Letters for January 1, 2004

Russian bride’s treatment is no joke

Re “How to find a Russian bride (named Boris)” by Harmon Leon (SN&R Cover, December 11):

Ha, ha, very funny.

Now let us examine what happened to one such bride who came to Seattle, Wash., with her sugar-daddy husband. Approximately two years ago, Anastasia King was murdered by her husband and his homosexual lover. Her body was wrapped in a rug and dumped at a garbage dump.

Anastasia was only 20 years old, an honor student at the University of Washington who worked as a part-time waitress. Her very much older husband was well-to-do and came from an upper-middle-class family.

Prior to marrying her, Anastasia’s husband was divorced by his first Russian wife, citing physical abuse, and she also had a restraining order against him. When Mr. King murdered Anastasia, he was already on the Internet looking for Russian wife No. 3.

My mother met Anastasia’s parents in church when they came to claim their only child’s body. My mother would learn that they were opposed to their daughter’s search for an American husband and tried hard to discourage her, to no avail.

Searching for long-distance brides is nothing new and has been practiced around the world for eons.

When my father (who was 20 years older than my mother) and his family came to America from Greece in 1904, my grandmother was responsible for arranging many marriages, by connecting Greek girls from Greece with Greek men in Chicago, Arizona and New Mexico. The game is the same; only the technology is different.

Personally, I would have preferred to read an article about how to rescue the women who are brought here for illicit purposes.

Maria Kishkovsky

Caring doctor is a medical miracle

Re “Doctor at risk” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, December 18):

Wouldn’t it be a miracle if we could find a dedicated, honest, caring physician like Dr. Lackner, instead of our so-called managed-care doctor, who sits with glazed-over eyes while we beseech him for help and then turns to us and says, “Do you want some pills?”

I keep up with the Mayo Clinic newsletter, and when I request trying a new drug, my doctor says, “I’ve never heard of that. What does it do?” or “I don’t need to examine you; I can see you are swollen.” Where did dedication go?

I’ve seen an article that states they found the “attention span” of a doctor listening to a patient is approximately two minutes. Then the doctor “tunes out” before billing my insurance $170 for a 20-minute visit—at $8.50 a minute, don’t we deserve the best he can do?

There are many wealthy people in this city who could help this dedicated, humble, caring physician keep his Silkworth clinic open. Our Hollywood governor doesn’t need the hundreds of thousands of dollars that star-struck people donate to him.

Beverly Nelson

Drive-by reporting on food stamps

Re “The power (elite) diet” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, December 11):

It is rather disappointing that Jill Stewart would succumb so easily to the tired old myth that those on public assistance are living large from scamming the government and taxpayers. Although Stewart has brought a welcome and much needed balance to the left-leaning political commentary that permeates the printed pages of SN&R, she missed the mark this time.

Stewart evokes the image of the recipient of food stamps driving a Jaguar because a bill by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (Assembly Bill 231) removed an outdated assets test that counted personal vehicles as a resource that could be traded for cash. The old rule was mostly a problem in rural areas where a family may own several junk cars or old trucks in states of disrepair, which could not be sold but effectively disqualified them. The new rule in AB 231 was studied in North Carolina first (1999), where they found food-stamp recipients mostly driving Ford Escorts and 5-year-old Honda Civics.

What Stewart also overlooked was that over two-thirds of the recipients of food stamps in California are children. In addition, many of the changes in AB 231 were spurred by federal policy intended to improve access to food assistance for working people, as part of welfare reform’s evolving structure. It is also worth noting that families of injured or sick veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have relied on food stamps while disability benefits are determined by the [Department of Veterans Affairs].

Mr. Steinberg and advocates of nutrition assistance decided that it would save money to avoid red tape and the complications of calculating loan-payoff balances and the real street value of vehicles, especially since none of the families that came to fill out county food-stamp applications were driving a Jaguar or Lexus.

Al Hernandez Santana
associate director, California Catholic Conference

Partisan investigates SN&R’s letters!

Re “Bravo for Stewart’s heresy!” (SN&R Letters, December 18):

This is in regard to the letter from Randall Schaber that lauds a Jill Stewart column (“The power (elite) diet,” SN&R Capitol Punishment, December 11) for her “perception regarding the fiscal catastrophe the Democratically controlled Legislature has created.”

Mr. Schaber writes: “As a native Sacramento resident and lifelong Democrat, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still in Sacramento when I read Jill Stewart’s article.”

A lifelong Democrat, huh? Just a quick check of campaign-contribution records shows that a Mr. Randall Schaber from Sacramento donated $500 to Republican Congressman John Doolittle in May 2003 and $750 to Republican Congressman Doug Ose in June 2003. I found the information on www.opensecrets.org, a campaign-contribution database run by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Maybe Randall Schaber the Republican campaign contributor is different than the Randall Schaber the lifelong Democrat who wrote SN&R.


Jim Evans

Randall Schaber replies: “I’ve been a Democrat since college, where I was president of the Harry Truman Club. Just because I’m a Democrat doesn’t mean I can’t financially support members of other parties who share some of my views. This letter is another example of the extreme partisan thinking Jill Stewart described in her column.”

Bravo for historical coverage

Re “Fighting for survival” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R 15 Minutes, December 11):

Excellent article. I heard Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” singing in my mind’s ear while reading it.

Imagine, fighting your own people for the honor of a country that does not see you as a human being.

California’s first governor, [Peter] Burnett, in his inaugural address, proposed to “export all black people out of the state of California.” He settled for taking away the rights to vote, to homestead land, to attend public school and to testify in court against white folks, via the California Legislature.

Beckner’s recent work on black history is a breath of fresh air because many, many folks are now talking about the issues locally. A few are actually beginning to support efforts to tell this American story and are beginning a long-overdue process of acknowledging this legacy.

Asante Sana (thank you very much). Hotep (peace) to all you hold dear.

Michael Harris

Who’s mean-spirited here?

Re “Reagan uprising is not censorship” (SN&R Guest Comment, December 11):

How can Howard Kaloogian talk about mean-spirited Democrats? Who is pushing to remove [Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s] image from the dime and replace it with Reagan’s? Now, that’s small.

In view of the disservice Reagan did to the mentally ill, I want you to know that I am so happy that he is getting a taste of it. A fitting end to his life. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person!

As far as the dime goes, Reagan is so far from being a match for FDR, and that is pathetic!

Wally Forsland
via e-mail