Letters for June 14, 2001

Shelter from the storm

Re “For Travelers’ Sake” by Barbara Stanton (SN&R Letters, June 7):

Barbara Stanton has hit the nail on the proverbial head: the train station is for travelers. Not for politicians, not for developers, not for shopping, or eating, or getting a haircut. Certainly all those thing have been done in train stations, but by travelers. No one (except Barbara Stanton) has spoken up for the person from out of town who uses the station. If they get what they need to do their trip they will return, and the station will be a success. If they do not get those things, it will be a failure.

The passengers do not need a longer walk through Sacramento summer heat and/or winter gloom to get shelter. They are on their way some place, so they probably don’t need another shoe store or yuppie coffee bar. They do need good access to the streets, public transit, rental cars and taxis. They need to be within walking distance of the places they currently walk, like Old Sacramento and the K Street Mall.

Travelers from Sacramento need good public transport to the station and adequate parking for those who can’t take transit. Much of the parking was given away when the new Federal Court House was built. That needs to be replaced (preferably by the people who stole it in the first place!).

I fail to see how the anti-SORD faction succeeds in doing anything for the traveler.

Richard L. Friedman

A dam site better

Re “Dam the River or Dim the Lights” by state Senator Rico Oller (SN&R Guest Comment, May 31):

Rico is correct in the article he presented in the “Guest Comment” column. I am 50 years old and have listened to the arguments for and against for most of my life. If asked, I think most people that are local to the area, and not transplants, understand the need for Auburn dam being built. It should have been built 35 years ago.

Think of the safe and clean hydroelectric it could produce. Think of the clean fresh water the state needs. It is the best solution to a prospective disaster that will make California a place no one will want to live in.

Bruce Broughton
Rancho Cordova

Damn, he caught us

Re “Dam the River or Dim the Lights” by state Senator Rico Oller (SN&R Guest Comment, May 31):

Kudos to SN&R for running, as a Guest Comment, that superb satire by state Senator Rico Oller regarding the Auburn Dam. I’ll bet some readers were fooled by Oller into believing that all the clichés and simplistic thoughts he stated were realistic, that an elected official could actually take the viewpoint Oller presents as his own.

Oller is an accomplished satirist, nearly Swiftian, from the first words, “If you can’t read this … it is because you are sitting in the dark” to the final section about all the power, water to drink, and flood control the Dam would provide in “an environmentally clean way.” This was great stuff, and written in a way that makes it sound like the writer believes such patently misleading and untrue statements. Oller is quite clever.

My favorite line of all: “radical environmentalists have stifled new power sources.” Since no politician, big businessman, utility executive or any other important decision-maker has ever listened to a “radical” environmentalist, and since middle of the road environmentalists have called for new power sources like passive, active and electric solar for 30 years, even your barely aware reader should know right away that Oller is kidding.

He couldn’t be serious, could he?

Randy McClure

Mistrusting the charade

Re “Dam the River or Dim the Lights” by state Senator Rico Oller (SN&R Guest Comment, May 31):

What a delightful puzzle state Senator Rico Oller presented SN&R’s readers in the May 31 Guest Comment! Oller challenges us “to face our situation [with the energy crisis] forthrightly … with vision and courage,” yet the senator takes a cowardly approach to his argument by using name calling, misplaced blame and straw man appeals instead of just saying what he means.

He calls anyone who opposes any means of developing new power and water storage resources “radical environmentalists,” instead of simply saying that he wants to continue supporting suburban sprawl and unregulated industrial development at any cost to our environment and quality of life. He talks as if there were no alternatives to meeting our energy needs other than construction of the long-rejected Auburn Dam. He tries to minimize the destructive impact the dam would have on our environment by saying it would “stop whitewater rafting,” showing total disregard for the significant seismic safety concerns, destruction of wildlife habitat and increased human pollution that construction of the dam would create.

It is clear from his weak arguments and appeals to cowboy morality that he is a politician “who would rather protect [his] political power than serve the public good.” There are alternative solutions to the so-called energy crisis than to suddenly call for pork-barrel projects that do more harm than good. What is Oller doing to confront the fraudulent price increases that resulted from faked shortages of energy supplies created by deregulated energy suppliers? If Oller really wants to help with the quality of life for new Californians, what is he doing to increase the gas mileage of California vehicles? What is he doing to encourage solar power and other renewable sources of energy? “Vision and courage” will show up when we are convinced there is a need. Until then, Oller only embarrasses us and himself with his petty political charade.

David Merritt

Voted most moronic

Re “Do You Trust Cops?” (SN&R Streetalk, May 31):

Asking people “Do you trust cops?” in your Streetalk feature has got to be one of the most moronic Streetalks you have ever done.

Sure, people will come forward to say they don’t trust the cops knowing their picture and name will be published for thousands to see, especially minorities who have one strike against them already. Like, duh.

Please try it again, but this time without the picture and without names. I’ll bet you get a very different result. After the LAPD scandals, most literate adults know that the police are just another gang, but one that works for us. Yes, they are supposed to follow the rules, but we just hope and pray that if not corrupt when they join the force, they will retire or resign before the power corrupts them.

Thom Platz
via e-mail

Casting pearls

Re “That Sinking Feeling” by Jim Lane (SN&R Film, May 31):

Jim, just finished reading your review on Pearl Harbor, and what a shallow, narrow-minded, pre-judgmental review it was. Waterlogged? Yes. After all, they did sink the fleet. Catastrophic? Yes. Over 2,000 people lost their lives. As a patriotic Navel veteran who has studied the Pacific theater of WW II, I feel that this was the most realistic (from every point of view) depiction of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Doolittle’s Raid that has ever been put on film. At least Bruckheimer and Bay had the guts to give it a shot. I don’t see anyone else stepping up! (But then that wouldn’t be politically correct, would it?)

As far as the veterans of Midway and Guadalcanal, what makes you think they weren’t even around when Pearl Harbor happened? What was the cry at Midway, and for that matter, the rest of the War?

Remember Pearl Harbor. To me, the true meaning of this movie was not the reality of the love story. That was a side note.

The message, in my opinion, was to make the audience feel the terrible experience of what it was like to be there, and how it could have been avoided, and to feel a little “backboned patriotism” for once in our lives. I don’t know about where you saw the movie, but when I went, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It would appear that you overlooked the finer points of the movie.

So sorry about that.

Clark Cramer
via e-mail

Take a bike

Re “Incognito NIMBY-ism” by Tim Murphy (SN&R Guest Comment, May 24):

Commentator Tim Murphy suggests if the Save Our Rail Depot proposal had multi-modal support, it would have the support of the cycling community.

The Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) has taken no position on the two competing depot proposals. While it makes a difference to pedestrians where the depot and tracks are located, cyclists are indifferent. It would only take a few seconds for a cyclist to go the distance if the tracks were moved to the north.

What SABA wants, no matter what the location, is a truly multi-modal depot that includes cycling as one of the modes. This means direct, safe access for cyclists, convenient, secure bike parking and perhaps bike rentals and other services.

Lea Brooks
via e-mail