Letters for July 21, 2011

Be where you are

Re “I (almost) love Sacramento” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature, July 14):

As someone who came home to Sacramento after 15 years in Chicago, Sasha Abramsky’s story struck a nerve. I agonized over moving back here from a city we loved. The best advice I got was, “If you do go back, don’t compare Chicago to Sacramento. That’s unfair to Sacramento, to you, your husband and kids.”

And it’s true, Sacramento is not the town I left 15 years ago when I ventured rarely outside of the 95831 ZIP. It does offer everything Abramsky notes. Where else can you day trip to hiking, wine, snow and beaches? We are in a walkable neighborhood in a wonderfully diverse city. Traffic jams are pleasant and predictable; the weather can’t be beat.

When you move anywhere, you have to live fully, and that is hard to do if your plan is to always be somewhere else. We are here, and for all different reasons than Chicago, we love it.

Jenny Mohler

Good name for a park

Re “Bobby Burns Park?” by Stephanie Rodriguez (SN&R Frontlines, July 14):

Bobby Burns wasn’t a politician or a wealthy businessman. He was, however, a good, kind soul, who always had a smile for everyone. His presence was firmly known in the Midtown area, by individuals and businesses alike. He embodied a sense of community in Midtown which is sorely missed.

Thank you for running this article. It is a good basis for the movement to name the park after Bobby to gain the momentum it deserves.

Karilyn AhYun

Joey fan

Re “Unicorns and virgins” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, July 14):

I would like to send along my appreciation to SN&R for the Joey Garcia column. Indeed, Ask Joey is a primary reason I pick up SN&R.

If I may elaborate: I find the Ask Joey column to be fascinating, challenging, mindful, thought-provoking, practical, witty, funny, heartfelt and insightful.

Tom Roman
Grass Valley

He’s not a believer

Re “Track to the future” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, July 7):

Let’s see: Your pessimistic estimate is 40 million passengers a year.

Really? That many? Divide by 365 days to get roughly 100,000 passengers per day! Figure maybe a 10-car train with 50 passengers per car, and you need 200 trains a day, 100 each way. That’s approximately one long, packed train going 200 [miles per hour] down the line every 10 minutes dawn to dusk.

Still believe? Or rather, should anyone else?

D.D. Freund

Political price on prisons

Re “Slamming the slammer” by Leilani Clark (SN&R Frontlines, July 7):

Prison overcrowding has always been about union opposition to contract beds, period. It has nothing to do with crime rates, sentencing practices, parole violations or anything else.

The county jail bed shortages caused the shift of parole violators and “wobblers” to prison, where they occupy about 48,500 expensive prison beds. The resulting prison overcrowding could have been eliminated in about 10 minutes by just authorizing the use of private-contract beds.

California has less than 1.5 percent of its inmates in private-contract facilities, compared to over 8 percent in the rest of the country, 12 percent in Texas, and 17 percent in the federal prison system. Contract beds cost about $26,000 less annually than prison beds. The state would save about $1 billion annually if the low-level offenders in prison were placed in contract facilities rather than in prison beds.

It is not complicated, but it is definitely political.

Rich McKone

Where’s the compassion?

Re “Lost supper” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Feature, June 30):

In reading several of the [online] reader comments for this story, there seems to be a fundamental lack of compassion and understanding for those individuals in need of basic food. One can always wonder why the working poor, a senior or a person with a disability did not attempt to save funds earlier in life. The reality is there are several aspects that enter into the depletion of funds that may have been saved from past incomes.

The first is large out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance. As well, many do not know this, yet Medi-Cal eligibility does not always translate to free health care in every instance. Many people—seniors and people with disabilities—are assessed a monthly “spend down” (share of cost), and some can be as high as $600-plus per month. This leaves many people with very limited funds after rent and utilities are paid. So, in many instances, individuals who may have saved over years have already depleted their savings.

Where is the compassion and willingness to engage greater insight for these people in need? I guarantee if any person finds him/herself in need of food assistance via age or disability, you will eventually understand the point of this article and this response.

Compassion and understanding is the key to knowing how to care for our fellow citizens, while judgmental remarks that do not reflect genuine insight about any immediate need do nothing to contribute overall to any member of our communities.

The legislative effort to modify the red tape is laudable; yet what people genuinely need to grasp is that most people do not bring misfortune upon themselves—and even if a person does, instead of kicking another when that person is down, it is far more logical to help with food for their survival.

Ayn Gi

Be prepared for cohousing

Re “Living in the future” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Green Days, June 30):

I’m living in cohousing right now, and I love it.

The main differences between cohousing and single-family housing is that I have neighbors that I know, cook with, drink wine with, spend hours on the patio talking about everything and nothing. People who end up unhappy in their cohousing communities often didn’t have accurate expectations (or were not completely informed) when going into it. Set future residents of your cohousing up for success; give them a copy of Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities by Katie McCamant and Charles Durrett.

Spread the word. Build it up.

Jillian Brooks
Nevada City