Letters for June 3, 2004

So much for ‘anonymous’

Re “Requiem for a featherweight” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, May 27):

It’s great that this gentleman is turning his life around, staying sober and doing all the work he is doing to keep young men out of trouble. But I think it needs to be said that publicly announcing his membership in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a violation of AA’s 11th Tradition.

The 11th Tradition states that “our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” It means that an individual is never to be identified by their full name or with a photograph as a member of AA in a newspaper article like this one, and if you read AA literature on this tradition, you’ll see that it’s to protect both the sober person and the organization as a whole.

These days, celebrities love to tell the tabloids and TV reporters about how they’ve overcome their struggles with booze and drugs by attending AA. Then, a few weeks later, they’re busted again. I don’t wish a relapse on anyone, but there’s a reason for the “Anonymous” part of “Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Name withheld by request

Cosmic-cowboy puppetry

Re “Presidential puppet show” (SN&R Editorial, May 13):

If it isn’t obvious by now that the cosmic cowboy in the White House doesn’t know what he’s doing, then I don’t know how much more evidence we need. Between his complacency and his religious fanaticism, this is the most dangerous man to have occupied the Oval Office. How does it feel to live in a country where the landed gentry can buy the presidency for their children?

Joe Beverly
via e-mail

Where does the blame start?

Re “Let’s not play the Bush blame game” (SN&R Letters, May 27):

It’s really getting old—and, quite frankly, pathetic—for conservatives to go back in time and use Bill Clinton as an excuse for the troubles of today. Don’t you guys have a better way to defend this incompetent president?

This letter writer, like the conservatives on TV and on the radio, always seem to need to go back to the Clinton administration: “Well, Bill Clinton did this, and Al Gore said that.” It’s obvious that they can’t justify this administration’s miserable actions and therefore need to go back and point at examples from the past to make their conscience feel better.

Our problems of today are here now, not four years ago. We need to fix the problems today and hold those in power accountable for their actions, even if it hurts.

George Avila

Waiting for the ‘gotcha!’

Re “Boxer must go!” by Harmon Leon (SN&R Essay, May 20):

When I sat down and read this essay, I kept waiting for a “gotcha!” And then I realized that it did not matter whether this was intended as a serious piece of journalism or a commentary on just how crazy right-wing fanatics can be. Either way, it is incredibly offensive.

This article is not written as a means of getting a political argument across as to why Barbara Boxer may or may not be the senator we want to represent us. Instead, it is used as a forum to spread hatred.

I do not expect to agree with everything I read in your publication. But I do not find it acceptable to pick it up and find myself compared to Hitler because I support a woman’s right to have control over her body. Nor do I find it acceptable to have a pacifist compared to Bin Laden simply because they do not want young men and women to die in an unnecessary war.

In the future, I encourage your publication to consider the difference between political argument and fanatical propaganda.

Chelsea Del Rio

Doesn’t like the satire

Re “Boxer must go!” by Harmon Leon (SN&R Essay, May 20):

While I am not opposed to slapstick, tongue-in-cheek, political satire, I am opposed to the statements made in Harmon Leon’s essay.

I don’t understand how a forum for this kind of rhetoric could have been provided in such a liberal media venue. I am personally offended by statements such as “wetback” and “feminazi,” as well as several other derogatory remarks made about the Hispanic community. In this article, your mockery is everything but productive!

Shame on you!

Britta Guerrero
via e-mail

Doesn’t get the satire … or does he?

Re “Boxer must go!” by Harmon Leon (SN&R Essay, May 20):

I was so thrilled to see this article in SN&R.

I had always thought of SN&R as just a bunch of liberal mumbo jumbo, but it is nice to see that you allow writers with brains to grace your paper, as well. Leon’s take on Barbara Boxer is absolutely solid, and I hope that Mike Spence considers his proposed commercials.

Barbara Boxer is a baby-killing, anti-government tree-hugger who deserves to be tied up and fondled like an Iraqi prisoner. I hope that everyone in Sacramento and in California gets a chance to read Leon’s piece so that they may finally figure it out. I couldn’t agree more: Boxer must go. Thank you for saying so.

Mike Dugasse

Cruising’s not a problem …

Re “Manhunt” by Joe Dignan (SN&R Cover, April 29):

I read this piece with interest. Dignan correctly points out the hypocrisy and homophobia embedded in the Sacramento Police Department’s targeting of men who have sex on the levee, and I applaud SN&R’s willingness to point out this injustice.

However, Dignan proves a point that he actually contradicts throughout the article. By repeatedly referring to the “problem” of gay cruising, he reinforces the notion that this is a crime that is worth combating. The fact that the Sacramento Police Department has received zero verifiable complaints demonstrates that gay cruising and public sex are innocent pursuits that should not be condemned or prosecuted.

Public spaces are just that, and people are free to use them as they see fit as long as they commit no crimes and do not infringe on the rights of others. The cruising along the levee fits all those criteria, and in fact is an example of otherwise unused public space being used for enjoyable recreation.

Joe Clement
via e-mail

… just don’t do it in the streets

Re “Manhunt” by Joe Dignan (SN&R Cover, April 29):

On various family outings, we have stumbled across couples engaged in various forms of sexual conduct. I guess as long as the actual private parts are not in plain view, it’s OK to do it in/on cars in the parking lot, on the grass, on boats and even smack-dab in the middle of a trail. All these observances were at local Sacramento parks.

My point here is that these were all man-women couples, and, at one point, we noticed a city police officer walk right up to a vehicle, look down and slowly just back away, get in his car and leave. The only thing one could see from a distance was the fully reclined passenger seat and two knees spread widely apart—OK, enough details—and yes, it was a man and woman who had started out on the hood of this same car.

I was disturbed when I read that the district attorney claimed that it was only male couples being cited because they are the only ones doing this at public places. We must have missed this. No, wait—we were not traveling down in the bushes and shrubs; we were in the parking areas and on the grass.

I wonder how many citations have ever been written by these same vice officers for man-woman couples for lewd conduct in public. My bet is probably none, since vice officers probably are not scoping parking lots and grass areas of the parks, and if by chance they are, they probably just look past the guy-gal couples. But, from the sounds of it, the police are down in the bushes looking for guy-guy couples that choose to at least make an effort to hide what they are doing.

All couples engaged in public forms of “recreating” should get a room or take it someplace out of view. I believe in equal treatment for equal offenses, whoever commits them, but there should be zero tolerance for untruthful reporting by any law-enforcement officer or official.

Charles Jones


Re “Reopen the dam road,” (SN&R Guest comment, May 27):

In the byline for last week’s Guest comment, author Richard Frankhuizen’s name was misspelled. It has been corrected on the Web site.