Letters for July 7, 2005

Where’s the sanity in West Sac?

Re “Round up the hood!” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, June 23):

I would like to applaud Cosmo Garvin for this in-depth article concerning the West Sacramento gang-injunction issue. At last, the public was introduced to names, faces and stories of the people affected by this broad and ill-thought-out onslaught by the West Sacramento authorities on innocent citizens.

The human element was brought to the forefront, unlike The Sacramento Bee’s generic coverage with its definite slant toward backing the “blanket” approach being taken by the West Sacramento Police Department (WSPD) and the Yolo County district attorney.

As a resident of the Bryte area of West Sacramento (I live in the 3-square-mile “safe zone” specified by the injunctions), I have been watching this closely from the beginning. I have friends that have been targeted; their families’ freedom to have a simple barbecue or birthday party or any type of gathering is overshadowed by the threat of possible arrest or being “labeled” as a gang member through simply being in the company of a person served with an injunction.

I pray for a sane and just solution to this situation. I would like to see the WSPD create a “liaison” position for someone to interact with the citizens and the department. Communication can open the door to a citizen-law-enforcement relationship that, if orchestrated correctly, could lead to a stronger community over all.

Amanda Ridge
West Sacramento

Let them live, laugh, mourn

Re “Round up the hood!” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, June 23):

The writing is on the wall: West Sacramento is attempting to strong-arm the long-term residents of the Broderick and Bryte areas into leaving their homes. Many of these families are homeowners who have been living there for well over 30 years. The residents, primarily Mexican-American, are proud of their community, their homes and their families and appreciate the small-town atmosphere the Broderick and Bryte areas provide. I lived in the area for five years, and I felt safer there than where I live now in southern Sacramento County.

What the Yolo County district attorney’s office portrays as gang activity is merely a lifestyle. The tattoos are leftover remembrances of teenage years, and the style of dress is also a carryover from days of youth. These memories and dress style date back to when cruising on Franklin Boulevard still existed and to when the movie Boulevard Nights was released. They do not represent a gang affiliation, because there is no gang, nor has there ever been one. The media are responsible for the term “Broderick Boys.” Unfortunately, once the label was publicized, it grew like fire, to the extent that some of the community’s youth have adopted the term.

The victims of this injustice are individuals who have lived, laughed, loved, worked and even mourned together within this small, tight-knit community. Many of the parents of the individuals served with gang injunctions bought their homes for maybe $50,000 or $60,000; the property taxes of these homes are most likely protected by Proposition 13. If this strong-arming continues, and these families are forced to move out of the area, the city’s tax revenues will substantially increase, since the market value of these same homes is currently in the neighborhood of $300,000. One must question Yolo County’s true motivations behind its actions.

Shame on Mayor Cabaldon for letting Yolo County take advantage of what he alleges to be his community. These injunctions are unfair, unconstitutional and racially motivated.

S. Mira

Cash for cures

Re “Do you think stem-cell research will yield cures for diseases?” (SN&R Streetalk, June 23):

This question begs for a follow-up: Do you think you will be able to afford those cures?

Will Stockwin

Craft’s a real alternative

Re “On the air and oppositional” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Cover, June 16):

Thank you for the cover story on Christine Craft and Talk City 1240. The year-old Air America station is providing a much-needed progressive political voice in Sacramento.

Craft provides insights into local happenings, and Al Franken’s morning show provides a window into the national world. He is also smart and funny.

Maybe Talk City 1240 will provide a secondary benefit: With a liberal radio station in town, right-wingers may come to recognize that National Public Radio is informative and intelligent, but not the bastion of liberalism that they portray it as.

Now listeners have real alternatives on the radio.

Kenneth Burt

Interests are only ‘special’ if they support someone else

Re “Goose those political donations” (SN&R Guest comment, June 23):

When Governor Hiram Johnson coined the phrase “special interests” back in the Progressive Era, everybody knew what he meant—trusts, land barons and not-yet-regulated public utilities. Teddy Roosevelt called them “malefactors of great wealth.”

But for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the special interests are anybody except large corporations. By “special interests,” Governor Schwarzenegger means public servants like nurses and teachers.

Nurses got a law passed mandating adequate hospital staffing, so he “kicked their butts” and is still fighting implementation of the law. Teachers are special interests, so he wants to abolish their right to due process while hampering their union’s political activity. The public schools themselves are a special interest, so he plans to cut billions from school funding and renege on the commitment he made last year.

The governor’s chief backers include Grover Norquist, who has declared his intention to destroy government by “starving the beast.” The governor’s media advisers have announced their plan to convince voters that teachers, nurses and firefighters are motivated by greed rather than the desire to do a good job. They hope to create a “phenomenon of anger” by convincing us that public employees are out to “roll” us every day.

So far, the anger seems mostly to be directed at the man who broke his promise.

George Sheridan
Garden Valley

Phobic porno fantasy

Re “Visualize hot, sweaty Boy Scouts” (SN&R Letters, June 23):

From reading Mr. Stewart’s rather lurid “visualization” of a gay man getting sexually excited over being alone with a group of sweating young Boy Scouts, it is obvious he is one of those people who seem to think not only that there is an automatic link between being gay and being a pedophile, but also that homosexual men have no self-control (or, as he says, “the tendency to be aroused”).

While it may be true that many gay men are more sexually adventurous than their straight counterparts, that is a far cry from taking advantage of a situation of trust and turning it into some porno fantasy, which is oddly what Mr. Stewart seems to be trying to do. From everything I have read, heterosexuals commit two-thirds of molestations, compared with one-third by homosexuals. However, it seems Mr. Stewart is less interested in the facts than in trying to publicly humiliate gay men.

Mike Coppock
via e-mail

How will we know when to go?

Re “Exit strategically” (SN&R Editorial, June 16):

Kudos to SN&R for a thoughtful and courageous argument for exiting Iraq.

Still, the questions outweigh the answers. The brilliant William F. Buckley is just now questioning the war? Even those of us who know little of foreign policy knew before the president’s illegal invasion of Iraq that once Saddam Hussein was overthrown, Iraq would either become a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy (hardly in the U.S. interest) or lapse into civil war with Sunni and Kurd opposition (thereby destabilizing the entire region). Either outcome is still possible. Buckley can’t be that dumb.

Donald Rumsfeld’s “victory strategy”? There was (is) admittedly no strategy for the post-war occupation of Iraq. As we all—even including Rumsfeld, one hopes—now know, we’ve been duped, lied to and deceived by thoughtless, plan-less and strategy-less neoconservatives bent on irrational American hegemony throughout the Middle East. Rumsfeld can’t be that oblivious.

Malcolm Gladwell’s “tipping point” requires a salesperson/maven, a message that “sticks” and a timely context for rapid change. Who’s to carry the message here? Straight-up media like SN&R. But what if all or most American media also called for an exit? Three of every five Americans now think the Iraq invasion was a bad idea. When will the message stick? When it’s four of every five? And what is the necessary context? When—tragically—sufficient young Americans are killed? Enough Iraqis? What a waste. Bush can’t be that heartless.

Chuck McIntyre

Faulty memories

Re “Exit strategically” (SN&R Editorial, June 16):

It never ceases to amaze me to witness pundits commenting that it is time for the international community to step up to the plate in Iraq, in order to facilitate a U.S. withdrawal.

As best I remember, practically the whole world was opposed to the invasion and showed its displeasure by demonstrating in their respective countries. Yet, the United States went about implementing its plan unilaterally regardless of the public outcry.

To loosely quote a Bible verse with a sage message: “What a country soweth, that shall it also reap.” It should be entirely incumbent upon us to extricate ourselves from the deplorable mess we have created.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff