Letters for May 1, 2003

Don’t go there

Re “Sacramento Sirens über alles” by Rich Ehisen (SN&R News, April 24):

First, this was a great article. I just wanted to comment on the mention of sexual preference. Historically, as women have become lawyers, doctors, managers and athletes in areas that were previously male-dominated, they have been categorized as either bitches and/or lesbians.

It is just the typical backlash that accrues in an attempt to minimize a woman’s achievement and, in a sense, act as a warning to other women not to “go there” or else risk being similarly categorized.

You find a continuum of sexual orientation in society, and you will also find this same continuum in athletics.

Robin Sanchez

A gas from nature

Re “Hydrogen now” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, April 17):

As Mr. Garvin pointed out, hydrogen for hydrogen-powered vehicles will likely be obtained from natural gas, currently the cheapest source for hydrogen. Keeping this in mind, the Honda Civic GX (www.civicgx.com) will run directly on compressed natural gas (CNG), although it is not available right now.

At least one company (www.fuelmaker.com) is working on a product that refuels the GX at home, pressurizing gas from a household line to the 3,000-plus psi required for refueling.

Although natural gas still produces greenhouse gases, CNG vehicles lead us to energy independence from imported oil and buy time while polluting less than conventional vehicles do. Scientists, engineers and businesspeople need that time to reduce the high capital cost of renewable energy to the point where hydrogen produced from renewable energy matches today’s gasoline prices.

Although sunlight and wind are free, the equipment and land required to collect power from sunlight and wind are expensive.

Mike Darrett

Raw Stewart

Re “Fiddling while California burns money” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, April 17):

Jill Stewart is a genius. I’ve only read a few of her articles, as I now live in San Diego, but she is the second coming of Dan Walters, only better because she’s a lot more raw.

Thanks, Jill!

Tyler J. Wade
via e-mail

Ignore jingoism

Re “It’s the American way” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Arts&culture, April 17):

This was a damn fine article. As someone who generally has no patience with self-professed “music lovers” whose so-called eclectic tastes sour when it comes to country (and rap), I must admit I find the whole redneck, “Ford-tough,” ass-kickin’ aesthetic of current country music hard to swallow, and the blatant jingoism spewed by [Toby] Keith, [Darryl] Worley and company is definitely unpalatable.

Griffith is right; the genre has given the world some truly great music. He is also right when he calls flag-draped xenophobia an ugly thing and takes to task those who purvey it in their music.

I think there is hope, however. In addition to the Dixie Chicks, I’d like to add the following to the list of country artists who do oppose the current mindless war lust: Rosanne Cash, Iris DeMent, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. Long may they provide an alternative country soundtrack.

Robb Curtis

Get wild about California

Re “Protecting California’s wild heritage” (SN&R Earth Day supplement, April 17):

Thank you for this recent information. It is important to inform Sacramento-area residents of the benefits and opportunities that their public lands provide.

However, I noticed that no contact information for the California Wild Heritage Campaign was included in the article. I would like your readers to know that if they would like more information about the unprotected wild places throughout California, or to get involved with this historic campaign to preserve some of the last pristine lands and rivers in the Golden State, they can contact the California Wild Heritage Campaign at (916) 442-3155, ext. 206, or visit www.californiawild.org.

Thank you once again for highlighting some of our amazing local wild places.

Pamela Flick
California Wild Heritage Campaign

The war with journalists

Re “Watching the war” by Deanna Broxton (SN&R News, April 10):

I spent 12 months in the infantry in Vietnam and never once saw a journalist with our units or with the South Vietnamese units we fought beside. It is laughable for John Berthelsen to suggest that he and his colleagues were more objective in Vietnam than today’s embedded journalists are in Iraq.

During Vietnam, editors routinely “spiked” stories showing the enemy in a bad light, including Viet Cong massacres of civilians, as “not acceptable for the American people.”

The anti-military bigotry of the press corps was a disgrace. Even when the Viet Cong executed American journalists like Sean Flynn, the son of actor Errol Flynn, there wasn’t a word of condemnation or outrage from the press for the Viet Cong or Hanoi.

The sad reality of that conflict was that the United States couldn’t get any good press, and the enemy couldn’t get any bad press!

Dennis McMurray
Nevada City

Know your traps and skeets!

Re “Swing out, shoot!” by David A. Kulczyk (SN&R Arts&culture, April 10):

It’s great to see an article [about shooting] that isn’t hysteria over people who own guns.

I enjoy recreational target shooting, and it is a good way to unwind and relax. But I am never so relaxed that I am not mindful of safety. Thanks for the positive note on a subject that usually gets negative press.

Just one note, which is somewhat trivial, but you got trap and skeet shooting mixed up.

Trap is the one where the clay pigeons fly out in front of you from one central house that has five stations.

Skeet has eight stations, seven of which are in a semi-circle that connect between a high house and a low house. The eighth station is in the middle.

But I knew what you meant.

John McDonald
via e-mail

And now, a word from the Dems

Re “Total recall” (SN&R Editorial, April 10):

Your recent diatribe in an editorial against Governor Gray Davis is one more reason some people do not vote.

I realize newspapers pay very little attention to policy and legislation, but SN&R owes its readers a little substance occasionally.

You could have given praise to Governor Gray Davis for signing into law: a paid family-leave system, a bill to fight global warming, a bill to speed up stem-cell research and a bill giving farm workers binding arbitration in contract disputes—making California the only state to have such laws.

You also could have added that Governor Gray Davis signed a pro-choice bill [protecting] women’s right to abortion into California’s constitution and that he is one of the leading governors to take on the tobacco companies. Has the weekly finally adopted The New York Times’ policy of no tobacco ads?

How about Governor Gray Davis putting on the November 2002 ballot a $13 billion school-bond measure that passed?

Incidentally, all of these policies were opposed by the California Republicans.

Bob Mulholland
campaign adviser, California Democratic Party

Hotheads with badges

Re “Quit screaming racism,” by Steven M. Thomas (SN&R Letters, April 24):

Mr. Thomas, I just want to know what could possibly justify police or, for that matter, any man, to strike and chemically attack churchwomen? I guess if you’re a person of color, calling your mother could be considered “calling your black, feminist, militant buddies.” Is it a crime or is it suspect to have relatives of color? Did you read the article?

At what point do you take your hood off to start punching those old black ladies? If [Sgt. Greg] Johnson was accosted by white church ladies inquiring about their younger relative in police custody; do you think he’d beat them down, too?

You and I know the truth: He’s a bigot; if not, he’s a misogynist. Either way, do we need a hothead with a badge? If he’s wound so tightly, isn’t he more of a threat to the public than [Andrea] Torres, who was originally pulled over for driving without current license plates?

Tony Christopher
West Sacramento