Letters for May 27, 2010

Letter of the week

Don’t worship St. Jimmie

Re “The political junkie’s down & dirty guide to the local primary” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, May 20):

“Everybody loves Jimmie”! You should live in District 2. I have, for 20 years. Try and get a basic law enforced. Good luck with that.

St. Jimmie has not done a damn thing in years, and it is beyond me why he is still in office. One of the many examples is Florin Road, particularly at Stockton Boulevard. It looks like an area that has been used for bombing practice. Not mention adjacent Sunnyslope Drive, with several unsolved homicides. In addition, just ask the [California Highway Patrol] about the many ditched stolen cars and the plague of jaywalking, which has caused some pretty spectacular car wrecks.

If you do call his Lordship’s office, you usually get some whining flunky, because the excuse now is “the budget.” It used to be that they were “too busy.”

They reeeaaally freak out at the county if you actually follow up on an issue, particularly code enforcement. Thanks to the bankers, this area has even more absentee slumlords that do not care for or abide by the very simple [covenants, conditions and restrictions].

I really think St. Jimmie should benefit this area by actually looking at it. Enjoy the aggressive panhandlers, the free-range shopping carts, and if you need the sheriff, just run to the nearest Starbucks. It’s faster than a phone call. This could be a story here. [It really shows that this county is run by a committee of idiots. Thank God, at least he’s not Roger Dickinson.

A. Mattson

Big case of also-ran?

Re “The political junkie’s down & dirty guide to the local primary” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, May 20):

What kind of half-assed reporting was that? There are four candidates on the Democratic ticket for Assembly District 5, with me being one of them. Did you miss my column, listed first in The Sacramento Bee’s coverage of the race, as well as the fact that I’m listed first on the ballot?

I’m the only candidate running with extensive experience in the Capitol (18 years, 12 of which [were] working for Sen. John Vasconcellos, and the last six as a contract lobbyist).

SN&R did readers a great disservice by filtering the truth. That was either a bonehead oversight or else outright bias.

Matt Gray

Editor’s note: We never intended the story as a Bee-style roundup of all the candidates. With limited space to cover a lot of ground, some candidates necessarily got short shrift. In the 5th Assembly District, the decision was to focus on the two candidates in each party that were the most competitive.

Bless those tentacles

Re “Buffett’s tentacles” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Frontlines, May 20):

Allow me to help the author “correct” his article content. In these difficult economic times, it is good to see Mr. Warren Buffett’s dollars and support for our local economy increasing and ensuring jobs for our community. Thank you, Mr. Buffett!

Pop Seuss

Art should make a stand

Re “Literary lion on demand” by Kel Munger (SN&R Arts&Culture, May 13):

John Edgar Wideman said in this interview: “People who used to have a book in their hand now have a phone in their hand. Our attention spans are shrinking.”

I have no argument with this statement. When it caught my eye, I assumed I would be reading about an author perplexed and saddened by this fact, as we all should be; the breadth of human history, understanding and imagination is contained in the written word. I was surprised to see a writer admit to diminishing his work in order to deal with this issue.

Is this the start of a trend for writers? There is significant evidence that the American vocabulary is in decline. Will we lower our standards for that as well? Is there really any difference between “exuberant” and “exorbitant”? Does it matter?

I don’t want my books in shortened form any more than I want to see a painting with anything less than the artist’s heart completely exposed. I don’t want a discount version. I want the guts of it. I want to contemplate. I want to mull over it. I want it to increase my understanding, my wit, my own intellect (selfish?). The author’s job is to make me want to put the phone down.

What is art? It’s what we leave behind. It’s what we have to say for and about ourselves. Let everything else be dumbed down; art must make its stand.

Lynne Schappert

More is better, even if it’s branded

Re “Box-office branding” by Daniel Barnes (SN&R Cinema Scoped, May 13):

Mr. Barnes, what are you whining about? There is only one reason these major brand franchises often dominate the box office (meaning a whole lot of people flock to see them): They are entertaining. And they are entertaining because often these films employ superb storytelling. The Dark Knight or Iron Man or the first Mission: Impossible come to mind. The mother of all brand franchises, James Bond, has had its share of great films as well as clunkers. And when they aren’t that entertaining, they flop just like other films do that stink (current stinkers: Shrek Forever After, A Nightmare on Elm Street).

But it’s not like these franchises are somehow suppressing superb filmmaking, which would be a legitimate thing to whine about. To the contrary, I think these “brand franchises” encourage both movie-going and moviemaking. The numbers bear that out: In 1996, there were 310 U.S. films made; in 2009, there were 1,156.

And along with the higher quantity, we are seeing far more quality films as well: Precious, The Hurt Locker, An Education, Up in the Air, Up, Sin Nombre, Slumdog Millionaire, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Milk, just to name a smattering of recent ones. And Slumdog Millionaire grossed more worldwide than Toy Story, Fast & Furious, A Bug’s Life, and Planet of the Apes.

So I’m at a loss to understand why you find all this so distasteful.

Faosto Scuingilli


In “The political junkie’s down & dirty guide to the local primary” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, May 20), Christopher Garland, a Democratic candidate for the state Assembly in District 9, was referred to as an “education lobbyist.” Garland is not a registered lobbyist; he is currently on leave from his position as the political director for the California Faculty Association, where the organization’s lobbyists report to him. The story has been changed online.