Letters for June 5, 2003

Simplistic Stewart doesn’t tell the whole story

Re: “Truth-challenged bureaucrats” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, May 29):

Simplistic statements may feel good to the person uttering them. It probably feels good to call state-agency heads “big fat liars” and to say that hiring freezes are fake. But some information was missing in the statements about large numbers of people being hired by the state.

Most of those jobs are open exclusively to current state employees. When one department “hires” an employee, another department loses that same employee and can only replace him or her from the pool of people currently on the state’s payroll. The freeze isn’t total, but it exists and is enough to be discouraging to anyone seeking a job with the state.

This is not to say that all dealings by state bureaucrats are above reproach. The most recent budget drill conducted by state agencies required them to state how they would cut 10 percent of their personnel budgets.

That’s personnel only, and this drill included agencies funded partially or completely by licenses and fees, a situation in which cutting the agency’s budget would not decrease the state budget.

The primary—perhaps the only—purpose of this budget exercise is to put pressure on unions now in contract negotiations with the state. The state’s contract negotiators have taken a position of “pay cuts or layoffs.” Their position is yet another simplistic statement that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Sheryl Beauvais

Odd, we’re usually into sensual

Re “Autism’s little brother” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, May 22):

You will probably get lots of remarks about this typo (or none at all, depending on the readership level on a long holiday weekend). To clarify your comments about scratchy clothing and eye contact, these are “sensory” stimuli, not “sensual” stimuli.

The difference must have escaped your editor and your spell-check program.

Jose Angel Gorbea-Colon

Cranky author, good book

Re “Out in Africa” by Heidi Kriz (SN&R Words, May 22):

Thanks for the review of Dark Star Safari. I thought reviewer Heidi Kriz captured Paul Theroux, at least as he comes across in his travel books. I particularly liked the description of Theroux as “often cranky and intermittently intolerant by disposition,” which seems right on the mark.

The author and his personality interacting with a place and a culture has always seemed to me the attraction of Theroux and many other good travel writers, along with a talent for acute observation. The review made me want to read the book, so I ran out and bought it.

Jerry Plummer
via e-mail

More work for Liteky at home

Re “Witness to war” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R News, May 15):

This was a very good article. I’d read of [Charlie Liteky] before our assault on Iraq. At age 82, I’ve heard all the government’s “best and brightest” war orchestrators from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the bombing of Panama, and now Gulf Wars I and II.

Charlie Liteky is one in 5 billion.

History documents the truth of the phrase, “As you reap, so shall you sow.” There are a couple of billion fellow lunatics out there who hate our (U.S.) guts, and a few of them will give us a taste of war with no rules, as time goes by.

While we might expect retaliation from nations we have assaulted, I’m more concerned with my fellow lunatic U.S. citizens—like McVeigh, the Gulf veteran sniper, high school kids with arms, and others of similar insane intentions. They are already inside the perimeter, waiting for their brains to blow a gasket.

W. Bain