Letters for March 28, 2013

Homelessness is not a choice

Re “Cat and ‘river rat’ game” by Dave Kempa (SN&R Frontlines, March 14):

Park ranger David Henry doesn't feel sorry for most of the campers, who he thinks gets lots of services. He thinks “their lifestyle is a choice.” Some more likely choices that unsheltered homeless people make are: choosing not to commit crimes in order to pay rent, choosing to escape a violent domestic situation, choosing to not stand in the line for a shelter known to have 200 people on the waiting list, choosing to not complain of their situation and appear proud, choosing to not be separated from loved ones.

Homelessness is caused by the lack of housing, not by people choosing to be homeless. Give every unsheltered homeless person a key to their own room or apartment to prove my point.

Paula Lomazzi


Public has right to know

Re “Tuesday night live!” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, March 21):

This article, regarding restoration of the three-minute rule for speakers before the Sacramento City Council, exhibited a lack of understanding of how city business is currently conducted by the city council, which is far removed from the way it was conducted 20 and more years ago, when the city was quite efficient and quite effective, and had no fiscal problems.

First, thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown, open government has been gutted in California by removing funding for the [Ralph M.] Brown Act and the California Public Records Act. The amount of money involved doesn’t buy paper clips for the state. This evisceration of the public’s right to know has gone almost unnoticed in the press. Government without public input and oversight is government out of control.

Second, a large number of very complicated public-policy issues will come before the Sacramento City Council in the coming months, and highly technical matters take more than 120 seconds to lay out, especially when one must effectively refute and debunk “facts” rendered by a city staff which, at times, has had its own agendas.

Thirdly, city staff has been known to leave out important facts or distort them in staff reports. In the early 1980s, I led the drive to save the 1850s E.B. Crocker mansion from city plans to demolish and replace it with a tilt-up concrete structure. We were able to prove the city staff engineering report was absolutely not true in public testimony before the council, and the mansion is now restored. …

Only through public testimony can these abuses be put before the city council and the public. It is important that the council and the public be aware that staff reports should not be blindly accepted as accurate and complete. This also can spur city staff to render only the best work, as was the general course in decades past.

Rick Stevenson

via email

Why pick on BarWest?

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

Being a resident of Midtown, I can tell you that I knew what I was getting myself into by moving into this part of the city. With the J and 28th streets block having bars and music venues for over the last 20 years, I find it hard to believe that the residents had no idea of the situation that they were moving into. I have been frequenting the restaurants, bars and music venues on this block for the last eight years and think it’s very unfair to target BarWest for violence and crime. I have witnessed firsthand countless altercations and excessive drinking at every venue on that particular block.

Also, [I’m] confused as to why there is uproar regarding BarWest’s application for an entertainment permit. Blue Cue, Harlow’s [Restaurant & Nightclub] and [The Momo Lounge] have live music and deejays, so I find it a little concerning that the local residents would have a problem with another venue having the same permit that three other venues on the same block already have. When you have six restaurants, bars, clubs and music venues compressed into a one-block radius, it seems only logical that one would not be surprised to see violence or crime from time to time. It seems as though the Marshall School/New Era Park Neighborhood Association has unfairly chosen one venue to crucify for the proverbial sins of all of the venues located on the J and 28th streets block.

Matt Novak