Letters for January 25, 2007

Edifice complex?

Re “A man and his city” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Feature Story, January 18):

You depict Ray Kerridge as a refreshing change for the city, but so far developers seem to be the only stakeholders who have benefited.

Kerridge wants families to move downtown, but he never mentions neighborhood groups. Why do expensive phone surveys when he can meet with those interested in quality of life who have already banded together?

I wish him success, but I don’t think he understands the problems of the central city. Pocket parks may be wonderful in London, but they would be unusable in Sacramento. He apparently hasn’t yet noticed the herds of homeless and street people who fill existing parks.

Downtown is scary after three in the afternoon and even worse after dark. He doesn’t talk about solutions to long-existing problems: Graffiti is bad and keeps getting worse. There is panhandling, public drinking and drug dealing on the streets. Police dispatch is virtually unreachable and if you do place a call for service, the police do nothing. Our parks and public buildings no longer have flowers planted by the city. Streets are filthy with litter. The K Street mall is dirty and smelly.

He needs to pay more attention to quality of life and less attention to “splashing interesting new architectural forms on our skyline.” If he’s not careful, he’ll develop a reputation for having an edifice complex.

Ken Lauszus

What a pessimist!

Re “Not a lot of options” (SN&R Letters, January 18):

Geez, people say that I’m a pessimist. I thought the letter writer was going to swallow a bullet halfway through his letter. Things are so bad, people in the United States must either “work at Taco Tree” or “some commission-based rep job”? Work for peanuts and “not be able to afford an apartment,” or join the service and “most likely be killed”? Or if you’re lucky, be featured on the cover of Esquire with your limbs blown off. Oh, yes, but first throw in the obligatory “Bush is stupid” comment, i.e. [you could] be President because you don’t have to be that smart.

If the writer was trying to be humorous or present his version of satire, I believe he failed miserably. I’m not going to scold him, and say something insensitive (or patently right wing) like, “Hey, our boys (and girls) are fighting (and dying) to preserve your right to send inane e-mails.” No, I wouldn’t do that.

However, I will offer this sage advice: Stop crying! You live in the best (though flawed) country in the world. You have opportunities here that the majority of the world can only dream of. Don’t like things? Change ’em! Don’t like working at Taco Tree—move to Burger Queen, or better yet, go to school (any school) and do what the vast majority of people do: Work to improve your life and make it (and the world) better for all of us (and our children).

Richard Copp

Basic-training draft

Re “Tug of war” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, January 11):

I am not a veteran, though many of my friends are and I would have gone to Vietnam if my number came up on the lottery. As citizens, we have little choice about who we’re going to war with, and as our country is involved in conflicts around the world, we need a strong army. With the exception of tourism and financial aid, I doubt many countries want anything to do with us. Given the world we live in today, we’d better have a strong army or we’ll go the way of the buffalo.

War is a necessary evil that keeps America going. Our history began with war and will end with war—short of an asteroid strike. Americans are “seeped” in war. If they can’t war with someone else, they war with themselves.

Scott Johnson and Dan Buckley, veterans of foreign wars, are wrong to discourage our youth from becoming battle-ready. Not everyone goes to Iraq. Our country needs a strong standing force to defend our own borders. Basic training instills the “mindset” for any type of conflict.

As a result, I believe there should be a draft on basic training only, and then send the recruiters in to look for volunteers. I also believe that tours of duty are too long. They should be more like three months on, one week off, to keep our servicemen on balance. My few friends that did make it back from Vietnam never really came back.

Too long exposure to combat without breaks can cause mental illness. That’s why R-and-R rotations should be mandatory, if possible. We want our servicemen coming home as whole as they left, along with gained wisdom and combat experience, because whether we like it or not, this country will, sooner or later, see ground combat like in Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam.

James Gregory

Missing abandon

Re “Meditations on a woman scorned” by Jeff Hudson (SN&R Theater, January 11):

I went to see Beyond the Proscenium’s MedEia based on Mr. Hudson’s hearkening back to Abandon Production’s work at the Space. If Mr. Hudson hadn’t mentioned Abandon’s name in his review, I’d never have gone to see this piece. Having done so, I’m sorry I did.

The work was juvenile, amateurish and contrived—an overblown, uninspiring, unoriginal piece of youthful pretension. The only comparison I could make between what I saw and the “greatly missed” Abandon Production’s work was that there were people on stage and they moved around.

To call it experimental or physical theater does both terms an injustice. It’s just “bad” theater with technical toys and unwarranted financial backing. To claim the other two terms, they’d have had to truly create something on their own. I felt as though I was watching a high-school drama-club presentation based on their first theater field trip to San Francisco.

I’ll stop there but it does bring up the question: What happened to Abandon Productions?

My wife and I saw, I believe, seven of their works and they were truly cutting edge—something new, daring, with a riveting palpable energy that filled that Space (a venue, we discovered, Abandon actually built from that “old metal shed” and christened it as well). The freezing nights and sweaty late springs we spent there made us feel like we were off-Broadway or catching a show in the Village again. We’ve seen a lot of theater of all kinds, and those folks had a handle on raw, authentic storytelling.

We know Abandon went on hiatus in 2004. Do you, Mr. Hudson, or anyone else know where they’ve gone or how one might get a hold of Mr. Soto or the company?

Meantime, offering Beyond the Proscenium a “fair” or “foul” review as opposed to “good” would’ve been more accurate, and using Abandon’s name synonymously with them (unintentionally, I’m sure) is a misleading pat on the back for an otherwise unremarkable theater production.

Mark Rames

No over-priced granola

Re “Time warped” (SN&R Bites, January 4):

Many of us aren’t fond of Midtown Sacramento and the obnoxious and elitist snobs who exist there. Midtown Sacramento is the home of leftist failures like SN&R, the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

The intelligent people of Elk Grove were smart to just say no to over-priced granola and to boycott the elitist snobs at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

M. Morales

So much for living right

Re “Resolve to love the world” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, January 4):

I found this column one of the most hypocritical and offensive articles I’ve ever read. It’s especially disappointing coming from SN&R, which I thought was for tolerance and respect for all peoples. “You ain’t living right” is the kind of cookie-cutter simplistic condemnation that I would expect from Rush Limbaugh, not SN&R.

I’m a bad person because I don’t know why frogs are missing from back yards? Because I don’t like organized religion? Because I’m having a garage sale? Because I don’t carry children’s textbooks around with me, or just want to be alone after a bad relationship? I’m a bad person because I want some unstructured play time for myself rather than to go directly from work to volunteering and then to bed?

Where are these ignorant and self-righteous comments coming from? Who are you to tell me how I should be living, as long as I’m obeying the law? How is that tolerant or respectful of diversity of lifestyle?

This highlights how equally intolerant liberals are compared to all those they so quickly condemn for intolerance and general mean-spiritedness. Have you ever seen anyone “share the road” in front of the Natural Food Co-op on S Street? You are more likely to be killed by a Prius driver.

The problem with America today is we are all intolerant and disrespectful of each other. We all think we know what’s best for society and, without any thought, we try to force our way on everyone else and then have the nerve to claim everyone else is intolerant and disrespectful. We need to focus on our own individual selves/lives and learn to “live and let live.” America is based on living tolerantly among people you hate, as well as those you love.

If Joey wants to live her way, fine, but to not see the arrogance, the intolerance of others, and the disrespect of this article is really an example of how Joey “ain’t living right.”

Jim Reilley