Letters for March 20, 2008

Letter of the week
Attack of the spam bots

You’d have thought that when Sacramento Craigslist started charging $25 for job postings, most of the riffraff would disappear.

Why would an employer shell out even $25 just to give the response, “The position will not be filled due to budget restrictions”? Other employers list the job in one town (where you just happen to live), but the interview is in a place far, far away. Bogus employers send you to sites that ask for a credit-card number. Hell, one of them wants $30 for your background check! Then there are those who don’t respond.

Other than padding the pockets of Craigslist, I seriously doubt that charging Sac job posters is doing what it was intended to do—cut down, for lack of a better word, on all of the riffraff.

And as for the personals, I think the men of Sacramento could write a book, titled WTF? The subtitle could be What It’s Like E-mailing a Bot or No Wonder So Many Guys on Craigslist are Gay.

Craig seems like a nice guy. He’s one of the only business owners who responds to all of my e-mails, and I publicly thank him for that, but someone needs to clean up the site. The flagging system only half works. Maybe it’s time for the “next generation” Craigslist flagging system. And I’m not talking about me at home on my Blackberry. Craig won’t hire a telecommuter anyway.

Until a new system is in place, I will continue to call the site “Spam, scam and girls with Web cams.” I use the site for the same reason others do—it’s free. But the spammers are getting smarter.

I could always create a paid account on an employment Web site and pay $35 a month for a dating site along with an additional $4.99 to access the mobile site, but Craigslist has it all, easily accessible, just like your favorite candy bar at the convenience store.

All you need to truly benefit from Craigslist is a master’s degree in psychology. Then you’d have both decent employment … and a patient.

Noah Kameyer

Furious about all-ages

Re “All-ages all over?” by Nicholas Miller (SN&R Feature, March 6):

All-ages all over? No! I have been booking all-ages punk/hardcore/hip-hop/indie shows in the area for 15 years (first ones were renegade shows in ’93) and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I did it all on my own for years, and about a year ago got some help from some friends who are all now part of a community-based collective. We all have the same agenda: Bring good bands from all over the world to the kids, help out local bands and, when possible, help out charities in our community.

Here’s the question: When is Sacramento going to pull its head out of its ass? Would the city rather have kids out being bored and causing a ruckus or would they prefer to have them exerting their energy in a place where they’re safe and can have fun?

There have been a few places that have popped up over the past few years that have stuck around, but they’re all run by churches. Now don’t get me wrong—to each their own—but should a kid have to deal with the hand of God just to enjoy a hobby? We are all different, that doesn’t make us bad people.

There are so many brilliant young kids who have absolutely nothing to do in this city, so they end up doing stupid shit and getting in trouble. This completely irresponsible attitude from the city needs to stop if Sacramento is ever going to be the city that they claim it already is. Stop stifling creativity and culture!

I am offering myself to anyone in the city government that would just like to pick my brain or, even better, actually put some ideas into motion. Please give this city a space where the kids can go for music! The story was written, I have sent a letter voicing concern and have offered to help (as I’m sure others are going to do).

Now it’s up to the city to do the right thing. Do you care?

Ken Fury, a.k.a. Cap’n Thrashken

Nostalgic for all-ages

Re “All-ages all over?” by Nicholas Miller (SN&R Feature, March 6):

Thanks to Nick Miller for shining a light on the problem of the city’s lack of all-ages venues. I got pretty choked up reading it, because it made me think back to the early ’90s when I would often drive 45 minutes from my crappy hometown to catch shows at the Cattle Club. If hazy memory serves, I met my first serious boyfriend by that fire pit out back, and subsequently I met every single one of my best friends, who are like family to me, through the Loft scene. House shows just aren’t the same, because if you’re just a rube from Lincoln (as I was), you won’t find out about those shows.

That’s the thing about venues like the Loft and the Cattle Club. Those same grungy kids scraping together three bucks in change from the couch to attend an all-ages show, 15 years on are the ones who are supporting all the arts and culture that the city has to offer, including restaurants (both high-end and otherwise), wine bars, plays, art galleries, art-house films, farmers’ markets and, yes, still attending all-ages shows. I am passionately invested in this city because it nurtured me when I was young. It makes me sad to think about a whole generation of kids who may not have the opportunity to make this visceral connection to art at a young age and consequently will probably be much more likely to outgrow Sacramento when they grow up and strike out for cooler parts, rather than sticking around and trying to create the city that they want to live in.

Becky Grunewald

Recover now

Re “A gas boycott that works” (SN&R Letter of the Week, March 6):

Good idea on the oil-price comparison scheme, because if there’s anything an oil corporation is going to listen to, it’s a local radio deejay.

But here’s an even better idea: Why not stop buying oil at all?

Or are we so wrapped up in the industrial/consumer complex, so attached to our Honda Civics, that we can’t sever our dependency? If that’s the case, then there is no consumer power; stop kidding yourself. A dealer doesn’t cut epic junkies a deal. We are fed oil because we thirst for oil, and we will (and do) pay any price they ask for it: $3.50 a gallon, $100-plus a barrel and $12 billion per month in a war to secure it.

We pay for oil with our hard-earned dollars, yes, but we also pay with our values and morals. “Right” and “wrong” have become subjective to our oil habit, and there is no organizing the disease.

This is OAA—Oil Addicts Anonymous. The first step to recovery is admitting that we are sick. It’s time to bite the bullet and go cold turkey. I’ll see you on the bike path to recovery.

Julianna Boggs

Enough court problems to go around

Re “Sacramento judge denies ‘disgracing the American Judiciary System’” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, March 6):

I know family court is a shame from my site, www.familylawcourts.com. Until recently, the public had no idea that a family-court judge is the most intrusive form of government we have in this country. Name another form of government ordering a parent when and where they can parent. Name another court where, should a parent be “too fat,” the state will charge in to take custody. What other form of government will tell a person when they can take a vacation and with whom? Smoke? These things are all bad news, custodywise.

And, as media continue to ignore the busiest court in the nation; the “spoils”—our children—go to the victor. When it’s a contest for the children, generally the one with the most money wins. This surprises whom?

Although family court is the busiest court in the nation, the public has no idea the U.S. Constitution is left at the door, and perjury is never prosecuted.

The good news is that everyone now has an option previously unavailable. Attorneys and individuals can make a report on judges, which bypasses the usually worthless state commissions on judicial misconduct. Reports are verified at www.usajudges.com so others needn’t repeat the pattern.

Reports are made on a good judge, too. Surprisingly, we also have those. Either way, come election time, the reports are made available to the press and watchdog groups; and then voters can decide whether to keep them in office or not. No longer are people chained to attorney-backed or police-backed lobbyists.

Bonnie Russell
via e-mail

Greens don’t spoil

Re “Spoiler alert” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, March 6):

I appreciate Bites pointing out that “the spoiler system is built into our election system.” The only real democracy is multiparty democracy. Don’t voters have a right to a choice of more than two candidates and the choice to vote for whichever candidate best represents their own needs and ideals?

The spoiler accusation is dishonest and an affront to the right of voters to have such a choice. It’s a defense of an election system limited to two parties (both of them approved and funded by powerful corporate interests), which is one step away from systems that only allow one political party.

The Democrats have had many years to implement Instant Runoff Voting, but they’d rather lose elections to Republicans than tolerate the presence of third-party and independent candidates on the ballot. They’d rather blame Ralph Nader and the Green Party for “spoiling,” so they can cover the botching of the 2000 and 2004 national elections with awful candidates and campaigns. If they wanted to win so badly, why didn’t they take action after the obstruction of votes by the GOP in 2000 and 2004 and the 2000 Supreme Court decision that put Bush in the White House?

Bites calls the last eight years a “humiliating nightmare” and, I agree, it has been a nightmare, but it’s not the fault of Nader and the Green Party. Please don’t make assumptions that, without Nader in the 2000 race, the same number of voters would have voted and they all would have voted for Gore. According to exit polls, Nader’s support came from Democrats, Republicans, independents and many others. Many would not have voted for Gore if Nader hadn’t run, and some voters might not have voted at all. Al From, chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, wrote in Blueprints magazine in 2001 that, according to their own exit polls, Bush would have beat Gore by one percentage point if Nader hadn’t run in 2000.

Third parties change the whole dynamic of an election in unpredictable ways that may have nothing to do with pulling votes from one side. Let’s vote according to our consciences and hopes, not our fears and misconceptions!

Starlene Rankin media coordinator
Green Party of the United States

Cosmo’s demented?

Re “Spoiler alert” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, March 6):

Cosmo Garvin must be suffering from late-stage liberal dementia if he is willing to back Cynthia McKinney over Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Maybe he could be instrumental in getting Minister Farrakhan or Al Sharpton for her VP. Now there is a vote-generating ticket!

Cosmo Garvin and SN&R never fail to show in their editorials why they are so out of touch with most Democrats and Americans, but mouthpieces and validation to the mentally deranged, anarchist, extreme fringe left. I do not know what my puppy and parakeet would do without your free and brilliant publication!

F.T. Cain


Re “Not replicant. Repli can. Booyah.” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Film, March 6):

If you want to be considered a credible source for film reviews, may I suggest you stick to reviewing the film itself, as opposed to mocking the politics behind the film, as you did with Blade Runner?

Many films over the years have come out in multiple versions. Why pick on Blade Runner? You don’t do yourself any favors by trashing a popular, legendary, cutting-edge film.

Jack Schwab

Jonathan Kiefer responds: If I picked on Blade Runner, that’s because it can take it, you know? I do think most “multiple versions” have more to do with greed and vanity and maybe even coddled creative indecision than some noble ideal of artistic purity. I tend to get mocked myself whenever I strive to be considered a credible source for film reviews. So I’ve learned to relax and change things up.