Letters for January 10, 2002

A.A. vs. secular

Re “Stepping Out” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, January 3):

Thank you for running R.V. Scheide’s story “Stepping Out.” It’s absolutely true that A.A. doesn’t work for everybody, and there’s serious debate in professional circles about whether the positives in A.A. outweigh the negatives.

However, I can’t agree with Jack and Lois Trimpey that the destruction of A.A. is a desirable goal. There will probably always be people who seek a religious solution to their problems and A.A. should be available to serve that perfectly understandable demand. The better goal is to offer recovering people a choice of support groups, religious and secular.

When I decided to end my 33-year career of drinking, my treatment program (Kaiser Permanente in Oakland) offered me such a choice, and I opted for the support groups that are now LifeRing Secular Recovery. I have been comfortable and continuously sober for more than nine years using this approach. LifeRing has support groups available in the Bay Area seven days a week and has an extensive online presence at www.unhooked.com. I would be happy to assist Sacramento area residents who would like to start LifeRing meetings. Our experience has been that when people have a choice of recovery methods, in addition to A.A., everybody benefits and more people get free of drugs and alcohol.

Marty Nicolaus
via e-mail

Working it without religion

Re “Stepping Out” by R.V. Sheide (SN&R Cover, January 3):

Bravo! To your paper for publishing such a wonderful article about alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous. I am a recovered addict that despite years of “working a strong program,” was not helped at all by the 12-steps, but actually hindered from quitting my addiction. I found Rational Recovery and have been effortlessly abstinent from the moment I picked up the book.

I think it’s very important that people question the stranglehold A.A. has on the concept of addiction in America. In my opinion, A.A.’s pervasive ideas of “disease” and “powerlessness” harm more people than they help. Thank you for providing the message that A.A. is not the only way!

Eric N.
San Francisco

Why they hate us

Re “Whose War is it?” by Dwain Barefield (SN&R Letters, December 27):

Dwain Barefield raises an important question when he says “We … should ask ourselves, why do people in other parts of the world hate us so much?” After serving in the infantry in Vietnam, and living in five foreign countries as an ESL teacher, and visiting 44 countries, I think I can give him a definitive answer: they hate everybody!

They hate people who talk, dress, look and worship differently and have been doing this long before America was a nation. In fact, they’ve been passing along this revered legacy for thousands of years. And because of the “dumbing down of America,” we always have to state the obvious: That’s why America exists, so people can flee these God-awful countries and cultures, and that’s why our citizens fight and die for this country (with the exception of most of the boomers who ran away from their obligation to defend this nation).

And yes, waving a flag does not a patriot make, but neither does holding up two fingers and mumbling “peace” mindlessly, a pacifist make.

Finally, we did not lose our freedom when Washington, Lincoln and FDR used military tribunals, and we won’t lose them now. Our regular judiciary’s calendars are too clogged with the “real” civil liberties cases: whether convicted felons’ rights are being violated because they can’t have both smooth and crunchy peanut butter.

Dennis McMurray
via e-mail

Sting the taxpayers

Re “Sacramento’s Best” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R News, December 27):

For those of us who live in neighborhoods plagued by street prostitution, it’s sad that the Sacramento Police Department needs to “create a crime” with our tax revenues in order to find “criminals.”

Every morning a cadre of pushers, pimps and prostitutes report to work along the Broadway corridor between Alhambra and Stockton Boulevard. And these criminals work with very low overhead—no hotel room expense and no fees for a special license. The “johns” drive by in the dozens, readily identifiable, readily arrested without need for expensive special police enticement.

Although I strongly disagree with the COYOTE position that prostitution is a victimless crime, I would support their statement that the police sting operation, as exemplified by Sacramento’s Best escort service, was a waste of resources.

Jeffrey Greer
Oak Park

Sting the mayor and council

Re “Sacramento’s Best” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R News, December 27):

I want to thank Steve Jones for the excellent reporting on the activities of the Sacramento Police Department. I think their activities are simply outrageous! I do not want my tax dollars spent on this kind of activity.

If there is a complaint or if someone has been assaulted, then I would expect the police to assist our citizens, but not to go to the lengths that our police department has gone to.

I have written a letter to the mayor and city council asking them to please put a stop to this nonsense. If you agree with me that our tax dollars should not be spent on these activities, send your letter to the mayor and city council at 915 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Gary Miller
via e-mail

Say no to blow

Re “Strike a Blow” by Ted Rueter (SN&R Guest Comment, December 27):

Like a gasp for clean air from amidst the exhaust fumes, the Guest Comment by Ted Rueter about leaf blowers resonated positively with me. Just this morning, as I pedaled off to work at 7:30 a.m., I heard at least three of these conspicuously polluting, stinky, smoky, shrieky back vibrators ruining the peaceful morning ambience of my M and 37th neighborhood in Sacramento. Apparently I have a few neighbors who need lessons in civic responsibility.

So, fellow citizens, here’s an opportunity to respond responsibly and with good will: have you and your gardeners resort to the tried and true utility of rake and broom, and compost your leaves and lawn trimmings (they make great mulch for gardens). As a former professional gardener, I never found the use of a leaf blower necessary, and got a lot of good exercise by taking better care of my environment. If you or your gardeners are unwilling to adjust your behavior, then you’ll find yourself learning a lesson in community politics—act responsibly or you, too, will be regulated.

Peter Warner

Tom Tomorrow is seditious!

I was quite shocked and disturbed when I read the December 27th issue.

The Vietnam vet who wrote a letter about injustice in the name of national security was rather radical and it was surprising to me that someone could hold those opinions logically or intelligently. To even suggest that it is wrong to detain an individual suspected of terrorism is irrational; they did not just pick at random Arabs to arrest.

To all of you who hold these radical opinions let me ask you, if you saw an Arab-looking person or group of Arab people boarding your plane, would you board that plane if the FBI was not taking any security measures at airports? And regarding the cartoon “This Modern World,” I would like to say to the author that your cartoon is blatant sedition. That is ridiculous, where will it end?

I think the government has done an excellent job in dealing with this situation so far, there hasn’t been any acts of terrorism since the 11th and how can you argue with results? When will you radicals stop? The only reason you criticize the president is because he is a Republican president. Can he not do anything right for you people—if he hadn’t been as involved in this situation as he is you would criticize him for not doing enough? What do you want the government to do, not do anything and just let religious fanatics terrorize our nation so that we don’t offend anyone? Where will it end? I ask all these questions so that you might re-evaluate your positions and see where you stand after doing some intelligent thinking and not going by feelings or emotions to base your ideas.

Billy Lewis
via e-mail

The pugilist prig

Re “(Not) The Greatest” by Mark Halverson (SN&R Film, December 27):

Mark Halverson gave the movie Ali a “don’t go out of your way to see it” rating. I remember those times. LBJ gave black people their rights, and Martin and Ali made them proud. It was big and it wasn’t easy. Michael Mann shows this, and young people know it now because of Will Smith.

My daughter (28 years old) went into it saying, “Why is everyone making such a big deal about a boxer?” She was impressed. Hey Mark, don’t get so priggish about the details. We aren’t really interested in how alternative you are.

Rich Davis
via e-mail