Letters for May 3, 2012

Sprawl and the upcoming election

Re “Onward, sprawl” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, April 19):

The issues raised in this story can be directly traced to the intertwinement of business and political interests that have (for better or worse) guided the direction of the region’s culture and economy for decades. Look no further than two of the current candidates for Sacramento City Council. With Allen Warren running for Sandy Sheedy’s seat in District 2 (the district is a poster child for suburban sprawl), and Phyllis Newton running in District 4 (which incorporates some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city), the culture of overdevelopment has stout political representation.

Chasing profits by leveraging valuable agricultural land and railroading environmental preserves is the opposite of a creative economy, which is necessary to regional economic stability in the long run. Progressive ideas about reinvesting in existing structures, reinvigorating urban cores, and making outlays for the future in programs like retrofitting, public transportation, and conservation have been proven to turn stagnant economies around (see Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas).

We can’t get back on this merry-go-round. Instead of listening to business leaders who shut their eyes and cover their ears by yelling “jobs,” we as voters should support public officials who believe in the value of vibrant local economies, that understand the danger of decimating natural resources for short-term profit, and that walk the walk when it comes to living in an economically responsible fashion.

In addition, we must be more vigilant about understanding who contributes to our elected officials and what they get in return. More importantly, to whom should our local officials respond: our fellow citizens or corporate interests uninterested in the minutiae of day-to-day life in the region? The devil is in the details.

Daniel Senecka

SN&R hates mothers

Re “Women and work” (SN&R Editorial, April 26):

I’m not fan of Ann Romney, but the idea that she cannot speak to economics just because she’s never “worked a day in her life” is ridiculous. Most economists have never worked in the fields in which they purport to be experts. Moms are generally in a better position than most to speak to economics. They see economics on its most basic levels in very real terms; money, food, gas, roof over the head, education and security (not to mention making a loving supporting home).

The author of this editorial really has no idea what life is like for a person in politics or the life of a CEO. Many CEOs and politicians lose their jobs with no warning or fanfare. A stay-at-home mom has an income as long as the market decides that her husband still has skills that are needed, so every day, the Romney family is relying on their dad to stay employed and keep earning.

Finally, at their level of income, she hires/fires staff, mediates issues, develops goals and assignments and determines pay. What part of management does she not do? Would you have her dig ditches as well? It may not have been on the level that her husband did these things, but it certainly was close to a small business. Most importantly, don’t kid yourself that she had no risk of failure. Any politician’s wife will tell you that failure at the home front will affect the politician’s (or CEO’s) career—even end it.

I think this editorial should have been retitled, “I hate Republicans and the mothers of their children.” Your opinion attacking Ann Romney is ill-conceived, just like that of the original pundit. Ann Romney is more than qualified to speak to economics, as are most people, stay-at-home or not.

Joe Loyer

Redefining the good life

Re “The Anthropocene” by David Roberts (SN&R Essay, April 19):

I read your issue celebrating Mother Earth with interest, especially the thought-provoking essay by [David] Roberts.

While I realize that growth is what fuels the economy (businesses growing and more consumers), we as a cooperative world population are going to have to re-envision how we can live well by redefining what “living well” means and by coming to terms with the limitations of population consuming the world’s resources. Because we are now interdependent as a global society; we cannot afford to let even one country fail.

It has been my experience that people do not change until they are personally affected. We use less gas when the price goes up. We buy fewer nonessential items when our income decreases. We “make do” with older models of cars, appliances and other updated goods when we can no longer afford new ones. Most of us will not really begin to make important, earth-friendly changes in our lives until we have to, like conserving our water (in a state where it only rains sporadically in the fall and early spring), and reducing our consumption of goods and the waste that it creates.

We must demand that our lawmakers find ways to help us re-envision our lives as those that support slow growth, sustainable ways of farming and raising livestock, and really looking at our overconsumption of goods and therefore our overuse of our resources and extreme accumulation of waste.

We must redefine what comfort and richness means, to discover that living as a partner with the beauty and plenty that the Earth offers us means understanding her limits and the consequences of being oblivious to those limits.

Ellen McMahill

Memories of Cynthia

Re “Goodbye, Cynthia Dall” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Popsmart, April 19):

Thanks for Rachel Leibrock’s column about Cindy [Dall]. She did a nice job capturing her essence.

I knew [Cynthia Dall] in junior high and high school. We had intimate, soul-exploring telephone conversations back before cellphones existed, during intensely formative times in our lives.

It’s too bad [Leibrock] never wrote that feature about her, but despite her apparent accessibility, she always had a keenly secretive side. That was part of the amazing, creative tension she lived with—transparent, open, almost innocent, and yet constantly engaged in some explorations out of sight, trying to sate her incurable curiosity. I loved her and miss acutely the things she stood for, though we hadn’t talked in a half-dozen or so years.

Frank Marquardtl
via email