Letters for May 9, 2002

Watered-down rights

Re “Secretary Bites Back” (SN&R Letters, May 2):

Mr. Maviglio has quite the gall to give Governor Davis credit for “the nation’s most progressive domestic partnership laws.”

Governor Davis delayed action on domestic partnership legislation for over a year. In order to get his signature, the Legislature ultimately had to water-down the legislation to the point that it was meaningless. Those of us in domestic partnerships still have none of the substantive rights afforded opposite-sex married couples. If I vote for Governor Davis in November, it won’t be for anything he has done. It will be a vote against Bill Simon.

Christopher Ham

The perfect advocate

Re “I’m Loud. I’m Proud. Get Used to It” (SN&R Cover, April 25):

Congratulations on a perceptive portrait of Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg. She’s smart, and she knows how to listen: two qualities that were evident in the Assembly Education Committee hearing on AB 2160, the union-backed measure to give teachers more say over instructional issues.

As your article noted, the bill has school superintendents and newspaper editorialists up in arms. I haven’t seen such hysterical rhetoric since the days when the Bakersfield, Californian and the Delano Record savaged Cesar Chavez and his “goons.” At the beginning of the hearing, Jackie cut the legs out from under opponents of the bill when she introduced amendments to address each of their specific objections. In the end, she asked opponents publicly what other changes they would like, and they were left with nothing to say except that they object to collective bargaining.

Testifying against AB 2160, Associate Superintendent Ted Alexander of the Los Angeles Unified School District stated that he could not accept a delay of even 10 days to consult teachers about implementing a program chosen by administrators, because the lives of black and brown children are at stake, to which Jackie replied that failure to engage in such consultation practically precludes the possibility of successful implementation. In her words, “Moving fast doesn’t mean you’re going anywhere.”

The teachers could not have chosen a better advocate for their bill.

George Sheridan
Garden Valley

Too many immigrants

Re “Wise Up, California” by Jeff Lambert (SN&R Guest Comment, April 25):

There are lots of people and groups of people out there who have propagandized the public with their “smart growth” syndrome. All you have to do is look around to see that there is no such thing as smart growth, but more traffic, more smog, more crime, less open space, fewer trees, poorer schools, higher taxes, not enough housing, etc.

Planners, politicians, chambers of commerce, and businesses which rely on cheap foreign labor—which take jobs away from Americans—are busy trying to bring more and more people into the Sacramento area so that these groups can maintain their own jobs and incomes at the expense of the general public.

Sacramento County’s population is growing by leaps and bounds … 1,000 per month in Elk Grove alone. As Lambert’s Guest Comment points out, California’s population has increased 15 percent in the last 10 years. We are now the most heavily populated state in the nation, and growing fast.

Congress gleefully brings in more than a million immigrants every year, a third of who settle in California. Smart growth? Sure, any growth is smart growth to those who profit from it. Not for the rest of us, however, who have to suffer the consequences.

Isn’t it time we learn that there is no such thing as smart growth, and start to tell our politicians and others that we have grown enough? Congress is the place to start—they can cut down our biggest source of growth by restricting legal immigration to our traditional 200,000 a year.

Allen Jamieson

Sit and smell the earth

Re “Mandella’s Last Spring” (SN&R News, April 18):

I am so grateful for people like Chris Ruch. A newbie to Sactown, he has already done more in a few weeks to maintain the allure of the city than most residents will do in a lifetime. He realizes that what makes a city unique, attractive and desirable is its “uncitylike” qualities. Does a big plot of non-income-producing land in the heart of downtown make sense from a business perspective? Of course not. No one would argue that. However, it isn’t all about the green … then again, it is.

My husband and I work downtown, live east of town and spend many hours riding bikes, strolling through and checking out downtown. On our bikes, our favorite stop is the community garden. We are not and have never been gardeners, but we utilize the garden as a place to find peace in the midst of the inner city. It is amazing the transformation that takes place once you walk through the iron gates. And, if you are lucky enough to encounter any gardeners, it is a refreshing reminder of the way people could be: friendly, open, peaceful and non-capitalistic.

I am totally offended by the Dangberg quote that the gardeners are fighting for their “own little personal issues.” (Talk about personal agendas. My big gripe with CADA, since moving to Sac from L.A. 10 years ago, is their obnoxious habit of donning their buildings with the big “CADA” signs!) No, Dangberg, the gardeners are fighting for a lot more than their ability to cultivate their personal garden plots. They are fighting to give all Sacramentans an alternative and a reminder—a place to listen to the birds, pick the figs, stroll the spongy earth, and smell the ever-changing fragrances.

Dangberg, ride your bike through downtown late some afternoon, park your bike inside the gate, and walk around for a while. Then, sit somewhere—no one will mind since it is the community’s garden—and catch a view of the city from inside the garden. Yeah, we need housing, we need markets, we need cash, but we also need perspective. Thank you Chris Ruch and all the gardeners for fighting for our garden, for fighting to give all residents, workers and visitors to downtown a place to hone our own perspectives. Your efforts have been greatly appreciated by these non-gardeners for nearly 10 years.

Mary Kelly

Dam the river and move the garden

Re Earth Day Supplement (SN&R April 18):

Let me see if I have this right. The SN&R Earth Day supplement calls for stopping urban sprawl and demanding more renewable energy. And yet, the same issue lionizes a gardener trying to stop a high-density downtown development and opposes hydroelectric dam building.

Last time I did a reality check, concentrating development downtown reduces sprawl and hydroelectric power is renewable and clean energy.

Nicholas Byram

Cig money

Re “The Smoking Habit” by Jim Evans (SN&R News, May 2):

Your article “The smoking habit” takes politicians to task for accepting money from “big tobacco.” On page 55 of the same issue we find a full-page, color advertisement for Marlboro, which invites your readers to visit a bar in our area … where I assume it is illegal to smoke!

How much money has SN&R taken from “big tobacco” over the years?

Michael McAdams

Habit pushers

Re Ongoing Marlboro ad in SN&R:

I am sick and tired of the tobacco industry targeting people my age by sponsoring bar night in Sacramento! And what’s worse is that the News & Review promotes them.

The tobacco industry is making a concerted effort to get the 18 to 29-year-old population to take up smoking. Marlboro is currently hosting racing and ranching events in clubs and bars where a “Marlboro Girl” or guy will hand out coupons, freebies and other incentives to entice people to use their deadly product. Camel is also sponsoring themed parties at bars and clubs.

Last time I checked, smoking is still illegal in bars, it is still addictive and still causes deadly diseases, even for occasional smokers. Tobacco use among 18 to 24-year-olds in California has risen steadily from 16.4 percent in 1995 to 22.7 percent in 1999. The tobacco industry needs to stop targeting young adults to replace the 420,000 smokers who die each year in the U.S.

If you’re concerned like me, write to the owner of a sponsored bar to let them know that tobacco industry bar nights are not wanted, and refuse to patronize bars that do host these events, and urge local papers like the Sacramento News & Review to stop promoting the tobacco industry.

Kristin Franklin