Letters for June 20, 2013

Sacramento succeeds because of Walmart ban

Re “Big-box theory” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, June 13):

The small, independent businesses that dot the central city exist precisely because the central city has not been overrun by big-box stores like Walmart.

As a longtime resident of Midtown, I can't support the repeal of the big-box store ordinance. Midtown is an example of what a neighborhood can become without a big-box store. Without Walmart breathing down our collective necks, our community created unique events like Second Saturday to support artists and the retail spaces that showed their work. The Friday Night Concerts in the Park offer a venue for local bands, and Midtown has a strong, locally owned restaurant-and-bar scene.

I have to wonder if the real reason that Walmart doesn't want to do an economic analysis and a wage-benefit analysis is because they truly don't want the public to know what is really going on at stores like Walmart. People would finally understand the true cost of their cheap toilet paper in terms of neighbors getting paid low wages, with no health insurance and no financial safety net. Our neighborhoods and the businesses that exist in them deserve a chance to succeed. Selling us out to Walmart for a short-term sales-tax fix is just not worth it.

Try again, City Manager John Shirey. I'd really like Cosmo's neighborhood to thrive as Midtown has, and I want other neighborhoods to have that same chance to succeed.

Michael Murphy


Where are the cows?

Re “Sacto needs ultra lounges” by Iz Wuditiz (SN&R Letter of the Week, June 13):

All right, as a lifelong born-and-raised-here Sacramentan, I’m embarrassed to even be asking this, but: Where are the cows? I keep reading about how this place is a good-for-nothing backwater Podunk teeming with cows, and yet (to my face-ever-reddening chagrin) I have never tipped one. Never—as in not even once. I feel such shame knowing that I am ostensibly of this cow town and yet have never participated in what is, to read last issue’s Letter of the Week, the most routine of Sacramento pastimes.

What am I doing wrong? I can’t walk out of my low-class studio apartment in Midtown without tripping over something to do. (Shows seven nights a week at Comedy Spot, cheap drinks at Mercantile Saloon, singing the night away at The Distillery—or does none of that count because there’s no bullshit cover charge?) Do the cows only appear to true Sacramentans?!

Please, dear Upscale Letter Writer, guide me! Also: You think the Mix Downtown approximates “swank”? How many Affliction [Clothing] T-shirts do you own? Can I borrow one while we go out and harass some poor livestock? Or will the bedazzling give us away? Seriously, dude, do you even live here?!

Adrienne Starkey


City allows slumlords

Re “Yo slumlords, stop slumming” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Page Burner, May 30):

In the last paragraph of your piece, Ron O’Connor [Sacramento’s Community Development Department operations manager] says the hotel rooms are not livable because city inspectors feel sorry for the tenants.

Tenants? The inspectors are supposed to go after the owner to make the place safe and livable for the tenant. It is disturbing to see city inspectors not holding the owners accountable to make these hotel units livable for people who need housing. Other landlords in the city pay annual fees for rental inspections and must fix anything that does not ensure a safe, livable rental unit or house for tenants.

Something is really wrong in the housing-inspection department to get a response like that from O’Connor. Inspecting unlivable units every year and doing nothing seems unacceptable when there are people who need that housing. The city is allowing owners to be slumlords instead of landlords.

Paula Lee

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