Letters for October 11, 2001

Jazzin’ up KXJZ

Re “Jive Talkin’” by Lloyd Billingsley (SN&R Guest Comment, October 4):

With all due respect to guest commentator Lloyd Billingsley, I could not disagree with him more about the recent changes at KXJZ. He’s clearly passionate and articulate about the music he loves. I personally understand the battle for airtime most musicians fight, in an age where American radio is run by corporate bean counters, with an endless assault of ads aimed at a populace numbed into regarding music as mere background filler between commercials. No voting: American radio generally sucks these days.

That said, I will be pleased to renew my membership to KXJZ during the upcoming pledge drive. I may even volunteer to help answer the phones. Where Mr. Billingsley sees “beltway blather,” I see programs that do what public radio does best. To be blunt, his assertion that “there are already plenty of talk radio programs in Sacramento” is absurd. Comparing programs like “Talk of the Nation” to the ultra right-wing crap splattered all over the public airwaves by jerks like Rush Limbaugh is nearly laughable … and way off base. I commend KXJZ management and sponsors for attempting to bring some balance and intelligence to the genre.

Mr. Billingsley claims “calls are running two-to-one against the change.” I’m not sure where that statistic came from. It doesn’t really matter. People are always much more inclined to complain about stuff when they’re ticked off than when they like something.

Jazz lovers have not been cut off in Sacramento. They can now find the same niche market music they love on KXJZ in the evening hours (a more appropriate time slot, in my opinion). I’m pleased to see KXJZ join the majority of NPR affiliates, opening the daytime hours to a broader spectrum of programs dedicated to the much needed debate about where our beat up democracy is going.

Andy Markley


Re “Elk Grove Erupts” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, October 4):

I read with interest the story on “Elk Grove Erupts” and the city’s troubles with the Lent Ranch Mall and cityhood in general. What struck me most about the article is that it clearly displays the shortsightedness and local focus that people have. In this day and age, everyone must realize that what they do in their community has effects far beyond their city’s borders. Elk Grove is focused on their city alone, just as many others are, such as Folsom, Roseville, Laguna, and the list goes on. It is this local view that has hurt Sacramento in is growth over the past 20 years and prevented regional planning from having an effect on the region. We as a region lack effective mass transit, but are effective at creating gridlock. We are effective at sprawling, but not at planning. Citizens of Elk Grove have both NIMBY (affordable housing) and “We want a mall and screw everyone else attitude.” With this view, we will soon look much like the Los Angeles of the North, which I believe most people would agree is not a good thing.

To take the Elk Grove scenario and project it into the future, here’s what will happen. The Ranch is built; homes go up south of it to support the mall. Jobs are created in Sacramento. Highway 99 is gridlock from 5-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. everyday. Elk Grove residents complain to the governor and CalTRANS that traffic is bad and demand more freeways. So every California resident ends up paying for the decisions of Elk Grove and regional planning still does not have any power. And so 20 years from now we end up back where we are now. How are we better?

The state needs to enforce regional planning and make every city a member of the group, otherwise quality of life will decline and no efficiencies will be gained on a regional scale. Then the question must be asked: Why live here? Is this the regional environment that the Elk Grove citizen-shopper wants?

Eric Schwarz
via e-mail

As nature intended

Re “She Did It Her Way” By Deanna Broxton (SN&R News, September 27):

Having a baby is the most spiritual, soulful and powerful experience a woman can have. Nature makes it that way in order for the parents and child to bond. Bonding is paramount to the survival of the newborn. Unfortunately, doctors, nurses and hospitals destroy this process.

A hospital is the worst place to bring a baby into this world. It is impersonal, non-private and the woman is not allowed to make any decisions that violate not only the hospital’s policy, but her right to decide for herself and for her baby. Letting nature take her course is too costly for the hospital and the doctor in charge has a golf lesson appointment he or she doesn’t want to be late for; the nurse assisting the birth is an old, cantankerous woman who’s miserable about her personal life at home. So, to hurry things up for insurance reimbursement purposes, the labor is induced, creating complications that were NOT there before, the nurses are exhausted and the baby is taken away and handled like a piece of meat, and if the mother is lucky, she’ll be given her baby all wrapped up in unnatural fiber blankets. That is the most violent way society starts life on this planet. If more parents bonded with and had their children at home, we would love our children more and there would be less teen pregnancy, teen suicide and other plagues that envelop society.

Sonia N. Molina
via e-mail

Mercury matters

Re “Mercury Rising” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, September 13):

Thank you for the article concerning potentially contaminated fish in California waterways. I found the article informative. However, I believe the article contains one glaring error as follows: “Once the gold was separated, the mercury was discarded with the rest of the waste products into streams and rivers … ” It is my understanding that mercury was not discarded. The way that sentence is written, it sounds like the miners simply threw their mercury away. Mercury was valuable. It is highly unlikely that the miners knowingly threw it away. It is my understanding that the mercury was recovered by the miners to the maximum extent possible based on the technology and methods of the day. Once recovered, the same mercury could be used again and again to catch more gold through amalgamation. It is my understanding that a small percentage of a given quantity of mercury was inadvertently lost through discharge of ore and/or tailings subsequent to processing of those earth materials. Certainly the mercury was not “discarded.”

David Von Aspern
via e-mail