Letters for May 22, 2008

Letter of the week
Furkid food for thought

Re “Feeding furkids” (SN&R Ask a Treehugger, May 8):

When it comes to furkids’ diet, Treehugger is right; education is key! A number of vets in our own Sactown will help plan a homemade (and even raw) healthy meal for pets, like Integrative Veterinary Center (www.sacvetrehab.com). Just as when you change your own or humankid’s diet, it is best to seek the advice of a professional. The American Veterinary Medical Association notes, “Pet nutrition is very complicated and unique to species and individual animals.” That’s precisely why pulling some bag off the shelf is probably not the best thing to feed your individual furkid.

It’s also good to learn about pet food, as in this report, “What’s Really in Pet Food”: www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1. One of the big stunners (besides the fact that pet food provides a convenient way for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered “unfit for human consumption,” and similar waste products to be turned into profit) is the fact that some pet food companies actually test on animals!

Yep, that’s right: dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, whose only home is the inside of a laboratory cage, are fed and tested on for years on end. This is something you’d really want to avoid if you care about cats and dogs. Here’s a list of some: www.iamscruelty.com/notTested.asp. But do call the companies and ask.

And, nutritionist or not, I’d be wary of big companies like Purina, owned by Nestlé (let’s see, the makers of candy have a nutritionist on staff for their pet food? Sense something fishy here?), and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, owned by one of the bigger animals testers around, the Colgate-Palmolive Company.

Nope, Treehugger, I can’t say I’d trust some huge international corporation with a nutritionist on staff with the life of my furkid nor the life of the planet—and I must admit, I’m surprised you would. As a farmers’ market hopping treehugger, you’ve got to know that it doesn’t take animal testing to tell us that organic food is better for any mammal than conventional food! Not only can you find free-range, more humanely-raised and organic meat that is a bit better for the animals being killed to feed your cat (cats being true carnivores, need meat), but any living creature is going to do better on food that is not doused in chemicals. Indeed, by making your own raw meals for your pet, you’re helping the Earth by avoiding all the packaging, processing, transportation, and even cooking that goes into a pack of kibble.

Think about this: If you were to eat processed cereal (even the healthiest, best-for-you-and-the-planet cereal) every day for every meal, do you think you would be as healthy as you could be?

Sharie Lesniak

Harassing K.J. …

Re “K.J. vs. K.J.” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, May 15):

I am writing to express my concerns about the article about Kevin Johnson.

I must state that I am disappointed in this article. This article was not only strange, but poorly written and what was the point of repeating information that we already know? I don’t get it. We have heard the same stories 20 times, just rephrased. Why? What is your point?

I have worked for many years in government service and can certainly point out over the years government officials that have done much worse things that would be considered inappropriate. I am sure we can all think of a few people still in office who have been accused of much worse. Why don’t you write article about that and be fair? I don’t see the news harping on anyone else but Mr. Johnson. This is starting to look like public harassment to me.

This is getting way out of hand and off the real issues. There is a big difference between breaking the law and inappropriate behavior that happened several years ago. Even the state would not deal this harshly in an investigation. I have several years of working on [Equal Employment Opportunity] cases and investigations, and I can tell you the stories are far more severe in government with far less attention.

The media has gone too far and is very punishing. We can certainly find more important things to write about and focus on. We have more serious issues in the community to deal with like crime, unemployment and a budget deficit. Also, I am sure that we can dig up some dirt on every politician, including our own governor. I don’t see any focus on anyone but Johnson. I feel he is being singled out and it needs to stop.

I suggest that SN&R takes a closer look at practices and what they are doing before this type of reporting backfires.

Simone Dumas
via e-mail

…or just reporting?

Re “K.J. vs. K.J.” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, May 15):

Kudos to Garvin for his fascinating piece. I was sucked into reading Garvin’s piece, punctuated by more stealth, ambiguities, twists and turns than a John le Carré espionage thriller and more outrages, ironies and hilarities than a whimsical Woody Allen script.

Great entertainment, but I’m left at the end with the same ambivalence I had about the mayoral race as before I read Garvin’s investigative gem.

Does Sacramento need change? You bet! I was chatting in front of the Crest Theater one recent evening with a friend who remarked, “Boy, I haven’t been downtown in a long while; what a wasteland!” I’ve always heard the City Council and County Supervisors were in the pockets of private developers, while—without a coherent city plan—the downtown has spasmodically and piecemeal deteriorated next to a huge waste-filled railyard and, ironically, next to another huge untapped resource: the confluence of two great rivers, the Sacramento and American.

All quite unlike similarly-placed American cities such as Portland, Ore., Denver, San Antonio and Indianapolis that have developed delightful and economically-viable downtowns. Even quaint West Sacramento, under adroit public and private leadership, has begun to rapidly outpace Sacramento in the development of its side of the river.

Fargo’s fault? Not entirely, of course; many others have contributed over the years, not least the Maloofs, who despite massive local charitable-giving, are outside-business folks with an eye for the bottom line. Also under-funded developers and short-sighted taxpayers; witness the resounding defeat of Measures Q and R (2006), somewhat hurried and flawed, but still the best hope at downtown revitalization in decades.

Can K.J. deliver (change)? Arguably the answer has less to do with Garvin’s issues (K.J.’s tenuous grasp of policy, his backers and “Mandy”) and more to do with whom he’d appoint as second-line managers to provide the vision for ongoing professional civil servants and, even more importantly, how he balances the interests of private-development partners with the broader community good, including the homeless and others some would describe as “the least of them,” but all of whom are valued members of our community.

Chuck McIntyre

Turn that around

Re “No on 98, yes on 99” (SN&R Editorial, May 15):

SN&R’s editorial against Proposition 98 fails to recognize the measure’s purpose.

Proposition 98 deals with some of the worst property-rights abuses in California, including the phasing out of regulations that limit the sales and lease price of land. If you are in rent-regulated housing and Proposition 98 passes, you can remain there until you voluntarily move out. No one will be evicted, and no one under rent control will see their rents increased because of [the measure].

Proposition 98 is also the only measure that prohibits all property—homes, rentals, businesses, farmland and churches—from being taken by government via eminent domain for a private use, like an auto dealership or strip mall. Conversely, Proposition 99 only protects owner-occupied homes. Also, there is the “poison pill” provision in Proposition 99 which states that if both measures pass, but Proposition 99 receives more votes, it nullifies all the provisions in Proposition 98.

This is deceptive politics at its worst, and voters must not be fooled. The choice on June 3 is clear. It is time to tell government, “Hands off our private property!” Vote “Yes” on Proposition 98; “No” on 99.

David Wolfe
legislative director for Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Uh, he shot her, dude

Re “Guilty till proven innocent” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, May 15):

When I read this article, I have to admit that I was shocked by the lack of seriousness that was given to the conduct of a convicted felon. Scheide states very matter-of-factly that the felon in this case merely robbed somebody at gunpoint and then shot them, but the result was only superficial wounds.

First of all, robbing a person is an inherently dangerous felony likely to result in substantial injury. Couple that with use of a deadly weapon, compounded by the fact that shooting a person can likely lead to death (shall we say attempted murder?). Twenty-two years seems about right to me.

I don’t know about you, but getting robbed at gunpoint and then shot would seem to cause severe emotional distress and trauma to the victim. Or should we not consider the victim and just feel sorry for the criminal that now has to pay the price for his crime?

The ending of the story was lovely: The mother is held blameless for her son’s actions and instead blame was placed on community problems within the minority areas and the justice system. If you ask me, the mother should be looking to herself and her parenting role. Isn’t learning wrong from right and personal responsibility learned in the home?

Good job on further victimizing the victims and blaming the justice system for a mother’s failure at parenting. I agree that the justice system needs reform, but reform shouldn’t be instituted as a substitute for proper parenting or used a scapegoat.

Justin Barrell
via e-mail

C’mon, give us a reason

Re “Guilty till proven innocent” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, May 15):

I always read R.V. Scheide’s writings, as they are some of SN&R’s best, and the Robert Armstrong cartoons are the icing. Part of R.V.’s appeal may be his proximity to the dark underworld, offering the reader a vicarious thrill.

I don’t meet many armed robbers socially, but R.V. must, and every few months he profiles one in a miscarriage-of-justice story designed to evoke outrage in the reader. The funny thing is, as I read along, I find myself cheering at phrases like “deposited in a hole in the desert,” and clearly that’s not the intent. I guess I take some comfort in anecdotes of a criminal actually doing hard time.

As a rule, there doesn’t seem to be any convincing details in these types of stories to make me think they caught the wrong guy, or that someone got railroaded by an evil prosecutor. I mean, give me something. Not even a crummy childhood?

I don’t care about deterrents. One less antisocial out shooting people for 22 years sounds pretty good to me, not to mention a fair plea bargain for 25-to-life. Like George Carlin wrote: “What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Well, he’s about to find out.”

And how about that innocent bystander shot in the leg, spared being murdered presumably only by sheer luck or poor aim? She gets the brushoff, scorned dare she selfishly complain about her “superficial wounds.” I want to know if she had adequate health-care coverage for her injuries, if she had to endure further unfair hardships from loss of work. Pursue that story and maybe you’ll find some injustice I can get worked up about.

Wayne Kunert


The last line of “The pipes, the pipes are calling” (Music, May 15) was cut off by a gremlin. The gremlin didn’t want you to know the final sentence should have read, “No matter how huge your organ, cleanliness, as always, is next to godliness.” This was correct online all along.