Letters for November 15, 2001

Fighting words

Re “Fighting for War” (SN&R Capital Bites, November 1):

Upon reading the column “Fighting for War,” I found Capital Bites’ comments on Dave Jenest and the Patriot Defenders’ Network to be deplorable.

The Patriot Defenders’ Network goes beyond the streets of Sacramento. We have members organizing in places such as Alabama, Indiana, Washington, D.C., and Iowa. Dave’s group in Sacramento has been the spearhead for a nationwide movement.

I’ve read the press release that Bites refers to in his column. I didn’t see any “fiery religious rhetoric and accusations of blasphemy.” I did see mention of the mixture of feelings felt by the two dozen supporters who first went to counter the protest at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium.

Nowhere does the press release say anything about “bombings making this great country what it is,” as Bites would have us believe, but that those of us who feel we should support our country, our military and our president come forward and let the world see our support.

Why shouldn’t we? Should the protesters be the only view the world has of our country? Do we want the media to only show one side of the issue? I say no! Let them see the flags wave and the people cheer! Let the media show that the patriotic can peacefully stand in recognition of America’s greatness, while the protesters scuffle with the authorities. Let freedom ring.

Roberta Osmers
via e-mail

Call us irresponsible

Re “Battle With Truth” (SN&R Editorial, November 1):

The U.S. government bought up the “Space Imaging” pictures to prevent the terrorists from using the images to kill American soldiers.

The framers of the Constitution believed that the press would use its freedom in a reasonable and responsible way. When the press starts to be responsible, maybe the “government” will loosen up. Liberal media types never seem to understand what “responsibility” means.

Kenneth C. (Duke) Province

OK, his name is Barney Fife

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

I demand that the name, rank and all other information about the criminal National Guardsman be printed, regardless of the supposed danger. His actions are criminal, and the public has a right to know who is preying upon our basic liberties, especially the freedom of our press.

This swaggering bully and those like him should be charged with the crimes they commit and taught a lesson. This is still America, and our rights are important, not something to be casually cast aside because some cop wannabe can’t handle having his picture taken. I question the legitimacy of the safety claim. Thousands of people pass through LAX and see this man, in his uniform, with his name on his chest, so how is the reporter (or his photos and notes) a threat to his safety?

Brian Larkin
via e-mail

Close those lips!

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

The article by RV Scheide was interesting. It reminded me I want to write to Washington, D.C., and ask them: Isn’t it time, including all aspects of the media, we re-activated the slogan “Loose Lips Sink Ships”? The comparison between Pearl Harbor and the World Towers is really only the issue of surprise. The Japanese wanted to expand, the Muslims are ordered to kill any who have not accepted Allah as their God. (Read their history.)

It seems at this time ‘scoops’ should be laid aside and concentration being on which of the media can do the most to prevent any form of information being passed on to those whose interests are only in our destruction? Maybe some of the verbally talented writers can come up with a similar slogan to cover the visual media, also. I hate seeing pictures showing our ground troops, and the ‘hows’ of their tactics!

Patricia Owens
via e-mail

More cops, less cameras

The article in your October 25, 2001, issue on “Big Brother Inc.,” by Matt Raymond misses the mark. While I share some of his Orwellian concerns about the 1984 type “Big Brother” cameras at specific intersections, I oppose them for traffic safety reasons and the supposed reason they are there.

First, I am opposed to any public fee that doesn’t treat all similarly situated persons equally. The current method discriminates against those red-light traffic runners at specific intersections. It discriminates because it doesn’t catch 100 percent of drivers who run red lights or stop signs in all other intersections throughout the city of Sacramento and all surrounding communities.

Second, it targets only one type of traffic infraction—running red lights—but doesn’t address far more dangerous traffic infractions, such as drivers that turn right on red lights while pedestrians are trying to cross the street, which results in far more serious personal injury.

Third, it does not effectively change driver behavior. Almost all people believe that they are good and safe drivers. Getting attacked with a picture and a ticket two weeks to a month or more after the occurrence doesn’t change that belief or regular driving habits—except as shown in the article, to avoid that intersection when possible. You would not come back to a child two weeks after you caught him or her doing something wrong to punish them and expect him to modify his behavior. Drivers are no different.

There is no more effective way to stop people from running red lights or speeding than for a driver to be caught and cited immediately when they commit the infraction. When I used to drive, the most effective way to get me to slow down was to see a police car pull over a car that just passed me.

If the purpose of those cameras is public safety, they are miserable failures. If you want to have all drivers at a particular intersection to stop running the red light, a responsible law enforcement program would stop and immediately ticket every car that ran that red light. Other drivers would observe that action and immediately improve their own driving habits, at least at that intersection. The cameras would then be redundant and unnecessary, except as possible proof if the ticket were challenged.

Bill Jensen

His home truth

Re “Killing the Queen” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, October 25):

For the 25 years I’ve lived in the central city, “affordable” housing advocates have successfully badgered Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) and City Council into over-concentrating—not just affordable—but low- and very low-income housing in our downtown neighborhoods. This resulted in SHRA using tax increments with one hand to attract business downtown while its other hand flooded the area with housing subsidies to attract residents with incomes too low to support the businesses! Wisely, SHRA now rejects that history of failed “revitalization.”

Now that SHRA’s new housing investment approach shows there may be a market for moderate- or higher-income residents downtown, housing advocates are screaming. Some of the most vocal live comfortably in East Sacramento, Curtis Park and Land Park on incomes generated from their low-income housing advocacy businesses, poverty programs or social service businesses. They should keep their noses out of downtown and direct their efforts toward balancing their own affluent neighborhoods with “affordable” and very low-income housing. Or do they fear diminishing property values if “poor” people move in next door?

Let’s worry about gentrification when our census tracts no longer have sufficient numbers of low-income residents to qualify for community block grants (CBG) from Housing Redevelopment (HUD).

Dale Kooyman

Mr. Manners on freedom

Re “Which Civil Liberty Would You Give Up to Fight Terrorism?” (SN&R Streetalk, October 4):

Over the past several weeks we’ve all heard the question asked more than once: What are you willing to give up to fight terrorism? This is an important question; and after deep consideration I’ve decided to give up table manners. I’m completely convinced that eating with our elbows on the table and talking with our mouths full will be just as effective in bringing international criminals to justice as is surrendering any of the freedoms given us in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Actually, I hope that if put to the test, I would be willing to give up my life rather than my liberties. Isn’t that what the victims of September 11 have done? They have died for freedom. But isn’t that what all the flag waving is about—a willingness to die for freedom? Or is it only a willingness to kill for freedom? Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Gandhi and Jesus are among the most powerful and effective warriors the world has ever seen.

Steve Hampton