Letters for June 7, 2001

He doesn’t give a dam

Re “Dam the River or Dim the Lights” by state Senator Rico Oller (SN&R Guest Comment, May 31):

So, let me get this straight. According to state Senator Rico Oller, “radical environmentalists” are responsible for our current energy crisis.

Give me a break. It’s obvious to me that Texas oil companies and the politicians in their pockets are really to blame. Holding us hostage, they manipulate our energy supply, creating artificial shortages. Then, they try to force feed us their extreme agenda. With the help of politicians like Senator Oller, these companies got us into this mess under the guise of deregulation.

Along with sane energy pricing and policies, Californians want clean air, land and water. Clearly, Senator Oller is more concerned with protecting the bulging bank accounts of big business.

Christopher Ham

Not a mainstream Republican

Re “Dam the River or Dim the Lights” by state Senator Rico Oller (SN&R Guest Comment, May 31):

In response to state Senator Rico Oller, you are the one that is in the dark! Damming up our rivers is not the answer to your problem.

When was the last time you were down at the confluence of the American River, swimming, rafting, fishing or hiking? Yeah, that’s just what I thought. I am there every weekend, whitewater rafting and kayaking. They are the most wild and scenic rivers that we have left in our area.

I would give up warm dark nights and cool summers to keep the rivers running freely for my kids and myself. We do not need a dam!

I am sick and tired of the Republican’s destroying our natural resources.

Yes, I am a Republican and a flag-waving conservative Rush Limbaugh listener. But unlike the rest of my overweight fellow couch potato Republicans, I get out in the great outdoors and enjoy it! Money is not everything!

Scott Bergenstock

Burned at Wick

Re “The New Life” by Dan Wick (SN&R Book Review, May 24):

I am curious what prompted Dan Wick to inform News & Review letters of Robert Reich’s stature in his review of The Future of Success.

Is there any essential part that this information played in Mr. Reich’s book or Mr. Wick’s review? Or is it a subconscious reminder by Mr. Wick that the future of success may still hinge upon your height more than your accomplishments? Had Mr. Reich been, say, 6-foot-5, would Mr. Wick have deemed it as important to inform us of his height? Should we demand that all News & Review writers and editors put their height beside their byline in the future?

Daniel L. Cox
San Francisco

For travelers’ sake

Re “Incognito NIMBY-ism” by Tim Murphy (SN&R Guest Comment, May 24):

So what if SORD may or may not be cloaked in the flag of preservation, or does that not have support from the high-powered transportation planning groups? The users of transportation systems are many times lost in the rhetoric of planners and policy-makers.

The Sacramento Intermodal Station Agreement recognizes the rich history of Sacramento by using the historic train depot as a grand pedestrian gateway and core for the intermodal station. In doing so, it shows the citizens of Sacramento and visitors alike that our mayor and city council, while forward in their thinking, use the rich histories of Sacramento to build upon, and recognize that people other than the “big players” have a stake in the process.

If you were to ask us, the users, if we agree to the movement of the tracks, and the plan to utilize the surrounding area with shops, apartments and hotels, we would have to say, “whatever is in the best interest of and for the traveler will be OK.” Again, to reiterate, I say “in the best interest of and for the traveler.”

People say: First impressions stick in the minds of people. Whether they arrive by train, bus, light rail, or other means, the station is the first impression travelers have of Sacramento. Will it be a comfortable place for travelers, or will it be just a planner’s showcase? Will it anticipate the needs of the travelers by offering amenities such as quality customer service, adequate shelter, easy-to-read maps, lockers, private or public local transportation that is user-friendly and on time? Will it work as advertised?

For in the end it is not the city council, the preservationist, or the planner who will decide if the intermodel station is worthy of their attention, it is the visitor and passenger. It is the user.

Barbara Stanton

Space well used

Re “Armando’s Last Ride” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, May 24):

I am writing this letter to thank you, most sincerely, for allowing the space in your weekly newspaper for the story about my husband, Armando Magri.

It is pretty difficult to sum up one’s life of 87 years into a few pages, but I want to compliment R.V. Scheide for the job well done in achieving this. It was well organized and in a dignified manner and well written from beginning to end. Thanks to him for all his effort in securing the correct information.

My husband would have been proud. Continued success in your weekly newspaper.

Lu Magri

Pearls of wisdom

Re “That Sinking Feeling” by Jim Lane (SN&R Film, May 31):

The film Pearl Harbor, opening Friday across the United States, will stir up more controversy than did the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!. That film was far less biased than the new Touchstone Pictures film; it showed the attack from both the American and Japanese sides.

The problem studios run into when either period pieces and/or culturally sensitive films are made is getting “it” right. “It” is historical events in the proper sequence, correct historical figures, dates and the like. In the case of films involving different cultures, depicting the characters of a particular culture is a sensitive undertaking due to stereotyping and personal biases.

I grew up in Hawaii and clearly remember Tora! Tora! Tora! being filmed. The sight of fake Imperial Japanese naval aircraft flying over Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base raised concerns and no doubt many memories from years ago. The concerns at the time were not for the safety of island residents expecting another Pearl Harbor attack, but that the local island residents and tourist population, which was mostly Asian, would not take offense to such a film being made. Concerns were put to rest when it was learned that the film would show both sides’ viewpoints in the attack, and the film had American and Japanese screenwriters and directors to accomplish this.

Pearl Harbor is an American film, made for hard-core biased American audiences. The film is not meant to be evenhanded in its judgment of the Japanese actions before, during and after the attack. Unlike the 1970 film, which was generally well balanced, representing both sides, Pearl Harbor stereotypes all Japanese as being enemies of the United States. The studio has already felt the backlash from Asian-American civil rights organizations; the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has voiced its alarm over the potential hatred and actions that may come from this film.

We will see in the next couple of weeks how the studios handle any fallout that may occur as a result of the film. Touchstone Pictures’ parent company, Disney, is releasing the film in slightly different versions in Japan and Germany, emphasizing romance over battle. This was a very expensive film to make; one source of potential loss of revenue may be in the Asian film marketplace, where typically American action films do well. One interesting item is that if the film is not seen as an insult to Japanese people in the Asian marketplace, then it may be seen as a patriotic film in the sense that Japan kicked the stuffing out of the United States and that the romance in the film is secondary. This idea may play well in Japan, but for Japanese and Japanese-Americans residing here in the United States, this film may lead to a renewal of stereotyping and hatred. Let’s hope that one biased film doesn’t open a 60-year-old wound.

Lee Richerson
via e-mail