Letters for January 5, 2012

Intrusive ordinance

Re “On Tent City 2” (SN&R Editorial, December 29, 2011):

The purpose of the anti-camping ordinance is stated in the ordinance. The purpose is to keep the sidewalks clear and passable.

The campers (and the Occupiers, too) do keep the sidewalks clear. When Safe Ground had their camp on Mark Merin’s C Street property, they had Porta-Pottys and cooking facilities. They were locked in at night, only to have police cut the locks off at 5 a.m. and arrest the campers—who were there with permission of the property owner—twice!

The other disturbing thing about this ordinance is that even someone who owns their own home is limited to one night of camping. That is very intrusive. Why they went to the trouble to state the purpose of the ordinance and then enforce it in a totally different manner has always been a mystery to me. It is likely the only way this intrusive ordinance was ever adapted in the first place.

Glenn Bailey


Fiscally irresponsible cuts

Re “Cut and run” by Lien Hoang (SN&R Frontlines, December 22, 2011):

Here’s another example of this kind of stupidity: The In-Home Supportive Services program keeps more than 400,000 low-income elderly, blind and disabled Californians in their own homes, which is where they want to be. Without this program, thousands of these people would be forced into nursing homes or other institutions. Thousands more would have to go without care, period. And nearly 400,000 low-wage home-care providers would be out of work.

Yet this program is the target of right-wing ideologues year after year. Nursing-home care costs taxpayers at least five times more than IHSS home care. So cutting this valuable, cost-effective program is not only morally wrong, it is fiscally irresponsible.

Steve Mehlman

Not an anti-union initiative, he says

Re “PLA with their heads” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cut&Paste, December 22):

As the project manager of the campaign for a ballot measure to ensure fair and open competition on construction contracts in the city of Sacramento, I have three comments about this article.

First, describing the ballot measure as “anti-union” ignores its actual content. It prohibits the city from requiring construction companies to enter into contracts that force them to sign labor agreements with unions. No worker loses a right to be in a union, and no unionized company loses its ability to bid on work. The ballot measure simply prevents the government from imposing a union monopoly on construction contracts.

Second, a salaried executive director for Sacramento’s entrenched political establishment is reportedly outraged that people who signed a petition for marijuana legalization were then asked to sign the fair-and-open-competition petition. But someone who believes in broad personal freedom would be likely to sign both petitions, because both proposed ballot measures prioritize individual choice over government control.

Finally, the California constitution justifies the right of initiative by stating that “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.” It’s stunning that organized political machines are gloating to the press about their success in physically hindering people from exercising that right.

Kevin Dayton
state government affairs director, Associated Builders and Contractors of California

More love for that story

Re “Tower, a love story” by William J. Hughes (SN&R Essay, December 22):

I loved your story. Whenever I am in Sacramento, I stop by the Tower for a meal. I love the menu, the people and the area. Down the street is the Beatnik Studios, where you can enjoy music and art. There are some great antique shops and a farmers market. This side of town is rarely highlighted.

Lauretta Ayers

How good a deal is it, anyway?

Re “Citizens beware!” by Jan Ellen Rein (SN&R Essay, December 8) and “Millions would be lost in parking scheme” (SN&R Cut&Paste, December 15):

There are two issues to decide about this scheme. First (after we have all the details): Is it a good deal for the people of Sacramento, long term as well as short term?

If it is, then second: What is the best use of the money? The city has other pressing needs, and Mayor Kevin Johnson should recuse himself on this issue due to his conflict of interest.

No one’s home is going to burn down and street crime and gang violence won’t increase because we don’t build a new arena. But homes could burn down and people could be injured and killed because “public safety has already experienced drastic cuts.” So why not use the parking money to restore those cuts?

Some people say this is about more than just the Kings, which might be true. But if the Kings weren’t here and threatening to leave, the city council wouldn’t even be considering this scheme.

What really angers people I’ve talked to is that the city council has “bent over backward” to find hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at wealthy special interests while letting public safety, city parks and essential city infrastructure deteriorate. Clearly, to a majority of council members, keeping the Kings in town is the most important thing, if not the only important thing.

That’s why these issues need to be decided by the people at the ballot box: so we can tell the city council what our priorities are.

Jan Bergeron

It’s a complicated story

Re “Occupy Christmas” by Todd Walton (SN&R Feature, December 22):

A wonderful story; so many levels. The basic idea that the rich are to blame is a little too easy.

My point, and one issue your story reminds me of, is that the moderately wealthy are not the problem. The Occupy movement is great to the extent that it raises awareness of the disparity in wealth, and the disparity in political power between the classes. But the movement lacks focus, and simply blaming those with more than you isn’t the answer. Perhaps the answer is developing as the movement grows. You’ve provided a great, thought-provoking perspective.

Ben Davis
West Sacramento

Fab 40s commune!

Re “Occupy Christmas” by Todd Walton (SN&R Feature, December 22):

Wow! You did a fantastic job of showcasing a sweet holiday story. Loved it! The first commune in the Fab 40s I’m guessing?

Robert Smith