Letters for May 29, 2008

Letter of the week
Who says we’re greedy?

Along with our innocence, charm and pearly-white teeth, over the last half-century, we as Americans have become known for—let’s face it—our materialistic values and personal ambition. We are seen around the world as greedy, self-centered and confused about the true meaning of living, which we are thought to believe is money. But does this enduring perception reflect the way Americans today really think? In fact, it doesn’t.

According to a Marlin Company poll, 73 percent of working Americans today say that they do not want their boss’ job! Frank Kenna III, president of the Marlin Company says, “Traditionally, many of us think of climbing the corporate ladder as the path to success. But our findings soundly refute this. Today, [Americans] find it important to strike a balance between dedication to their professional lives and spending time with their families and pursuing personal goals.”

This statistic may have something to do with the fact that, according to the same survey, one-third of Americans say their jobs are “harming their physical and emotional health” and 42 percent say job pressures are “interfering with personal relationships.” The Marlin Company’s managing editor, Ed LaFreniere, added, “The question people are asking themselves is, why should I make myself miserable in a job I hate, when I can continue to feel a sense of accomplishment and still have a lot of energy left over for the things that matter most outside of work?”

Are these the signs of a new mind-set taking root in America? Or perhaps this mind-set has always held the majority and the common perceptions about the mainstream public do not in fact reflect the mainstream public. Instead, those perceptions would simply reflect the relative few, whose ambitious thinking is to be found in the minority of any nation. In any case, it is important to understand the values of the nation in which one lives, or at least to refrain from misunderstanding them.

Perhaps we are not the materialistic ignoramuses we are thought to be. Maybe we’ve got it right after all, and it’s the pundits that have it wrong.

Stuart Campbell

Trust pot, not pols

Re “Healing power of pot” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, May 22):

Sounds to me like the verdict is in. Why aren’t politicians listening? Why do some politicians get the privilege to continue to lie and have sick people arrested?

Is this why people are dying in wars? So politicians can openly lie, arrest the sick and get away with it?

Greg Williams
San Francisco

Justice’s moldy corpse

Re “Judge not, lest ye be judged” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, May 22):

Once again, R.V. Scheide has expertly zipped opened Pandora’s box. Scheide shows the inside workings of a group of attorneys dedicated to propping up a rotten judge with all the grace of maggots feeding on a juicy corpse.

Judge McBrien must afford them a very handsome living through court appointments, nonstop litigation, referrals or some other sort of back-scratching largesse, or they wouldn’t crawl so far out on a legal limb to suggest that he, the subject of a recall, be proposed for Judge of the Year, or conspire to knowingly support him against a recall uprising of his subjects, er, fellow citizens.

The lawyers’ e-mails are certainly worth reading for deep insight into shallow minds.

Anne Hart

Bravo, McKinney!

Re “Cynthia McKinney goes green” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, May 22):

Thank you for the article about Cynthia McKinney’s presidential campaign.

Her career is like an African-American version of an Ibsen play: The person who tells the truth and speaks against the madness is attacked by the powerful. Yet, as you point out, her positions are held by a majority of the people: Stop the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; implement a free, single-payer health-care plan. These are positions the so-called mainstream candidates are afraid to express.

I appreciate the clarity and succinctness of the article.

John Hazard

For this writer, it’s always about abortion

Re “The worst cuts are the deepest” by Estee Lee (SN&R Frontlines, May 22):

I have an easy and ethical solution to Estee Lee’s issue with the governor cutting music and arts programs from the state budget.

While women currently have the legal right to abortion, during this time of our state budget crisis, we simply can no longer afford to pay millions of dollars for this “elective procedure.”

Specifically, the state should eliminate the funding for abortion of special-needs children. Many unborn babies with Down syndrome and other conditions are killed by abortion. Here in California, we even pay for this elimination with our tax dollars. California taxpayers should not be required to participate in this cruelest form of discrimination against these children.

Dollars could also be redirected to schools by eliminating state funding for abortion unless comprehensive informed consent is required. The abortion industry should be required to show women their ultrasound results and provide women with accurate fetal development information. Paying for women to kill their own child is not a worthy public service.

And more dollars could be sent to schools by eliminating state funding for abortions on minors unless there is prior parental notification. As both parents and taxpayers, why should we pay for a surgical procedure on our daughters that we have not even been notified of? Why should we be forced to pay the abortion industry to end the life of our grandchild?

Common sense and human decency cries out that we should not vote for politicians who would not support the above fiscal changes. We don’t need public servants who can’t tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Forced monetary support for Planned Parenthood and similar facilities from taxpayers is a form of tyranny that we should not allow in the United States. Provide the money to educate our children, not to eradicate them. That truly would put a smile on the face of God.

Terry McDermott

SN&R was wrong …

Re “SN&R endorses … ” (SN&R Editorial, May 22):

My family and I will vote for Mariko Yamada in the Democratic primary this June 3. Mariko works hard for causes like public power that go against the big money. Chris Cabaldon, on the other hand, just pretends.

Our energetic door-to-door campaign in Davis, which Mariko co-chaired with Steve Souza, beat PG&E by over 60 percent of the vote in November 2006. In West Sacramento, the pro-SMUD campaign won less than 40 percent of the vote, in part because Cabaldon refused to campaign vigorously, as we did in Davis.

Don’t be fooled by Cabaldon’s shiny election fliers and free River Cats tickets. Vote for Mariko Yamada for Assembly on June 3.

Dan Berman

… according to some of our readers

Re “SN&R endorses…” (SN&R Editorial, May 22):

Mariko Yamada is clearly the better candidate for the 8th Assembly District. She brings a passion for social justice and for protecting the most vulnerable members of California society that is sorely needed in the Arnold Schwarzenegger-dominated Capitol.

As the chair of the Yolo SMUD campaign, she walked the walk for community betterment while standing up to corporate power. Through a lifetime of public service, she has demonstrated integrity and commitment to principle. The staunch support of public employees and workers of every professional and occupational group—nurses, teachers, firefighters, social workers, police officers and classified employees—should remind us that public servants recognize her as one of our own. Go Mariko!

Bill Julian

Rethinking the fish

Re “Something’s fishy” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Essay, May 15):

I was surprised to see the usually progressive SN&R get it so wrong when it comes to the important issue of marine protected areas in California.

California is leading the nation with its effort to improve ocean protection under the Marine Life Protection Act, and the process to create these protected areas has been unprecedented in its inclusiveness and transparency, with the interests of all groups accounted for. Community members who have volunteered literally hundreds of hours of work to design marine protected areas for the north central coast (myself included) have found that fishermen and conservationists can work together to develop a plan for protecting our ocean that works for everyone.

It’s clear that California’s ocean fish and wildlife are in trouble. We can tackle these problems in two ways: We can point fingers while letting our oceans decline, or we can move forward together with science-based solutions, like marine protected areas. I hope your readers will not take this misinformed column seriously and instead find out more about California’s marine protected areas and how they can get involved to help create a legacy of ocean protection for our future.

Rick Johnson, member
MLPA Regional Stakeholder Group for the North Central Coast

The real powers behind Johnson

Re “Is all politics local?” (SN&R Letters, May 15):

Mr. Maviglio is very wrong on his points in his letter.

The so-called “movement” to elect Kevin Johnson is not progressive. It is solidly backed by conservative business interests who are supporting candidates like Susan Peters, Dan Lundgren and Doug Ose and are trying to fool everyone into thinking Kevin Johnson is backed by “organized labor” and everyone is one big happy family, when in reality, the only thing they have in common is they simply have never liked the mayor.

It is my conclusion that the campaign of Kevin Johnson is not one of “bridge building” as Mr. Maviglio suggests, but one of big-money interests trying not only to defeat the mayor but to further the interests of developers and most importantly, people who are not progressive.

What is also clear is that a few members of the [Sacramento County Democratic] Central Committee have personally endorsed Kevin Johnson, which waters down the committee’s endorsement of Mayor Fargo. Helping the mayor in a coordinated fashion with committee volunteers has been difficult, partly due to what I would call “behind the scenes maneuvering.”

This is not a progressive agenda for Sacramento; it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, which should be rejected by the voters. Vote for the candidate who is endorsed by the Sacramento County Democratic Central Committee, the Women Democrats of Sacramento, the Stonewall Democratic Club and the Town and Country Democratic Club. That candidate is our mayor, Heather Fargo.

Richard Wake
member, Sacramento County Democratic Central Committee