Letters for January 29, 2004

Sacramento is really living

Re “Guerrilla rock lives!” by Becca Costello (SN&R Cover, January 22):

Thanks for the Sacramento article. It was a real hoot!

I haven’t had a chance to see these dudes and their street giggin’, but after swillin’ a few coldies, I’d be more than stoked to lend my lobes, shake my ass and play along with my fellow city dwellers. Let us never forget the power of street theater. It’s real, it’s free, and it’s our right. We invented the city; it didn’t invent us. All the world’s a stage, all of us actors of our own ideals.

I, for one, am inspired! Hail to Sacramento for bringing some spontaneous groovin’ to the streets. Props to SN&R for this kind of coverage. As the wise Lord Buckley said, “It is the duty of the humor [and why not music, or theater or whatever the creative human spirit comes up with] of any given nation in times of high crisis to attack the catastrophe that faces it in such a manner as to cause the people to laugh at it in such a manner that they do not die before they get killed.”

Aric Walter

Director of finance’s true colors

Re “True colors” (SN&R Editorial, January 22):

One should not have been surprised by the governor’s budget proposal. His appointment of Donna Arduin as director of finance clearly indicated in what direction his budget would go. That carpetbagger, fresh from Florida, and Michigan and New York before Florida, always balances budgets on the backs of the poor, disabled, children and other marginalized people in our society.

Schwarzenegger certainly was aware of her record before he hired her. He and the reactionary Republicans who support his budget clearly do not have compassion for their less-fortunate brethren, nor do they appear to have a conscience. They just drive home at night in their sport-utility vehicles to their gated communities and shut the real world out of their lives.

James G. Updegraff III

Casting for credits

Re “Turandot” by Jeff Hudson (SN&R Theater, January 22):

I read the review of Turandot and wonder about the line stating that the cast is “short on experience.” Did your review writer not read the program biographies? The cast includes many local actors, producers and directors with a magnificent variety of credits distributed among them. The wonderful cast puts on a unique and worthy show. The modest credits of a few members does not generalize to this very experienced and professional group.

Daisy Switzer
via e-mail

Clueless about barbecue

Re “Up in smoke” by Lark Park (SN&R Dish, January 22):

This is the first time I’ve ever written to a newspaper, but I just had to say something about Lark Park and her review of Texas West Bar-B-Que.

That place is awesome! She obviously doesn’t have a clue about barbecue. If I’m not mistaken, that place won in your “Best of Sacramento” readers’ poll last year.

Anyway, I thought that the description in her review wasn’t at all what I’ve experienced when I’ve eaten at Texas West Bar-B-Que, which is about once a week. Lark Park is way off base on this one, and I definitely won’t be putting any trust in any review of hers in the future.

As you can tell, barbecue fans are very loyal when they find the real thing!

P.B. Cafig
via e-mail

Really twisted

Re “Don’t ask, don’t tell” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, January 15):

First of all, let me make it clear that I am not a whiny, bleeding-heart, liberal Democrat nor a Republican. I am a conservative. These days, with George W. Bush in the White House, there is a distinct difference between Republican and conservative (except in the case of the Iraq war and the economy). Also, being a conservative is the reason I rarely read SN&R. This is the first time I’ve ever written to a so-called news (more opinion than news) paper, but this article made it so easy to show the absurdity of this paper and its writers, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Specifically, in this article, your writer states precisely why this sheriff and numerous others in the Sacramento area are quite fed up with this kind of reporting. Your writer then casually brushes the point aside and goes on to spin and twist his way out of it. It’s what the left does every day to get out of “owning up” to a little something called “responsibility.”

In the article, the writer (through other reporters’ quotes) charges the [Sacramento] County sheriff with putting your reporters on the “blackballed” and the “black mark of death” list. There are only two reasons he mentions for this (just two out of the 20 I could probably come up with). Anyway, the two reasons stated are being “biased” and “inaccurate.” And since there are only two reasons, I would think they could be cleaned up rather easily and quickly. But, alas, this is not what the liberal mindset in this country cares to do. This is why I throw your paper in the garbage after reading the first two paragraphs of practically any of your articles!

Instead of pulling up a lengthy list of facts, stories and examples of what the left-wing liberals have been doing since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I intend to be very pointed with just one statement as quoted in this article: “Here, the message to the media is: ‘You behave yourself, and we’ll give you the information.’” The whole point of this article has nothing to do with being good or bad; it has to do with integrity and the art of accurately reporting the facts and not the biased, left-wing liberal spin. I told you it was too easy to pass up!

And speaking of liberal absurdities, I just couldn’t resist this one: The left-wing, liberal hippies that were protesting the Vietnam War (back in the ’60’s, remember?)—who were they protesting? The “establishment.” Who was the establishment? The left-wing, liberal Democrats. And what political party are the majority of these protesters in today? Why, the same political party that wanted them to go die in Vietnam! In case it went over your head, it’s the liberal Democratic Party). Really twisted, huh?

Jay Haggin
via e-mail

Organic veggies, fuzzy science

Re “A box a week is all we ask” by Michael Feliciano (SN&R Essay, January 15):

I appreciated Michael Feliciano’s essay about community-supported agriculture (CSA), but it makes a couple of statements that are questionable.

Referring to organically grown vegetables, the author states that they are “not … sprayed with chemicals to make them shiny and big.” Well, I hope someone waters the vegetables, and H2O is a chemical. This is the kind of fuzzy, nonscientific statement that made me suspicious of organic farming for years. Statements like this indicate that the person does not really understand science and call into question the validity of any statements this person might make about the health benefits of organic food.

One might argue that what is intended by this statement is to say that synthetic chemicals and pesticides are not used in organic farming. In fact, the author does state that the vegetables are “certainly not sprayed with pesticides.” Actually, food can be sprayed with synthetic pesticides and still be certified organic. If you want to see the list of synthetic chemicals allowed in organic farming, go the electronic Code of Federal Regulations at www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfrhtml_00/Title_7/7cfr205_00.html (CFR 7 § 205.601: Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.) Scroll down a bit and look at subsection (e), which lists the synthetic chemicals that may be used as insecticides. Subsection (g) lists the acceptable synthetic rodenticides.

Another statement about mass-produced agriculture seemed a little off when it complained about “the fossil fuel used to move that shiny fruit to our ultramodern, super-huge grocery store.” Is the author riding his bike from downtown Sacramento to Capay Valley to pick up his box of veggies? He mentions picking up the veggies at a drop location; I suspect that some fossil fuel was burned getting them there. It would be interesting to know what the ratio of gallons of gasoline per pound of veggies is for this rather small transaction compared to those that are moved in bulk. It would not surprise me if the ratio was better for bulk transactions.

I am not writing this to criticize organic farming or the CSA movement; these seem like good things to me. I appreciate the author’s insight into the CSA movement and, for the most part, found the article interesting and useful. However, I was very suspicious of the value of organic farming for years because the claims made regarding it were so extravagant and unscientific. I suspect that more people would be convinced of the value of organic foods if information about it was presented in a more-accurate and less-sensational fashion.

Tyson Wright