Letters for November 17, 2005

Pure reporting, no freak show

Re “Skateboarding is not a sport” by Becca Costello (SN&R Feature story, November 10):

This is one of the best and most insightful articles about skateboarding that I have ever read, especially coming from—excuse the term, but—an outsider. I appreciate Becca’s straightforward, non-biased reporting. She’s an amazing writer with a bright future ahead of her.

I took the liberty of forwarding this article to my 300-something clients (in skateboarding), and not one person had a bad thing to say; on the contrary, all who replied had positive comments (and trust me, this is one tough crowd!).

It is so very rare that a writer doesn’t make some sort of snide remark about skating or turn it into some sort of glorified X Games hoopla, thinking they are witty and down with the kids, not really understanding the pureness of the passion possessed by those who I like to call “lifers.”

It really hit home for me, too, when you acknowledged us old ladies who still skate (I myself am 32) without turning it into some sort of freak-show novelty!

This was pure reporting.

Karrie Figiel
Deluxe Distribution

Teddy said it

Re “Comforting the enemy” (SN&R Bites, November 10):

The Sacramento City Council should not be surprised by the right-wing reaction to its resolution concerning the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The Bush administration and its lackeys have a history of launching vicious and scurrilous attacks on critics. The comment that an insurgency attack was a result of the resolution by the city council is ludicrous, and only a mindless ranter would assert such cause and effect.

I would suggest these cohorts of President Bush reflect upon the following quote of Teddy Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.”

James G. Updegraff III

Grateful for Fitzgerald, boycotting Williams

Re “Our Boy Scout” (SN&R Editorial, November 10) and “Comforting the enemy” (SN&R Bites, November 10):

A reading of SN&R’s November 10 issue reminds this reader of how wonderfully free and diverse our country is, ranging from Patrick Fitzgerald, serving the public “without fear or favor” at one extreme to hate-jock Mark Williams promoting public fear and courting favor at the other extreme. And both, as well as all the rest of us in between, protected by the laws and by the First Amendment.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s performance is a bit surprising, given the White House’s proclivity to search out and destroy its critics and opponents. Mr. Williams’ performance, while inane and disgusting, isn’t at all surprising, since he’s on the payroll of a Clear Channel affiliate.

What to do? Re Fitzgerald: Be grateful. Re Williams: Vote with your ears. Boycott his hateful radio program. His paying advertisers will quickly get the idea; America operates with free markets as well as with free speech. And if KFBK has any sense or sensibility, it will suspend Williams once again, perhaps this time permanently.

What else? Express your kudos and support to the eight Sacramento City Council members who had the courage of their convictions to pass a reasonable resolution calling for withdrawal from Iraq. Continue to press for decent, representative government at all levels, where debate is driven by thoughtful and civil practitioners like Fitzgerald and where the real issues of government are front and center: budgets (balanced), health, education, security/defense (not offense), transportation and the economy (jobs), rather than driven by fear-, terror- and hate-mongers like Williams and about exclusion, intimidation and cronyism.

Chuck McIntyre

Love me; I’m a Davis liberal

Re “Is Davis turning red?” by Jeffrey M. Barker (SN&R Feature story, November 3):

It’s much too late to start asking that question. Is Davis the “wacky, liberal” Berkeley of the Central Valley? Hardly. Whenever I visit Davis, I’m always fondly reminded of Phil Ochs’ song “Love Me, I’m a Liberal.”

The Davis crowd (and my family has lived there) like to think of themselves as progressive and lefty, and, yes, there are lots of bike riders. And how many of them are poor, people of color or even vaguely out of the mainstream? As Ochs sarcastically sang, “I love Puerto Ricans and Negros / As long as they don’t move next door / So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.”

“Lefty” is certainly accurate, and folk-music lovers no doubt abound. I’m further sure that plenty of checks were sent to Hurricane Katrina victims, while those who relocated largely came to Sacramento.

As for Measure X and the expansion of Davis into surrounding farmland, there is clearly a tough choice between plowing up green space and helping to offset a housing shortage, which has contributed to high prices and rents. So what do we do? Put it to a vote: You can have a small “wacky, lefty” enclave, safe from poverty and people of color and homelessness and other uncomfortable realities, or you can have a slightly larger wacky, lefty, comfortable enclave.

Paraphrasing Phil Ochs, “I go to anti-war rallies / And I put down the old GOP / I hate Rummy and Cheney and Bush Junior / I hope every soldier avoids IEDs / But don’t talk about revolution / That’d force me to see my own sleaze / So love me, love me, love me, I’m a (Davis) liberal.”

Kevin Wehr
assistant professor of sociology at California State University, Sacramento

Damming up the Doolittle cabal

Re “Dam irresponsible” by Tony Finnerty and Jimmy L. Spearow (SN&R Essay, November 3):

Thank you for running the very informative article about the proposed Auburn dam. Professors Finnerty and Spearow have spelled out the dangers very clearly (and succinctly).

The very idea of building a large dam on an earthquake fault has always seemed crazy to me. And knowing that filling the reservoir could actually cause a quake moves the idea of the dam from crazy to criminal.

With so much hype about the dam coming from Representative Doolittle and his friends, it was refreshing to read about the reality of this ill-conceived dam. One can only hope that the Doolittle cabal never succeeds.

John C. Reiger

A dangerous place for a dam

Re “Dam irresponsible” by Tony Finnerty and Jimmy L. Spearow (SN&R Essay, November 3):

I was in favor of development of the Auburn dam for many years. Based on the information available, it was a worthwhile project.

After reading Marc Reisner’s A Dangerous Place: California’s Unsettling Fate, I began reading more articles and books about seismology and where faults are located. So much more information is available now than was available when the Auburn dam was first considered. It should not be built.

I appreciate SN&R’s decision to feature the article by Finnerty and Spearow. This is valuable information and is a clear and well-researched presentation.

Sharon Goodnight
Elk Grove

Get a parking clue

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

Sacramento’s Central City Parking Master Plan is a big joke. Have the city planners even been downtown after 6 p.m.? It’s a ghost town, give or take a few late-night office workers.

They say they’re trying to help the city and shops turn over the long-term parkers. With the exception of shop owners and employees, whom they are hurting the most with this venture, there is plenty of room to park. This plan will not make the revenue or the turnover that the planners are hoping for.

City planners need to get a clue. This is a losing battle at best.

J.T. Smith

Somebody’s got to take the blame

Re “National Novel Writing Month” by Kel Munger (SN&R In the mix, October 27):

Kel got me into this! She’s the one who wrote that little blurb about NaNoWriMo!

I saw that item and foolishly thought, “A-ha! I remember hearing about that thing. I should try it. If this doesn’t turn me into a writer, nothing will!”

And now I’m a nervous wreck, working my fingers to the bone, wondering how I’m going to pull this off and feeling guilty for every moment I spend not writing!

And it’s all her fault!

Brian Stovall

Kel Munger responds: No sympathy here. I’m 18,000 words into NaNoWriMo and tearing my hair out. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.