Letters for June 18, 2009

Letter of the week
Pimps in the pulpit

Re “Why I don’t go to church” by Sena Christian (SN&R Sacreligious!, May 28):

My experience with church is that too many of the male ministers are, in my opinion, pimps in the pulpit.

The last time I attended church—at the pleading of my sister-in-law, who is perpetually on her knees, tithing money to the church and then borrowing from me to make ends meet—I was greeted by two men guarding the entrance who wanted to direct me to where to sit. I declined. As I sat in the pews, I observed at least eight females for every male present in the congregation.

Then for the next hour (yes, hour), after each song that the choir sang, a collection plate would immediately be circulated for the various causes adopted by the church. A total of four collections had been taken before the minister even appeared!

I will always remember his first words as he began his sermon to the female-dominated congregation:

“God has been good to me, and he’s blessing you right now as I speak. Let the church say amen. Today, I’m going to talk about money. Now, we already decided last Sunday that it’s OK if I talk about money. Let the church say amen. That it’s OK if I have money. Let the church say amen. God wants me prosperous and he wants you prosperous. And when you give, it comes back to you in the form of prosperity. Let the church say amen. So today, I’m going to talk about money.”

I turned to my enamored sister-in-law and said, “I have to go,” and left the church. Of course, the male guards at the door attempted to detain me. I wasn’t having it, snatched my arm from the grip of one of the male door gestapo and left without my blessing of prosperity.

My sister-in-law called me later that night to ask what happened to me. I reminded her that I had told her that I had to go. She said, “I thought that you meant to the bathroom!” I told her that the only [excrement] that was going on at that church was what was coming out of her minister’s mouth.

My sister-in-law didn’t speak to me for about five months. She’s still struggling financially and tithing every Sunday for “blessings of prosperity” as she listens to her pimp minister talk about money.

Rosalyn Durham

More homeless to come

Re “Living homeless” by Ted Cox and David Jayne (SN&R Feature, June 11):

I’d like to applaud SN&R for shining light on the human face of homelessness in Sacramento. Society is quick to stereotype the poor or homeless as lazy, drug-addicted deadbeats who put themselves on the streets through a lifetime of their own bad choices (making the gainfully employed and housed feel better about ignoring them). The individual profiles in your article illuminate the fact that this is hardly often the case.

As a result of the ruinous economy, the ranks of the poor are swelling as more and more people lose jobs, housing and even transportation. As the rich become poorer and the formerly middle class find themselves plunged into an impoverished existence, I wonder if societal attitudes will shift from placing blame on the marginalized individuals themselves to the inherently flawed social system in which we live.

As the lower classes become more large and diverse via the introduction of so many new “members,” can we hope that this oft ignored portion of society will finally gain the attention it deserves and pave the way for important structural policy changes in areas such as unemployment insurance, health care and Medicaid? I would love to read an SN&R piece on the subject.

J. Timmons Bell

Poor taste in ad placement

Re “Living homeless” by Ted Cox and David Jayne (SN&R Feature, June 11):

I must say that I am an avid reader of your paper. I actually look forward to Thursdays when I can pick up my free copy and read through it front to back.

I enjoyed your article, “Living homeless,” as it helps put a face on Sacramento’s homeless problem and hopefully spurs more interest this issue. But I must complain.

Having an article about homeless people on one side of the page and then having not one but three ads for Chipotle seems a little inconsiderate. It was actually a little surreal seeing a woman who is visibly broken, telling her story about her being raped and contemplating suicide on one side of the page and then on the other, have a woman digging into her “Lourdes’ ‘Hands Off’ Burrito Bowl,” looking happy, full and almost smug. One ad even says, “Stop starving for attention” right next to a woman talking about how difficult it is to find work.

I understand your need for advertisement, but please, be a little more considerate about the placement.

Brian Fleshman

Safety, not poor management

Re “The lights will stay on” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, June 11):

You really can’t say that Rancho Seco was closed down due to poor management. Nuclear power plants like Rancho Seco had a life expectancy of about 15 years before the containment walls became too brittle to be safe, and Rancho Seco was at that point. They do not go on indefinitely.

And this is the whole argument for not building any more of them. When decommissioning time arrives, they still must be monitored and protected forever, and we have yet to find a safe storage method for spent fuel and rods.

Lynda Austin

Underestimating the wackos

Re “The lights will stay on” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, June 11):

What a great article. However, I have to say you underestimate the anti-nuclear wackos.

Time after time, it is [the] loudest voice in the energy debate, not the most reasonable voice, which prevails. Science and logic, which your article is based on, has yet to produce a large-scale production of nuclear plants that this nation and our planet crave. True new plants are in the planning, but I can’t imagine science and logic will be able to persuade the “not in my backyard” crowd of California.

On the other hand, every day is a new day, and hope is eternal. So viva the nuclear renaissance, and maybe logic will (for once) prevail over the fearmongering anti-nuclear establishment.

John Jeandrevin
via e-mail

The ‘dude’ should keep a low profile

Re “The dudes abide” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Dish, June 4):

Greg Lucas’ review of Plan B Cafe, while painting a picture of a most enjoyable meal, should be regarded as invalid, as it violated one of the chief tenets of dining reviews: anonymity. While the owners of Plan B might not know Mr. Lucas, his arrival with a group that included several recognizable local luminaries (including a food and wine legend, for gosh sakes), likely ensured that the level of service they received was substantially higher than that given to the average (truly anonymous) diner.

Real professional dining critics, in fact, go to great lengths to conceal their identity when dining out; in big restaurant towns such as New York, restaurant staff can receive big rewards from management for correctly identifying reviewers. For some reason, Mr. Lucas felt that he could go in a completely opposite direction and still come away with an experience representative of that of the average diner.

This “representative experience,” after all, is what makes dining reviews useful in the first place. Ultimately, after reading The [Sacramento] Bee’s scathing review of Plan B last week, I was left feeling that I’d like to give the place a try, but only after I can assemble an entourage of local celebs to join me.

Nate Simon

Christian submission is not one-sided

Re “Why I don’t go to church” by Sena Christian (SN&R Sacreligious! May 28):

I believe that Sena Christian has misunderstood the point of the husband-and-wife relationship of the Bible. In a Christian marriage, there is not “subservience” or one-sided submission, but a reciprocal partnership based first on a man and woman’s love for Christ, and then for each other.

A wife loves and submits to her husband as an act of submission to the Lord; the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church (“the Church” meaning the people, not the building; the building doesn’t matter), and Christ loved the Church so much, he died for it. The husband is commanded to die for his wife; this is a more extreme expression of devotion than the wife is called on to make.

One example of this partnership: A husband depends upon his wife to nurture his children and organize his household; a wife depends upon her husband to lead and support their family. The husband and wife therefore are continuously devoting themselves to the good of each other. This is true with any successful marriage.

Christ’s most important message to us is that we should first love him, then love others more than ourselves. That message in itself gives everyone (man and woman) daily opportunities to practice humility, gentleness of spirit, kindness, forgiveness and patience. If both the husband and wife are practicing these things when dealing with each other, the relationship is one of equality and reciprocity. True and lasting joy comes only with serving Christ and following his commands.

Christy Rogelstad

Green ways to stop the bloodsuckers

Re “Bloodsucking freaks” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Frontlines, May 28):

I was pleased to see in the article [about West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes] that the local vector control are now stocking mosquito fish into the abandoned swimming pools and contemplating more pro-active breeding-site reduction and larval management. But I am somewhat dismayed that the author has not put any of these questions into a critical perspective.

There is no mention of the fact that the vector control board in a public meeting [held] January 12, 2006, promised that there would be an immediate acceleration of source reduction and larval control measures.

Larval management and breeding-site reduction aren’t just the preferred way for WNV control; this is the only effective way. The spray that is being applied against the adult mosquitoes simply doesn’t kill enough mosquitoes for a long enough period of time to have any beneficial effect at protecting the public health.

The breeding of mosquitoes in storm drains and catch basins wasn’t first noted by vector control in 2004. This has been well-established in scientific literature since the 1890s. These very breeding sites are the best argument for the utilization of biological control agents that will continue to propagate themselves in the environment without repeat application.

There is no mention in the article that a fungus developed by UC Davis has been successfully employed in Florida catch basins or that in areas of Mexico and Colombia they have utilized biological controls developed by [the University of California] against malaria and yellow fever. These agents were cultured and utilized by local vector control 30 years ago. Why not now?

Finally, if we are going to keep calling West Nile virus “sometimes fatal,” then we better start calling the spray “sometimes fatal,” since insecticides kill nearly as many Americans each year as WNV.

Jim Northup


In “Waiting for the buses” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 11), due to an editing error, it was incorrectly stated that Regional Transit system operating budget for this fiscal year is $144 billion instead of the accurate $144 million. We regret the error. This has been corrected online.