Letters for May 8, 2008

Letter of the week
New vets, new G.I. bill

Now is the time for our Congress to take action and pass a 21st-century G.I. bill.

I am a recent Sacramento State graduate who used the G.I. Bill. I went to school full-time and had a part-time job while trying to achieve my goal. It was more than a struggle each month to make ends meet. Now, I am deeply in debt with college loans because the current G.I. Bill is not sufficient.

The current G.I. Bill only covers part of the costs of college. Tuition costs have increased faster than inflation, and many of my fellow veterans must take out student loans or forego education altogether.

The Senate version of the “new G.I. Bill,” called the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act (or Senate Bill 22), was introduced in the Senate by a bipartisan coalition of senators, including Democrats Jim Webb (Va.) and Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Republicans Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and John Warner (Va.), all of whom are veterans and G.I. Bill beneficiaries.

Why would any senator or congressmen oppose this bill? I think the congressmen and senators who are opposing this bill should back up their veteran-loving rhetoric! Presidential candidate John McCain is opposing this bill. This is a perfect example of how Republican rhetoric is not matching its record. My congressman, John Doolittle, has done little besides disgrace my district with his ethical misconduct. Why would I expect him to look out for returning veterans, especially when their standard-bearer, John McCain, a veteran himself, does not?

In a time when we are asking so much of our armed forces, paying for college is one of the best ways to show our gratitude as a nation. Returning veterans shouldn’t have to borrow for college. Congress needs to pass a new G.I. bill this year.

Matt Kantack

Pile on, furries!

Re “Furry like me” by Ted Cox (SN&R Feature, May 1):

Ted Cox’s article left me with the impression that furries are slightly kinkier ren-faire folk. But I wonder if Cox himself really buys this? His description of the pornography implies something much seedier, and the Scientology-like obsession with public relations that the conference organizers exhibit makes me even more skeptical.

Maybe the bear suit wasn’t quite enough; maybe Cox needed to get to the bottom of a furpile to really get to the bottom of this subculture.

Jeff McCrory

R.V. romantic about Palestinians …

Re “After the catastrophe” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, May 1):

If R.V. Scheide really is interested in peace, he should indulge in less romanticism and more reality.

The often sad history of the 20th century has included the creation of countless refugee populations—Muslims from Greece, Greeks from Turkey, Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia, Muslims from India, Hindus from Pakistan, Jews from Arab lands—the list goes on and on. None of these people, despite their losses, were ever able to “go home.”

But it would seem not all refugees are created equal—only in one case does the world entertain the notion that refugees and their descendants have a “right of return” as if one could turn back the clock on the 20th century. The reasons for this are complex, but arise in a large part from the decision of states like Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon to keep the Palestinians as a population of perpetual refugees to maintain a political chit against Israel. Quite interestingly, they were at that time not Palestinian, but almost exclusively referred to as “Arab refugees.”

Instead of infantilizing Palestinians by reinforcing their unrealizable fantasies and their hope that Israel will somehow vanish in a puff of smoke, their supporters would do well to remind them of the reality of the 20th century.

Jordan Magill
via e-mail

…or maybe R.V.'s reasonable

Re “After the catastrophe” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, May 1):

I’d describe R.V. Scheide’s column on al Nakba as reasoned and accurate, even though I’m Jewish and so maybe not allowed to criticize Israel.

On the Web site, the comments by “Indoctrination!!” are interesting as a rebuttal. If I were an English teacher, I would give him extra credit for the phrase “attack the baby Jewish Land.” Oh, what kind of monsters would attack a baby! And in case that didn’t work, wow, I love it: “Palestinians every other day burn the American Flag.” (I wonder, though, why only every other day? What do they do on the alternate days?)

I do wish people would stop equating Palestinians with Nazis: Palestinians were not responsible for the Holocaust, nor were any Arabs. Let’s not forget (we will never forget, we’ll just attack a different enemy), the Holocaust was perpetrated by Israel’s close ally and business partner, Germany, but in that case, it is all about reconciliation.

I’m not suggesting that Israel refuse to trade with Germany, but it’s weird: Israel raises the Holocaust issue every time anyone criticizes their treatment of the Palestinians. And I’m just saying: The Palestinians didn’t do it.

Ellen Schwartz

Harding for environment

Re “Name recognition” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, May 1):

Thank you to Cosmo Garvin and SN&R for a great article about Sacramento County, District 3 candidate for supervisor, Warren Harding.

It’s a sign of the times when environmentalists line up to support Warren because they are tired of being ignored at hearing after hearing where developers link arms with four supervisors for a pre-determined outcome. It’s scripted theater at best.

But it’s even more telling when the much-loved, now retired Supervisor Illa Collin chooses not to endorse her former colleague and the incumbent, Susan Peters, but chooses to endorse Warren Harding instead.

Pay close attention to the special-interest, developer dollars that are flooding in to re-elect Ms. Peters, and, if you care anything about the future of Sacramento County, vote accordingly.

Candy Chand
Rancho Murieta

Which life is worth more?

Re “An answer from McCain” (SN&R Letters, April 24):

This letter running 50 lines defends McCain for his stand against abortion. Yet doesn’t the Bush-McCain 100-year war in Iraq take the lives of thousands of the unborn each year?

The writer balances “4,000 dead Americans” in contrast to “we kill well over that every two days in America through abortion.” Some estimates place the number of Iraqi dead as a result of this elective war as high as 600,000. Does this defender of life not consider the lives of Iraqis, born and unborn, human life?

Jim Carlson

Treehugger picks on marriage

Re “Something green, something new” (SN&R Ask a Treehugger, April 24):

Dear non-condoner of the “patriarchal institution of marriage” who also believes that “a sustainable wedding ensures sustainable love,” is that enough, or is it really necessary to say more?

But seriously, if the aim of this column is to “answer questions about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle,” then beginning by demeaning an individual who is trying to “green-up” a widely practiced lifestyle choice (key word: choice) seems neither conducive to their aim or yours. You make a mockery of those sincerely interested in sustainability in the fundamental choices of their life.

Sustainable living will only work to that extent it can be successfully incorporated into prominent social behaviors, such as getting married. Make a sincere effort to address our cultural realities, offer steps which are practical and accessible; be helpful, not judgmental. If all you offer is condescending remarks and the results of a Google search, I’ll leave you out of it and use the Internet myself.

Rebecca George

Wal-Mart is a great place, sez he

Re “What do you boycott?” (SN&R Streetalk, April 17):

I had to write about Mike Laudicina’s response to the Streetalk question.

I recently had to resign from Wal-Mart after five years. My experience with them is totally different from what Laudicina stated.

They made it a point to tell associates not to work off the clock and to always take their breaks and lunches. How can I say they overworked me when management came over to help me when there was a lot to do?

They take a lot of fire that is unearned. They feel for their people. When my dog died, they sent me home as soon as I told them I was hurting.

I had to resign to take care of my wife. I will remember Wal-Mart as a great place to work and a place to make many friends.

James Sakauye

Tickets are the least of his troubles

Re “A delegate situation” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, April 10) and “VIP treatment” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Snog, April 14):

There’s no doubt that West Sacramento mayor Christopher Cabaldon has led the way for the last decade or so in achieving major improvements for this city, including Raley Field, the new City Hall, Ikea, Wal-Mart and Home Depot at/near Harbor Boulevard and Reed Avenue, stores and many new homes in the Southport area, new housing near the I Street bridge and north part of the city, upgrading roadway and the new Iron Point West—as well as various other projects that are outside my vision as I ride YoloBus.

But as he appears to be a shoo-in for the Democratic assembly nomination, he also appears to have overflexed his power. For example, he did not recuse himself from agenda items involving the proposed Yarborough project (including golf course) on the south end of the city, even though advocates for that project contributed money to his assembly campaign. Then, to increase his delegate lead, he enrolled new “members” in his Democratic club, several of whom say they don’t remember signing up as his supporters. Then, his former employer, Ed Voice, gave him $350,000—after he quit. As has been reported, that means they raised money for their “favorite” candidate, but avoided the $3,600 campaign donation limit.

In recent years, the city council agenda has become so generic (it lacks specifics so that citizens can know precisely what will be discussed at any given time), and most recently, audience members have been told they cannot fill out a “request to speak” form if discussion has already begun on a particular agenda item.

Finally, I know Mayor Cabaldon has a lot of pull, but having one’s car booted for nonpayment of parking tickets? Let’s make it easier to quickly pay tickets. Meanwhile, Mr. Mayor, one can always use public transit or taxicabs.

William A. Lowell
West Sacramento