Letters for March 6, 2008

Letter of the week
A gas boycott that works

I am hoping now that a little time has passed, the yelling about not buying gas on a given day has died a natural death. The plan to get people to stop buying gas one day a week had little, if any, impact. If the boycott idea is done, then just maybe I can get someone to give an ear to a plan I think could very well force the gas prices down.

In fact, I believe this plan could very well start a pricing war.

It is simple: All we need is a reporter, radio deejay or television anchorperson (or two) to do a weekly price comparison of the big oil company’s prices. This would make clear just who—on the average—has the highest prices throughout our region. It would let everyone know just which oil company’s stations to avoid for the week—or until they drop their prices to become the lowest on average.

We would not lift the boycott until the oil company not only lowered their prices, but brought the prices down to the lowest on average. Then we could move on to boycott the next oil company at the top of the list, and so on.

I believe this would, without a doubt, get results. In fact, I would be willing to bet that by the third week, the major oil companies would be doing their best to make sure they were not the next on the “hit list,” so to speak.

First of all, the boycott would be directed at one oil company at a time, so it would be felt a lot more quickly. Second, no one would have to rearrange what day they buy gas. The only change is to avoid the company being boycotted that week.

And last, it would send a clear-cut message that we are not simply powerless over the things in our life that affect us all, and we don’t have to sit back and take it. Hopefully, this would spread to other regions throughout the state and then the country. We can fight back. Who’s in?

Todd A. Lafon
Fair Oaks

The payoff is in common sense

Re “The big payback” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, February 28):

“The big payback” is an interesting article, and it clearly illustrates the reality that intelligence, even superior intelligence, is not always accompanied by common sense and good judgment.

Sharon Goodnight

Be yourself. It’s a good thing.

Re “Gimme shelter, with sprinkles” by Ken Widmann (SN&R The Republic’s People of Davis, February 28):

So the inspector tells David Robert, “You’re not Dos Coyotes.”

That’s a “good” thing. Dos Coyotes gives you only a little bit of dressing with a giant salad, and then will proceed to just about tell you to go “F” yourself if you think you are getting another thimble full for free.

And the health department, well, that’s a whole other letter.

Noah Kameyer
via e-mail

Restaurant reviewing 101

Re “Low-key goodness” by Kate Washington (SN&R Dish, February 28):

I am interested to know why it is for some reviews the restaurant is visited once and for others twice. This hardly seems a fair practice. I eat at the Folsom Bistro often and find the food perfectly seasoned and very fresh—definitely deserving of more than one visit before passing judgment.

Rochelle Gibb

Kate Washington replies: In an ideal world of unlimited budgets, I would visit each restaurant a minimum of twice. However, newspaper publishing is no such Shangri-La, and budgetary constraints dictate one visit in most cases. Occasionally—particularly when a restaurant is known for different things that I can’t cover in a single meal (say, Sunday brunch service as well as dinner) or when I don’t feel I’ve gotten a representative sampling from the menu—I do try to make another visit. In the case of Folsom Bistro, however, the experience was largely positive and the menu short.

She’s singing of the Wayne

Re “Fountains of Wayne” by Bill Forman (SN&R Arts&Culture, February 28):

I wanted to say thanks for the great article, “Fountains of Wayne.” It’s about time someone thanked Wayne Newton instead of ridiculing him! I would love to read more about “Mr. Las Vegas” anytime.

Donna Dunn
via e-mail

Abortion is illegal in ‘civilized’ countries

Re “For shame!” (SN&R Letters, February 21):

Terry McDermott must be from another planet when he says, “In a civilized, moral society, no one has the ‘right’ to choose the death of a child,” meaning abortion. Well, if that’s the case, then Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Ceausescu’s Romania, Kim Jong-il’s Korea, Saddam’s Iraq, Osama bin Laden’s ideal Muslim state and the Iran of the ayatollahs are all “civilized, moral societies,” since abortion has been or is illegal in those societies. And conversely, all the free democratic and ancient Christian states of Europe and the Americas are “immoral,” because most of them allow abortion.

McDermott seems to think that abortion was invented in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, but in fact, abortion has been with us for millennia. Before its being made legal, it was generally ignored and not spoken about. In the modern world, legal abortion is a characteristic of a free democratic state, while illegal abortion is the characteristic of brutal dictatorships. In McDermott’s “brave new world,” would he punish our mothers, wives, sisters, nieces and female friends with execution or long prison terms for having an abortion, as in those dictatorships?

It is very ironic that most so-called “pro-life” supporters come from a group of people who are generally racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-immigrant, religiously bigoted and anti-Semitic. So much for being “pro-life.” It is also ironic that our “pro-life” president vetoed a bill to provide health care to more poor children. The hypocrisy of “pro-lifers” is truly breathtaking.

Joseph S. Bruno

Inspiration and grace

Re “Ruleboy lives” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature, February 7):

Melinda Welsh’s article about her brother, “Dr. Marty,” was an exceptional look at an exceptional family.

I volunteer with ALS families in south Texas with the ALS Association. I lost my mother in Kansas to ALS in 1984.

God gives us gifts to share with others, and with the onset of ALS, you and your sister have taken [God’s] gift and shared it for the betterment of others.

Thank you for your inspiration and grace.

Mary Klenke
via e-mail

Adapt the rules

Re “Ruleboy lives” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature, February 7):

I work for the ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter and received “The ALS rules” from our Patient Services Coordinator.

I am writing to get permission to adapt “The ALS rules” for my father, Joseph Coyle. Just this past September, my dad suffered complications from spinal surgery and is now paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator to breathe. He does have some signs of improvement, and we are real hopeful for a recovery, although we know it will be a long, hard road.

My dad has never been the “sit back and relax” type of guy—always on the move, always helping a family member, friend or stranger every chance he got. This new situation he is in is very hard on all of us, but most of all him, who always took care of everyone else—and now needs everyone else to care for him.

I would really like to adapt these rules for my father so I can frame them on his wall at the foot of his bed, so each morning as he wakes up and realizes he still can’t move, he can focus on the rules and help give him the motivation to mentally prepare for the day ahead.

I wish Dr. Welsh and his family much strength and perseverance in their fight against this devastating disease, and I thank you so much for your consideration.

Megan L. Coyle
Cleveland, Ohio

Dr. Marty Welsh responds: Melinda forwarded this request to me, and I am deeply touched. I am so saddened to hear of what happened to your father. Give him my regards, and of course you may use or modify my “ALS Rules” in whatever way might be of some small help.

I wrote them for myself, but then realized (and was told) they may have some broader use. But to hear your story, and to hope they may help another soul in a faraway place, is beyond my wildest expectations. God bless you.

He likes the changes

Re SN&R’s changes:

As a reader of SN&R for several years now, I just wanted to tell you, in case you hadn’t heard it in a while, that losing “Nothing Ever Happens” was a great idea. Looking in SN&R and not seeing that pointless, juvenile and immature (for a juvenile, yet!) diary entry week after week never gets old. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for the weekly entertainment (sans NEH).

Casey Kretzmer


There was an editing error in “Stern warning” (SN&R News, February 28). Sal Rosselli resigned from his post as state council president of Service Employees International Union. Earlier this month, he resigned from the SEIU’s executive committee, a high-level board that advises Stern. The story incorrectly reversed the order of the resignations. We apologize for the error. This has been corrected online.

Note to readers, online and off

You know how this thing you’re holding is perceived as something akin to a buggy whip, a consumer item that once was essential but is now quickly being faded out as media continues to migrate online?

We don’t totally buy into that reasoning. Have you tried to whip a buggy with a rolled-up newspaper? They barely respond. And let’s say you are out and decide to catch a movie or concert or futon sale. It’s not like a rack full of free laptops is there on the street to guide you. Huh? You have interwebs on your cell? Look, the point is you can’t pick up your precious interwebs inside a bathroom stall, but our paper goes right in with you. Some even politely suggest it’s as if we came from there.

We’re not total idiots, however. We believe in creating a “Web presence.” We want to build an “online community.” We want to prove we know to put quotation marks around certain “computery things.” And so, we’re bloggerating like there’s no tomorrow (which, according to the first paragraph, there isn’t). Go to www.newsreview.com, click on our staff blog, Snog, and enjoy more coverage of this sun-kissed valley than we can pack into these pages. A Snog item runs in print each week, too, on the Opinion page. Our Sound Advice blog, whose link is under Music on the home page, also produces items for the same-named print version. But you can read those and more much earlier on the blog.

More video and audio and list mania and public commenting and public-event posting and coverage of areas not covered in print get added to our Web site every day. Near daily. Very often. Yes, Netizens, behold a little media company that is well poised to boldly go into the next, erm, five years ago?

Hey, we got there!