Letters for January 1, 2015

The myth of the “make jobs” rhetoric

Re “Men at work” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, December 24):

A big shout-out to you for toeing up to the task of challenging the myth of the “make jobs” rhetoric that is scripted and employed by business-as-usual to pretend projects that damage the planet, exploit labor or rip off the consumer are somehow justified by claims they will “make jobs”—claims that our government often throws tons of money at for support on vague promises that “making jobs” will actually be the case, without any evidence or controls assuring that jobs of any consequence will actually be created.

The “make jobs for Sacramento” ballyhoo surrounding the new arena is no different. If one looks at the mayor's own Sacramento First Task Force's “Final Report – The Critical Path” (2010), you will find buried in the Appendix (p. 47) the “Executive Summary” analysis indicating that the six proposals presented to that group would have provided only an average of about 229 direct, city-resident jobs total out of the 4,000-plus jobs bandied about by supporters of the project. Of those jobs, some 3,700 of them were identified as temporary, phased jobs during construction, and only about 1,300 of those would be within the City of Sacramento. What would have remained after construction were about 229 jobs total, within the city, most of them seasonal and entry-level positions. That was the great “Make Jobs! Medicine Show” of 2010. Keep in mind, those arena plans were about twice the size of the current arena project.

So go figure what “make jobs” really means with our current arena undertaking or why, perhaps, the city is so reluctant to come forth with actual job-creation information, data with which they are likely to be already well acquainted. “I think we'll get [the arena-jobs report] before March.” Really? Yes, we think so too.

That should give our politicians just enough time to bury the real job-creation figures with some of their own homegrown smoke and mirrors. But give our elected officials credit: That much they know how to do.

Red Slider


Barnes vs. Sondheim

Re “Into the Woods” by Daniel Barnes (SN&R Short Review, December 25):

I read your review of Into the Woods to a pair of friends who are theater musicians. When I got to the part where you described Sondheim’s music as “utterly appalling,” they looked at me as if I had just grown a set of antlers.

Surely you, as a cultured person, are aware that in the theater world, Sondheim is revered more than any living person, and Into the Woods is one of his most beloved works. I will grant that his music can be challenging for many people, but as a critic, you’re supposed to be on the side of quality.

If you honestly don’t agree with the acclaim for Sondheim, that needs to be the subject of a separate essay. You can’t just casually dismiss him any more than you could comment in a concert review, in passing, that Beethoven’s music is beneath contempt.

Mark Stivers


Lighting the fuse

Re “When cops kill” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature Story, December 11):

As a teenager in the late ’60s, I saw a lot of disrespect toward the police. The common slang was “pig,” and it slid off the tongue as easily as any other word.

Don’t ask me then if it was deserved, as I was barely out of my childhood years. I know better now. But back then, as now, when told to put your hands and arms down and turn around or get on the sidewalk, you did it or else.

Noncompliance, ranging from any polite question to outright hostility, can be likened to lighting a fuse on a powder keg. Once lit, it can be put out early, but gets tougher the longer it burns and has a predictable outcome.

Joe Rothwell