Letters for June 9, 2011

A fifth option

Re “High-school shuffle” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 2):

I think [SN&R and Cosmo Garvin] did a community service with this article. I ran for the board in 2004 and won [a seat under the old system]. I decided to retire from the board in November 2010, and helped Jeff [Cuneo] with his campaign. I ran because I felt the Sacramento High School issue was mishandled, as was the [California Administrative Services Authority] retirement scheme.

One viable option was left out of the article. I am sorry Garvin was not informed about it. When Dr. [Maggie] Mejia was the superintendent, we started talks with CSUS President [Arthur] Gonzales about creating a demonstration high school at CSUS in partnership with [the Sacramento City Unified School District] to resolve the east-side high-school issue.

State law permits UC and CSU schools to participate in demonstration schools with school districts. I know that UC [Los Angeles], Fresno State and San Francisco State have demonstration schools. Some other UCs and CSUs probably do, also. What an advantage for SCUSD high-school students to have access to the vast resources of CSUS. The university would profit by being able to explore new teaching methods, curriculum offerings and organizational structures at the demonstration school. It would also facilitate training of student teachers and other educational professionals.

After Dr. Mejia retired, I attended a meeting where Dr. Gonzales suggested three possible sites on campus for the high school. He was clear that it should be open to all students in SCUSD, as well as east-side students. He also suggested it have an environmental theme to match with that of the university.

Current Superintendent Jonathan Raymond also talked with Dr. Gonzales about this possibility when he became superintendent of the school district. This option was still under study when I left the board in November 2010. Both Cuneo and Raymond assured me that they would still continue to pursue it. I wonder what its status is at present?

Jerry Houseman

Houseman is a former member of the Sacramento City Unified School District’s board.

Needed: east-side high school

Re “High-school shuffle” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 2):

The best result for those students living in the old attendance area would be to re-establish a comprehensive high school at the old Sac High facility.

Sac Charter High School only serves those who are going to college. If a student fails the high-school exit exam or falls behind in credits, they are counseled out. Hiram Johnson High School is in a constant state of turmoil and has managed to send over 300 students to various district alternative schools. Meanwhile, the district is losing [funding] because of students who leave the district rather than attend Hiram Johnson.

Given the amount of time that has passed, a new survey is necessary. Unfortunately, mailing a survey has a very poor rate of return. That’s why a phone survey was chosen six years ago.

I’m certain that all those people talking about the survey that was conducted back in 2006 have never read the results. That scientific survey, conducted by Godbe Research, spoke to over 800 households in the former Sacramento High School attendance area. It asked one question: Are you interested in a new high school for the old Sac High attendance area, located in the northeast Sacramento area? (There was a description of the area, which included downtown, Midtown, East Sac and part of Oak Park.)

The responses were overwhelmingly in favor. Those who disputed the results were the SCUSD board members, who voted to close Sac High, and The Sacramento Bee. The Bee began calling the results of the survey into question without ever revealing to the public the actual question asked or the scientific results.

Also, Sacramento High had 1,800 kids in the fall of 2002. Once the board voted to close the school, over 200 students left for other [area] high schools.

Kate Lenox

Don’t shuffle, pull

Re “High-school shuffle” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 2):

Do we go out of our way to make fools of ourselves? Do we take great pride in dragging everyone down to the lowest level of competence? The SCUSD Board of Education wants to close or shuffle the few schools meeting state standards in the district (Sutter Middle School, West Campus High School, Sac Charter High School).

Is the purpose of this to show the world how dumb we were in voting them in? I would heartily suggest that the school board pull their heads out of their collective asses!

Lou Meyer

Follow The Met’s example

Re “High-school shuffle” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 2</a.) and “Pursue your passions” by Nick Miller (<a href="/sacramento/content?oid=2141503">SN&R Feature, May 26):

The Sac High building is a public resource and should not be monopolized by a private charter. If St. Hope schools are as wonderful as some say, they will be able to lease other space and attract enough paying parents to afford it.

According to a local activist, the court victory won by displaced Sac High parents requiring another school building to replace Sac High is being sabotaged by non-enforcement by the Sacramento district attorney. Respect for the law?

But for both Sac High and Hiram Johnson [High School], why not take a page from last week’s inspiring article about The Met, and reform them so they can both also offer empowering and inspiring education?

Alternatively, both these troubled schools could consider my ignored suggestion to Kevin Johnson back when he was getting ready to take over Sac High: Restructure school governance to put a faculty senate in charge of policy and CEO selection. What could be better than role-modeling an empowered and democratic school government of and by faculty and for students?

Muriel Strand

Prison change, prison cash

Re “Stop the fearmongering” (SN&R Editorial, June 2):

The private prisons just want to dump the expensive prisoners onto public-health plans, plain and simple.

S. Walker

Sacto mistake

Re “Arena boosted downtown D.C.” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Cut&Paste, June 2):

The arena in the rail yard is another Sacramento mistake, like all of the attempts to remake the K Street [area]. They never seem to have a clear master plan on what they want.

Now, the transit center is getting pushed aside. It was supposed to be the hub for the city. Now it will be something stuck in the middle of the arena area. There will be no convenience for the travelers or the patrons of the arena, because they will all be trying to use the same space. Try cruising for a parking spot at 6 p.m. to park, or just to pick up somebody using Amtrak.

Daryle Louie

Stop the (beer) insanity!

Re “Drunk swan” by Julianna Boggs (SN&R Arts&Culture, May 26):

Being that I am sick of seeing people consuming beer right before they get into their car at the gas-station stores where they just purchased it, I am not amused at your attitude about the No. 1 cause of DUIs and alcohol-related arrests and deaths. If alcohol must be legal, then beer companies should have extra taxes put on them to pay for the social and health damages they cause, just like the cigarette companies! Consider that consumption of alcohol does no one any good, except to further fatten rich alcohol companies’ execs’ wallets for adult beverages that also taste like horse piss!

Today, of course, there are many nonalcohol alternatives, including “near beer,” that taste just as good—or better—than their counterparts, which contribute to alcoholism.

Michelle Kunert

So much for Christian love

Re “This is the end” by Ted Cox (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

The audacity of one man and his self-deluded followers telling us what God is thinking and planning is mind-blowing. I’m either writing this posthumously, or I’m one of the lucky 144,000 people who were saved and carried up to heaven.

But seriously, there is one thing that bothers me about the latest evangelical and fundamentalist end-times foray into fantasyland. Their prediction posited that 144,000 of their kind would be saved at the rapture. What was to happen to the remaining six and a half billion people on the planet? The end-times scenario that we see over and over seems to be very self-righteous and ungodly.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

The end again

Re “This is the end” by Ted Cox (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

No man can do any addition and figure out what God has in store his children. The end may come for him. That’s why you should live every day as it was your last. They say, if you call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved. Not to cry out for mercy. That is false.

Sharon Morgan
via email

Unresolved issues?

Re “I Am” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Clips, May 5):

I am writing in regards to the film review done about the movie I Am. I found I Am to be one of the most important, relevant and significant movies I have seen, which is an opinion shared by many of my friends, family and colleagues who have seen the film.

Calling it a first draft of an essay, comparing one of the experts in the film to Will Ferrell and focusing on the guy getting kicked in the nuts displays how your reviewer missed the entire point of the movie. Considering that the Green Life Eco Fest—which advertised in SN&R—found it important enough to show at their expo, maybe you should have your movies reviewed by someone with enough emotional maturity to handle such a film. The review read to me like a kindergartener writing a review on Citizen Kane.

If the review had been written by a big media conglomerate with all their sponsors being giant corporations, I would have understood completely. I could not believe, though, that an independent newspaper priding itself in its integrity, honesty and pushing the envelope would publish such a slanted, immature, blatantly biased opinion by someone I guess has unresolved money jealousy issues to work through, and should heal whatever unresolved childhood issues are causing him to write such hateful, shortsighted reviews.

As a representative of the capital of one of the most free-thinking, progressive states in America, and a bastion of independent newspapers still holding on to existence in a world of dwindling attention spans, and a world more “connected,” yet lonelier than ever, I was very disappointed and infuriated. Social change is kept alive by your existence, yet I feel you just gave social progress a big slap in the face.

Please understand I love, appreciate, and my soul is fed by your newspaper, that is why this review hurt me so deeply. Only people, groups or organizations we love and care about deeply have the ability to cause the pain to go so deep.

E. Dias