Letters for May 16, 2002

SN&R couldn’t be more wrong

Re “Little Boxes” (SN&R Editorial, May 2):

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, so before the SN&R says Ward Connerly “couldn’t be more wrong,” it should check its facts first before passing judgment on the Racial Privacy Initiative.

First, in an effort to paint Ward Connerly as an arch-conservative (who happens to be pro-gay rights, among other “conservative” positions), SN&R claims that he authored Proposition 187. If that were true, it might help place him in a neat ideological box, but it’s not true. Mr. Connerly didn’t author 187, nor did he take a public position on it or campaign for it. Thus, it would be irresponsible for SN&R not to issue a public retraction on this indisputable fact. Furthermore, he’s not “anti-affirmative action” but favors ending racial preferences and tailoring affirmative action along socioeconomic lines. That puts him in the mainstream, not on the extreme wing of the political spectrum. He’s been able to think outside the box; why can’t SN&R?

Another egregious error is SN&R’s insistence that the Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI) “would stop the gathering of racial data on everything from test scores to crime rates to health risks.” It would stop most forms of racial tracking, but there are built-in exemptions that would preserve some racial check-off boxes, particularly for medical research and treatment and for law enforcement. As for student test scores, the federal government still requires some forms of racial tracking as a condition of federal funding, which would qualify those specific instances for an exemption under RPI.

In its hasty desire to demonize RPI and its supporters, your paper should have read the law enforcement exemption carefully. It’s rather straightforward for the average voter to understand. It’s not true that RPI would “not allow police to keep records that show the race of drivers it has stopped and searched.” What it says is that the state could not mandate racial tracking as a one-size-fits-all solution to racial profiling. Under RPI, cities and counties are free to continue or initiate racial data collection projects, if they so choose.

We have more faith that voters will be more capable of thinking for themselves than the SN&R has apparently demonstrated.

Kevin Nguyen official proponent, Racial Privacy Initiative Sacramento


Prop. 187, the 1994 measure that attempted to end services to illegal immigrants, was authored by then-state Senator Richard Mountjoy, not Ward Connerly as stated in our May 2 editorial “Little Boxes.” We regret the error.

Spammers suck

Re “Hacking at Spammers” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R News, May 2):

To me, one of the clearest distinguishing features of terrorism is a lack of effort at focusing attacks on appropriate targets. Terrorists don’t target their enemies; instead they target the general public and hope that, if they affect as many people as possible, somehow their message will get through.

With that thought in mind it becomes clear who, the DEAA or Josef Chamberlin, is most appropriately labeled a terrorist—the man who sends e-mail only to the Internet Service Providers that host spammers, or the spammers that send tens or hundreds of thousands of e-mails to people who are completely uninterested in the products they are peddling.

Of course, to label either party a terrorist is to weaken the power of the word terrorism. But spammers clearly are invasive pests. Freedom of speech applies to the public commons and ends at the doorstep of my private property, which includes my private e-mail inbox.

E. Hays Davis

Utterly misinformed

Re “Udderly Contaminated” by Kymberlie Adams (SN&R Guest Comment, May 2):

The Guest Comment that was presented by Kymberlie Adams on May 2, 2002, is a completely uninformed piece of propaganda meant to produce fear in the public mind. It is not based in fact nor does it list its references.

Dairy cows are not genetically engineered because federal law prohibits the distribution of food products produced by genetically engineered animals. Cows are becoming more productive because producers are actively breeding animals on the basis of milk production and maintaining well-managed facilities. Some dairy producers use bovine somatotropin (BST) to help increase milk production. BST has been approved by the FDA and is a natural hormone already present in milk. It is only effective when given to well-fed healthy cows so farmers need to take good care of their animals in order to use the product.

Milk is not contaminated. Article 2, item 36331 in the Food and Agricultural Code, requires that milk be free of foreign substances. That means that milk cannot contain any antibiotics. Cows that require treatment with antibiotics are separated from the milking herd until all of the antibiotics have passed from their system. No cow undergoing treatment can produce milk for human consumption. Every day, when the milk is picked up from the dairy, it is tested for antibiotic residues. The milk is also randomly tested eight times a year for all other foreign substances (including pesticides). If any residue is found the entire load of milk is dumped and will never enter human consumption. There are large penalties that are instated against any farmer that produces milk with illegal residues.

There are cows that contract mastitis, an infection of the mammary gland. Any animal that produces milk is susceptible to this disease, even human mothers. Cows that contract udder infections are separated from the milking herd and treated immediately. Milk from these cows is not sold until the cow is healthy and produces milk free of residues.

I have not quite figured out what Adams meant by “pus cells,” nor could I find any law allowing 750 million pus cells per liter. State law requires there be less than 6 million somatic cells per liter. Somatic cells are any cells that are naturally shed by the udder into the milk. They are not infectious and cause no detrimental effects to humans. Somatic cells are only counted to make sure that the cow is healthy.

Casein is a protein that is produced in all milk, including human milk. It is full of essential amino acids and is not dangerous. Unlike soy protein products, it is easy to digest, and even contains peptides that improve immune function in the intestinal tract.

It is perfectly acceptable to publish criticism of the dairy or any other industry, but distributing false information is indefensible.

Ingrid Cornax Sacramento

E – I – E – I – O

Re “Udderly Contaminated” by Kymberlie Adams (SN&R Guest Comment, May 2):

Ms. Kymberlie sounds to me like she has never really sat down and gotten to know a dairy cow. I am no expert either, but I have worked on two dairies, visited dozens more, and in the process have gotten to know a lot of cows.

As today’s dairy cow strolls into the 21st century, she will have complaints about her life. If she were the sort of sick, unhappy cow Ms. Adams describes, she would not eat, she would not be able to get pregnant, she would not play with other cows, she would not milk. Not that sick, unhappy cows don’t exist. What Ms. Adams describes, horror stories of pus cells in milk and cows pushed beyond their limits, are real problems. Dairy farmers agree. That is why they devote their hearts, backs and pocketbooks to keeping cows healthy and preventing such problems.

Ms. Adams says that Old MacDonald’s Farm does not exist. Well, of the dairies I have worked on or visited, even the one with 5,000 cows felt more like Old MacDonald’s farm than not. Cows are not robots. They are not even white-collar employees. They are a bunch of very interesting (and sometimes very unpredictable) animals. Yes, Old Macdonald’s Farm has modernized. This does not mean mistreating cows, or pumping them with poisons. If Ms. Adams visits a dairy and works with cows, she will see that that is a lie. But it does mean the farmer must be efficient and business-minded. Should farmers remain in the 19th century while you enjoy the fruits of the 21st century?

Kyle Mathis Sacramento

Go Jackie

Re “I’m Loud, I’m Proud, Get Used to It” by Jim Evans (SN&R Cover, April 25):

Your profile of Jackie Goldberg provided an insightful look at one of the leading women in California politics.

She has earned the respect of people across the state because of her continuing concern for all Californians, not only those with wealth or power. As a classroom teacher, I am particularly grateful for her support of AB 2160 and her recognition that classroom teachers ought to have a voice in curriculum decisions. Thank you for the article, and thanks to Jackie, who is an articulate, intelligent example of the type of person we need in the Assembly.

Barry Wilson Temecula