Letters for January 27, 2011

Letter of the week

A life without pain

Re “Puff piece” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, January 20):

I just read your article and I only wanted to comment on one thing: I was raised by Mr. Mackey’s motto: “Drugs are bad!”

I was hit by a car at age 13 and afterward suffered from terrible headaches, nausea that ruined my ability to hold down a job or spend time with my children. I missed out on so much because of my head injury. Finally, after feeling like a guinea pig for years on drugs that were “legal” but did no good, I tried marijuana. Not only did the pain become tolerable, but the nausea was relieved, and I found not only could I spend time with my family but I could also hold down a job (part time). The gratitude I felt was enormous. Finally, I could live a real life!

I hope someday people who don’t need marijuana will understand that there are people out there who do. We are law-abiding, regular people who just hope for a life without pain and discomfort. We pay our taxes, we stop at red lights, we don’t rob liquor stores. We just want to feel like everyone else does: Fine.

Kristi Caye
via e-mail

The Maloofs need to pay up …

Re “No love for Natomas?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, January 20):

You should expand upon your parenthetical sentence regarding PILOT bonds to keep us informed about how the Maloofs’ plan to walk away from their $69 million debt to Sacramento taxpayers.

You wrote, “The plan would basically use public money—future property-tax revenue generated by the new arena site—to pay off the Maloofs’ current debt to the city.” Let’s get back to basics: The Maloofs should be paying back their $69 million loan and their property taxes out of their profits, just like everybody else!

Since when are somebody’s property taxes used to pay off a loan at the same time? If that’s the deal Mayor Kevin “Basketball” Johnson is cooking up, I would also like a $69 million loan from the city of Sacramento. They can use the property taxes I pay on my house as payment toward my loan!

If the clowns (or crooks) at City Hall aren’t going to give this sweetheart deal to all businesses and property owners in Sacramento, then these PILOT bonds are just camouflage for letting the Maloofs walk away from their debt while the city pretends they’re making payments.

If the Maloofs want to take the Kings and leave, let them—as soon as they pay back the $69 million they still owe the city, and by extension “we the people” of Sacramento, whose taxes paid for the loan in the first place. Let’s stop talking about a new arena and focus instead on the money the Maloofs still owe all of us. Let’s see if they have the nerve to leave and burn Sacramento if we don’t want to help pay for their new playground.

Daniel McMasters

… or maybe not

Re “No love for Natomas?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, January 20):

This is not about the Maloofs. It is about economic growth and civic pride.

In 1982, I co-chaired a small group that helped keep the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals franchise from folding or moving to another city. [I] heard the same negative garbage from opponents back then; i.e., this is just a ploy to help the team’s millionaire owner. Today, the Capitals play to sellout crowds in the Verizon Center, a modern entertainment/sports complex that has sparked an economic renaissance in Washington. An area that once consisted of abandoned buildings and vacant lots now has shops, condos and apartments, top-rated restaurants and more.

I could go on about how a modern entertainment and sports complex in Sacramento could bring the same economic success and civic pride. But instead, let me ask a simple question of those who continue to oppose a new facility: “If I, a resident of the capital city of one of the greatest states in the union with the sixth largest economy in the world, want to take my child to the circus, why should I have to go to Stockton or San Jose?”

Steve Mehlman

The dose makes the poison

Re “Toxics on tap” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Green Days, January 20):

Sadly, this article misses the real point of the study: that potential pollutants in our water supplies are going largely overlooked and that the agencies we trust to oversee and enforce our water quality are either unwilling or unable to accomplish their missions with their current staffing and budgets.

Chromium-6 is not a particular danger. It doesn’t even start to present a small threat until it reaches approximately tenths of parts per million, not billion. Even with the most pessimistic assumptions, the level of chromium-6 in our water is a hundred orders of magnitude away from that. Toxicity is in the dose, and this dose doesn’t even represent low-order toxicity. In fact, a Chinese study (very possibly the one referred to in the rather poorly sourced article, “Cancer Mortality in a Chinese Population Exposed to Hexavalent Chromium in Water” in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) reveals no link between levels of chromium-6 vastly exceeding those found in this study and cancer in a number of rural Chinese villages.

Chromium-6 is converted when ingested into chromium-3, through the action within our stomachs. Chromium-3 is a vital nutrient for our bodies, responsible for a critical part of our metabolisms. Chromium-6 is still dangerous, but only when inhaled, or ingested in such vast quantities that it would be noticeably present in any kind of liquid medium.

Finally, the reference to the film Erin Brockovich is misleading at best. Many follow-up studies have indicated that the case depicted in the film revolved more around the fear of big business and poorly described pollutants than any sort of reasonable scientific inquiry. It would be more reasonable to say that Ms. Brockovich pulled an exceptional con job than to say that she proved any kind of harm resulting from PG&E’s chemical release.

While I appreciate SN&R’s efforts to expose largely overlooked stories about the Sacramento area, this article represents an unfortunate overreaction to a largely invented concern.

Derek Katz

Support your local brewery

Re “Hoppy new year” by Ann Martin Rolke (SN&R Eat It and Reap, December 30, 2010):

I look to SN&R to highlight the best of the best in local entertainment, arts, food and dining. It bums me out when I see an article about beer in the area and the Sudwerk brewery is not included. A staple of the Sacramento region, and one that needs as much local support as possible, gets thrown to the side while brewing behemoth Sierra Nevada is mentioned.

Name withheld by request


In last week’s editorial on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a math error led SN&R to say that the decision occurred 37 years ago. It was actually 38 years. We regret the error.