Letters for July 17, 2003

Hummer free ride …

Re “Road warriors” by David A. Kulczyk (SN&R 15 Minutes, July 10):

When I read this column, first I wondered why you would publish free advertising for a Hummer dealership. I didn’t wonder long, since the answer is fairly obvious.

But that led me to wonder something else: Do any of you ever blush when you call yourself an “alternative newspaper”?

Let’s compare the questions from this ad against your own description of your newspaper at “About SN&R” [on SN&R’s Web site at www.newsreview.com/issues/static/sacto/AboutSNR.asp].

With irreverence and attitude (“How fast can it go?”), the News & Review tackles local, state and nationwide issues (“What kind of person buys an H1?”) followed in a way that keeps readers coming back for more (“What kind of person buys an H2?”). Whether it is the annual “Best of Sacramento” issue (which is fully, rather than just mostly, devoted to advertising) or a revealing investigative feature about what’s in local drinking water (Hey, remember that one story we did a long time ago?) or a take-no-prisoners exposé (“What kind of accessories can you get?”), the News & Review is constantly challenging the boundaries of journalism. (Consider your boundary between commercials and news effectively challenged.)

Our hard-hitting news stories (Hummers hit hard, all right) and entertainment focus (nuff said), and our willingness to take on issues that really matter to people (“What is the most popular color?”) has earned us a readership of close to one-fourth of the adult market in the Sacramento area. (You could increase that even more by stuffing pizza coupons in the middle and mass-mailing it.)

You forgot to include the dealership’s hours. Tell ’em SN&R sent ya!

Wesley Riley
via e-mail

… doesn’t fly with readers

Re “Road warriors” by David A. Kulczyk (SN&R 15 minutes, July 10):

Purchasing Hummers may be Californians’ latest attempt to fill the emptiness inside, but that doesn’t mean you have to devote your 15 minutes space to helping to sell them.

Did you have a tough time finding an interesting person to interview? Just e-mail me if you need some suggestions.

Better luck next week.

Jill Wesolowski

Karla couldn’t wait

Re “One nation, under surveillance” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Cover, July 3):

Thank you for finally writing about the Patriot Act in your paper. I was surprised that it took almost two years for your fine “independent” paper to devote a cover story to the subject, but better late than never.

I would like to encourage any interested readers to write postcards to their senators and to the White House. I hope your readers understand the power of the pen. Each postcard that is sent to a senator, representative or the White House is counted as 2,000 voters.

I realize that e-mail is a lot more convenient. However, e-mail does not carry the weight that a postcard does. Plus, when you send postcards, you have the secret pleasure of knowing everyone who handles the postcard reads it. Please remember to include your return address. Our California senators are great at responding.

For more information about the Patriot Act, or for more information about the degrading of our civil liberties, please contact the American Civil Liberties Union at www.aclu.org. They can direct you to information and action.

Thanks again, SN&R, and I hope in the future, you’re a little less tardy with important issues such as these. Some people depend on you as an important information vehicle.

Karla Pierce
via e-mail

Letter writers right on Steinberg

Re “Darrell gets an F,” “What is happening here, Mr. Steinberg?” and “Got to get back to the garden” (SN&R Letters, July 3):

I could not agree more with the comments expressed by the letters in response to “The velvet gavel” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, June 19).

Although Steinberg apparently expresses liberal and moral ideas, such as assistance for the mentally disturbed and the working poor, and low-cost housing, he has done nothing that effectively treats the related stigmas.

Steinberg represents Sacramento first. During his tenure, Sacramento County has become virtually bankrupt.

More importantly, to me, the city and its joint-power agencies are in a feeding frenzy for every developer to design and build high-income housing within city and county-city limits. Green space and community gardens have disappeared at a frantic pace. Needless monumental state buildings have been bought or built, but so far, all new housing has required a minimum $43,000 income per annum per small household.

Steinberg told voters that green space would increase and that certain community gardens (such as the Mandella garden) would be protected. Maybe he has been too busy, but at least four community gardens have been destroyed or dismembered since Steinberg has taken office!

Did he lie, or just simply forget? Or is it somewhere in between? As we enter this new century, are Sacramento’s leaders going to be party to the ever-increasing air pollution and the minimizing of green space?

Along with cohorts Senator Deborah Ortiz, Mayor Heather Fargo and City Manager Bob Thomas, this seems the direction: No poor people, please; no “non-taxable” land; when we can’t breathe, we’ll issue a bill for gas masks; developers must always be subsidized at the expense of the taxpayer, ensuring a “fail-safe” profit-rich outcome for the developer, while we Sacramentans see the reinstitution of serfdom via endless high-cost house payments.

There were two statements made by Tip O’Neill: “When in doubt, follow the money,” and “When politically disturbed, say nothing.”

Something is happening here. It’s immoral, bordering on illegal and built for “now.” Darrell Steinberg, look ahead. I don’t want to be living in the new Northern New Jersey!

Bob Stuter

Betting on Stewart’s scenario …

Re “The total recall picture” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, June 26):

This was a superb analysis. I’ve reread this article about four times, and I keep finding bits of it that are so sharp.

Today, I shared it with a lady who works in the Capitol as a secretary to an assemblyman. We now have a bet (winner is to be taken to the Firehouse for dinner): She says the budget will be in place by early September, and I say it’s not going to happen until after the recall election.

By that time, convalescent hospitals, counties, school districts, etc. all up and down the state are going to be in very deep trouble. And the little guy/employee gets the shaft. Again.

Bob Nosler
Rancho Cordova

… is like watching the playoffs

Re “The total recall picture” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, June 26):

Stewart’s piece on the recall was the most comprehensive and coherent prediction I have yet read on the subject. She reads like a possible successor to Dan Walters.

Her recall scenario reminded me of a typical Kings-Lakers playoff series. There’s all this enthusiasm for the Kings, and you cheer for the Kings, but you know the Lakers with their allies, the referees, will prevail.

Don Stewart

Who paid for the troops?

Re “Seeds of discontent” by Bill Forman, Cosmo Garvin and David A. Kulczyk (SN&R News, June 26):

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture held its recent conference in Sacramento to promote the use of biotechnology in worldwide agriculture (i.e., a virtual monopoly for Monsanto), California law enforcement was in the streets in incredible and surely unprecedented numbers, complete with a wide array of vehicles and weaponry, including armor. This was certainly a very expensive operation for somebody.

I am led, therefore, to ask the following questions of Governor Davis: Who paid for this extreme show of force? If it was the state of California, where exactly did the money come from? Last I heard, California was $39 billion in the red. Who authorized this expenditure? And why are the California taxpayers to do Monsanto’s business for it anyway?

If it was not California that footed the bill, who exactly did you rent our law enforcement officers to without the knowledge or consent of the people of this state? And why?

I, for one, would like to hear some answers.

Tom Lambie
Nevada City


The name Ron Burkle was misspelled in last week’s “Money for something,” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, July 10). SN&R regrets the error.