Letters for November 23, 2000

Don’t give us your huddled masses

Re “Tackling the Taboo” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Environment, Nov. 9):

Your article illustrated the flawed reasoning of those who claim “smart growth” does not need to address immigration, which accounts for 85 percent of California’s population growth.

Immigration proponents claim that immigration is not the problem because immigrants tend to live in urban cores and are more likely to take mass transit.

This is a short-sighted argument. Recent immigrants also tend to have more children, and within a generation—20 years—this second generation adopts consumption and living patterns on par with other native-born [citizens].

Luis Areaga of the Latino Issues Forum is incorrect in implying that whites are primarily to blame for the sprawl. Los Angeles is the sprawl capital of the United States and is home to more Hispanics than whites. And, the families forced to purchase homes in the Central Valley because they cannot afford housing in the Bay Area represent a diversity of races.

For more details on the immigration battle within the Sierra Club, readers can visit my Sierra Club parody Web site at www.sierraclubbed.com.

Kim Berry

And don’t make us your release valve

Re “Tackling the Taboo” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Environment, Nov. 9):

It was not a coincidence that the condition of our environment began to dramatically improve when the citizens of the United States voluntarily opted to curb their population growth in the 1970s.

It is no coincidence now that it is once again in decline, as millions of legal and illegal immigrants pour into our country from all over the world.

Thank you for having the courage to bring this up. If it does not stop, we will have more than a billion people living here within a century. It is not racist to limit immigration; it is common sense self-interest.

The United States can no longer be the release valve for the social and institutional problems of other nations. The skin tone of their citizens is beside the point.

Patrick Fitzgerald
via e-mail

Nope, it was the other guy

Re “Reforming the Reform Act” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R News, Nov. 2):

I read with interest the article regarding the Political Reform Act in which Mr. Russ Howard, former president of Californians Against Corruption, complained about the $808,000 fine the Fair Political Practices Commission levied against his group for failing to disclose the source of their funding in the recall against me in 1994.

Mr. Howard alleged that he failed to disclose his sources because members of his coalition were subjected to harassment, death threats and break-ins.

Just the opposite was true. It was my campaign and my supporters who were subjected to the well-publicized intimidation, forced entry and harassment at their homes. My wife and I received a series of anonymous death threats.

I am not making charges against any specific group or person. Anonymity can hide much. During that entire campaign, which was sponsored by the gun lobby against me for sponsoring a 1989 assault weapon ban, there was not one reported act of harassment of any kind and certainly not any death threat by anyone associated with my campaign.

Any search of the newspapers printed at this time will bear this out. You can be sure if there were any basis in fact for such an accusation, they would have eagerly made it just to beat me in a hotly contested and emotional campaign.

Mr. Howard is fabricating this argument in order to build a case against a fine that he had to know was coming his way when he willfully refused to comply with the law.

David A. Roberti
Los Angeles

Criticism 101

Re “The Big (Off) Night” by Jason Dezember (SN&R Eat It Up, Oct. 26):

Doesn’t anyone on your editorial staff check restaurant reviews before they go to press?

The Eat it Up feature on California Fat’s, like many recent SN&R restaurant reviews, is full of digressions, meaningless adjectives and vacillation.

Out of the blue, the writer gives his opinion on waterfalls in restaurants. The stir-fry was “you know, all right, but still kinda greasy,” the lamb “just wasn’t particularly tasty” and the appetizer was “as tasty as we’d remembered it.” (Readers weren’t there with you; you have to describe everything.) The inconclusive “conclusion” of the review is that either it was an off night or the kitchen has declined.

The entire piece is written in a slangy, conversational style, obviously intended to pad out the word count and mask an unexceptional grasp of language. For all of this I blame not the writer, a food professional, but his SN&R editors, who failed to guide him toward any noticeable organization, style or focus. SN&R readers deserve better.

Come on, people, Yosemite is cool, and bad writing is kinda lame, you know, or—maybe it’s OK like we thought before—well, bad writing is probably not cool.

Emily Smith
Oak Park

SN&R’s kettle is black

Re “The Big (Off )Night” (SN&R Eat It Up, Oct. 26):

I am a big fan and supporter of California Fat’s. I love the food and the atmosphere. I have been going to California Fat’s for years. I’ve had holiday parties for my staff, celebrated Mother’s Day brunch with my family and enjoyed numerous evening meals with friends, and have never been disappointed with a bad meal.

The fact that your review was written by a chef from another restaurant is what I found “tasteless,” unprofessional and basically a conflict of interest—somewhat of “the kettle calling the pot black.” My presumption is that an objective, outside observer or critic should author such reviews for your publication.

Peter Laurendeau

Put that procedure to death

Re “Death with Dignity” (SN&R Guest Comment, Nov. 9):

I read with astonishment the guest commentary of Mary Bruck [which told] how feral cats are killed at the Sacramento city shelter.

I have more than 15 years of experience working for animal shelters, and I have never seen an animal technician euthanize cats in that manner. This practice by the Sacramento city Shelter is inhumane, unnecessary and must be stopped.

It appears the euthanasia procedures at the Sacramento city shelter are just one of several problems. I urge the citizens of Sacramento to speak up for the animals and insist the city shelter clean up its act!

Kim Sturla
The Fund for Animals