Letters for May 20, 2004

No history buffs in Bush administration

Re “Iraq’s multiple personality disorder” (SN&R Guest comment, May 13):

Don Sizemore is right on all counts. Why can’t the Bush administration appreciate the footprint of history in world affairs as well as Mr. Sizemore?

Any of your readers interested in learning how the Middle East got to be the mess it is should read A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin. I wish Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al, would read it, too.

Arthur M. Shapiro

Get liberal, why don’t you?

Re “The truth free” by Tom Walsh (SN&R Editor’s note, May 13):

Tom Walsh must have been looking for words to fill this column. The “dis” on all people who have served in the military—“Certain people gravitate toward law-enforcement and prison jobs, many of them with experience in the military, where ordering people around and abusing them verbally is a way of life”—was very cheap and misinformed.

Maybe, if you served in the military, that is the path you followed. Perhaps now you can be an editor and boss people around and abuse them verbally? The military, like the rest of life, is what you make of it.

A better statement might be something like this: “Bossing people around, humiliating those whom you have the advantage over, and abusing people is the American way.” Look at what Americans like to watch: reality television. Plenty of mistreatment there. Look at the clichéd portrayal of Americans at work in a show like The Apprentice, where they are humiliated and verbally abused by the “boss,” and it is accepted as the way it is. Look at minorities, or people with few resources, and the way they are treated in their encounters with anyone—not only law enforcement—who is not a minority or a poor person. Think of the way the West was stolen, of lynching and genocide in the United States.

This column was weak and indicative of laziness. Write something that sounds remotely “liberal,” if you are an independent newspaper, as I hear. I am beginning to wonder.

Tim De Herrera
via e-mail

A clearer picture

Re “Picture imperfect” by Kate Washington (SN&R Dish, May 6):

My children took me to L’Image for dinner on Mother’s Day, and it was excellent.

Each of four adults enjoyed the appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts and wine. We had no complaints on the food or wine, and the service was exceptional.

I am glad that we went there before reading Kate Washington’s review. If I had read it beforehand, we would have missed a superb dinner and pleasant atmosphere.

Margaret Peterson
via e-mail

Power to the people, take two

Re “Closing credits, part deux” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, April 29):

So, the city, in all of its short-sightedness, is putting a Century multiplex downtown, right across the street from the Crest, and the Tower fans are concerned about Tower having access to quality films at prices they can afford.

Well, the Crest will also have to worry.

But we can stop it. It will take sacrifice. We can take pages from the 1960s and the 1930s and boycott all Century theaters.

If enough people take their money elsewhere, like to United Artists or Regal, and write to the Century execs to say we will never go to a Century Theatre again if this plan goes through, they may think twice.

If Century loses money in the Sacramento area after being told why we are boycotting them, the plan will drop.

Why do they have to move across from the Crest? They already have a venue in the mall. I guess someone wants more money in the mall.

Whoever has the most money wins. But we control the flow and direction of the money. It’s time we retake our power. It’s time we win a few rounds.

Linda Williams

Workers’ comp far from fixed

Re “Cage the monster” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, April 29):

Senate Bill 899 will have horrendous effects on the rights of injured workers.

California has about 1 million work-related injuries a year. For those injured workers, SB 899 traded qualified medical examiners’ quackery for health-maintenance-organization quackery. What jobs will be available to them after being injured on the job? Will they go from an administrative job to a floor-sweeping job? One brain injury or back injury can render a person 100-percent disabled.

Defense attorneys can drag out litigation in a case for many years. Now they can get paid more money out of an injured worker’s claim and cry foul all the way to the bank.

If there is to be real reform, then injured workers’ input on reducing costs should be welcomed. Legislators should be enforcing codes and penalties, but they too often turn a blind eye to the real problems. Without the penalties, you have employers who do not have to answer to anyone.

Downsizing and short staffing created many of those injuries, and SB 899 makes it easier for employers to deny, delay and dehumanize.

Dina Padilla
Citrus Heights

Give so they can ride

Re “Taking the reins” by Chris Springer (SN&R 15 Minutes, April 22):

It was nice to see the feature about physical therapist Kris Corn and Ride to Walk, the therapeutic horseback-riding program that she founded almost 20 years ago. Although Kris made the point that community support and donations are needed, the article should have let interested individuals know that they may send tax-deductible contributions to “Ride to Walk” at 8485 Barton Road, Granite Bay, CA 95746. Ride to Walk’s Web site provides further information: www.ridetowalk.org.

My son rides in the program, and I can attest to its benefits. The work the volunteers, staff and horses do with children with a wide variety of neurological injuries is truly extraordinary, and the program is in dire need of additional financial support.

Of course, the real news story, if someone at SN&R is up to pursuing it, is the drastic effect Indian casinos are having on not-for-profit organizations like Ride to Walk that have relied on fund-raising through local bingo halls. When folks go to the Indian casinos instead of the bingo halls, the charitable organizations who utilize the bingo halls have less funding.

Elizabeth Gress

Not left out of the laughter

Re “Stewart’s not Republican—just right” (SN&R Letters, April 29):

So, righty letter writer Greg Wardrip gets a kick from lefties complaining about ideas they don’t agree with. How about we talk about the really big show being carried out on the national stage?

Greg must really get comic relief from the absolutely side-splitting antics of the Bushies and the Republican-controlled Congress. This madcap group has taken the largest surplus in history and, in three short years, has sunk us into the greatest deficit in history.

Not funny yet? Well, since your perception is that the lefties want to squash freedom of speech by pulling Stewart’s column, you must find it hilarious when Karl Rove and his troupe arrange for protesters to be fenced in hundreds of feet away from George “Alfred E. Newman” Bush when he’s on the campaign stump.

But the grand finale must be the tricky juxtaposition of the terms “conservative” (righties) and “liberal” (lefties). In a grand display of fiscal slight-of-hand, the Republicans have managed to outspend any Democratic administration in history!

Still laughing, Greg?

Ron Waggoner

Guard objectivity

Re “Correctional action plan” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, April 15):

I very much enjoy Jill Stewart’s columns. Her point of view is thought-provoking and usually objective. However, when it comes to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), her objectivity goes out the window.

For example, in her January 23, 2003, column [“Who’s guarding the union?”], Stewart wrote that CCPOA members were “freaks of history and circumstance, lightly trained men and women” who, “though their positions require only a GED,” wield enormous power.

Questioning the intelligence of CCPOA members seems to be one of Stewart’s favorite tactics. In her more recent column, Stewart notes again that guards “require no more than a general equivalency diploma and simple training.”

Certainly Stewart is justified in questioning whether a labor union should wield so much power in Sacramento and in speculating about the guards’ ability to do their jobs, but she weakens her argument by resorting to name-calling and insinuating that an entire class of people is stupid. Even if we assume her generalizations to be correct, do the “highly educated” have more of a right to wield their political power and influence than do “regular folks”?

Jeff DiCello
Santa Rosa