Letters for May 26, 2011

Bad attitude

Re “Water torture” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, May 19):

Nobody wants to live in a city whose public officials seem more concerned with doing the minimum required, rather than as much as they can; interpret rules in a manner that undermines public trust; impede (rather than insist on) governmental openness and accountability; help hide (possible) bad city government business decisions.

Sacramento’s Department of Utilities and Assistant City Attorney Matt Ruyak need to understand this: Even if the law “doesn’t require” you to reveal data about water usage by Sacramento commercial businesses, it doesn’t mean that you cannot reveal it in the public interest. Heaven knows, no law requires Sacramento to have its own basketball team or arena, but city officials have spent countless man-hours and tax dollars revealing the minutest details of that issue. And no law requires city firefighters or police to rescue kittens or ducklings trapped in sewer drains—but it’s the fact that they will that helps endear them to us. No law requires city residents to vote, donate to charities, be green or stop to help a car-struck pedestrian or dog lying injured in the gutter, but the fact that so many Sacramentans do (without having to be required to by a law) makes us a better city.

Last, if there are any laws that do clearly require protecting the employment of—or require collective bargaining in order to optimize salaries for—city employees who share such a “We’re not required to do it so we won’t” attitude, then we need to get those required activities countermanded to a degree that is not open to similar self-serving misinterpretation.

G. Sawyer

Co-op coup

Re “Boycotts, bath salts and brawling” by Raheem Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

I would add that the Co-op traditionally has had a boycott policy focusing on “the social, political or economic” ramifications of the practices of a “manufacturer, supplier or nation” (April 2003 version). This policy called for a careful member-education process addressing the pros and cons of any proposal for a boycott.

Thus it is not [boycotts, divestment and sanctions] supporters who are seeking to “politicize” the Co-op, but rather the board which is conducting what amounts to a constitutional coup d’état, first by abolishing the boycott policy and its educational process last December, and now by preventing the members from voting on a properly qualified initiative.

One of the first people to call for “financial sanctions” against the emerging state of Israel in 1948 was in fact the Rabbi Judah L. Magnes, founder of the Hebrew University [of Jerusalem], who had advocated equable power sharing between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews but was appalled at the patterns of massacre and ethnic cleansing actually unfolding.

While some BDS opponents may be unable to distinguish between the Rabbi Magnes and Adolf Hitler, other Jews and non-Jews on various sides of the boycott issue can appreciate the difference.

Margo Schulter

Bring on the cooperation

Re “Boycotts, bath salts and brawling” by Raheem Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

As a longtime member of the Co-op, I am offended that the Sac BDS is attempting to push their will on the rest of the Co-op members.

I am neither Jewish nor Muslim, but like other members of the Co-op, I may often have a different point of view. Some members don’t purchase meat or animal products, some don’t buy bananas from South America or green tea from China, and some people are allergic to wheat and peanuts. Does this mean that whenever a Co-op member doesn’t like something, they can petition to have it dropped? Where is the cooperation there?

If you have issues with Israel, then don’t purchase those products! Forcing your will on your fellow Co-op members seems to fall along the same lines as the actions that you claim Israel is guilty of. And isn’t it true that the original cooperative principles, written in 1844, called for “political and religious neutrality”? If that is the case, then maybe those pushing for this boycott have strayed from the Co-op values and need to be expelled?

Steve Brancamp

Belittling commentary

Re “Boycotts, bath salts and brawling” by Raheem Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

What’s going on at the Sac Co-op is a struggle for members’ rights under the Co-op’s bylaws to present measures for votes by the full membership. It is about letting all the members decide on the proposed boycott and other issues.

The board’s policy committee just recommended that the Restore Co-op Democracy Initiative not be placed on the ballot because it affects Co-op policy. Affecting policy is obviously the intent of initiatives. What is the point of having a Co-op at all, if membership concerns are ultimately censored by the board?

Left out of the SN&R article was why people all over the world are calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions. This growing movement is trying to pressure Israel to end its human-rights violations against the Palestinian people. And it’s working, which is why the national level of Barry Broad’s group has allocated $6 million to “combat” it. One might add to the $6 million the $8.2 million the U.S. gives Israel every day.

Hosseini’s article is fine where it sticks to the facts, quotes or references to actual documents. His belittling commentary, possibly an attempt to make humorous reading, misses the mark in covering this serious issue.

Maggie Coulter

Half right on the trucks

Re “Food trucks = who cares?” (SN&R Letters, May 12):

Daniel McMasters’ over-the-top rant against food trucks was basically wrong about their Mexican origins, but nevertheless right about everything else. Food trucks have been in America for at least 40 years, and originated here. But they have always been a tacky and lowbrow affair and should have disappeared like the dinosaurs 39 years ago.

That they have remained in California long enough to catch the fancy of this year’s foodie trendoids is due to the tenacious Mexican-Americans in the Central Valley who have scraped out a living using them to sell tacos and burritos to anyone except foodie trendoids.

In terms of sophistication, eating out of food trucks occupies the space between having a hot dog at an AM-PM after midnight and dining out at Wienerschnitzel on your wedding anniversary. The SactoMoFo festival was either a shameless gathering of people with no taste, or a tasteless gathering of people with no shame. Ten years from now, when the fad is long gone, I bet no one will admit they were there. And if we’re lucky, food trucks will finally be extinct.

David Cameron

Bon appétit, bigot!’

Re “Food trucks = who cares?” (SN&R Letters, May 12):

While it may fill him with a certain sense of perverse glee to see his name in print as a reaction to the ignorant tripe he spewed onto the Letters section of SN&R, I still feel compelled let Daniel McMasters know that he is a moron on so, so many levels.

That he equates food trucks to “poverty culture” in Mexico is almost as perplexing as his need to publicly out himself as the ignorant racist twerp he is. Regardless, I’m guessing the only Mexican restaurant he eats at is Taco Bell.

Perhaps he missed this little festival we had down here at the [end of April] called SactoMoFo—you know, the event that highlighted the popularity of food trucks and people’s desires to patronize them. Had he attended this event, he would have noted that the food trucks in attendance were serving more than just delicious poverty culture-producing Mexican food. SactoMoFo illustrated that people in this area are ready to embrace this “knee-jerk,” “liberal” food-truck “fad” with gusto.

Portland’s food trucks are “embarrassing eyesores”? Are you kidding me?!? That’s a pretty brave card for anyone from Sacramento to play. I mean, unless you find chain-link fences, overgrown dried-out weeds, empty parking lots, and every building here painted some shade of baby-shit beige to be the zenith of beauty.

Now, I’ve been to Portland, Oregon, many, many times. It’s a delightfully international (that’s “world-class” everywhere else) city with lots of cool things to see and do. I’ve eaten at many food trucks and carts there, and have had some of my best meals ever. One entire downtown block is dedicated to food trucks, and the lines I’ve experienced each and every time have been two—maybe three—people long per truck. Add to this that most of these trucks have eye-catching, though-provoking decorations all over them. If he doubts that “world-class cities” include food trucks, [he should] just zip on over to San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle or any other actual “world-class city” and see for himself: Food trucks are happenin’, and have been for quite a long, long time.

Bon appétit, bigot!

Clark Nova

Ingenuity, hard work and trends

Re “What the truck?!” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, April 28):

What’s up with Sacramento? Why can’t the city break into the next generation of “food lovers”?

Maybe they don’t subscribe to the Food Network to be on top of the trends. Maybe a little compromise could go a long way for the city to be helpful (i.e., sales taxes = good for city), so people can be successful in their business ventures, with the economy and unemployment being what it is.

I’m all for the ingenuity and hard work it takes for these food trucks to be a plus for the community and their followers!

Lynda Alexander


Re “Boycotts, bath salts and brawling” (SN&R Frontlines, May 19):

SN&R reported that the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op election code described the Co-op board review of member-submitted ballot measures as a “formality.” It turns out the board changed the election code in early 2011 and dropped the word formality. We apologize for the confusion.