Letters for October 12, 2000

Cloning trouble

Re “My Stolen Self” by Debra Sherman (SN&R, Sept. 28):

Thanks for letting Debra Sherman tell us her story. We’ve all heard of this before, but never on such a personal level. Now we know that, once you are cloned illegally, your life is destroyed and the police authorities are next to worthless. So we need to hound our legislators until this crime puts the criminal in trouble, not the victim. I wish Ms. Sherman a better future.

Herb Redlack Carmichael

Cost of carelessness

Re “My Stolen Self” by Debra Sherman (SN&R, Sept. 28):

I agree with the detective who told Ms. Sherman that she was not the victim [of a crime]. As a matter of fact, her carelessness “caused” a crime to be committed. I don’t know what world she lives in, but the one I live in would have told me to either leave my purse at home or to lock it in the trunk of my car, out of sight.

At 30-some years old, she wants to teach school, which means she is going to be responsible for young lives. How can she be responsible for our children when she is obviously not responsible for her own affairs? She has also demonstrated a lack of self-control under pressure by yelling at people on the phone or not being able to articulate at all.

Thelma Johnson Sacramento

Gut test

Re “Give It Up” (SN&R editorial, Sept. 14):

Your comment, “This is shameful,” is a gross understatement. The incarceration rate for young African-American men is a national disgrace and clearly a reflection of racial bigotry by legislators. We pass drug laws that go easy on the white middle-class kids and dump on the ghetto kids.

Additionally, the so-called “drug war” has to be one of the more stupid things that have happened in this country. We have criminalized what is essentially a health problem. It is too bad Gov. Davis does not have the guts of somebody like Gov. Johnson of New Mexico, who has moved to decriminalize non-violent use of drugs.

James G. Updegraff Sacramento

Best of where?

Re Best of Sacramento (SN&R, Sept. 21):

Another year, another chance for the Sacramento News & Review’s readers to show how unimaginative they are in choosing the best of Sacramento.

Readers of the San Francisco Bay Guardian would never think of naming out-of-town corporate franchises as “best of the Bay.” A couple of years ago, instead of choosing Blockbuster Video, the paper chose Le Video, a large video shop with a varied and eclectic collection of titles, including a large selection of wide-screen, as best video store.

But alas, Sacramento doesn’t seem to be as iconoclastic as its Bay Area counterpart. So in, among other places, New York City (corporate headquarters of Viacom, which owns Blockbuster Video and the Virgin megaspore, and AT&T, which owns AT&T Wireless), Cincinnati (corporate headquarters of Federated, which owns Macy’s), Fort Worth (corporate headquarters of Tandy, which owns Radio Shack, Louisville (corporate headquarters of Trion Global Restaurants, which owns Taco Bell), Atlanta (corporate headquarters of Home Depot), Seattle (corporate headquarters of Nordstrom), Plano, Texas (corporate headquarters of J.C. Penney), and San Francisco (corporate headquarters of The Gap, which owns The Gap and Old Navy), CEO’s were probably celebrating when they heard that News & Review readers voted their corporate franchises as—forgive the expression—the best of Sacramento.

Ferchrissakes, people, don’t be so goddamned disappointing next year!

Allen Turner Sacramento

The camel’s nose

Re “Take a Stand” (SN&R Editorial, Oct. 5):

When the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors established an urban-services boundary as part of Sacramento County’s General Plan in 1993, it was to combat suburban sprawl, a disease that is infesting the entire state of California. Developer and land speculator C. C. Myers wants to change the rules for his own benefit.

The hoopla that Myers gave out to qualify his initiative (now Measure O) was: “Save Our Seniors!” The parcel of land that he wants to “develop” is Deer Creek Hills, in the rolling foothills at the edge of Sacramento County.

Why do our seniors want to be “saved” on such land, miles from any community? Were they asked? No, this is a manifestation of how wealthy executives dream of retiring—to “get away from it all” and to play golf day after day, week after week.

But do such retirees consider what they will want when the novelty wears off, when they become 80 or 90 years old? What will they do when they tire of the golf course—the same old view, the same old things to talk about with their buddies?

Well, C. C. Myers promises a road will be cut to Highway 50 to make driving easier. But the older you get, the less inclined you are to be driving at all. How about a bus? Well, that adds to the air pollution—and Sacramento County is one of the worst for pollution. Further, the Delta breezes blow the pollution toward the foothills—a hazard for older people with lung problems.

“Save our seniors?” Bosh! When I was planning my retirement, I decided on four requirements: (1) I wanted to keep in touch with people of various ages. There is nothing as devastating to a senior as isolation. I wanted to live near a community with cultural activities that I could join, where my mind could still be challenged in the exchange of ideas. (2) To live near public transportation. (3) To live near good health facilities—clinics and hospitals. (4) Good entertainment—concerts, plays, movies.

Finally, Measure O seeks to extend the urban-services boundary to accommodate Deer Creek Hills—and C. C. Myers. If it passes, it is the camel’s nose under the tent. Then, some other speculator will be poking his nose into the USB and pushing it out of shape.

Dorothy Harvey Sacramento

High price to pay

Re “Depression in Men” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, Sept. 28):

Having a “screening day” for depression implies that depression can be measured as precisely as blood pressure or cholesterol levels. There is no definitive laboratory test that identifies depression or any other mental disorder, but that hasn’t stopped psychiatrists from medicalizing all of our problems.

What would be the result of a depression screening? The individual would be referred to a mental-health professional, who would label the person as depressed and then prescribe a psychotropic drug. Antidepressants have side effects that tend to be glossed over or ignored by researchers who are in the pay of the drug companies.

Dr. David Healy, a British psychiatrist, studied the most widely prescribed antidepressant and concluded that about a quarter of a million people worldwide had attempted suicide while on this drug, and that 10 percent of them had succeeded. He also noted that patients in clinical trials often do not report side effects. For example, when this particular antidepressant was tested, only 5 percent reported sexual dysfunction as a side effect. We now know that the real figure is in the range of 40-50 percent.

Sounds like a high price to pay, when the person’s problem is more likely in his environment than in his brain.

Paul Mullinger Sacramento

Contempt for life?

Re “Ancient Observers” by Mark Hertsgaard (SN&R News, Sept. 21):

Any barely intelligent person would have to ask how clear-cutting ancient forests and then covering the Earth, which had been protected by the trees themselves, with herbicides, could not have an adverse impact on the environment and both air and water quality, not to mention the sheer loss of the beauty of the natural world.

Edward Abbey wrote that: “Contempt for the natural world implies contempt for life.” Contempt for life is apparent in the actions of Sierra Pacific Lumber, and it is also calls into question the actions of Gov. Davis.

Linda Shubert Fair Oaks

Out sourcing

Re “These Vagabond Shoes …” by Mark Halverson (SN&R Film, Sept. 14):

In his film review of Duets, your reviewer managed to flub his source for the “15 Minutes of Fame” reference. Of course, it was Andy Warhol, not Marshall McLuhan, who was responsible for this famous phrase. Please know your sources when name-dropping, please!

Art Longmire via e-mail

Editor’s note: In all fairness to Mark Halverson, we need to point out that the error was made during the editing process, not by him.

Left out

Re “The Next Papa Roach?” by Shera Oliveria (SN&R Music, Sept. 28):

Your coverage of the Sacramento Rocks albums is a joke, just like your SAMMIES award program. Both are mired in the politics of the local music scene.

For those of you who are buying into this, here is something to consider: Deftones were never included on these discs; Deftones only started to get regular play with the release of White Pony. Simon Says only got airplay when KRXQ found out they were being pursued by labels. Severance had their first “local licks” show after 98 found out they had won the MTV big deal. Zoppi has never been played to this day.

Noah Veil Sacramento

Kindred spirits

Re “Brave New World Orchestra” by Peter Castles (SN&R Arts & Culture, Sept. 14):

I was very interested in the article, which described Harley White’s efforts to increase public awareness of the benefits of music education for all children and to create the opportunity for instrumental music study for those he described as “culturally and economically disenfranchised.” Mr. White may not be aware of the efforts made by the Sacramento Youth Symphony over the past five years to accomplish goals similar to his own.

For example, since 1995 the Sacramento Youth Symphony has expanded its orchestral program to include two additional orchestras, one an entry level orchestra for beginning musicians and one an intermediate orchestra for those more advanced but not yet at the level of the most competitive, advanced, premier orchestra.

This year, the orchestral program boasts close to 300 participants, musicians who come from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and who play at all levels. No musician is turned away because of lack of funds, as the scholarship program makes admission possible for all who can make it into any level orchestra.

Recognizing the need to reach out to those children with the desire to make music but without financial resources for private lessons, the Sacramento Youth Symphony established a special scholarship fund, the Michael Neumann Scholarship Fund, in 1997. This fund is offered only to children who are not in the Sacramento Youth Symphony, but who show interest and promise in the area of instrumental music. The fund pays for private music lessons for these children. Many recipients of the funds have gone on to become members of the Youth Symphony orchestras, and at least one is now majoring in music at CSUS.

The Youth Symphony hopes to continue its work in helping to bring the joy of musical performance to all children and supports the efforts of kindred spirits like Harley White.

Jerilyn Borack past president, board of directors Sacramento Youth Symphony and Academy of Music

Local motion

Re “Best Bee Guy We’ll Actually Miss” (SN&R Best of Sacramento, Editors” Choice, Sept. 21):

Your blurb, while ostensibly wishing Sacramento Bee movie critic Joe Baltake well at his new East Coast location, seems to “gloat” over the fact that Baltake is not a “local” reviewer.

It should go without saying that a journalist does not have to be “local” to review films, which are the same everywhere, unlike “local” theater or “local” television.

How many hundreds of newspapers across the country use Roger Ebert’s film reviews? Outside Chicago, he is not “local” to any of the other newspapers that print his reviews. There have always been news people in bureaus and news people who are syndicated, and they are never local. Yet, if they are “good” news people (which Baltake surely is), it matters not at all from where their “work product” originates.

The Sacramento News & Review should be careful not to give an erroneous impression of the importance of “local” persons writing for its publication.

Joanne P. Rutherman Sacramento

March on!

Re “Best Attitude in a Marching Band” (SN&R Best of Sacramento, Sept. 21):

I’m not sure how a Davis band can be described as the “Best of Sacramento,” but I agree wholeheartedly that the Cal Aggie Marching Band is the best at playing marching music with a twist.

Any marching band that plays “Welcome to the Jungle"—as they did Sept. 8 in Cesar Chavez Park—is No. 1 in my book.

I’m also a little jealous. As the drummer for the Brodys, I was thoroughly outmatched by the size and volume of their awesome drumline when they covered our song, “Beer Truck Driver,” at the park show. In the immortal words of Tom Petty, “You guys are gonna put me out of a job.”

Dave Kline Sacramento

“Dangerous illogic”

Re “The Needle and the Spoon” by Amy Yannello (SN&R, Sept. 14):

[Bi-Valley Medical Clinic’s] Dr. McCarthy makes an error in logic when he says that people on methadone are “just like” diabetics on insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs in the control of blood glucose levels. Methadone is not a hormone that the body needs.

Equating the two puts a dangerous illogic in place. If we believe that drugs are all just like substances that the normal body produces on its own and are used only to correct imbalances, then anyone who advocates a non-drug therapy can be accused of denying medical treatment. This has already occurred in New York, where a judge ruled that a mother and father would have their child taken away from them if they didn’t put him on Ritalin. Dr. McCarthy should be more careful with his comparisons.

Melissa Leistra Bittner Wilton

Is this democracy?

Re “Democracy is Good Business” by Peter Keat (SN&R Guest Comment, Sept. 28):

Peter Keat writes that the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op is an example of a “democratic, community-owned business.” SNFC member/owners and the board of directors make decisions at board meetings. They are open to the public. In contrast, decision-making by investor-owned businesses is un-democratic. For the owner/investors, the earning of higher returns on their investments is all that counts. Profits—not people—matter.

The decision-making process at the SNFC sounds like democracy, but it isn’t. Case in point is member/owners first learning in a Wall Street Journal article about the plan to build a second store.

Seth Sandronsky Sacramento

Supporting evil

As I hear grim-faced people tell me they’re voting for Gore to prevent Bush from being elected, it occurs to me that there is an obvious solution to their dilemma—vote for Nader and keep both Gore and Bush out of the White House! It’s just that simple.

Should Bush be elected, many will blame Nader votes for his victory. In reality, the responsibility for a Bush victory lies with those fear-ridden folk who complained, correctly, for decades about having no decent voting choice. They either didn’t vote or voted for “the lesser evil.” They are ignoring the fact that any time any evil is chosen, especially when a greater good is available, those supporting the evil, be it lesser or greater, bear responsibility for the outcome. Theirs is the irresponsible choice, and theirs is the accountability for allowing the further devastation for our freedoms and our environment.

Victoria K. Rhys Sacramento

Untender mercies

Re “Rockcrit Nostalgia” by Mark Halverson (SN&R Film, Sept. 21):

Mr. Halverson’s piece on Almost Famous will surely help him secure his place in the annals of journalistic obscurity. He himself has fallen into the journalistic trap of trying to make a reputation by making “unmerciful” observations with little regard to the “honesty” of the work.

This movie has completely captured the essence of the teenage rock experience in the early ‘70s. As a San Diego native who was 16 in 1972 and also is a ‘74 graduate of Clairemont H.S. (a.k.a. Ridgemont High), I can assure you that this film, although not a “passionate soul search,” is honest!

I suppose only Cameron Crowe and the rest of us who actually “lived it” will truly know the awesome integrity of this film, not to mention the on-location filming in Balboa Park, Pacific Beach and the now crumbling San Diego Sports Arena. Mr. Halverson, if the “biography” of your teenage years has the “emotional depth” that you require in a film, then be my guest; “Show me the money.”

John Barrientez Sacramento

Folsom sprawl

The city of Folsom presented its request for a “sphere of influence application” for the first time on Sept. 19. Though the legal requirements for notification of the meeting and subject content were met, there was no press in the Folsom Telegraph or Sacramento Bee prior to the meeting to alert more of the citizens of Folsom about the pending project as the council began the process of probable annexation.

The move toward annexation will undoubtedly affect our quality of life in a negative manner, as our infrastructure already lags in terms of schools, libraries, parks and open space. The majority of the public speaking at the council meeting was opposed to the continuation of this process without further public input and a greater commitment to maintaining the proposed area outside of the urban-services boundary established by the county in 1993.

The newly formed Alliance of Folsom Residents (www.folsomresidents.org) cited reports of two informal polls in one neighborhood of more than 1,200 homes substantiating the community’s concern, each with more than 80 percent opposition to ultimate annexation and development. Unfortunately, the council voted 4-1 to proceed with the SOIA process with little amendment to a resolution that outlined conditions for annexation that clearly indicate that development will likely take place.

Numerous recent newspaper articles have delineated ownership by large developers and potential plans for the area south of Highway 50, noting the potential for the inevitable advancement of urban sprawl and all of its untoward effects. The citizens of Folsom and the county of Sacramento who value open space, support slowing growth and the completion or enhancement of our currently under-funded facilities must speak out at upcoming meetings and at the polls this November or the battle to enhance our quality of life will be lost.

Measure O is the beginning of the assault on the urban-services boundary. A NO vote will show the developers that we are in support of this boundary.

Barbara Leary president, Alliance of Folsom Residents Folsom

Got fat?

So the milk industry has chosen the “Survivors” as poster children for their “milk mustache” ads. What these folks need to know is that consumption of milk is not very conducive to long-term survival.

Milk is designed for baby bovines and is definitely “unnatural” for human beings. In fact, 95 percent of Asian Americans, 70 percent of African-Americans and Native Americans, more than 50 percent of Mexican Americans and 15-20 percent of Caucasian Americans are unable to even digest the milk sugar lactose.

Dairy consumption raises the risk of chronic [illnesses] such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In addition to saturated fat and cholesterol common to all animal foods, dairy products contain pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. A 12-year study of 78,000 nurses found that those regularly consuming dairy products suffered more bone fractures than those who rarely or never did.

I plan to promote my and my family’s survival by partaking of the rich variety of soy, nut and rice milk products available.

Stanley Townsend Sacramento

Road weight

The other day I got pulled over and ticketed for running a red light—on my bicycle. Now I will admit part of the reason I do this is to get somewhere faster—which is not particularly fast—by not having to dismount and remount at every light and stop sign. But the other reason is because, even though I’m subject to the same road rules as an auto driver, I’m not really given the same weight in traffic. When the light changes at an intersection, I never know if I will be taken seriously or not, and I’m the real loser in the situation if things become ambiguous. It seems better for all if I can just get out of there before it becomes an issue.

At a time when we should be encouraging people to get out of their cars, it also seems that Sacramento’s finest could be using their tax-paid time more productively.

Susana Reichle via e-mail

Will and Joe

Re “Tinker’s Damn” by R. V. Scheide (SN&R Essay, Sept. 28):

I just read R. V. Scheide’s moving essay on the late Joe Tinker. I laughed out loud at the excerpt from one of Joe’s essays and teared up at Scheide’s closing line. I remember Joe Tinker, his essays in the SN&R and his great presence on the in-bound No. 36 bus. He reminded me of my old friend Will, equally as large and as talented as Joe.

Will and I were in drama school together at San Francisco State back in the late ‘60s. He was an excellent actor, played classical roles onstage and eventually landed small parts in the movies and on television. But over time, as he added years, he added pounds, and the movie roles became more “specialized.” But he refused to join the machine and get a “regular” job.

He continued to indulge his many other talents: music, songwriting, poetry and sculpture. The big, gentle, bearded bear of a man has chosen to lived his life within the scope of his own dreams.

Like Joe Tinker, Will has done time and has myriad physical ills. He recently served three years for having been caught in a friend’s “marijuana grow,” and while inside, his health deteriorated. Without his prescription medications, Will’s big heart suffered in more ways than we will know. What saved him were his music, his art and his faith.

There are many prejudices in our society, none more discriminatory than how we treat nonconformists and those who are overweight. Like Joe, Will too is one-of-a-kind. Some day, when Will leaves this world, maybe Joe can write a proper essay about my old friend.

Dennis Rasmussen Sacramento