Letters for July 31, 2008

Letter of the week
Here’s what it will take

Re “What the hell will it take to get you out of your car?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, July 17):

This article on regional transit contained nothing shocking, but it certainly deepened my dismay and validated my first impressions.

I wanted to use light rail when I took a new job in Rancho Cordova a few months ago. There’s a station a few blocks from my home in Land Park, and another an easy mile from the office. I planned to ride my bike to get to and from the stations a little faster, get a subsidized rail pass from my employer, and do my very greenest to take my car off U.S. Highway 50 for a least a few days a week. I lived in Portland for almost three years, and my car sat in the driveway while I rode the light rail to work everyday—and for free!

I was forced to reassess this plan. My drive from home to office on Highway 50 takes, most days, 15 minutes. The commute using light rail took, without a bike, an hour and a half each way.

To use the bike, you have to heave it over your shoulder in three seconds to get on and off the trains, which have no cars you can enter without stepping up. If you have a heavy or awkward bike and a backpack with your office clothes in it, this is a great way to get injured.

The wait time between trains is, indeed, at the maximum comfortable limit: 15 minutes. But the RT Web site makes it almost impossible to plan a trip using light rail through the existing menus; it’s biased toward bus service. Even at its fastest, the train between 16th and O [streets] and Sunrise [Boulevard] takes 35 minutes. The bus loop near my office that conveys people to and from light rail runs only once an hour.

Once I arrived at the Sunrise station, I found that the sidewalks, signals and crosswalks were positioned such that I had to cross the same street several times in order to maximize my own safety.

I concluded that it was not worth my time—over two hours a day—to use light rail when my drive time, even on the worst of days, is a total of 45 minutes—a tank of gas every 10 days. Wanting to use public transit isn’t enough for those who are fortunate enough to have a choice. It has to be rapid, convenient and uncomplicated. Is it any surprise that I’m still on the road?

What will it take to get me out of my car? Some consideration for the urban user with a reverse commute would be helpful, for starters. How about some park-and-ride areas in Midtown, downtown and East Sac? How about more frequent trains, with sidewalk-level entry? Even better, how about express trains (both directions) at rush hours, and shuttle buses coordinated with those trains? How about improving overall user-friendliness on the Web and at the stations (e.g., electronic reader boards projecting the arrivals of the next trains and better map systems)?

Citizen Dominic

Finally represented

Re “The new evangelical” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, July 24):

Yes! Finally, I feel my own faith is well represented in the media.

Thank you for this honest and insightful look into Rick Cole as well as the “emerging church.” Although I don’t attend his church, I very much agree with every view he expressed in your article.

Bottom line: Jesus is about love, and it’s impossible to love God without loving others.

Bronwyn Schweigerdt

He’s baaaack … at Capital Christian

Re “The new evangelical” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, July 24):

Well-deserved recognition of Capital Christian Center by SN&R. There is clearly a soft and welcoming spirit at CCC for anyone who is wondering if there is a place to worship or desire a connection with Christ.

After leaving CCC in the early ’90s and then recently returning, I now feel that the message from the pulpit really represents the true attitude and heart of Christ. “Not your grandmother’s church,” funny—not my father’s church, either.

My new experience has consisted of being loved and accepted regardless of my past or current situation. For SN&R to write such an awesome article featuring CCC is evidence that the leadership at Capital has an open heart to God and desires to be the salt of the earth and a light to community.

Rudy Jugoz

He asks: What’s so different?

Re “The new evangelical” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, July 24):

Your article on the “kinder, gentler” Capital Christian Center struck me as preposterous. What’s next, a heartfelt exploration of “the new KKK”? “It’s not your grandfather’s Klan.”

I’ll believe that Capital Christian Center is doing more than trying desperately to keep up with trends when they decry the hatred of Pastor [Glen] Cole, officially denouncing his sermons of intolerance, and when they confront the hate that is so prevalent in that book the congregation is gripping each week.

And please, don’t abuse the term “emerging church.” My friends and family who are a part of this movement are meeting in homes and in parks and engaging in real intellectual challenges to their faith. What is going on at Capital Christian Center is not the emerging church; it is Pat Boone cutting a heavy-metal album, simultaneously too much and not enough and way too late.

Francois Fly

Nice to belong

Re “The new evangelical” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, July 24):

Bravo SN&R! Great story.

It is refreshing to see and be a part of a church that is committed to shedding right-wing dogma. I attend Capital. Many times I tell people, “It’s not what you think,” meaning the past perceptions of Capital are not accurate today. Capital constantly communicates to all people that they “belong” there even if they have yet to “believe” there.

Jason Harper

Silty, sandy problem

Re “Worth a dam?” by Dan Bacher (SN&R Frontlines, July 24):

Who or what would they do with all the sand and silt behind the dam now? Tons and tons of it! Tell us how much it would raise the level of the river and who would be responsible for flooding if it were to cause some?

Kenneth Davis

Recycling requires education

Re “Checklist!” by Sena Christian (SN&R Green House, July 24):

I was pleased to see the story about the possibility of recycling at apartments.

I moved from a suburban neighborhood which had regular county recycling service to a large apartment complex six years ago. About a year after I moved in, I was happy to see recycling bins installed on the property. After using them for a number of months, I was sorry to see them taken away. I inquired at the office and was told that the management had been fined by the recycling-pickup company due to garbage being deposited regularly in the bins. I have been carrying my recycling to my old neighborhood ever since.

I would certainly welcome the installation of recycle bins again. I think that management- and tenant-education programs would have to precede the installation or the same problem would arise again.

Keep up the green crusade!

Mary G.

Welcome back, 15 Minutes!

Re “Appetite deconstruction” by Becky Grunewald (SN&R 15 Minutes, July 24):

Thank you oh-so-much for returning 15 Minutes. It was greatly missed!

R. Geremia
via e-mail

Indie all the way

Re “Just say ‘no way’” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Frontlines, July 17):

Thank you for this information about the progressive California voter. I take this as a sign that people are not content to identify with either party the media has forced upon us. I am not happy with either [party] because I don’t feel that either candidate represents me and so am encouraged that voters are ready for change.

Rosalie McClung
North Highlands

Jackson doesn’t know raks sharki

Re “Is it art yet?” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 17):

While I found Jackson Griffith’s article on the Second Saturday art walk somewhat amusing, his parting shot at belly dance displayed painful ignorance.

His characterization of belly dance as a “lowbrow freak show” in the same category as “strippers and drunken fraternity tomfoolery” shows an astounding lack of cultural awareness and a grave misunderstanding of what raks sharki (commonly known as belly dance) really is.

As a belly dancer, I have spent years extensively studying Middle Eastern culture, history, musical structure and movement in an effort to continually improve my personal representation of this art form. Belly dancers do not strip, nor do we provide entertainment for drunken fraternities, bachelor parties or questionable audiences.

If the Sacramento Ballet had been performing at Second Saturday, I hardly think their artistic merit would have been in question, nor would they have been compared to strippers (although their skirts are much shorter than ours, and those mens’ tights leave very little to the imagination.)

Perhaps this is because our art is of the African variety rather than the European?

Kalila instructor/choreographer/performer
Jodette’s Belly Dancing Academy

There’s more to his record

Re “K.J.’s record” by Matt Mitchell (SN&R Essay, July 17):

This piece neglected other major facets of St. Hope’s performance as an institution, and provided no comparative view of current performance against claims made at its inception.

For all years save one of St. Hope’s operation, it has operated in deficit, at times a significant deficit, per its federal tax returns. Its cost per pupil has gone up while its income has gone down. Its claims of substantial outside funding have all but diminished due to recent allegations of misuse of public funds, now pending expanding federal investigations. It has laid off nearly all teaching staff as of June 2008, due to funding issues.

Instead, St. Hope is spending lavishly on defense lawyers and straightening up its financial house. Its founder Kevin Johnson is spending nearly $1 million of his own money to capture the mayor’s office of Sacramento instead of providing much-needed support for the organization he founded.

There’s something wrong when such a misplaced set of priorities dictate one’s actions. It seems Mr. Johnson’s “makeover” is as cavalierly thought-out as the patchwork of funding that is barely keeping his threadbare organization together.

This is not an example of leadership that is necessary to lead this city. Frankly, this is not an example of leadership for much of anything at all.

Alex Berg