Letters for November 20, 2008

Letter of the week
Don’t turn us against each other

I am writing in hopes that [SN&R] might speak out against The Sacramento Bee’s blatant attempt to incite discord in our community. The Bee seems to feel it is quite all right to sow the seeds of discord in Sacramento by their continued focus on the African-Americans’ role in Proposition 8’s success in passing. I feel they are attempting to create division between our community and the gay community. While I do not question the accuracy or validity of their facts or their sources, I do question their motives.

Not only is the Bee attempting to paint African-Americans as vindictive, they are openly insinuating that we are indulging in reverse discrimination. At a time when the gay community is hurting, I feel the Bee is attempting to provide an avenue for misdirected anger and resentment, being extremely insensitive on so many levels.

Their continued focus on our community as almost the sole driving force behind this initiative only continues the cycle of hatred and division. I do not see the Bee continually focusing on what percentage of Catholics, Protestants or traditionally married Caucasians voted yes on 8. But for the second time in a week, they have reported that 70 percent of African-Americans voted yes on 8. What could be the driving force behind this repetitive documentation? What is its purpose in doing so? It is sad and pathetic, but after such a historical event as the election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States, I can only surmise it is the Bee’s attempt to put us back in our place.

If this type of reporting continues unchecked, I fear it will have far-reaching and negative consequences for both communities, and this will not serve either.

I have cancelled my subscription to the Bee and made my opinion known to its editors to no avail. If they are not publicly called out on this, I believe the Bee will be directly responsible for placing many in harm’s way by pitting these two communities against one another.

Catherine Tobia

His money’s not for (h)8

Re “Strength in numbers” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 13) and “The h(8) list” (SN&R Snog, November 13):

I read an article in the Bee that [Dave] Leatherby was not happy that people are not willing to spend their money at Mr. Leatherby’s stores because of the $10,000 he contributed to Yes on Prop. 8. He feels it is saying he does not have the right to express his opinion.

I truly support Mr. Leatherby’s decision to support the political agendas he most believes in. This is America, and we have the freedom to vote and support anything we want. Now, with that said, I also strongly encourage gay and gay-friendly people to not spend their money in businesses that supported Proposition 8. Any person who supported Prop. 8 said that we are second-class citizens. How could any business owner [that voted yes] want our money, since we are so much less than them?

In addition, how could any self-respecting gay person support a business that believes we are not worthy of basic civil rights?

Based on the list of contributors, Mr. Leatherby should have no problem generating income by advertising to groups that see us as second-class citizens. Sure, it is your right and freedom, Mr. Leatherby, to support whatever agenda you want. It is our right and freedom to not support bigotry and hatred.

I call on all gay and gay-friendly people to do as I have done. Look at the list of contributors. Do not give them a single penny of your money. Spend that money where it is not used to support discrimination. There are enough of us in the friendly column that we can make a significant impact.

Joseph Weems

Supporting Prop. 8 isn’t hate

Re “The h(8) list” (SN&R Snog, November 13):

I strongly take issue your list tarring the people who contributed money toward the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.

Even if one disagrees with Proposition 8, how can you list people with the [headline], “The (h)8 list,” when you may know next to nothing about these people’s lives? I would want to defend just one person (and I will not name this person, lest you vilify this person with another horrid article) who I know as a decent and sincere person that gives his time to the community and gives generously to the poor (those who are hungry, thirsty, [with] few clothes and lacking in shelter).

Because there are people of conscience, such as myself, who would not support a legal definition of marriage other than that of one man and one woman, we are to be tarred with accusations of hatred. Imagine, the people on that list may be responding to their consciences. How dare those people!

Gabriel McAuliffe

Problems with simple-majority rule

Re “Basic humanity” (SN&R Editorial, November 13):

Your editorial, though well-meaning in pointing out, “'Majority rule’ can never be counted on as an appropriate means to determine how minorities ought to be treated,” failed to emphasize the fundamental issue of amending any “constitution.”

The due-process clause of any “constitution” (the “bylaws” for ordinary nonprofit organizations) requires that any and all amendments to the constitution (bylaws) can only be adopted if there is a two-thirds vote in the affirmative by the legitimate voting body. This point has eluded most voters when they go to vote on propositions in so-called “direct democracy.”

Brahama D. Sharma
Registered Parliamentarian


Not so gracious toward K.J.

Re “Dear Mr. Mayor” (SN&R Editorial, November 13):

I wish I could be as gracious as your editorial, but I can’t. I don’t like it much when the records of accusatory charlatans are glossed over to feed the will of this town’s Republican “old guard,” who seem to have invested heavily in a new and well-oiled PR machine that has erased the minds, or at least the printed pages, of any reference to Johnson’s abysmal fiscal management, irresponsible development practices and sordid personal life.

There’s something smelly as all hell here, and I’m concerned that our city is going to suffer as this wannabe “Baby Barack” uses the hype machine to cut a swath into a political future. I pray that progressive media vets this urchin just a bit better than what has passed for reportage by outlets like the Bee and certain local television and radio blather, so that in pursuing his own wanton need for glory, he is put in his rightful place in the proverbial Hall of Shame. That the mindless “low info” voters who ensconced him in office chose blindness over informed consent speaks to the American Idol-ization of our electoral culture and a dumbing down to suit those who only voted for this bum because he has a similar skin tone to the integrity filled, intellectually towering Barack Obama.

Alex Berg

Farewell, Greg

Re “The Cat Man goeth” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, November 6):

I did not know that he had passed away, although I had heard he’d been living on the streets for some time, back in 2000–2001 or so.

We were close in the summer of 1993 for a while, during the Art Czar days (or after? I don’t know where that came from, either, though he told me at the time, I’m sure) and when he played at open-mics at Capitol Garage. He wrote poetry for me and songs and kind of attached himself to me at a time when I was not receptive to it, but he was a good guy and a sweetheart.

He really did care for me and others, and he was very affectionate and kind. He was not afraid to tell you things you didn’t really want to hear, for your own good (but never in a hurtful way, just truthful). He protected me at one point from someone that posed a genuine danger to me, though I didn’t trust his intentions at the time or realize it until later (definitely appreciated it, though; still do).

I am sad that I no longer have his poems. We used to hang out with mutual friends and at my apartment; I’d been over to his place a few times for music and poetry. I had another friend who sometimes let him camp in her yard later, when he was homeless, but I think the effects of alcoholism burned that bridge, too, unfortunately.

I did enjoy his songs and his sweetness. Once, I was broke when we were hanging out (had just gotten out of a long-term relationship) and hardly had anything in the fridge, and he came over and filled it up. I hadn’t even asked him to (I was into fridge minimalism then, LOL).

He always reminded me of a forest man, smelled of sandalwood, tobacco and merlot (though I don’t think he was drinking heavily when I hung out with him; just socially), and I really loved his rich, sometimes gravelly voice.

I am confronted with the fact of his homelessness and my conscience: Why didn’t I help him out? At the time I knew he was homeless, I had a baby to take care of and problems of my own. I feel guilty, though, and I do wish our society could make decent places for all our citizens to live and have the basics of food, shelter and health care. Prisoners live better off than the homeless, from what I understand, and I find it ironic that there is a presumption and fear that blames victims and the powerless for their own troubles, when in fact they are the fruits of injustice in our communities and in society. Most often, I believe the homeless suffer because of society’s lack of conscience and understanding about how we are all interconnected and how people end up “crazy,” in pain, addicted, denied.

May God bless Greg and receive him unto Himself, and bless those that showed him kindness and patience when possible. I hope this will motivate me to save everyone’s poetry that I keep around in various files.

Keely Sadira Dorran

Cat Man’s family was there

Re “The Cat Man goeth” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, November 6):

I’m Greg Carr’s brother-in-law, and I would like you to know that his death did not go unnoticed by his family or friends whatsoever. We were there at Friendship Park: mom, dad, sisters and their families, nephew’s family and myself.

Greg chose the life he led. He was very intelligent and didn’t work because he didn’t like the 9-to-5 thing. He touched the lives of numerous people in Sacramento in a very positive way, and it was very evident by the turnout of his friends. I, and no doubt the entire family of Greg Carr, was proud that day.

We should all be so blessed as to have such a fine turnout of friends and family willing to share experiences, songs and stories at our own funerals. We were always in touch with Greg and were lucky to have him join us for holiday gatherings. We often traveled from the Marysville area to pick him up and return him for these occasions. I’m sorry to say that his family really didn’t like your article.

God bless Cat Man!

Gary Donica
via e-mail

Editor’s note: Mr. Donica is correct; there was an error in the story. We were aware that Carr’s family had been notified of his death and mistakenly printed that they were not. We also regret that we were unable to get information about Carr’s family from the Sacramento coroner’s office. We did attempt to, as we hoped to speak to family members for the story. We apologize for the confusion. And our sympathies go out to Carr’s family.
This correction has been made to the Web site.