Letters for June 16, 2011

Take this test

Re “Boycotts, bath salts and brawling” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

In several letters printed about this story by SN&R, supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) insist that their agenda is human rights and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Here are some tests:

1. Do they advocate sanctions against Iran, which hangs gay men, or the many other Muslim countries which discriminate against gays? No, they only want to sanction Israel, where gay rights are fully protected.

2. Do they organize boycotts against Saudi Arabia, where women cannot vote, drive, etc., or against the many other Muslim countries where women are second-class citizens? No, they only want to boycott Israel, where women’s rights are fully protected.

3. Do they advocate BDS against Lebanon, which (like most Arab countries) denies rights and citizenship to the Palestinians living there? No, they only want BDS for Israel, whose Palestinian citizens enjoy equal rights, serve at all levels of government and enjoy a better standard of living than Arabs living almost anywhere else in the Middle East.

4. Do they want BDS against China, which occupied Tibet and brags that they will never allow Tibetans to be independent? No, they only want BDS against Israel, which took Judea and Samaria from its Jordanian occupiers (there has never been a country called Palestine) during a defensive war, and has offered several times to return virtually all land so that there might be a peaceful, independent Palestine.

The BDS people fail every test and others too numerous to mention. They ask us to believe that it is just a coincidence that the target of their double standard just happens to be the only Jewish country in the world. What else, other than anti-Semitism, can explain their willingness to abandon all liberal principles while undermining the Co-op?

Fred Hayward

Don’t delay

Re “Everybody dies” (SN&R Feature, June 9):

This is one of the most important discussions we all need to have. Even a young mother with small children needs to have this discussion with someone close. If, God forbid, she should have a debilitating accident, it should not be her family’s responsibility to have to guess what she would have wanted. That puts an unfair burden on her family.

Our culture is very far behind in this discussion. Think about it. Talk about it. Do not delay, or the most important decision of your life may be left to a stranger.

Lesley Clarkson

Missed connection

Re “Everybody dies” (SN&R Feature, June 9):

My death concern is my profile on a man-seeking-woman website. I die, and let’s say the ultimate perfect woman sends me a message: “You’re the one I want, I’m naked, get over here right now!” Being dead, I don’t answer, miss the opportunity, and she thinks I’m a jerk for not responding. That is as tragic as any play the ancient Greeks wrote.

John Heinen

Get their attention

Re “Second Saturday’s second chance” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, June 9):

[Sacramento City College professor Travis] Silcox is absolutely right, as many residents and some art galleries agree—Second Saturday has turned into drunken party. But the bars make money and that is all they care about—so they lose a life or there are serious injuries. So what? Those crimes have nothing to do with Second Saturday. That is “just part of urban living.” As [Midtown Business Association assistant director Aja] Uranga-Foster maintains, it’s the fault of residents for wanting a less violent event—just keep those cash registers ringing. The “walk” could go back to the successful event that it was years ago when it started and ended much earlier. It was about art then, and retailers and real dinner houses benefited, too. But the city shut it down and when this was suggested now; the bars objected. They fear they might not make the money! The family of the young man should sue MBA. Short of that nothing will get their attention.

Dale Kooyman

Open-minded and friendly

Re: “Losing it in Spain” by Shoka (SN&R The V Word, June 9):

Dear Shoka: Thank you so much for being such a shining American ambassador on your recent trip to Spain. As an American who lived in España for many years, I am so very proud of you for your fine example of open-minded American friendliness and goodwill. I am perplexed as to why they didn’t seat you in Madrid with the bright and cheery character traits you so obviously possess. They must literally beam from your persona 24 hours a day! Certainly your true light came through in your small article. I must take exception, however, with the gentleman in the park. Given his options, it appears he had no one else to leer at. I am glad you are now safe at home in America. I hope your ride back from the airport in mommy and daddy’s Rolls Royce while wearing your favorite faux-faded pre-ripped jeans and [your] “flaired” canvas backpack gave you time to reflect on what a fine example of American humanity you are.

Stacy Clark

Beers and cars

Re “Stop the (beer) insanity!” (SN&R Letters, June 9):

As someone fairly familiar with alcoholism (and how!), I have to take issue with a statement made by Michelle Kunert in a letter dated June 9, 2011. Beer does not “contribute to alcoholism” any more than cars contribute to incompetent driving or firearms contribute to homicides or the Golden Gate Bridge contributes to suicides. Additionally, I have no idea how chugging beers at gas stations correlates to the article referred to.

Ed Hunter

Their money is not our business

Re “Hey, billionaires” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Essay, June 2):

Reading dribble like Mr. [Seth] Sandronsky’s essay on taxing billionaires makes me want two minutes of my life back.

So the leftist answer for fixing schools is to raise taxes on the “[ultra]rich” because they can afford it? How about we address why our schools are in such bad shape to begin with? Is the money being spent on education done so frugally? Are there areas that can be streamlined or made more efficient? What percentage of the budget is eaten up by greedy unions?

It just seems obvious to me to first look inward and clean up the mess that has been made before making such wild claims that more money is all that is needed to fix the problem. I would dare say that if an honest effort was made to focus on the waste and corruption in the school system, more of the billionaires might even volunteer to help rather than have their money stolen by crooked legislation.

And Seth, what business is it of yours how they make their money? You can use the Internet just as they have, even though tax dollars were used to create the Internet. Tax dollars paid for our roads, and we all use them to make money, stop being so envious of what they have. Having money is not what’s wrong; misspending the resources we do have is.

Ethan Janes

Make water users pay

Re “If you haven’t killed your lawn yet” by Stephanie Rodriguez (SN&R Green Days, June 2):

I commend you for the Green Days piece on water conservation, but I must say that I think it will do no good. For years, all the local papers have published water-conservation articles; the city has placed fliers on doorsteps about water use; and the city utility department regularly places reminder fliers in our utility bills, telling us about the correct days and times to water and to conserve.

Until meters are installed and people directly billed for water waste, I think these voluntary water-conservation suggestions will do little to no good.

On my street, I’d guess that half the homes water every day, and/or water in the afternoon and/or water until the gutter is flowing with excess water. All these folks have been “notified” but just don’t care. Overwatering their precious lawns is a “right” to many Sacramentans.

I lived through drought years in Santa Barbara, and yard watering was banned, so all the lawns and shrubs died. Things were very brown for a few years. Maybe that would convince a few folks, but I don’t think anything other than making them pay will have a lasting effect.

Ken Ford

A model to emulate

Re “High-school shuffle” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 2):

Hiram Johnson High School is the traditional comprehensive district school for East Sacramento. It is also the lowest-performing comprehensive high school in the district and one of the most violent. Why aren’t trustee Jeff Cuneo, trustee Patrick Kennedy and other “well-heeled East Sacramentans” focused on making Johnson a safe, high-performing school for all? Students and families in the Johnson attendance area deserve more from their high school. Sacramento High School was closed by the school board in 2003 because it was also a seething, gang-infested, dropout mill, perpetuating the cycle of poverty instead of preparing students for a successful life. Eight years later, the outcomes of students who choose to attend Sac High are dramatically different. In the debate about an East Sac High School, Sacramento Charter High School is model to be emulate, not a target to be taken out.

Laura Kerr


Re “Replica of truth” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R 15 Minutes, June 2):

This is one hell of a good interview. I agree with Josh on so many points. I don’t understand why his poems were changed by editors before publication. It’s like messing with Rembrandt’s work, making changes that the publishers think will make the stuff more palatable. Poetry shouldn’t be “palatable.” It needs to be honest enough to shake the soul, if there is such a thing. I’m 83 and I watch Jersey Shore also, and a lot of other honest stuff on MTV, a channel that is to the rest of TV like poetry is to a novel. In short order, you get powee!!—a much needed uppercut.

Patricia Hickerson