Letters for May 3, 2007

Save the planet with a bin

Re “5 things Sacramento can do to save the planet” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, April 19):

If Sacramento really wanted to be a green city, maybe it should change the way yard waste is picked up. As it goes now, the residents of Sacramento dump their yard waste on the street in front of their homes. One to four weeks later, two diesel-belching vehicles, a dump truck and a front-end loader with a special attachment come by and pick up the waste. Not only is this procedure wasteful in fuel and manpower, but also by allowing Sacramento residents to leave their yard waste on the street, it clogs up our delicate drainage system, which seems to be the main source of flooding whenever it rains.

By simply supplying Sacramento city residents with a large plastic bin for green waste, the city could be helping the environment in a simple, yet sensible way.

David A. Kulczyk

Creating more fear of ‘others’

Re “Death, American style” (SN&R Bites, April 19):

I was glad to see that the weekly Bites column addressed the media frenzy surrounding the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. However, I was disappointed to see that the shooter was identified in the column as a “South Korean student.”

What is the point of describing him using his nationality, which in this case most certainly implies his race as well? I believe this plays right into the hands of the very politicians seizing on the issue of fear that the columnist was attempting to address: the fear of the “others,” or foreigners.

William Wise

Half the story in Oak Park

Re “Don’t run, walk” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, April 19):

This article was another thorn in a community’s side, starting with the opening line citing a Chris Rock joke. Where do you get off using a comedian as a scapegoat? Why didn’t you start by mentioning there is yet another feasibility study? Why not spend that million for the study on the purchase of the empty lots you were talking about?

You failed to report that maybe 70 percent of the residents are renting. Twenty-five percent are homeowners, of which 20 percent are senior citizens who live on fixed incomes. The remaining 5 percent are in group homes, halfway houses or properties that were abandoned and can’t be touched because the taxes are paid annually. You mentioned 20,000 people according to the last census. Yes, the community is diversified (you failed to mention the white population).

As an ex-member of the Oak Park PAC, I agree we have a share of problems, but it is a transient community. Lack of information? Ask Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency how many mailings are sent. I would receive several mailings for the same meeting or event.

You didn’t ask Lauren Hammond for her comment. That city councilwoman has dug her heels (no pun intended) into reaching out and trying to get things improved. You failed to mention Bank of America as a strong supporter—20 years and counting—and they’re right across the street from where Oak Park activist Brian Fischer was photographed. You failed to mention American Legion High School, which takes students nobody else wants.

Guy Madison

Good and bad of domestic bliss

Re “Chasing domestic bliss” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, April 19):

As we California registered partners filled out our state and federal income taxes this year, we realized that, as difficult and degrading as it is now for each of us to have to file as “single,” things are probably not going to be any better next year when we get to file as “married” in California but must file as “single” with the federal government.

We are very appreciative of Kel Munger’s article. She did an excellent job of spelling out the good news and the bad news. We would be pleased to see more feature stories from her.

Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac

Equality—nothing to get mad about!

Re “Chasing domestic bliss” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, April 19):

The subtitle states that some domestic partners are angry about the new tax law. I’m sure that’s absolutely true, but I hope they are a small minority.

I understand how confusing and difficult next tax season (and probably many to follow) will be, and I recognize that, for some, this law will cost money, whether because they will need to pay an accountant to prepare their taxes or because more taxes will be due under the new law. But this law represents a huge step toward full equality in California and that should be a source of celebration, not anger, regardless of the cost.

Long before domestic partnerships existed, the GLBT community has been seeking equal rights under the law. One of the most common rebuttals (other than the religious ones) was that we were only asking for the benefits and not willing to accept the drawbacks that come with equality. Our response was always that we wanted full equality—good and bad—not because of what we could get monetarily or in some other substantial way, but because it was what was morally right; because it would recognize the truth of our lives; because our families were important to us; because oppression stifled our souls.

Now to learn that some are angry because our move toward full equality may have some monetary downsides is both disappointing and frustrating. They are seeing it as an inconvenience and expense to be ranted about rather than the resounding rally of support from our friends, neighbors, and legislators that it truly is.

As a whole, Californians are leading the country in support for true equality for all people. For us as a community to turn around and complain because it might cost us some time and money is, in my opinion, an affront to the goodwill that was put forth by the people of California in passing this law. It gives the impression that those detractors so many years ago were right—that all we really wanted all along was “bennies” and not the peace in our souls that comes from knowing that our lives are equally valid and valued in the eyes of those with whom we share this planet.

Laurie Menke

Scheide missed it

Re “A mother’s prayer” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, April 12):

I share office space with Karol Repkow and watched her sweat and bleed preparing for and trying Douglas Erwin’s case. That’s why I wonder who R.V. Scheide was describing when he painted Karol as the “personification” of a hard criminal justice system, unmoved by evidence of “mitigating circumstances.”

I see Karol give everything for her clients, every day. Sorry, but Mr. Scheide wasn’t even close.

Jay Dyer

Who put him in charge?

Re “Hate speech, not free speech” (SN&R Letters, April 12):

Mr. Mohamad Qutub needs to realize that free speech is not his to define. Who died and put him in charge?

Some people love to define anything that they don’t like or agree with as “hate” speech, and therefore unacceptable for the masses. I am a self-proclaimed, non-hyphenated conservative American and I do not agree with a lot of what is said in SN&R. However, if I do not like it, I can read something else. I invite Mr. Qutub to do the same.

Dennis Johnson

WTF was SN&R thinking?

Re “The Sacramento Union” (SN&R advertising, April 5):

I’m a very loyal, longtime reader, and I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of people wondering WTF you were thinking. Providing space to another paper, even a conservative one, is one thing. Providing space to a paper that openly and proudly promotes hatred is another.

Jeff vonKaenel’s protestations about free speech notwithstanding, I suspect that the real reason for this arrangement is a bit less high-minded. I’d particularly like to know who, exactly, came up with the idea. If it was vonKaenel, then that would indicate to me that the relentless accusations of liberal bias were finally starting to sting. If it was the Union who made the approach, then that suggests that SN&R is harder up for advertising dollars than I thought. Personally, if I owned SN&R, I’d shut it down before I took so much as a dime from that hatemongering rag.

If the Ku Klux Klan offered a pile of money to run an ad in SN&R, would you accept it? They have a right to free speech, too. But the First Amendment does not obligate you to help them get their message out. Newspapers and other media make these kinds of decisions all the time. Nobody blames them for refusing inflammatory material.

Brian Stovall