Letters for June 30, 2005

No silent treatment here

Re “Round up the hood!” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, June 23):

So, West Sacramento Police Department spokesman Lt. Dave Farmer justifies the silent treatment given to SN&R by saying, “We don’t feel it needs to be in the papers right now.”

Excuse me?

In this country, where the press is supposedly “free,” since when does any police department (or any other government body, for that matter) dictate to a newspaper when it’s all right to report on a policy? Especially when the policy in question is a flagrant abuse of the constitutional rights of citizens, whether or not they’re poor minorities? Naturally he doesn’t want this story in the papers—it’s shameful!

I find Lt. Farmer’s statement chilling and, whether or not he intended it, an example of exactly how comfortable our “authorities” have gotten with dictating and manipulating the news. I applaud SN&R’s excellent investigative journalism in this matter, and I encourage you to continue reporting on the Broderick matter and others in which the rich and powerful need to be held accountable.

Ethan Ireland

Someone agrees with Stewart?

Re “Right to blame” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, June 23):

Tornadoes in Northern California. Rainstorms and cold weather in June. And I actually agree with a Jill Stewart column. All clearly freaks of nature.

Jill is, to pardon the pun, right on in her portrayal of the destructive wing of the Republican Party. In fact, I wish she had taken it a step further. It is no coincidence that the further right Governor Schwarzenegger has gone (such as his Bush-light pension-privatization plan for public employees and his strident attacks on working families and those who represent them), the faster his approval ratings have plunged.

Californians voted for a moderate Republican in 2003, not a Karl Rove clone. Our governor had better remember that soon, or he’ll be toast in 2006.

Steve Mehlman

For Michael Jackson coverage, turn to page …

Re “On the air and oppositional” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Cover, June 16):

I commend Christine Craft for her progressive positions and her ability to motivate others to take action. I am also gratified that she has now taken a position against the war in Iraq. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Ms. Craft was heard on KGO radio, San Francisco, as supporting such an invasion, and her support for the Gulf War is well-known.

I take exception to the statement in the article describing “her current status as elder stateswoman of the Sacramento protest scene.” In the Sacramento community, there are men and women who have been working for social progress and against wars in the form of lobbying, demonstrating, speaking out and committing civil disobedience for more years than many of us have been alive. They do not have access to the airways, as does Ms. Craft, but their contribution to a better society is ongoing and immeasurable, and they are the elder statesmen and women of the protest scene.

It would do your paper well to focus on those contributions and to lessen the coverage of celebrities.

Ruth Holbrook

Who exactly is ‘we'?

Re “Exit strategically” (SN&R Editorial, June 16):

So “we Americans are the ones who put Iraq in the awful position it is in today.” Please explain how “we” on Main Street armed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for decades after installing him until “we” removed him from power in 2003?

Seth Sandronsky

Who’s your American daddy?

Re “Land of our fathers” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, June 16):

I would like to add this to the litany at the end of Jaime O’Neill’s essay:

We need more people willing to tell the truth.

We need more people willing to defend their positions without resorting to name-calling.

We need more people unwilling to be fooled by a criminal’s tale of woe but willing to realize that narcissism is his real motivation.

We need more people unwilling to exploit the sick to achieve their goal of legalizing drug use.

We need more people unwilling to use claims of racism to manipulate the legal or political process.

We need more people unwilling to exploit illegal immigrants by promising them trinkets to keep them complacent instead of helping them obtain legal status with all the rights and privileges they would be entitled to.

We need more people unwilling to ridicule one religion for allegedly being extremist while defending another’s right to be so.

We need more people unwilling to toe the party line.

We need more people unwilling to label themselves liberal or conservative.

We need more people willing to think for themselves.

These are true Americans.

Robert Ingersoll
Fair Oaks

Her own private Atticus

Re “Land of our fathers” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, June 16):

I wanted to comment on the awesome point made by this story. I happen to be lucky enough to have a father who fits right in with the ideals that are in this article. And so did his father; he was said to be “unintimidate-able.” Being a working man who drove race cars, he was the stuff of heroes, I think.

My dad is the same way: politically savvy, justifiably stubborn and unable to fall for the cheap tricks and gimmicks of a society that watches too much Fox News. He is a great questioner of ethics, religion and fads. But most of all, he is totally selfless to his family, friends and anyone who needs a hand. He believes that what he does makes a difference and doesn’t take injustice lying down. Thank God he is passing on this way of life to me and my sister. Thanks for letting me know there are more than a few honorable, hardworking men out there.

Sandy Stoltz

‘Heil’ humor isn’t funny

Re “Ahnold’s totally fantastic Summer Guide” (SN&R Cover, June 9):

I was incensed by the artwork displayed on page 23 of your Summer Guide.

I’ve held your paper in high regard since its beginnings. It is, in part, because of my high regard for you that I was especially upset with your selection of a photo for the artwork. The photo that I found so distasteful was the one on the bottom half of the left column that depicted World War II-era people all performing the “Heil Hitler” salute.

I’m certain that this was intended to be a “comical” reference to the governor’s Austrian roots; however, in these days, where we should be teaching and preaching to our population to get along with others, the artwork is far off of the mark.

I apologize for sounding so negative about this photo, but I can’t help but to equate this photo with the likes of some teenagers who might burn a cross on a black or Jewish family’s lawn because they thought it was funny.

Tony Loftin

There she goes again!

Re “You flunked!” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, June 9):

There she goes again, attacking the evil cabal of educators and their dark minions, the teachers, for the financial woes of California.

Stewart seems to feel that throwing a bunch of numbers at readers (who, according to her, cannot understand simple math) will convince them that students in California would be receiving a top-notch education if only the education department would stop wasting money.

I cannot argue with her facts about California’s average amount of spending per pupil. Her sources are reliable—I checked. However, once again she leads us into the realm of logical fallacies.

Her figures on spending per pupil in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., are blatant examples of a “red herring.” The amount of money they spend per pupil has nothing to do with the quality of education students receive in California. In addition, anyone who has ever visited Washington, D.C., would understand the rampant poverty found there. In fact, almost one in three children ages 5 to 17 lives in poverty (higher than in Los Angeles County).

Moreover, using Utah as a comparison to California is a “false analogy.” Utah has a population of 2 million people; California has a population of 30 million.

Her statements regarding class-size reduction are false. An Educational Testing Service study found that smaller class sizes did have a positive effect on student performance; in fact, the gains were largest for inner-city and minority students.

Not surprisingly, Stewart saves her most shoddy reasoning for the end of her article: “Proposition 98 is why California freeways cannot be maintained and health-care programs must be curtailed.” This is an example of a “post hoc” (after this, therefore because of this) logical fallacy.

The state budget is a complicated mess and has been for years. Blaming education, prisons or illegal immigrants as the responsible party is simplistic at best. But take heart; we have a special election coming in November.

Scott Rauschkolb
North Highlands