Letters for October 16, 2003

Someone has to take charge—it might as well be Ross

Re “Cruz controlled” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, October 2):

It’s always interesting and amusing to me to read more about political consultant and lobbyist Richie Ross.

It interests me because I worked in the State Capitol for a few years in the 1980s. I got to know Richie Ross. I always felt that he was a force, a voice, for those left out of the political process.

It amuses me because of all the recent print criticism concerning Ross and his rather apparent influence on several state legislators and the legislative process. I have to smile. In a state legislature with little to no leadership left because of term limits (a Republican dodge), someone has to stand up and take charge.

As a devout liberal from about as far left as you can get, I prefer someone like Richie Ross, who comes to his present place of influence by way of Cesar Chavez. Ross is someone who remains very attached to that way of thinking.

William J. Hughes

SN&R wanted him to engage, and he got Terminated

Re “One vote: yours,” (SN&R Editorial, October 2):

Well, we engaged with the process, as your editorial urged us, and “won one for the groper.” Shades of Reagan, but high-fives all around:

First to Ted Costa, our anti-tax activist, who managed the recall. Who needs public services anyway?

Next, Darrell Issa, who spent nearly $1.7 million of his own money to buy recall signatures, only to tearfully pull out of the race to work on “Middle East problems.” Really?

The list goes on. Oprah, who contributed so graciously by providing the groper (and no one else) with national TV time. So much for equal-time. The majority of female voters, who found it in their hearts to forgive the groper for his “trifling peccadillos.” Where were they when Clinton was impeached? Even Arianna Huffington, who served as the groper’s “straight-woman” in his only televised debate.

And the male voters who, apparently tired of searching for their feminine side, wanted a real “macho leader.” Don’t forget the California Republican legislators who, using the two-thirds budget vote hammer, forced the car tax rollback, which was a recall lightning rod.

Last, but not least, Gray Davis, who so totally screwed up California public policy that many right-thinking Californians were forced to resort to this travesty.

Viva la Hummer, baby!

Chuck McIntyre

Best expand our horizons

Re “Best of Sacramento: Readers’ Choice” (SN&R Cover, September 25):

Best club DJ, best bartender, best neighborhood bar, best happy hour and best gay bar, all to The Depot? No offense to The Depot, but eek!

This confirms what I’ve thought all along: that eight, maybe nine people at the most, vote during this annual “Best of …” crap Sacramento contest. There is no way the above is true.

Attention, eight or nine people: You need to get out more. Fun, frolic and cheap drinks exist beyond 20th and K streets! Expand your horizons!

Ann Johnson

Bluer than blue

Re “Workers’ comp blues” (SN&R Guest Comment, September 25):

Like your guest comment writer, I’ve learned the unpleasant truth about workers’ compensation insurance in California. Over three years ago, I suffered a legitimate lower back injury on the job. I had to be taken out of the workplace on a stretcher and rushed to an emergency room hospital.

Too disabled to return to work, I soon discovered that the California Compensation Institute (CCI) brochure “Facts for Injured Workers” is just ink on paper that quickly fades.

For example, CCI claims that workers’ compensation is “faster and fairer,” that medical bills will be paid and money provided “to help replace your lost income until you can return to work.” Just try and get your compensation under this provision. It took me two and half years with a good lawyer to receive compensation. My employer’s insurance carrier refused to pay any money until they determined the legitimacy of my claim. That entailed a thorough investigation into my physical health history going back three decades.

I ended up living on State Disability Insurance (SDI), paying for my healthcare insurance premium under Cobra, as well as my medical co-payments and prescriptions. That took half of my monthly income during my rehabilitation, in which I only recovered 25 percent of my physical ability.

I had to pay back SDI $12,000 once I received my settlement, which makes me wonder who is in bed with whom here? Because of the unfounded and deliberate procrastination on the part of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, I suffered an iatrogenic outcome, leaving me permanently disabled.

Clearly, what CCI promotes is wishful thinking compared to the facts.

Rich Kambak
Elk Grove

Stewart makes her laugh—and cry

Re “Nonsense and media” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, September 18):

Belated thanks to Jill Stewart for this great article. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the state of our legislators.

Please, more articles in your paper by Ms. Stewart!

Rosemary Garro Tanfani
Fair Oaks

Stewart’s take on “sunshining” initiatives is nonsense

Re “Nonsense and media” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, September 18):

State initiatives come to the voters with legal or administrative problems that could have been worked out with proper advance review. Unlike state legislation, which is subject to months of public review and debate, initiatives are prepared in secret with no public legal review or discussion, and as a result have been overturned by courts or defeated by voters.

Assembly Bill 1245 is a modest reform, supported by the secretary of state, League of Cities and State Counties Association, to “sunshine” proposed initiatives for 30 days prior to circulation, and allow initiative authors to make changes based on legal and public feedback. The bill has been passed by the Legislature and is awaiting action by the governor.

Imagine my surprise to read Jill Stewart’s column, in which she ridiculed this bill for “preventing” initiatives from going to the attorney general, “where they currently are sent so that any obviously illegal language can be removed before public distribution.” The attorney general does not now legally review initiatives, but simply gives an initiative a title and summary. AB 1245 allows, for the first time, a public legal review of an initiative prior to circulation.

In her detailed, one-paragraph analysis of the state initiative process, Ms. Stewart also suggests that public physical violence be visited upon me for authoring AB 1245—a bit over the top even if she actually understood the bill.

I can understand that a columnist who opposes the need for a thoughtful public review of state initiatives would not be inclined to a similar accurate public review of state legislation. But don’t you still have news editors at SN&R? Just as citizens deserve well-thought-out state initiatives, your readers deserve fair and accurate analysis of state legislation.

John Laird
state assemblymember, 27th District

Jill Stewart responds: The attorney general creates a legal summary so nobody can misrepresent what an initiative does. When the A.G. sees illegal language, a spokesman says, he calls the authors so they can fix it. Under Laird’s bill, the secretary of state will publish the initiative without its legal summary and with the illegal language normally spotted by the A.G.

Our laundry (probably) doesn’t include assault

Re “Arnold, uncut” (SN&R Cover, September 4):

Although I have not decided whom to vote for after that circus of a debate, I will not consider most of your one-sided attack in “Arnold, uncut.”

I think it’s refreshing to hear someone say, “Yeah, I did that. So?” Let’s air your dirty laundry and see what we find, shall we? Your intention to not just simply “knock Arnold” was intentionally forgotten. Take the same equal time on the rest of the motley crew.

Tena Wells
via e-mail