Letters for July 30, 2009

Letter of the week

Bad choices by bright kids

Re “After the crash” by Ryan Neal (SN&R Feature, July 23):

I cannot praise SN&R enough for publishing this article. This raw glimpse of a horrific day and its equally horrific aftermath is a powerful story that desperately needed to be told and needs to be retold again and again. This is the article that will finally compel readers to plan ahead, follow through and find another solution than just buckling up and hoping to beat the odds.

I had begun to lose faith in local news when everything written about this tragic accident was solely based on one-sided statements derived from anger and grief. No publication or journalist was brave or insightful enough to dig a little deeper. No one was told that the driver was a longtime friend to Brian and prom date to Kendall.

This is the first article about this topic that didn’t feel contrived and didn’t leave me feeling frustrated. This was the article I think Kendall and Brian would have liked the most. They were two of the greatest friends I’ve ever known, and the unrelenting blame and anger from a few individuals has made it impossible for any of us to think about them with any sense of peace. Thank you for telling everyone that three friends were taken from us that night due to one bad choice executed by an entire group of intelligent people.

Sarah Tricomi
Los Angeles

Learn from others’ mistakes

Re “After the crash” by Ryan Neal (SN&R Feature, July 23):

An excellent article, and an act of courage to share such intimate details. Thank you for spreading the story so others in the community will learn to truly value their friends and make wise choices.

Fair Oaks

Legalize it, tax it, profit

Re “The money’s down the drain” and “Pampered Communist elite” (SN&R Letters, July 23):

The war on drugs continues because the tobacco and alcohol industries put a lot of money into political campaigns to fight the competition for addictive drugs. What these CEOs behind Marlboro, Budweiser, etc., don’t realize is [that] they’ve already lost that battle to keep competition for mind-altering drugs out.

Legalize it, regulate it, tax it, and watch the alcohol and tobacco industries add marijuana to their product lines. Watch for the TV ad campaigns: “This bong’s for you!” and the “Cannabis Camel.”

As for D. Yee’s letter, “Pampered Communist elite,” I feel sorry for this writer, swallowing the insurance lobby’s disinformation campaign hook, line and sinker.

First of all, [President Barack] Obama’s health-care-reform package doesn’t force anyone into government medical insurance. If you have an insurance plan you like and a doctor you like, guess what? You get to keep it! If you have no insurance, don’t like your insurance or your doctor, or are disqualified due to a pre-existing condition, you will now have another option.

Gee, what a concept: a democracy that offers you more choices rather than fewer choices!

As to “Communist elite” having better insurance than the rest of us: D’oh! Congress already has better health-insurance plans than the rest of us, and this was put in place nearly 40 years ago under the most rabid anti-Communist conservative Republican administration in U.S. history: Richard Nixon’s! Remember Whittaker Chambers’ Pumpkin Papers, the Watergate burglars who declared that their profession as “anti-Communists,” etc. Yeah, that crowd of “Communists” decided elected officials deserve better health care than everyone else.

Ed Hass
Elk Grove

Callison’s not so hot

Re “Think. Talk. Repeat.” by James Raia (SN&R Feature, July 16):

Wow! As a former Insight listener, I couldn’t believe what I was reading in James Raia’s puff piece on Jeffery Callison, host of that dreadful program on KXJZ. Then I saw the disclaimer that Mr. Raia is connected to the show. That explains a lot. What’s next, have one of [Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger’s aides publish a laudatory piece about how well the governor is doing?

I can think of no other program on the air that has such a mix of inane, uninteresting programming and a lifeless, dry, host that routinely rattles off questions in a completely detached manner. And this opinion is shared not just by some, but by everyone I know. I actually feel embarrassed for Mr. Callison, especially when he asks such scintillating questions as: “Why do you call your band Pets, instead of the Pets?” (actual question) and then goes on about how “Pets sounds better than the Pets.” This sort of mindless banter is the bulk of Insight programming. Once in a while, usually because the guest is good, an interview is quite interesting, but these moments are very few and far, far between.

I believe Insight does have the potential to rise out of the Maury Povich/Montel Williams strata of radio, but not with the help of such articles by James Raia. By writing such a piece, the only favor Mr. Raia is doing is for himself, ensuring future appearances on the show.

For a taste of world-class talk radio, check out Michael Krasny on KQED. He’s not perfect, but damn good. And he usually has interesting topics and actually sounds like he’s communicating with his guests—fancy that.

John Rader

Local critics not extinct …

Re “Critical thinking at the Bee” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, July 16):

For those lamenting The Sacramento Bee’s dismissal of movie critic Carla Meyer, let me reassure you that the local critical perspective is not completely extinct in the Sacramento Valley.

Cast your cinemophilic eyes across the causeway to the Davis Enterprise, where Derrick Bang has been holding court as the local film critic for over a decade. His consistently droll and erudite reviews both inform and amuse (particularly when the latest Adam Sandler nonsense moves Derrick to sharpen his scythe to a scathing edge). His encyclopedic knowledge of film lends insights beyond the plot summaries and press releases typical of his lazier counterparts. Truly he is a journalist deserving of far wider recognition.

Curtis Fritz

Editor’s note: And while you’re looking for local film critics, try looking in SN&R’s pages, too, where Jim Lane, Jonathan Kiefer and Daniel Barnes keep up with the movies.

Bravo to covering zero population growth

Re “Taboo you” (SN&R An Inconvenient Ruth, July 16):

I’d like to thank Auntie Ruth for her kind comments about the Sierra Club’s global population and environment program. This program helps generate public awareness toward the direct connection between the health of the Earth’s environment and the health of families across the planet.

Today, world population growth rate is actually declining, from 2.2 percent annual growth in 1963 to 1 percent in 2009. This decline is the result of many economic and cultural factors, as well as the efforts of many organizations, including the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club works to improve the availability of family-planning facilities and reproductive-health services, opportunities for women, and education. But there is still much work to be done to reach a stable world population, and the Sierra Club is an active participant in that effort.

The Sierra Club takes a neutral position on migration, partly because migration does not of itself affect world population and its environmental impact. That being said, the Sierra Club can and does address the many causes of migration, to reduce the rending of families that migration brings about.

Thank you again for your thoughtful individual and public efforts to address this issue. World population is certainly the single most fundamental and compelling world crisis; no environmental problem can be solved unless it addresses world population.

Although I am a member of Sierra Club, I do not speak for the club in any official capacity.

Evan Jones

Thumbs down, thumbs up

Re “Wizard of yawns” by Jim Lane (SN&R Film, July 16):

First, a belated “thumbs down” to SN&R for axing a truly funny, imaginative, and outside-the-box feature, the comic strip Red Meat. Do I still want the cake (SN&R) without the frosting (Red Meat)? Yes, just not as much. Surely you can find a way to return this humorously sacrilegious little gem?

In contrast, a big “thumbs up” to SN&R and to movie critic Jim Lane for bucking the current trend and telling it like it is regarding the new Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. While I am a fan of the books and the first five movies, this one is an unintentional tragedy. Author J.K. Rowling, the producers, and Warner Brothers should dip into their immense profits and pay director Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) to return immediately and refilm this story properly. Reviewers at other periodicals (e.g., a certain Hymonoptera-related daily) who call this movie the best yet of the H.P. series are clearly in the employ of the Dark Lord and should themselves be sent to Azkaban. Lane expertly and eloquently outlines just why this latest movie misses the mark. In general, SN&R movie reviews are the most accurate I see in any periodical. Good job.

Tim Stevens

She’s not addicted to the street

Re “Letting go of the claw” by Ted Cox (SN&R Green Days, July 9):

I have lived in Midtown for six years and have repeatedly asked the city for a green-waste bin. I was told they are not available in my area.

I don’t have room to compost or I would, but I know my neighbors won’t. I think it’s barbaric to throw yard waste in the street; it makes the street filthy, it takes up valuable parking space and they do a lousy job of picking it up with the claw.

The idea that we are addicted to tossing our waste in the street is bogus! Give us green-waste bins any day. Please!

Melanie Haage