Letters for November 2, 2000

Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bradley?

Re “Political Shift … and Shiftiness” by Bill Bradley (SN&R, Oct. 26):

Where has Bill Bradley been? Not at the Crest. Not at UCD’s Freeborn Hall. Not at Oakland’s Kaiser Arena.

There, he’d have seen many thousands of people of all ages, all incomes and from many different political parties transfixed by the outrageous and illuminating truth of Ralph Nader’s picture of a country dominated by the alliance of big government and giant corporations and inspired by Ralph’s invocation of all the people’s movements in our history that have challenged the power and won. Ralph not only has a clear vision of what America could be with more equality and more justice, but his vast knowledge of the workings of both corporations and government enables him to present many practical ways in which citizens banded together could right our current enormous imbalance of power, wealth, health and opportunity. And that hope has energized millions across this country.

Bill Bradley should come down to 1010 J St., our local Green Party Nader office, where at least 25 people volunteer four or five days a week, many dozens four or five hours a week and at least 100 more do things on their own—such as the older Mexican-American man in South Sac who has handed out a dozen signs to neighbors. All those Nader signs around Sacramento didn’t just grow there. We may not have raised more money than our local DemRep counterparts, but I’m certain we’ve raised it from more people. Locked out of the debates with only one minute of coverage on the network news hours, an almost invisible presence in the Bee and a paltry $5 million—compared to the $500 million each raised by the DemReps—it’s a miracle that Nader has reached 5 percent—and double digits in some states. This is no sandcastle that will wash away. This is the sprouting of a Green Party that will give voice to ordinary people for real change toward a society that works for everyone. In these dark days we will not let go of hope.

There will be a November surprise.

Julie Padilla Co-Chair Sacramento Nader Campaign

Betrayal based on bad assumption

Re Gore for president, (SN&R Endorsements, Oct. 26):

I noticed in the latest edition of your newspaper in the political endorsements section, that a vote for Al Gore is recommended.

Is this true, or is that a typo? After all that seeming support for Ralph Nader, why the about-face? Do the editors really buy the “lesser of two evils” argument, or the “spoiler vote"?

I had thought that of all papers, the SN&R would realize that there is little difference or choice within the international-corporate, sold-down-the-river, one-party system. What happened? Does your paper really have more respect for the Democrats than the Republicans? Don’t you realize that they are, and have long since been, two heads to the same monster, whose lying gibberish may only sound different on the surface. And you have the nerve to insult the intelligence of your readers by encouraging them to vote their fears for presidential choice. Four more years of what you know Gore has in store for us. Could someone please explain?

The Democrats are a turncoat, false friend of working people, minorities, Indians, small business, family farms, the environment—not just here, but internationally. Do your editors dare, after all I have read in your paper, to say different? I feel betrayed seeing an endorsement for Gore, as I am offended by Bill Bradley’s article [See “Political Shift … and Shiftiness” SN&R Oct. 26], which has an insulting tone for what Nader is trying to build—we’ve got to start somewhere! I know as well as you that the two-headed, one-party monster is going to win the election—for the time being, but why not throw all our support toward the truth, not just to someone who may not seem as bad on the surface. Why Gore?

Jack (Last name withheld) via e-mail

No vote for corporate whorin’ Gore

Re Gore endorsement (SN&R Endorsements, Oct. 26):

When I saw the SN&R’s presidential endorsement in the Oct. 26 issue, I could hardly believe my eyes. Was it a typo? If it hadn’t been for the tabloid-size format and all the cigarette and strip club ads, I would have sworn I was reading the Bee. I wasn’t surprised to see the Bee endorse a WTO-lovin', war-on-drugs promotin', corporate whorin’ Republicrat like Al Gore, but what in the world was the SN&R thinking, endorsing Gore over Nader? The SN&R deserves credit as the only local media outlet that hasn’t completely ignored Nader’s candidacy, so what gives now?

The endorsement especially doesn’t make sense in light of the SN&R’s other election endorsements. How can you square your laudable attempt to bring some measure of sense to drug laws by recommending a “yes” vote on Proposition 36 with your endorsement of one of the failed war on drugs’ most zealous (and hypocritical) boosters, the self-confessed former pot smoker Al Gore? How can it be that, on the one hand, your endorsement in the Senate race is the estimable Medea Benjamin, a candidate best known for her fervent opposition to the WTO and similar institutions hostile to international human rights and labor rights, and then in the same issue, you endorse Gore, the chief booster of the WTO and NAFTA in the Clinton administration? On the one hand, the SN&R opposes Proposition 34, correctly seeing it as a sleazy and manipulative attempt by the powers-that-be to prevent meaningful campaign finance reform, yet the SN&R fails to endorse Ralph Nader, the only presidential candidate truly committed to getting special interest money out of politics.

The most curious (and irresponsible) part about the Gore endorsement is that it is accompanied by no explanation or discussion—there it is, just standing out in the middle of the page like a turd in a punchbowl with no accompanying comment. At a minimum, the SN&R owes its readers an explanation as to why it has chosen to endorse a candidate who is a poster child for nearly everything the SN&R has criticized in the past, and who is actually to the right of Bush on some issues (such as defense spending and military intervention), while eschewing the candidate who is most closely aligned with the views previously expressed by the SN&R. It can’t even be the usual, hand-wringing “a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush” wimp-out. Despite the Gore campaign’s recent scare tactics, it’s pretty clear that Gore is going to carry California with or without the Nader voters’ support. Help us all understand this—give us an explanation, please. Better yet, change your endorsement—it’s not too late. Gore doesn’t need any more votes in California, but Nader needs 5 percent nationwide to gain access to federal election funds and to help make the Green Party a viable third party (or more correctly, a viable second party, since the Republicans and Democrats have largely merged into one party).

Joe Zuber Sacramento

Editor-at-large Melinda Welch responds: We have great admiration for Ralph Nader, and, yes, many of his political views mirror the SN&R’s past editorial perspective. But the reality is that Nader has no chance of winning this election. With a recent Zogby poll revealing Al Gore’s lead in California to have severely diminished in recent weeks (to 4.5 percent, which is less than the margin of error), we do absolutely endorse and support Al Gore for president. To say there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans is a historic falsehood. The morning of Nov. 8 will hold cold comfort for Nader supporters in swing states if they learn they have helped herald in a four-to-eight year reign for President George W. Bush.

Why she’ll vote for Gore

Re Gore endorsement, (SN&R Endorsements, Oct. 26):

Think you can do whatever you want with your body? Think again. As the title of the election insert we ran in the SN&R a few weeks ago highlights, those who have come of age in the era of socially acceptable body tattoos and piercings may be surprised to know that reproductive rights, far from being secure, are actually under attack and could be overturned by an anti-choice president.

Consider the following: the Supreme Court upheld a woman’s right to choose in Roe vs. Wade in 1972 by a 7-2 vote. In contrast, the Court’s most recent vote on abortion rights in June of this year upheld reproductive choice by a narrow 5-4 margin. The appointment of just one anti-choice justice by the next president could launch the rapid erosion of reproductive rights and access to health services. Choice is one robe away from being overturned.

Given the president’s crucial influence on women’s reproductive rights, your choice matters. Gov. George W. Bush has said “I will do everything in my power to restrict abortions.” He supports a gag rule on family planning and favors abstinence education in schools. Vice President Al Gore recently affirmed “I will always, always defend a woman’s right to choose.” He supports comprehensive sex education and opposes mandatory parental involvement in minors’ reproductive health-care decisions.

When you vote Nov. 7, keep this in mind: The outcome of the 2000 presidential election will determine whether the next generation of women in this country have autonomy over their own bodies and lives.

Tamara Dukes Planned Parenthood Advocates, Mar Monte

Why he won’t vote for Gore

Re Gore endorsement (SN&R Endorsements, Oct. 26):

Recently, in response to the fear that Nader supporters were siphoning votes that would otherwise go to Gore, one of Gore’s campaign managers, Buck Humphrey, boldly implored, “It is time for Democrats to come home.” My question for Mr. Humphrey is “What do we have to come home to?” A party that has courted corporate interests with nearly the same zeal as the Republicans? A candidate whose track record shows that his environmental and social goals take a back seat to his pursuit of political success? Another four years of slowly selling our democracy to the highest bidder? No thank you.

Democrats miss the point: Those of us who have spent recent years chiseling away at the almost incomprehensible social and environmental problems facing this nation realize that four years of Al Gore is no less frightening than four years of George W. Bush. Either way, it will be a continuous struggle for basic constitutional rights against an imposing dictatorship of monied interests, and, either way, the dedicated activists of this country will continue their tireless efforts for a just society and a livable planet in the face of a government that does not listen. In claiming that Nader has taken my vote from Gore, the Democrats mistakenly assume that my vote belonged to Gore in the first place. I may be a registered Democrat, but this vote has always belonged to me. I refuse to waste it on a broken two-party system that will not change from the inside. Mr. Humphrey: I’ve found a cleaner, safer home. Feel free to visit.

Alexa Forrester Sacramento

Gore may be boring, but…

Re Streetalk (SN&R, Oct. 26):

While people are entitled to their opinions, it remains painfully clear how ignorant and gullible people are in this country.

You do not pick a president as you would pick a buddy. It’s not a popularity contest, but simply a choice between the most qualified candidates. Gore may be boring, but he is more qualified. He tells you what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it. Bush tells you something needs to be done about something and that he will do something.

Here is my message to anyone out there who may vote for Bush. If you are a minority, female, gay or anyone who makes less than 100K per year, the Republicans will do nothing for you. They will tell you everything you want to hear, but they will never do it. Think Deukmejian or Wilson if you need an example.

Baron Latour Sacramento

Hey, there are other issues!

Re “Political Shift … and Shiftiness” (SN&R, Oct. 26):

Your article about Proposition 34 left me spitting vinegar. Like Jim Knox of Common Cause, I am offended to the core by the actions of Burton, Johnson, Granlund and their co-conspirators.

Once again, the California Legislature has shown its utter contempt for the voting public. They must think we just fell off the back of the hay wagon. Rigging an election by appointing a phony opposition and shutting out the real opposition is what we expect in some far-off banana republic … not here in these United States.

Legislators once again forget they are not little princes and princesses. They are public servants and should be replaced when they fail to do their jobs. They got busted for an overly generous retirement system, and now they’re trying to weasel into PERS. When they attempted a last-minute handout in September for their former legislative cronies, that was crass.

Now we have the Prop. 34 fiasco, which smells criminal. Legislators from either party who might come to Sacramento with lofty ideals and good intentions soon succumb to the temptations under the golden dome. Rather than rewarding bright ideas and individual conscience, the Legislature rewards sucking up to legislative leaders and sucking in campaign cash. Everything the Legislature does these days seems to be geared toward paying back their big donors, expanding their power, raising money and staying in office.

Obviously, Prop. 34 should be rejected. But that’s not enough. The Attorney General, the FPPC and the Secretary of State should investigate whether Granlund’s obvious conflict of interest violates his oath of office or the law. The rest of them should just resign. Frankly, I’d like to see all of them in jail; that’s the only new “term” these jokers deserve. Kudos to Steven T. Jones and the SN&R for a well-done expose'.

Bob Horowitz


Balanchine musically inclined

Re “How to Kill a Princess,” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Arts & Culture, Oct. 19):

I was happy to see your article promoting the Sacramento Ballet and the start of its season. I have seen the major ballet companies from all over the world, and, in my opinion, Sacramento is extremely lucky to have such a world-class caliber of artistic directors and dancers. Mr. Scheide’s article was informative.

However, I was floored when he said that Balanchine’s dance style focused on movement first and musicality second. He could not be more wrong! I consider George Balanchine (ballet) and Mark Morris (modern dance) two of the greatest choreographers of all time primarily because it is music that is at the core of their creative genius. In Balanchine’s ballets, it is the movement, inspired by the music, that evokes a story. He derived his choreographic ideas from music, unlike others whose direction was against music or detached from it.

Susana Halfon via e-mail