Letters for November 10, 2005

She’s got a ticket to write

Re “Parking politics” (SN&R Upfront, November 3):

The city’s validation for extending parking-meter enforcement to 8 p.m. is both greedy and nonsensical.

As a downtown restaurant employee that oftentimes starts work at 5 or 6 p.m., I can personally say that there is almost always ample parking downtown after 4 p.m., save a Friday concert at Cesar Chavez park or some other big event. The idea that parking is usually hard to find on any given evening is simply a myth used to justify a rate increase. Even San Francisco doesn’t have such long meter times.

This extended enforcement will actually hurt restaurant customers, who now may have to plan their dinners around feeding their meter. I can hear it now: “Honey, let’s just eat in Elk Grove, where I don’t have to worry about getting a parking ticket.”

As far as the evening employees, who like myself are oftentimes students or single parents making minimum wage, parking on the street at dinnertime is a nice alternative to paying the exorbitant rates that the public lots charge.

And while I am on this parking rant, I also want to tell the city that I am tired of having weekly street-sweeping zones that never get swept. I understand that sides of the street are cleared for garbage pickup as well as street sweeping, but I have gotten too many parking tickets to give the city any leeway about the months that go by before the piles of leaves sitting on my street, which obstruct parking areas, are swept.

They sure are good at giving out tickets, but taking care of the streets seems secondary. If I had a ticket book, I’d write them a couple right now.

Serena Donovan

Stem-cell cures are adults-only

Re “Stem cell wonderland” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Cover, October 20):

Ralph Brave’s interesting article on stem-cell research could have been clearer about the difference between adult and embryonic stem cells, and which type of research is funded by Proposition 71. The two successful cures mentioned in the article—cures using bone marrow and relief for diabetics—are both cases where adult stem cells were used, but Proposition 71 does not fund adult stem-cell research, only embryonic stem-cell research.

Adult stem cells are already curing people. They have been used to heal leukemia, sickle-cell anemia and a host of blood-related diseases. They have regenerated the hearts of heart-attack victims, enabled a Parkinson’s sufferer to live a tremor-free life, and restored feeling and movement to people with spinal-cord injuries. Proposition 71 will not help to develop and refine these healing protocols.

Adult stem cells are harvested from umbilical cords and various mature tissues without harm to the donor. In cases where the cells are derived from the patient, genetic compatibility is not a problem. There is no issue of “patent” or intellectual property on these cells, because nature has provided them. However, our tax money will not be supporting this promising field of medicine. Are voters aware that every stem-cell cure they have read about has utilized only adult stem cells?

Wendy-Marie Teichert
via e-mail

Ralph Brave responds: Ms. Teichert is simply wrong in her assertion that Proposition 71 does not permit funding of adult stem-cell research. Although Proposition 71 does prioritize research not funded by the federal government, adult stem-cell, cord blood stem-cell and “other vital research opportunities” are within the state stem-cell institute’s mission. Which research areas will be allocated Proposition 71 funds remains to be seen, as the stem-cell institute does not yet have the funds to issue research grants. Although there are some hopeful experimental trials with adult stem cells getting under way elsewhere, to treat, for example, heart failure, these are not yet proven, approved protocols.

Isn’t homelessness an emergency?

Re “Homeless is homeless” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, October 13):

This was an interesting article, mainly because of what it didn’t have.

First and foremost, there was no input from the local homeless that have been moved back on waiting lists for housing, with the exception of my e-mail comments.

It might have also been interesting to have a glimpse into how our local government makes decisions about who gets this housing and why.

Apparently, it was decided to give the evacuees preference because of their emergency status. However, this was done in a supportive housing system that was already severely distressed. The Katrina disaster and the housing of the evacuees was an unprecedented event in Sacramento.

We still don’t know if it was a coordinated response involving local, state and federal government, or if the county acted on its own. This information might give us a glimpse into what to expect if there were an event similar to Katrina in the Sacramento area.

So far, this is the only article of its kind that I have seen. I would like to see more.

Curtis Hill

Take care of our own first

Re “Homeless is homeless” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, October 13):

Thanks for Ms. Beckner’s story. I feel quite strongly on this matter. I’ve talked to several people in all walks of life about this matter, and they all have the same opinion. The United States spends way too much money from “our” taxes on places and people around the world. Granted, they’re suffering, but we can’t save the whole world all the time. It seems California—Sacramento—has the same attitude as the U.S. government. We should be embarrassed at the number of people in need right here.

Every time we get into some other country’s wars, we have to rebuild it, while people right here are sleeping under bridges. We need so many more shelters, not a new shopping mall or sports center. You would think all the contractors would donate at least a little time to the needy. I guess it all boils down to the almighty dollar. What a shame.

I can’t see how the evacuees should have priority on housing when Mather was closed down years ago to our homeless. The renovation couldn’t be done then because of lack of funding. All of a sudden, it just appears so our state officials get pats on the back for their involvement in helping Katrina victims.

Our local people need all the help they can get here in Sacramento. These officials need more understanding and patience with people right here.

Mary L. Pape

Love, not fear

Re “Don’t fear Harry—fear God!” (SN&R Letters, October 13):

What is more frightening than either Harry Potter or God is people like Michelle Kunert, who proclaim to know what God wants. I’m not sure what the connection is between Harry Potter and homosexuality—I’m still trying to figure that one out—but I guess she feels it will strike a chord with other conservative Christians like herself to rally behind her.

But please, let God judge us, not Ms. Kunert! She should remove the plank from her eye before trying to remove the speck in everyone else’s.

I’ve often questioned the motives of these modern-day Pharisees like Ms Kunert, who chastise others for not following their interpretation of God’s word, while turning a blind eye on greater sins, such as war and hate. Many of us love God more than we fear him, and maybe that’s where the problem lies with these so-called conservative Christians.

George Avila

Kiefer’s a folkie— don’t let him rock!

Re “Dive on in” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Clubber, October 6):

This review was the last straw for me! Christian Kiefer hates and looks down on heavy-metal music and musicians, and lets people know in every metal review he does. Please stop letting this guy do reviews of rock ’n’ roll. While this article pretends to be written “tongue in cheek,” it really does reveal his true feelings on the genre in general.

And while I’m at it, I might mention that the drummer from Hella is not a great drummer, as Kiefer seems to believe. Any decent drummer can play what he does—formless music. That does not make it avant-garde, either! There are many far better drummers in Sacto. Why not let the drummers in Sacto pick the best drummer?

Also, when you print your “Critics’ Choice” winners for the Sammies, how about telling us who the critics involved were?

Thanks for letting me sound off! Kiefer knows his folk music, etc., but please find someone else to do all rock ’n’ roll and metal reviews.

Laurie Frost
El Dorado Hills

No making war ‘at pleasure’

Re “Republican playbook revisited” (SN&R Letters, October 6):

Thank you, Mr. Avila. It was a pleasure to read this letter. I appreciate very much the points made in simple eloquence. The last paragraph, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, should be printed in bold type in every news source in the country: “Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose—and you allow him to make war at pleasure.”

Dale Hypse