Letters for November 23, 2006

Riding RT with a serial killer

Re “Transit tales” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Feature Story, November 9):

I very much enjoyed reading this story. Ever since I was a kid growing up in Sacramento, I have delighted in never wanting or needing a car for transportation. Even before the light-rail system was built, Sacramento has had an adequate bus system.

I’ll never forget the day I helped a nice little old lady off the bus downtown, only to see her face on the front page of our local paper as a mass-murder suspect a week later. Her name was Dorothea Puente.

Scott R. Hadley

More violence on Highway 50

Re “Transit tales” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Feature Story, November 9):

No doubt you’ve received a lot of letters from people defending transit against the collected anecdotes of Chrisanne Beckner. I can’t speak to what happens in the middle of the day, but I’ve used light rail daily for three years to commute morning, evening and at night, and the only violent events I’ve witnessed have been car crashes along Route 50 and Folsom Boulevard.

During that period, I’ve spent 1,100 hours either reading or riding my bike instead of spending 600 hours in a car. I’ve saved $7,500 dollars by taking transit, and have heard many interesting tales from other riders, all of them less sensational than the ones I read in SN&R last week.

Owen Howlett

Pay up or watch cows

Re “Cows come home” (SN&R Editorial, November 9):

Your bias for the old Kings roster as the epitome of the team shows your ignorance when it comes to growth. It doesn’t amaze me that Sacramento citizens voted down Measures Q and R, because I am aware that most of them think like you do.

People are walking around with there heads held high, knowing that if the Maloofs don’t like it, they can move. Most are under the impression that something bigger and better will come along. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

So when the Kings move—and it will happen—the city of Sacramento is going to have to vote again on spending taxpayers’ money to build a new arena with the hope of luring a team to play here. Yes, we will have more say and will take more time in planning the whole deal, but time is costly, and any plan to come will just empty our pockets more.

After the Kings leave and we are left waiting for a new team, we can compete with Stockton as one of the top California cities with little to show for it.

Ian Kesseler

Not all men are like that

Re “Rites of passage” by Christine Craft (SN&R Essay, November 9):

Promise Keepers and Ms. Craft unmistakably agree on one thing: Promise Keepers representing “men.” Pretty damned offensive, if you ask me!

Certainly, many Americans seek sponsored, profit-motivated entities for direction (seeded by our mass media). The men portrayed in this article reflect that pattern, and Ms. Craft clearly depicted the ludicrous impressions most outsiders would likely reap. The behaviors of the PK men sound goofy and humiliating to me. But then, I don’t watch TV, go to church, or look anywhere for someone/something to make me feel strong, attractive or loved.

Meanwhile, two powerful issues are obscured. First is the fact that, unlike me, some very decent people feel they need external direction and support to handle life’s choices and demands. While the PK program doesn’t appeal to me, I know there are some intelligent, loving men who respond to such shamanism/showmanship! Any outsider to any emotional and/or fear-driven activity sees the participants as ridiculous. Occasionally, a non-fan attending his/her first Kings game believes the most rabid fans have lost touch with reality! Upsetting to think we’re in the same genus/species as many fellow humanoids, isn’t it? And to know our fears render us so vulnerable!

The other issue I call “genderizing”: designating an issue as specific to one gender. Remember, “D” and Ms. Craft, there are a number of men and women who would never attend a PK event, and many who would never buy clothes because they’re “in,” vote along political party lines, or pay attention to Paris Hilton. Apparently, members of both sexes can be remarkably vulnerable.

In this frantic-paced world, perhaps the only “male bonding” opportunity available to some men is a PK event. That alone might be worth $89, but you can count this man out!

Mitch Darnell

They must be nuts

Re “Blue Diamond battle on two fronts” by Graham Womack (SN&R Upfront, November 9):

Blue Diamond going after employees who are trying to form a union is understandable. Here is a company that hasn’t raised its workers’ [real] wages in 22 years. Ouch! I worked four seasons for Almond Growers back in the 1980s. I made $8.12 an hour. I think this is roughly the same amount workers are making now, but it buys a lot less.

Blue Diamond, by treating workers unfairly and keeping wages artificially low, are causing their own troubles with workers. Of course they want to form a union, in hope of better wages and working conditions.

Kevin L. Kallvet

Whine whine baby

Re “Ice ice baby” by Becca Costello (SN&R Nothing Ever Happens, November 9):

I’m going to just come right out and say what thousands of SN&R readers are no doubt thinking: Becca Costello’s weekly column is as annoying as hell.

I think I’ve given it more than a fair shake. I’ve been reading it nearly every week since its inception, waiting for the turnaround, but at this point it is quite apparent that none is forthcoming, so I will no longer bother. You should rename her column “Nothing Ever Happens Because I Am Too Busy Whining and Being Insecure to Just Let Go and Have a Good Time.”

The premise of this regular feature is good, but the execution is poor. Here’s an idea: In doing a column about happenings around Sacramento, choose a columnist who actually enjoys doing things! Otherwise, you get what we have now: A person who approaches four out of five activities with fear and trepidation, complains about discomfort during the whole experience, resents those who appear to be enjoying themselves, then wraps it up by copping out. What exactly are her qualifications for writing this column?

Ed LaFrance

Endorse early, endorse often

Re “Bites to the future” (SN&R Bites, November 9) and “On November 7, SN&R recommends …” (SN&R Opinion, November 2):

Folks, a lot of us really do like the permanent absentee ballot, and my son’s new Roseville district is totally absentee—no choice.

Generally, I compile all mailers until the end of the campaign season to compare ACLU, Sierra Club, the Bee and SN&R against the crap slate junk.

This time, I did it a week early, since the kids wanted to consult by phone. Therefore, your endorsements were of no use!

I suggest you put your picks in a week or two before the last possible issue.

William M. Wauters

High price of campaigning

Re “Candidate statements cost a grip” by Donna Lee (SN&R Upfront, November 2):

Prior to becoming a candidate this year, I always relied on the Sacramento County Voter Information Pamphlet to help me decide how to cast my vote. I assumed that the main reason some candidates included statements (and some didn’t) was because some candidates cared more, had better thought out their positions, and were better prepared.

When I registered as a candidate, I looked forward to letting my candidate statement explain to the voters why I was a good choice for Grant Joint Union High School District trustee. Imagine my surprise when I was told that it would cost me $1,300 to have my statement included in the Voter Information Pamphlet! A Grant School District trustee is paid $400 per month; it would take 3.25 months of my trustee salary to offset the cost of my campaign statement—if I won. So I did without.

The pamphlet mentions that candidates “may purchase space for a statement.” It doesn’t mention—but should—the high price of those statements, and that some candidates have declined to submit a statement solely because of the exorbitant cost. Since the county doesn’t gather that information, we’ll never learn to what degree the county is impeding candidates.

Considering the importance of well-informed voters, candidate statements should be free. Or perhaps candidates could pay by the word rather than by one flat fee. I could have conveyed the reasons to vote for me to candidates in about 30 words. If nothing else, charging candidates by the word would have resulted in more information available to the voters about far more candidates and a more effective election. It would have also likely eliminated a lot of the gobbledygook in this past election’s candidate statements.

Gary Sawyer