Letters for March 21, 2013

BroWest knows better

Re “A trivial pursuit” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, March 14):

The Marshall School/New Era Park Neighborhood Association has forged a healthy working relationship with most of the bar and restaurant owners on 28th and J streets. MSNEP Neighborhood Association helped forge a compromise to save the sale of Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub. They also worked in good faith with Blue Cue to help them get through the building process to build an outside patio. MSNEP also has had no problems with Centro Cocina Mexicana or The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar to date.

BarWest (a.k.a. BroWest) has been cited for selling alcohol to minors. BarWest also decided to host trivia night without seeking the needed city permits. Trevor Shults is an experienced nightclub operator who would presumably know the entertainment-permit regulations and be able to follow them. Also, Trevor told neighbors and the press that he would never apply for an entertainment permit. Then, BarWest decided to apply for the permit without notifying its neighbors. It seems at BarWest that profit is more important than following the law. All of the other restaurants/bars on 28th and J streets have no problem complying with the law.

The Yelp reviews speak volumes for the problems at BarWest. Poor service and poor food are the common threads found in a lot of reviews. An entertainment permit isn't going to fix BarWest. Trevor needs to hire more waitstaff and provide better service. Trevor may know how to run a nightclub, but he needs to bring in a quality restaurant professional to fix his woes at BarWest. Perhaps they should contact chef Robert Irvine of Restaurant: Impossible or chef Gordon Ramsay from Kitchen Nightmares to fix the restaurant. They could also consult with their co-owner Randy Paragary about improving the food and service at BarWest. He knows a thing or two about running a successful restaurant.

Michael Murphy


Charter schools can be effective

Re “Preparing to fail” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, March 14):

There are important questions to answer about public education, but calling the other side names will never answer them. Among the questions we need to address are: 1. Why does Michelle Rhee’s movement gain traction? (Poor public-school results and resulting parent dissatisfaction.) 2. How would these closed schools attract students if they reopened as charter schools? (See answer No. 1.) 3. Why can a charter school function in a location where a district school couldn’t afford to? (Bureaucracy and union contracts don’t make it unaffordable?) 4. Why are companies successfully forming charters? (Academic freedom, elimination of bureaucracy, freedom from unions and profits.) 5. Are there models of education that are more relevant to teaching today’s kids, poor kids, limited-English kids? (Yes, there are models of success.)

It is wrong to ignore these and many other important questions in order to demonize Michelle Rhee and her backers, even though some feel she deserves it. Demonization is the last resort of people who’ve run out of arguments; it is the abandonment of discourse. Look up Godwin’s Law.

Benjamin Bannister


Crafts don’t make you a Stepford wife

Re “Hello, doily!” by Deena Drewis (SN&R Arts&Culture, March 14):

I wanted to give another opinion, as I don’t feel like the author really “gets” the concept of HelloXOXO. While it’s great that you gave this new organization some press, and there are some good points here, overall, the article comes across as condescending. Why can’t people can’t have an appreciation for pretty things without being considered Stepford wife-ish? Being into crafts and baking and decorating doesn’t make us old fashioned or trivial. It makes us self-sufficient. We can create beautiful things ourselves without having to go out and buy them, all while participating in something self-fulfilling and therapeutic.

It’s not so much that the new crop of women aren’t feminists—it’s just that the label “feminist” has such a bad connotation. I don’t think mainstream society really knows what it means. We need a better word to describe someone who advocates for women’s issues that isn’t automatically [synonymous] with “man-hater.”

Bottom line is that the group provides encouragement and inspiration for women, whether it be through counseling, crafting, or just by offering a safe and cozy environment that’s empathetic and encouraging.

Amy Cluck


Smart meters made her sick?

Re “Are SMUD smart meters a danger?” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, March 7):

SMUD smart meters are a health danger, as I learned when PG&E smart meters were installed on my home. It took nearly two years before I experienced daily migraine headaches, heart palpitations and nosebleeds, which I’d never in my life had before. Combined with nausea, confusion and blurred vision, these symptoms led me to feel I was going downhill fast—like accelerated aging (I was only 50). At first, I didn’t know why I felt so bad, but when I traveled to a place for 10 days that at the time had no smart meters … all my symptoms stopped—only to start up again when I returned home. My symptoms matched those of microwave poisoning, so I had my smart meters removed. SMUD would be well-advised to follow the precautionary principle and reduce exposure to future lawsuits—not to mention making thousands of customers very ill.

Cynthia Larson


Smart Meter Awareness board speaks

Re “Are SMUD smart meters a danger?” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, March 7):

I am the director of Sacramento Smart Meter Awareness. Our board read your article and have several questions concerning the accuracy of your information published and the sources you used. [For instance], you published that “radio frequencies given off by Smart Meters are small compared to cellphones.” This is factually false and proven so by official SMUD documents that I have.

We have information that is critical for the people of Sacramento to know about. You can be a hero and bring it to the people!

Eric Windheim


Sacramento Smart Meter Awareness

Editor’s note: Read a longer version of this letter at www.newsreview.com.