Letters for June 19, 2008

Letter of the week
Keep Second Saturday accessible

Re “Saving Second Saturday” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, June 5):

As a Sacramentan, an artist and a board member for Sacramento Art Connects (www.sacartconnects.org), I found the article “Saving Second Saturday: Local officials salvage the city’s monthly art walk from its own success” teeming with mixed messages on this city’s values.

While there are definitely logistical problems to having so much success (traffic, security, alcohol violations), it certainly isn’t hurting Midtown, and it doesn’t mean the event is doomed to fall by the wayside because there are no entities willing to help. Sacramento Art Connects would love to help galleries and businesses and ensure the future of Second Saturday in whatever ways are needed.

Let’s face it: Second Saturday is one of this city’s greatest opportunities to become the type of thriving artistic metropolis that these record crowds clearly illustrate by the sheer numbers of participants. These art walks are also cash cows for Midtown restaurants and businesses. The money spent on Second Saturday isn’t all being spent on art. To lose this event would mean that local “mom and pop” businesses would lose, too.

Our group was pleased that the city issued their “Second Saturday Art Walk: Things to Consider to Make it Safe and Successful” flyer, although the flyer would have been timelier and more effective had it been issued earlier and to every art gallery that holds a Second Saturday event, instead of only those in Midtown and two days before the next event.

Second Saturday is a good event and not the nightmarish invitation for trouble that this article made it seem. No serious gallery or alternative venue for art wants to doom this event by breaking the rules and putting their patrons in harm’s way. There are plenty of venues like those “street vendors, hair salons and non-gallery boutiques,” and even galleries “off the grid” that regularly hold shows and have been required to pull the same permits and follow the same rules. Attempts to educate these venues as well should have been taken more seriously.

Galleries who participate in Second Saturday and expect the city to manage the traffic and crowds should be happy to pay reasonable permitting fees to ensure their shows are successful. Most galleries aren’t raking in profits from art sales on their own, and Second Saturday art walks help these venues earn a reputation and business. What’s more, even street vendors, hair salons and non-gallery boutiques willing to pull the permits and follow the rules should be able to participate in the art walks, if not for the simple fact that local artists need a place to start while aspiring for shows with bigger galleries. It is truly a sad statement that any gallery would be forced to view these smaller, like-minded art venues as competition for revenue, when if we all worked together to make this community one that regularly supported the arts, everyone would win!

Second Saturday is a free and accessible event which offers our citizens a chance to interact with all ages and demographics of art lovers, and they deserve to do that safely. If there were more attempts to educate everyone about Second Saturday, the event’s success would certainly be ensured.

Emily Cole
Sacramento Art Connects

Hydrogen’s not all that “fuelish”

Re “Fuelish behavior” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, June 12):

Scheide argues for “the utter unfeasibility” of the “hydrogen highway,” based on the “poor energy return on energy invested” and on the second law of thermodynamics.

It is stated that it “takes more energy to produce hydrogen than it actually provides.” This is true of most energy sources (e.g., water, nuclear, wind, solar); each requires many more (cheap) BTUs than are contained in the (valuable) resulting fuel. These conversions nonetheless are economically viable. If the resulting hydrogen fuel is useful, compact and economical, it does not matter how poor the conversion is from other, more diffuse or otherwise unusable energy sources.

It is claimed that “The second law of thermodynamics insures that hydrogen will be a net loser.” Every heat engine in existence operates successfully under this same law. Thus, the law does not restrict the usefulness of hydrogen as a fuel any more than it restricts the usefulness of gasoline as a fuel.

It is, of course, nonsensical to use two barrels of oil to extract one barrel of oil. In this case, there is no improvement in compaction, value or convenience of the product over the investment energy source; source and product are identical. Data show that converting corn to ethanol fuel may take more oil (in the form of machinery, fertilizer, etc.) than it produces, with no improvement of product over investment. Insanity! Similarly, producing hydrogen fuel from fossil fuel is “fuelish.”

Evan Jones

Preventing cruelty is common sense

Re “One for the birds” by Alex Felsinger (SN&R Frontlines, June 12):

It’s a shame you picked up Alex Felsinger’s article on the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty ballot measure without picking up on the fact that the piece seriously mischaracterizes what the measure actually says.

Both Felsinger and measure opponent Joy Mench claim that the proposed statute outlaws cages for egg-laying chickens. This is simply not true.

All this extremely modest measure does is prevent producers from confining or tethering animals for all or most of any day in such a way that the animals are prevented from “lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs; and turning around freely.” If we can’t come up with a caging system that provides for those minimal comforts, then we have no business using cages.

Further, although egg producer Arnie Riebli dismisses the “intellect” of the “not human” creatures that he makes a living off of, the issue here is not brain size or species. If animals can feel pain and suffering, then we have a duty to protect them.

To read the actual text of the ballot measure, go to the Secretary of State’s Web site (www.ss.ca.gov). And to learn about how to improve the lives of millions of farmed animals in the state, go to www.humanecalifornia.org.

Karen Hirsch

Pointing fingers at the Humane Society

Re “One for the birds” by Alex Felsinger (SN&R Frontlines, June 12):

It’s unfortunate that news media and policymakers continue to mistake the wealthy and radical Humane Society of the United States for a mainstream animal welfare group.

HSUS is a “humane society” in name only, pursuing the same fringe goals as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It’s also far richer and maybe a little smarter.

Rather than causing spectacles with naked interns, HSUS uses its excessive funding (mostly from Americans who mistakenly believe they’re supporting local pet shelters) to drive a radical animal-rights agenda. It’s anti-meat, anti-hunting and even anti-medical research. And it’s not affiliated with any pet shelters anywhere in the United States.

Sometimes a “humane society” isn’t really a “humane society.” And sometimes animal “welfare” advocates are really animal “rights” zealots in sheep’s clothing.

David Martosko research director
Center for Consumer Freedom

Editor’s note: The Center for Consumer Freedom is primarily funded by the restaurant and food industry.

Nothing satirical about these jobs

Re “Only the lonely” by Ken Widmann (SN&R The Republic’s People of Davis, June 12):

I have a suggestion for the UCD College Republicans. Instead of having a “satirical” job fair for a “Socialist Career Fair,” why not have a real job fair for the current Republican administration?

For instance, you could help recruit rendition captains to whisk people off to secret prisons to be tortured; torture technicians and specialists; and spies to eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens. You could also recruit mercenaries for organizations such as Blackwater; they have their own private intelligence agency now, so there should be plenty of opportunities for spies there as well. The possibilities are endless!

Now I have a question for you ardent Republicans: Why are you here? Why haven’t you volunteered to go to Iraq or Afghanistan to help relieve our overextended troops, many of whom are on their third and fourth tours?

For those of you who have enlisted, I congratulate you for having the courage of your convictions; sadly, the rest of you are hypocrites.

By the way, you can thank unions and union bosses for your eight-hour workday, overtime pay, paid holidays/vacations/sick leave and the right to be treated fairly on the job.

Nancy Patterson

Everybody wants a trike

Re “Out of the corner of the end of the world” by Kel Munger (SN&R d’ART, June 12):

This was my favorite piece of art also, but [Aria Prater] won’t sell it to me, either. Father’s Day must have been special for her dad this year. He gets the painting everyone wants.

Levi Bailey
San Francisco

He’s being judgmental

Re “A big grin for God” (SN&R Letter of the Week, June 5):

[Ari] Ambrose writes, “Any reason for an abortion is enough cause to have one,” meaning: Any reason for a killing is enough cause to kill. Many gangbangers would seem to agree. Many Muslims would seem to agree. Most Nazis did agree!

Ambrose has such a fear of being judgmental, he would have us do nothing except pay money and continue the killing. Some would agree; it is much easier to do nothing while the blood of the innocent grows from small streams to raging rivers. Not to worry, we can all just move to higher ground where it is safe.

[We’d be] safe from making a choice; a judgment that killing in all its forms is more wrong than right and has nothing to do with who pays what and for whom.

Ambrose also said, “I don’t know.” He should have just left it at that. That would be a “big grin for God.”

Yes, I know I’m being judgmental.

August Lightfoot
Newport Beach

Bravo for bargains

Re “Boulevards of bargain bins” by Cosmo Garvin and Nick Miller (SN&R Summer Guide, June 5):

I am the executive director of Franklin Boulevard Business Association. The boundaries of the association start at Broadway and continue almost to Florin.

I think you described Franklin just as it is. We are working hard to change the sketchy and gritty parts, but progress is slow. I liked the fact that you mention that you can find anything here without going to a Starbuck’s or a Safeway. This is part of the charm of the North Franklin District.

Kathy Tescher
Franklin Boulevard Business Association