Letters for May 3, 2001


Re “You Can’t Get There From Here” by Stephen James (SN&R, April 19):

You can get there if you take a bike—on your own schedule, without needing a ticket and getting healthy exercise to boot. Writer Stephen James could have made his two-hour Citrus Heights to UC Med Center transit trip in about an hour by bike. Maybe that’s why more trips are made by bike than by transit in Sacramento.

You can go farther, and maybe faster, if you combine cycling and transit. The bike carriers on buses let you do that now. The next generation of light rail cars and a change in Regional Transit’s peak hour policy will let you do that on light rail as well.

Walt Seifert
Executive Director
Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates

Maybe I’ll just drive

Re “You Can’t Get There From Here” by Steven James (SN&R, April 19):

I, along the same lines as Mr. James, decided to try light rail out last week. Living Downtown near the Alkali Flat station tempted me into taking light rail farther than I have done so before, rather than just Downtown. I had an appointment several miles from the Watt and I-80 station, which is the last stop on the light rail run. Seeing as there were a few extra miles to my destination, I brought my bicycle along.

The ride out was great; I made my appointment and felt good about not driving. The way back was not as good.

It was 10:00 p.m. There was only one carriage. There were three bikes on the carriage, and not too many people.

A conductor got on and was not only rude to start with, but then demanded I get off because there were only two bikes allowed on the carriage. I asked why there was only one carriage. He said, “to save on energy costs.” He did not seem to register the irony here as we moved past cars on freeways and overnight lights left on in buildings.

He also said “Why do you need to take light rail if you have a bike?” I explained that getting from point A to B was not possible on light rail, but could be with some pedal power in the mix. He looked at me blankly. I gently argued some points with him until we made it to my station; meanwhile passing several other bike folks who were also denied access along the way. They must have been happy.

Dear Sacramento County: surely another carriage or two would not be difficult to run.

So much for encouraging alternate means of transport. I guess next time I will just drive.

Craig Turner

Tinkerbelle talks

Re “She Talks to the Animals” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, April 19):

My three dogs—Zeus, Samson and Tinkerbelle—swear the entire animal kingdom is aware that Raphaela Pope seldom gets her “consults” straight. (Unlike Pope, “Tink” doesn’t need a telephone to communicate telepathically with Max; Tink’s been communicating daily with Max since 1907—when Max and Tink first flew together as condors.) Tink says Max didn’t: (1) tell Pope about getting picked up to receive shots, or (2) describe Max’s owner’s wife as “tall"; Max was actually trying to telepathically tell his person that Max needed to be picked up quick—and that Max’s owners better don their tallest boots—because Pope’s bullshit was fixing to get really deep.

Ironically, I made an unintentional psychic link with Pope before I finished reading Max’s story; otherwise, how could I have known before reading Max’s reply that, in response to Pope asking Max whether he preferred to live with his blindness or be put to sleep, Pope would say, “Max says he doesn’t want to give up” vs. “Max says it’s time to kill your dog.” (The latter choice being a real no-no for any animal psychic hoping for repeat or referral business.)

To anyone considering hiring an animal psychic: If animal telepathy really existed, why hasn’t it been demonstrated in scientific experiments? i.e., if animals can tell Pope about past lives as “the Queen of Egypt … an owl … [and] a big cat,” and an owner’s physique as “tall and lean” … why can’t they tell her the number, type and location of dog toys hidden in a room occupied—prior to Pope’s arrival—only by the dog and the scientist (or owner) who hid the toys? Duh!

Gary Sawyer

Cops don’t help, we do!

Re “When You Need One” by Tom Walsh (SN&R Editor’s Note, April 26):

I was staggered by the audacity of Tom Walsh to bemoan his concerns about little girls stepping off the curb and possibly having a close call with a speeding motorist in his Land Park neighborhood. The call for more police to help out on this problem is just short of idiotic. Dan Burton, a world-renowned traffic expert who was in town earlier this year and helped out the Walk Sacramento and Pedestrian Safety Forum, pointed out that police are the least effective traffic management tool that a city can employ. (One hour after the meeting adjourned a woman had her leg amputated by a garbage truck two blocks from the meeting site.)

The group that has put a huge amount of time and energy into traffic safety in Midtown let out a collective gasp at the staggering inconsistency in the Sacramento News & Review. The Midtown Traffic Calming Plan is an award-winning program that has led to a dramatic improvement in traffic safety in Midtown and should be getting huge support for widening out to all of Downtown. The Sacramento News & Review came out for removal of parts of the plan last year in a show of shortsighted lack of understanding the issue. Tom Walsh, you should be ashamed of yourself. I only wish I had a subscription I could cancel.

Please be careful out there.

James W Cartwright
Midtown, Sacramento

Midtown refugee

Re “Who Let The Watchdog Out?” by Amy Yannello (SN&R Cover, April 26):

Congratulations to Amy Yannello for her article about Dave Jenest, and congrats to the SN&R for printing it (April 26). Jenest is a community activist who understands the police problem for what it really is—a lack of support for the patrolmen. For a moment I had to pinch myself to be sure I was actually reading the SN&R, but I will give credit where it is due.

One hates to speak ill of the dead, but Venegas was a political crony of the late Mayor Joe Serna, and “Soviet” Serna was notoriously soft on crime, preferring to think of all criminals as misbegotten minority victims, in true Marxist fashion. The fact that after Jenest began to question the number of patrol officers on the street, both Serna and Venegas began “publicly questioning the extent of Jenest’s working relationship with officers” says volumes about their approach to governing. Mr. Venegas, a holdover from the Serna era, was picked to be police chief because he was a good political crony, a good Affirmative Action token, or probably both. Serna and Venegas thwarted any citizen involvement in the fight against crime. Indeed, Serna spent the few months prior to this death demonizing the right of Sacramento citizens to defend themselves and buy guns.

I left Midtown two years ago for the safety of the suburbs. The commute is bad, but my car and home have not been burglarized. Good luck to anyone still stuck in Sacramento proper.

Nicholas Byram

Don’t act like you own the lane

I just wanted to respond to one of the responses in your Streetalk section from April 12. The question was, “What is your pet peeve?” and the response was from Frederick Romer. I think that Californians have to, at some times, drive 75-80 miles an hour in the slow lane to pass people because a lot of drivers do not know how to drive.

These drivers sit in the fast lane going 50 mph and they do not move to the right to let faster traffic pass. A better question is, “Why do some drivers even get in the fast lane when they know that they will not be passing anybody?” I mean, did they buy the lane when they purchased their vehicle? I think these drivers really make the freeways a dangerous place for the rest of us.

Jeff Presley
via e-mail