Letters for March 6, 2003

Is wine and darts a good idea?

Re “The Ride of Their Lives” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, February 27):

I want to thank you for the great article about the Capitol Corridor commuter service.

As a CC Rider from Auburn (from day one), I can only say it’s the only way to commute. There is nothing like a glass of wine, a good dart game or a trivia game on a Friday night to make one appreciate not being in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 80.

Anyone commuting from Auburn, Rocklin or Roseville to downtown or areas served by Sac RT should be on the train (free Sac RT passes). There is a quiet car, but if you like to socialize, we do have plenty of parties. If there isn’t a holiday to celebrate, we make up one! You can access our Web site at www.ccriders.us/index.htm to see the evidence.

I can’t thank Gene Skoropowski enough for his dedication to the Capitol Corridor. How many other executives actually answer their e-mail from their “customers”?

Pat Wilson
via e-mail

SN&R dwells on the bizarre

Re “Peaced Off!” by Dennis Yudt (SN&R Cover, February 20):

The day after the February 15 Sacramento anti-war protest, I opened my Sunday edition of The Sacramento Bee expecting to see the type of trivial, patronizing coverage marginalizing the protest that we have come to expect from the corporate media.

You know the type of coverage I mean—rather than accurately reporting on the largely mainstream nature of the crowd, the coverage usually consists of something like the following: a quote from a leader of the Socialist Workers’ Party; a color picture of a bong-drooling hippie wearing a tie-dyed shirt and sitting cross-legged and meditating while holding a sign that says “Make Love, Not War”; a description of a pair of tattooed, keffiyeh-wearing, topless lesbians with anti-war signs attached by silver chains to their pierced nipples; and extensive interviews with the cadre of 10 pro-war counter-protesters holding “I Support the President” and “Die, Liberal Scum” signs across the street.

With those expectations, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Bee provided thorough, fair and accurate coverage of the Sacramento event, as well as of larger events that occurred throughout the world, and I commend the paper for it.

There were some details that the Bee didn’t cover, though: for example, the creepy fact that during the event, a detachment of Sacramento Police Department officers roamed the crowd with another officer in tow carrying a video camera and wearing a uniform that said “Identification Technician,” filming the faces of those in the crowd.

I looked forward to reading SN&R’s coverage of the Sacramento event, hoping that you would pick up some of the slack and expand on some details the Bee didn’t cover, as well as provide a useful general description of the event for readers who didn’t attend.

Imagine my surprise at seeing the entirety of SN&R’s report of the event consisted of the truly bizarre and incomprehensible “Peaced Off” story—a piece that provided no meaningful information about the event and yet (perhaps unwittingly) did more to falsely portray the Sacramento and San Francisco protests as some sort of weirdo-fests than anything that even the most pro-war corporate media outlet could ever hope to get away with.

I guess my view of SN&R’s cover story, and those of most of the others with whom I have discussed the story, can be summed up in three words: What the fuck?

Is that really the best SN&R can do?

Joe Zuber

Governor’s not a Sisyphus

Re “Governor Sisyphus Fails Children’s Health” by Len Finocchio (SN&R Guest Comment, February 20):

We appreciate the fact that your guest columnist recognizes Governor Gray Davis’ commitment to children and to making children’s health a priority by allocating state money where it’s needed most. However, Mr. Finocchio’s comparison of Sisyphus and California children’s health is flat-out wrong.

In 1999, there were only 55,000 children enrolled in the Healthy Families Program. Today, we are well past the 600,000-enrollment mark, with a combined total of more than 3.5 million children enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.

Mr. Finocchio’s fear that “few children will make it through a complex enrollment system” is unfounded. Under the governor’s direction, Healthy Families enrollment forms were whittled down from 28 pages to just four, the state launched an aggressive enrollment-outreach campaign, and the Davis administration expanded eligibility for Healthy Families to hundreds of thousands more children.

To keep children enrolled, families are called and sent notices and statements in multiple languages. Many of the suggestions for improvement included in The 100% Campaign’s report already have been implemented in the last four years. The Davis administration makes every effort to ensure no child is left behind, and California is well ahead of any state in the nation in this regard.

The Child Health and Disability Program gateway will ensure that even more children receive the health care they need by allowing presumptive eligibility or coverage for all children who apply for two months while their applications are being screened.

California is facing an unprecedented budget deficit, and every citizen will feel some pain. But despite our economic woes, Governor Davis is committed to ensuring that California’s children have the health care they need to grow and to learn.

Russ Lopez
senior deputy press secretary, office of Governor Gray Davis

Stewart’s right about Republicans

Re “Recalling Republican Blunders” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, February 20):

As a member of the Republican Party for more than 50 years, I can assure you the California Republican Party as it is now constituted will, without a doubt, screw up any Davis-recall action.

The right-wing ideologists, Christian fundamentalists and other kooks cannot do anything right. They seem unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. Their crabbed, intolerant and unappealing agenda has destroyed what once was a great party.

Only the two-thirds vote [requirement] on revenues keeps the GOP from being totally irrelevant. If the Constitution is ever changed eliminating the two-thirds requirement, the California Republican Party will go the way of the dodo bird.

The only hope for the phoenix to rise from the ashes is for the moderate and progressive Republicans to regain control and redirect the party in a progressive path away from today’s regressive mode.

James G. Updegraff II

12 Year Old rap

Re “12th Annual Sammies Ballot” (SN&R, February 6 and 13):

Alternative country, roll ’n’ rock, bee bop and gangsta hip-hop—the boys of 12 Year Old Man are ready to be back on top. This letter is coming straight from our heart, despite you guys trying to tear us apart by keeping us off the Sammies ballot.

Jon Bon Reno, Boogie and Blonde Buck of 12 Year Old Man seem to be down on our luck. After the huge upset at the 2002 Sammies—giving our award away! What’s wrong with you?

We got a ride to your show, parted the crowds and sat in the first row. Being 12, it’s hard to drink, but we look a lot older. We had plenty of our beer, followed by shots of your cheap wine, 12 of ’em, and we was feeling fine.

What happened next was a little weird—you gave our award to a band that we had never feared. Embarrassed and totally flushed, our faces were red with disgust! We gathered our girls and exited the Crest.

What’s up with the votes? You know we’re the best! We are about the fans, not the other bands. Sacto is so wrapped up in each other, bands voting for their own bands, and ignoring their own brother.

12 Year Old Man sits in pity, after doing so much for the city. For you not to nominate us for a 2003 Sammie just isn’t right! Could you give us the respect and tell us why?

12 Year Old Man
2002 Sammies nominee, country and blue grass

Hudson flunks

Re “Laughing Zen and Other Stories of the Path” by Jeff Hudson (SN&R Theater, February 20):

Reading Hudson’s description of this play was like looking at a photo that has been shot out of focus—some parts are recognizable, and others fail to capture the beauty of the scene.

Hudson demonstrates a lack of understanding of the events and message, not to mention the challenge facing the actor, Derek Byrne, whose performance was incredibly moving. Comparing his performance with the actress in “Marriage of Saints” is amateurish, making the mistake of comparing “apples to oranges” to decide which tastes better.

He needs to go back to reviewing school!

Maggie McAnaney