Letters for May 23, 2002

Story without end

Re “The Goodbye Girl” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, May 9):

I want to congratulate Ms. Beckner for writing the best, most introspective account of a CPS ridealong I’ve seen. I am one of Misty’s colleagues, and your various descriptions of her would make me feel like I knew her, even if I didn’t already. But you kept the focus of the story where it belonged—on the little girl. Your observation was right on target, where you noted, “no single story can accurately describe how CPS handles the typical emergency child abuse case.” I would hate to believe that this story is “typical,” but unfortunately it is quite routine.

You lamented that SN&R was unable to complete the story “having followed a mystery nearly to its conclusion.” But as you later discovered, there was no conclusion. I applaud Misty for taking the time and having the patience to try to get the father into drug recovery. Usually that is a luxury we do not have in Emergency Response.

You (and Misty) raised many questions about the little girl that were never answered. But many of them are never answered. Readers look for a story to have a beginning, a middle and an end. But most of our stories have no end, and if they do, it’s often a sad one. For us, the “end” is when we place the child in protective custody, or transfer the case to Family Maintenance, or simply close the case because there is nothing else we can do. But for the child, that’s only a new chapter in a book that is still being written.

Keep up the good work.

Jon Mayhew

Let it flow, Richard

Re “Raise the Waters” by Richard Frankhuizen (SN&R Guest Comment, May 9):

Richard Frankhuizen recently wrote a persuasive commentary arguing for increasing “watershed capacity” in Northern California. He is eager to sway a pool of Republican voters by using recast, debunked pro-Auburn Dam arguments. But a basic premise of his essay, that conservation is not the answer in a growing population, is patently incorrect. Our having finite resources aside, it is this lack of understanding that adversely affects our future water supply and quality of life.

Low-cost subsidized water—not lack of capacity—is the reason why our water usage is at current levels. Agriculture uses about 80 percent of our off-stream water, supplied at a very low cost relative to all other users. What do big farms grow? Water-intensive, high-income crops. Cotton was not widely grown in the San Joaquin Valley until the State Water Project went on-line. Dairy production too has increased dramatically with State Water Project water. There are few jobs but big profits on these farms. Taxpayers not only pay for Big Ag’s subsidized water, but we pay the legal fees when Big Ag sues for full water delivery.

Hydropower has numerous hidden costs and accounted for only 19 percent of California’s energy supply in 2000; increasing this output by a meaningful percentage will require many costly new dams. Contrary to Mr. Frankhuizen’s implication, increasing storage capacity will not alleviate salt-water intrusion into the Delta; this must be done by increasing stream flow into the Delta—storing water doesn’t increase stream flow. A better alternative to hydropower is renewable energy. Real generating costs for wind and solar power are less than hydropower, and unlike hydropower soon will require no subsidies. The Midwest has enough wind-generating potential to meet the current electricity needs of the entire United States.

At current utilization efficiencies, California’s resources cannot provide for projected human population growth. Conservation is the safest and ultimately most cost-effective way to achieve our collective goals. We need strong politicians to change the status quo, because continuing these utilization efficiencies threatens our quality of life. If elected, will Mr. Frankhuizen serve the collective good or the wealthy farm constituents?

Dan Staley

Pass the reality check, please

Re “Fruits, Vegetables and Red Tape” by Liv O’Keeffe (SN&R News, May 9):

To the city of Sacramento for its grinchiness in halting the farmer’s market with red tape; to the project sponsor who offers his own elitist and costly diet to people who lack food; to the large supermarkets who redline poor neighborhoods; and to anyone else who cares, Bertolt Brecht, the playwright, had it right in Three Penny Opera. He wrote, “First feed the face, and then preach right and wrong. For even saintly folk will act like sinners unless they’ve had their customary dinners.”

We are the richest state in the richest nation ever, and yet Kristina and hundreds of struggling mothers like her live under third world conditions.

Thanks to the News & Review for another invaluable reality check on our fair city.

Evan Nossoff
via e-mail

A poor conspiracy

Re “Fruits, Vegetables and Red Tape” by Liv O’Keeffe (SN&R News, May 9):

As an African-American man raised by a strong, black and single mother of four sons, I want to say I am appalled at the fact that Del Paso Heights does not have any grocery stores.

How sad that the young black and single mother featured in this article has to not only take the bus to buy groceries, but has to transfer to more than one bus. To me, this is a conspiracy of the Sacramento City Council to keep poor people down and barely surviving.

M. Farris
Citrus Heights

It’s not my hand in your pocket

Re “Burn Baby Burn” (SN&R Editorial, May 9):

It was great to get a little background into the music industry and how musicians make their money. I knew (as did many others) that Napster was not the problem with all of the music industry’s woes, and that Metaligreed, Dr. Dre and Sheryl Crow, et al., didn’t fully understand what the hell was going on. They knew they were being cheated, they just didn’t want to believe that it could possibly be the huge conglomerations that made them the stars they are and wrongly blamed the consumers, such as myself, who keep their greedy little pockets lined with more cash than I’ll ever see in my lifetime. I still can’t believe that Metaligreed wanted to sue their very own fans. Unbelievable.

Ever since the creation of Napster, I was happy to be able to download the songs I wanted and not the ones I didn’t, and would gladly pay a reasonable fee for such a service, as I don’t necessarily think that music is a free commodity. I let the RIAA know this opinion and that I thought their battle and subsequent victory against Napster was quite hollow, because as soon as Napster was shut down, software such as Morpheus was there to pick up where Napster left off, leaving musicians and a misguided music industry right back where it started. My opinion is that they really need to embrace the technology and market it in such a way that people will pay for their services instead of taking them for free.

But hey, right now, I’m not complaining. Free is good—while it lasts.

Sean Jones
via e-mail

Moving on up to West Sac

Re Kloss cartoon (SN&R, May 9):

I was bothered by this cartoon. It does show how petty Sacramento is, though. The whole Sacramento-West Sacramento debate is getting tired. All Sacramento ever does is gripe, gripe, gripe! “West Sac got the baseball park!” “Give us back the Port.” Why can’t Sacramento just be glad that the Sacramento area has a baseball field? Be thankful it was even built and that there is another venue, other than Arco, available for events and concerts.

Then there’s the big debate over the Governor’s Mansion and where its next home should be. Sacramento failed to remember … he is the governor of California, not the governor of Sacramento. So what if it ends up in West Sacramento. Building the governor’s residence in the Lighthouse Marina project area is not a bad idea. He would have privacy and seclusion and commute convenience with a nice view. Sacramento’s suggestion? Place the Governor’s Mansion on Capital Mall with the Crocker Art Museum as his backyard/view. Yeah, that’s smart. Why should the governor look at the commuters and tourists from his bedroom window? Would you want tourists to walk past your house, veering inside hoping to see you in your bathrobe? Would you want to wake up to horns honking from the I-5 commute? It’s not like the governor is here all that often anyway.

Sacramento needs to get over itself, it’s not so great! West Sacramento may not be much either, but we are small and family-oriented. So what if we don’t have a “perfect” past? Who cares? But we are up-and-coming, getting bigger and more beautiful every day. So watch out Sacramento, your residents may move to our new city and leave you in the dust!

December Brinsfield
via e-mail