Letters for November 9, 2006

‘SP&R’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it

Re “On November 7, SN&R recommends …” (SN&R Opinion, November 2):

I see you went to the trouble of copying and pasting recommendations from the California Democratic Party and using them as your own. To be fair, you did have the “courage” to suggest a NO vote on Propositions 1A and 1B, so at least it wasn’t an exact duplicate.

SN&R once wrote that the Bee is like a mouthpiece for the Democrats. You ought to look in the mirror once in a while. You really might want to consider changing the “N” in “SN&R” to a “P”—for propaganda.

Chad Vander Veen

SN&R’s laughable endorsement

Re “On November 7, SN&R recommends …” (SN&R Opinion, November 2):

Not surprisingly, SN&R’s election endorsements look like they were dictated to SN&R’s editors from Democratic [Party] headquarters. However, SN&R’s endorsement of Cruz Bustamante for insurance commissioner was just plain pathetic and laughable! Bustamante has accepted millions in campaign contributions from insurance companies, and he refuses to return any of the money. Bustamante will not regulate insurance companies impartially when he’s owned by the insurance companies!

J. Deleon

Where’s Words?

Re SN&R, November 2:

Having just flipped through the November 2 issue, I find myself awash in bitterness. You haven’t printed any kind of book review. I’m wondering if your writers like to read.

Please don’t take this as an insult, but the reason for my concern is that I’m well aware that your local paid competition prides itself on its semi-literacy, which is why I put you guys above them. SN&R prints much more literate copy. The local paid competitor tries to inform fourth graders first.

Since SN&R prints such literate copy, why not more frequent book reviews? The Chronicle can do it every week. The Times can do a ton of it every week, which I now sorely miss with the demise of Tower (they used to offer free copies of the Times Book Review).

I give you guys the credit for being the local journalistic leaders. Gimme something back. Gimme a book review. And then another. And how ’bout checking in with Vollman? How ’bout free ads for used book stores? And free candy with every issue?

Thanks for reading. Thanks for providing something to read.

Paul Wiltz

Editor’s note: Words and Poet’s Corner were not published in the November 2 issue to provide extra space for our endorsements. SN&R publishes a full-length book review, called Words, in every issue except the Second Saturday issue, when we surrender that space for additional coverage of visual arts. We also run short book reviews in SN&R’s In the Mix feature.

Why bother saying no to Maloof arena tax?

Re “On November 7, SN&R recommends …” (SN&R Opinion, November 2):

Even if voters say no to ballot Measures Q and R for a tax to build a new sports arena, it’s likely the Sacramento City Council and county Board of Supervisors will still figure a way to get the around the voters’ desires to get $562 million out of taxpayers to spend on the arena rather than on problems like levee repair and police and fire protection.

Outside of the Maloofs’ sports-arena tax, Sacramento city and county politicians make decisions all the time on issues regarding spending tax dollars without asking for a vote first from ordinary citizens in their districts. A direct form of public democratic involvement perhaps might help stop local leaders from doing it again. However, it is likely that not many more residents of Sacramento and this state would be willing to participate more in their local government, because it would include receiving a lot of phone calls to their home questioning them on political-spending issues, even though it is their tax dollars at stake.

M. Kunert

Killing a river isn’t ‘green’

Re “Power grab” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, October 26):

Cosmo Garvin, in his article “Power Grab,” points out that PG&E disingenuously classifies its “big dams” as green energy.

However, PG&E is not the only utility company in the area guilty of such transgressions. SMUD classifies its hydropower plant at the base of Slab Creek Dam on the South Fork of the American River as a “low impact source of green power.” Slab Creek Dam is anything but low impact. The 233-foot-high concrete span is responsible for the diversion of around 90 percent of the natural flow of the South Fork of the American River. The lack of significant flows below the dam has deleterious effects on fish and wildlife in the American River, and seriously limits the recreational opportunities on this stretch of river. Despite these facts, SMUD includes the powerhouse at Slab Creek Dam in its “Greenergy” program.

Slab Creek Dam is just one of the numerous SMUD dams that harm the American River and its tributaries. The license to operate these dams expires in 2007, and SMUD is currently attempting to get a license renewal from the federal government. As part of this process, several state and federal agencies, along with numerous conservation organizations, recreation groups and chambers of commerce, have asked SMUD to make the basic upgrades necessary to bring its Upper American River Project up to current environmental standards.

Despite being a publicly owned utility with a self-proclaimed “commitment to environmental protection,” SMUD has ignored these pleas. Is SMUD so anxious to take on new customers and added power demand in Yolo County that it has to squeeze every last kilowatt of energy out of the American River despite the downstream consequences?

Soren Jespersen campaign organizer
Friends of the American River

Ever hopeful Abner Zurd

Re “The candid ate” by Becca Costello (SN&R Nothing Ever Happens, October 26):

Thanks so much to Becca Costello for coming to the screening of The Day Arnold Schwarzenegger Kicked My A**, and for her kind words about my newly minted presidential aspirations. I couldn’t have asked for a better description of the hopeful message of Abner Zurd.

Lorraine Fontanes
via e-mail

Cultural nostalgia, consumer nada

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

I agree that it is a sad thing for Tower to close, and I worry about whether the corner of Broadway and Land Park will remain attractive, but what about Tower’s responsibility in its demise?

I’m not talking about overextending itself with too many stores or failing to respond to the Internet. Just from an individual consumer’s point of view, the pricing at Tower was ridiculous. Why should I pay $18.99 for a CD I could find at The Beat for $12.99? While the selection in certain genres was better than The Beat (and worse in some genres), it certainly wasn’t appreciably better than at Amoeba (or Amazon).

I can get behind supporting a local independent bookstore fighting Barnes and Noble or a local mom-and-pop hardware store fighting WalMart, even at higher prices. But Tower came off as unresponsive and corporate and not deserving the support of an independent store.

Culturally, I will miss Tower; but as a consumer, nah.

Michael Geller

Too little, too late

Re “Running man” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature Story, October 12):

Thanks to Melinda Welsh for asking the right question at the right time. Why didn’t Phil Angelides whole-heartedly support Sheila Kuehl’s single-payer health bill? Health care is one of the most important issues economically to Californians, whether they are business owners tangling with the costs of group health insurance and workers compensation, or individuals hoping that nothing serious happens to them or their children while they can’t afford insurance. Vocally supporting the universal health care at the “nanosecond” that Schwarzenegger was vetoing it would have distinguished him as noticeably more progressive than his rival.

Mr. Angelides said it was because it would have been “academic,” and then made his own, much-less-comprehensive suggestion. He did mention he would cap what HMOs could take out of our health-care dollar, which would be great. But then he also said he would also like California to be the first state with universal coverage, which again begs Ms. Welsh’s question.

Unfortunately, he may have just missed the moment, which is what Democrats have been doing for almost a decade. The Dems in Congress supported attacking Iraq at the only time they could have done something to stop it because they were afraid of being unpopular. Now they are using the war as a wedge issue, because they think it will make them more popular. They missed their moment, as far as I’m concerned. Politicians need to distinguish themselves with courage to stand up for the ideals that brought them to office, and stand down with humility when they’ve made a mistake—same as the rest of us.

Mr. Angelides, you should have stood up if you really wanted universal heath care. You might have just gotten the opportunity to make a difference.

Rosie Yacoub