Letters for November 2, 2006

SN&R gets it right on Doolittle—but what about Lungren?

Re “Political swing” (SN&R Bites, October 26); “Better Dem than him” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, October 12); and “Doolittle must go” (SN&R Editorial, September 21):

Well, SN&R has done its homework on John Doolittle, publishing specifics that readers deserve to know. But where’s the similarly detailed analysis of Dan Lungren?

A “Lungren must go” article would seem appropriate after comparing him with his opponent, Dr. Bill Durston. Perhaps SN&R can do its homework in that race (better than the Bee) with specific details about both candidates, and let the readers decide whom they want to support.

For example, Lungren is from Southern California—until he spotted a possible seat and moved into the district to run. Bill Durston has been here for 23 years, serving the community as an emergency-room doctor, and is much more in tune with the people of this area.

I am concerned when I hear that Lungren accepted money from Tom DeLay. He worked as a lobbyist for a Washington firm that has military contractors as clients. Is this not a conflict of interest? As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Lungren is in a position to direct billions of dollars to his old clients at Venable LLP. Lungren did not vote to censure torture and is a rubber stamp, agreeing with Bush down to the wire.

Durston is an inspiring grassroots candidate who is giving hope to people who have sometimes been so frustrated with both parties that they quit voting. We need new leadership to change the tone in politics and restore our trust in our elected leaders. SN&R could help by spelling out the comparisons for readers.

Sue Anne Foster

Referendum on humanity

Re “Political swing” (SN&R Bites, October 26):

As usual, Bites treats us to the real (ugly) inside of campaigning for the upcoming election. But is it a referendum on the president and his war as some argue? The real backdrop of this election is all the lives needlessly ended for this war.

For what? The argument for preemptive invasion began with WMDs, ties to 9/11, forming a democratic government—all either bogus or unrealistic reasons since forgotten, discounted or discarded—and now, according to the president, the goals are a “stable” government and control of oil. Perhaps, finally, the real reasons.

Along the way: a horrific, almost incomprehensible loss of human life. The recent Johns Hopkins University study, a scientific and reliable epistemological effort, has estimated 650,000 Iraqi deaths attributable to the war. Given the theory of statistical probability, and the difficulty of even conducting such a survey, it seems safe to say that at least 400,000 Iraqis have died, about 10 times the number offered by the president, who casually judges (without any evidence) the Johns Hopkins study as “not credible.” American deaths in Iraq now exceed those killed on 9/11. Moreover, none of this counts any of those permanently injured, physically or mentally (some multiple of the deaths), or the families permanently displaced.

The upcoming election is not a referendum on the president, his war, or, as vulnerable Congressional Republicans are trying to argue, the economy and “family values.” No, November 7 is a referendum on the value our nation places on human lives—ours and others. Perhaps this time we’ll get it right.

Chuck McIntyre

Wait for the corpse to get cold

Re “The end of an era” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Trust Your Ears, October 12):

I’ve been reading your paper for a long time now, well over a year, and I want to say that it’s great to have a bit of alternative media every week that I don’t need to shell out money to have. For people like me with low incomes, it’s great to have a free paper every week without fail, not whenever overpaid executives feel good about themselves.

I’m sad to see Tower Records go. It’s a place I’ve grown to love. They even had CDs from bands that no one else had heard of. I fear that I’ll have to rely more and more on less trustworthy sources or substandard outlets.

I was pleased to see that Jackson Griffith had written about the topic. It was only then, after reading about how I didn’t know what I was losing, and his well-written lament of Tower’s death, that I noticed an advertisement “book” (the thing had 47 pages!) from Tower’s competition in the music industry, Dimple Records. Talk about not even waiting for the corpse to get cold.

I understand that you guys keep the newspaper free via advertising, and I understand that maybe it was an effort to illustrate that there are other stores out there that carry music besides Tower. But it kind of defeats the purpose of writing a heartfelt goodbye to a great company when a mini novel of mostly pop-ish bands is lurking a few pages away, ready to fall out as soon as the paper is opened.

I don’t know. Maybe it just drives the point home more that Tower is really gone, and that’s what gets to me. Either way, it would have been more effective, I think, to have waited on that particular advertising choice.

Taylor Lake

Griffith’s great eulogy

Re “The end of an era” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Trust Your Ears, October 12):

I’m writing about Jackson Griffith’s column regarding the closing of Tower Records, from a “kindred spirit” of sorts. I am elated that I am not the only one mourning the close of my former church of musical knowledge. I couldn’t bear the thought of viewing the picked-over corpse becoming my last collected memory; I prefer to bask in the golden years of Tower, when a trip to the Watt Avenue store meant new sounds for the family 8-track player and a chance to compose a birthday wish list.

I also agree with Mr. Griffith’s opinion that Tower made Sacramento a world-class place. All you have to do is flip through the Desert Island Discs sections in back-issues of Tower’s now-defunct free magazine, Pulse! Contained therein would be submissions of readers’ favorite recordings, from as near as Los Angeles to as far away as China. Alas, the demise of this prized resource that helped shape my music collection as it stands today signaled the disturbing beginning of a long, sad end for me.

And here we stand at the so-called denouement of Tower’s legacy. I think Mr. Griffith definitely knows what every music-loving consumer just lost. I’m reminded every time I think of taking my son music shopping so I can pass on my favorite hobby, and cringe at the thought of sitting in front of my computer logged onto Amazon.com or setting foot in Best Buy’s well-stocked, yet seriously lacking, music department.

Johnathan Reveles
Plumas Lake

Enforce the lease to keep it down

Re “Midtown, keep it down” (SN&R Guest Comment, September 28):

I also live in Midtown Sacramento.

All the “rules of civility” are spelled out in a document called a lease.

No loud music or parties, no “live-in guests,” you are responsible for damage caused by unruly guests, pets OK if worked out ahead, etc.

You break your lease, you move.

The New Year 2005-’06 flood-claim representative commented that they did not have anything in Utah like this: wide streets, beautifully arched old trees, parking spaces (the code is enforced), beautiful churches and schools, stunning architecture (some dating to the turn of the century), gardens.

Leases are legal documents, and they work quite well.

Lara Mancha

Don’t buy the lies on Proposition 87

Re “Prop. 87 is an economy-killer” (SN&R Guest Comment, October 19):

This commentary is sad evidence of how readily proposition campaigns count on voter ignorance to sell their disinformation. One need go no further than the four-page discussion of Proposition 87 in the Official Voter Information Guide, sent to every registered voter, to discredit the many misrepresentations and half truths.

Mr. Rojas makes claims about government bureaucracy and the impact of the proposition on other tax revenues. The state authority that the tax reorganizes and funds clearly is limited in its administration expenses to 2.5 percent of the tax revenues, “about $5 million to $12 million annually.” While that is certainly real money, it is very reasonable for revenues of up to “$225 million to $485 million annually.” In the Information Guide, as well as in the measure, the allocation of funds for the authority and the composition of its board are very specifically spelled out in a way that provides accountability to the taxpayers.

The official summary states that Proposition 87 “prohibits producers from passing tax to consumers.” While other market forces may push up prices at the pump, these same forces also may keep prices down—especially as investment of the millions of dollars raised by the tax succeed in reducing gasoline consumption.

Of course, there is a cost involved for local administration of Proposition 87. But the official summary states it will “not exceed a few million dollars” and will “likely not exceed $10 million.” Contrast these reductions to new annual revenues of between $200 and $500 million!

Opponents of Proposition 87 (the top-10 contributors, who have put up more than $29 million, are all oil and “resource” corporations) do not want Californians to think about the severe negative effects of petroleum on health and the environment. Proposition 87 will direct hundreds of millions of dollars to encouraging renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative energy. That money will go to universities (for research), to public-education campaigns, to incentives for businesses and to training for working people.

SN&R readers are not illiterate but, like all responsible voters, they must go beyond big-money advertising and disinformation to vote wisely.

Darien De Lu