they serve the “public interest.”

Airing only nonlocal, nationally syndicated talk shows day and night in California’s capital city raises the question, “What are they thinking?” Throw in the fact that their talk shows offer an overwhelmingly one-sided (conservative) viewpoint, and it’s hard to see how our local “public interest” is being served—especially in an election year.

Yes, we need more “localism” on our public-radio stations, but let’s not forget to expect it from our commercial stations either.

Roger Smith
Sacramento Media Group

Jolt of personal experience

Re “Jolt of hope” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, February 2):

I’d first like to thank [Senator President Pro Tem Darrell] Steinberg for writing and supporting the Mental Health Services Act, which provides funding for mental-health treatment and services for all California mental-health clients and family members. I have participated in many of the Act’s training programs and sat on several MHSA committees. I was heavily involved in the Sacramento Wellness and Recovery Center, which received MHSA funding.

It was through these MHSA activities, committees and training sessions that I met Andrea Hillerman-Crook. I was impressed by her professionalism and personal strength. She has sincere compassion and empathy for her peer clients. She understands the challenges and struggles clients and family members face on a daily basis. She understands because she’s “been there.”

This empowers [Hillerman-Crook], as it would any mental-health client. This is not “victimization” in any form; this is a good example of what Steinberg had in mind when he wrote the “five essential elements” of the MHSA legislation.

Clients need unity now—from their peers most of all!

Becky Skalinder

Don’t pass stigma forward

Re “Jolt of hope” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, February 2):

Actually they are not “combating the stigma of mental illness”; they are positing it through you and successfully. It is a pernicious practice.

[As written in the story]: “‘Because of the stigma of mental illness, despite everything that was happening to me, I did not want to be thought of as being one of the crazy ones,’ Andrea [Hillerman-Crook] told the audience gathered at the Sam Pannell Meadowview Community Center.”

This statement is offensive, for more than one reason. First, she is positing a prejudice as if it were universal. It is hers. It may be other people’s prejudice as well, but it is far from universal.

Second, she is, as a victim of someone’s prejudice, repeating it. It is not uncommon for victims of a prejudice to internalize it as a truth and repeat it.

Please do not, for anyone, employ journalism to repeat their prejudice, no matter how “sincere” or “professional” they may seem. Do not validate their prejudice.

Harold A. Maio
via email

Not-so-magic missed point

Re “Oh, ho, ho, it’s magic” (SN&R Letters, February 2):

I believe Richard Copp missed the point. Unlike alcohol, overconsumption of marijuana, and even tobacco, has not killed anyone.

All three can cause accidents and involuntary manslaughter.

Michael J. Dee
via email


Re “State of hunger” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature, January 26):

While I did find the story of the dancer interesting, I can’t help but question the news judgment in putting it on the cover rather than Sasha Abramsky’s great work on hunger in California.

One is interesting; the other is important.

I know, in these tough times, people look for “lighter” fare. However, I trust SN&R to tell me what’s really important—you always have. I can only hope that people who picked it up for the dancer read the hunger story as well and put the information to good use.

Jan Kline

Women should keep legs together

Re “Defend freedom of choice” by Eileen Schnitger (SN&R Guest Comment, January 26):

I wonder why people like Eileen [Schnitger] and other “choice” advocates always think that women seeking an abortion are capable of make this life-ending decision. How is this possible when just a few weeks or months prior they couldn’t even make the simplest decision to just say no and keep their legs together?

Tom Orsat
El Dorado Hills

Smell of hypocrisy

Re “Crunch time for strong mayor” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Beats, January 19):

Despite the continuing efforts by Mayor Kevin Johnson and the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee for a “strong mayor,” I have yet to see any compelling reason for making such a change. If there is a desire by the citizens of Sacramento for the change it certainly is not apparent. Councilman Rob Fong was correct when he said he didn’t discern any desire in his district for a strong mayor. Fortunately, the council took the right action on this issue and now perhaps we can get on with the business of the city without these types of distraction.

Incidentally, I was amused that, while the mayor and the Bee did a full-court press for a vote on the “strong mayor,” they did a complete turnaround [and opposed a vote] on Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy’s call for a vote on the mayor’s sports palace.

Do I detect a smell of hypocrisy by the mayor and the Bee?

James G. Updegraff