Letters for March 31, 2011

Letter of the week

Save teeth—fluoridate!

Re “Sac County’s toothache” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Frontlines, March 17):

Kudos to SN&R for publishing the bad news about Sacramento County’s kids and their dental problems. California children suffer more from dental disease than almost all other states. Kudos also to First 5 for spending money to assist in the repair of this serious health problem, and kudos to the others who are stepping up to the plate.

Unfortunately, no one addressed the preventive angle on this story. California’s children suffer disproportionately for one reason alone: the lack of fluoridated drinking water in our state (29 percent) and in [Sacramento] County in particular. The drinking water in the city of Sacramento has been fluoridated for over 11 years, but precious little of the county’s water is fluoridated. The main culprit in this story is the San Juan Water District. For just over a million dollars, fluoridation equipment could be installed to fluoridate their entire system, covering most of the water supplied to the county. The fluoridation coalition has contacted their board time and time again, and they refuse to even meet with us to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, all those thousands of children continue to suffer from dental decay! It just doesn’t make sense!

Fluoridation is no longer controversial among scientists. It is a political issue. Why not reduce the dental decay in our children by 20 to 40 percent? Fluorosis is not the issue. We will even pay to install the equipment, so it costs SJWD virtually nothing to fluoridate! And yet they continue to resist even talking to us.

Prevention is always cheaper than restoring dental disease. As C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general of the United States, said, “Water fluoridation is the No. 1 health commitment a community can give to its people.” We could save millions of dollars for only a few pennies per person.

Please tell me we have moved beyond the “Communist conspiracy” days to recognize we have a safe, efficient and cost-effective method to prevent dental disease. Remember, you have to have good oral health to have good general health.

David F. Nelson, D.D.S., M.S.

‘Mayors’ cover = lame

Re “The real mayors of Sacramento” (SN&R Feature, March 24):

No disrespect to the people featured in “The real mayors of Sacramento,” but I have to ask: Really, SN&R, a cover and feature about “checking in”? Pretty lame, I think. Still—as always—I look forward to the next issue.


Show their faces

Re “Strawberry jam” by Sara Rubin and David Schmalz (SN&R Frontlines, March 24):

Your article about the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s rubber-stamping the use of methyl iodide is another great example of shocking incompetence and/or typical corruption in government. I don’t know what methyl iodide smells like, but I dare to say it’s nothing compared to the stink coming out of the DPR.

However, you did your readers a great disservice by allowing these bureaucrats to remain anonymous. They aren’t entitled to privacy while on the job. You should have included their names, salaries, pension benefits, and any ties to the pesticide manufacturer and the strawberry farmers. Your readers also have the right to know how these people got their jobs and who has the authority to fire them. Better still, who has the authority and the guts to file criminal charges against them?

Since government workers are always trying to ram tax increases down our throats under the banner of “public health and safety,” the head honchos at the DPR should be fired, stripped of their pensions and arrested for corruption, public endangerment and depraved indifference. What else can you call it when the analysis of their own scientists is ignored? Given the dangerous toxicity of methyl iodide, they need to be held accountable for their hidden agenda in a public courtroom, not just inside SN&R.

I already know what a strawberry looks like. And I noticed you didn’t have any trouble running five pictures of people obsessed with Foursquare. Next time you expose government malfeasance, I’d like to see photos of the nameless, faceless bureaucrats who endanger us all on the taxpayers’ dime. We need to know exactly who they are.

Daniel McMasters

Desegregation will not work in prison

Re “Segregation = survival” by Eugene Alexander Dey (SN&R Essay, March 24):

Mr. Dey is correct, and he said it better than I could. I am a retired California correctional officer. I worked at five different California prisons during my career.

It isn’t often I find myself in agreement with an inmate, but his experience and opinion on attempting to integrate California’s prisons is the same as mine. It simply will not work. People will be killed and seriously injured if this is attempted, and it still won’t work.

David Freeman
via email

Bravo for Sacto’s people!

Re “Moments of change” by Noel Neuburger (SN&R Feature, March 10):

I dig the “Moments of change” story. As an artist, I know and dig Lawrence Dinkins Jr., and I was touched by his testimonial.

Keep telling the stories of Sactown’s greatest commodity: the people.

Jon Gutierrez

Beer bad

Re “Brew your homework” by Becca Costello (SN&R Beer Week Guide, February 24):

I read with some incredulity that “UC Davis professor Charles Bamforth helps students major in beer.” Certainly, the irony was not lost on your editorial oversight.

Alcohol abuse is considered by many public-health and law-enforcement officials to be the No. 1 contributor to crime and violence today. Alcohol is considered a “gateway” substance to more serious drug and substance abuse by new users. Abuse of alcohol by college students ranks among the greatest obstacles to graduating, prospering and fulfilling life’s goals and dreams. It’s the great “inhibitor.”

Where was the editorial balance in this interview? How can Dr. Bamforth advocate responsible drinking, health and mindfulness with a straight face while being an endowed chair of one of the largest makers of alcohol in the world and one of the largest “microbreweries” in the West?

He’s written 11 books on the subject of beer? Kudos! How about one on the negative effects of alcohol abuse on campuses? Or what happens to those who lose a loved one to drunk driving or fatal alcohol intoxication? Or even one about chronic alcoholism as a public health risk among those who believe there “is beauty and poetry in beer”?

Unfortunately, Dr. Bamforth is given free license to preach and advocate the so-called health benefits of beer both in writing and at UC Davis without proper editorial balance on the financial, health and emotional devastation caused by excess beer drinking.

Believe me, the long-term negative health effects of alcohol far outweigh any beneficial health effects claimed by “expert” beer masters and educators. The unfortunate proof is everywhere around us—on the streets, in the news and amongst our families.

Fritz Knochenhauer