Letters for November 7, 2002

Kerouac cult distilled

Re “All Hail the Kerouac Cult” by David A. Kulczyk (SN&R Arts & Culture, October 24):

This article unveiled the essential Kerouac cult character accurately but ran about two pages too long.

Kulczyk plainly stated, “As with any movement that achieves recognition, the beat scene started to accumulate poseurs, knockoffs and hucksters.”

That lone declaration, illustrated by the flatteringly almost-sober-looking photo of [B.L.] Kennedy, would be quite sufficient.

Flombaye Ellison

The mentally ill are not monsters

Re “Fear Factory” (SN&R advertisement, October 24):

Usually I say, “Right on!” to SN&R, but I was disturbed to see that you were one of the sponsors of the Fear Factory’s two haunted houses, “Psychotic Episodes” and “Manic Midway.”

I was disappointed that you would support a production that unnecessarily depicts illness in a negative way. I think their titles unfairly suggest that extremely ill individuals experiencing psychosis are prone to violent behavior. I suspect they are actually referring to sociopaths rather than the majority of people who suffer psychotic episodes and do not commit violent acts.

Our society has come far in understanding rather than fearing illnesses such as cancer and AIDS, but the understanding of mental illness still lags behind. The Fear Factory’s misrepresentation is what perpetuates ignorance, fear and prejudice. Only by the actions of the well-informed and compassionate minority can we overcome these things.

It may seem like I’m oversensitive and making a big deal out of something that is meant for fun, but, in the end, we are having fun at the expense of whom? Would we let our kids go to a haunted house called “Myeloma Mortuary” or “Hemophiliacs’ Hellhouse”? What about “Diabetic’s Dungeon of Death”?

It’s time for those who are truly compassionate to stand up to cruel misperceptions and judgments and lead the way for a realistic perception of those who suffer devastating illnesses they neither chose nor fully control. It’s been a long time since the days when straightjackets were the norm. It’s time we acted like it. I hope you will help in putting an end to the “insanity.”

Ann Marie

More static over KVMR

Re “Community Radio Static” by Michelle Olsen (SN&R News, October 17):

I became a KVMR board member in 1990. Board members became suspicious of the accounting when we could not pin down the general manager at the time about the station’s actual debt. We discovered a deficit exceeding $80,000. The board I served with focused on paying the station’s debt and setting sound principles for a solvent future.

The article’s statement about KVMR’s “battle with the Internal Revenue Service” is not quite right. We worked out an agreement and paid off the back taxes much sooner than the timetable given, which resulted in the IRS forgiving much of the interest it had charged. As for the statement that “the State of California nearly padlocked the station for neglecting to pay payroll taxes,” it never even came close to that.

As for saying that “mismanagement put KVMR $120,000 in the hole,” the debt was from the 1980s, and long since paid off. Present management was never involved with this. Some of the people now complaining about the present KVMR are the ones who helped put the station in the red at that time.

The complaint about “primitive” broadcast equipment raises the question of whose standards are being used. Has this broadcaster ever been with another nonprofit station? Broadcast equipment is not cheap. You do not need state-of-the-art equipment to do good radio.

The statement by a volunteer that KVMR “could have been a 12,000-watt station” is not quite right, either. The upgrade power that KVMR could have sought in the 1980s was for 10,000 watts. The very same people who had driven the station to the debt that we had to pay off were the ones who turned down the power upgrade as unfeasible.

Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that some who are involved with KVMR have their own agenda, which is in conflict with the overwhelming majority of those who support KVMR through their contributions. Remember, when we say community station, we mean the listeners as well as those who staff it, be they volunteers or professionals.

Bruce Hayden

Think of them as castaways

Re “Best of Sacramento” (SN&R Cover, September 26):

We are honored that SN&R designated the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary as the “Best Collection of Misfit Critters.”

Though public response has been laudatory, Jill Wagner’s excellent photo of mountain lion Bristlecone has caused a small problem. It is Bristlecone’s opinion—not shared by FCZS’s other animals—that he is the best misfit animal. Understandably, this has caused trouble.

It is our hope that Jill will return, camera in hand, to photograph all the rest of the animals and put this petty squabbling to rest.

Incidentally, “misfit” can be defined as “pariah,” but the wild orphans, disabled or former pet residents of FCZS think of themselves as “castaways,” yet another definition of misfit.

Terry Jenkins
Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary