Letters for October 18, 2012

Three-strikes overkill

Re “Minority report” and “Blue state, red meat” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, October 4 and September 27):

I would like to thank Raheem F. Hosseini for the excellent articles he’s written on Proposition 36, which would reform the three-strikes law.

My brother-in-law is currently serving a 26-years-to-life sentence under three strikes. He was the first person sentenced under this law from El Dorado County [back] in 1992. While on parole for a drug-related crime, he was a passenger in a car pulled over for a broken taillight. Being on parole, he was searched, and the officer found a small amount of [methamphetamine]—less than 3 grams. So far, he has done 18 years for that mistake. Eighteen years.

Was he wrong for having the drugs? Yes. Should he have been sent back to jail for possession? Yes. But 18 years and counting? Talk about overkill.

He’s had no serious infractions, earned his GED and some college credits, and is not a threat to anyone. It’s costing the state $50,000 a year to house him. Under current law, he still must do nine more years before parole will be considered. That’s an additional $450,000.

The total tab for keeping him in jail comes to $1.3 million for a 3-gram bag of dope in his pocket. It’s 26 years of his life—at a minimum—for being young, stupid and on drugs.

There are 3,000 inmates in the California penal system who are in the same situation. We’re talking 3,000 times those million-dollar sentences. Do the math. It’s breaking the taxpayers’ bank.

Our family and many others out there urge you to please vote yes on Proposition 36.

Steve Clark

Hang ’em high—and fast

Re “Debate to the death” by Joaquin Palomino (SN&R Frontlines, October 11):

The complexity of the mind of Homo sapiens, abstract thinker, toolmaker: His history is written in blood in his own handwriting. In spite of his having a millennia-long rap sheet, some folks will say with a straight face that the mad dog is not capable of committing some heinous crime or other, while others, such as the sponsors of Proposition 34, work diligently to save the skunk from a firing squad.

All that the state has to do is stop the stalling and get a rope and take the beast to the nearest tree.

Hugh Montgomery

In favor of Measure M

Re “Dial M, not for money” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, October 11):

As a candidate in the race for Sacramento Charter Commission, I’ve yet to meet anyone on the campaign trail who is vehemently opposed to Measure M. Most folks don’t even know what it is and think it has to do with charter schools.

Once you explain that this is the city’s constitution and that it hasn’t received a thorough top-to-bottom review since 1920, people get the need for this commission. They know that City Hall has been mired in its own share of political intrigue and power struggles over the last four years. People know that if we want an effective, more streamlined government, we have to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves.

I encourage SN&R readers to vote yes on Measure M. And if you read almost all the way to the end of your ballot, there’s a really nice guy named Neil Pople you should bubble in!

Neil Pople

Let residents keep mayor in check

Re “Dial M, not for money” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, October 11):

What will we be voting for when we vote on Measure M?

California cities are either general-law cities, which are governed by state laws, or charter cities like Sacramento, which are governed by city charters. The mayor of Sacramento has been trying to force a nonelected charter commission down our throats in order to push his agenda by appointing “his” people to “his” commission. The city council decided to give people a chance to choose an elected commission instead.

There is also a list of 54 candidates for the city of Sacramento Charter Commission on the November 6 ballot. (By the way, my name is C.T. Weber, and I am listed 18th on that list of candidates.)

Charter reform can decentralize and democratize our city government. With a forward-looking commission, we would be able to directly elect all city commissioners, city council members, neighborhood councils, police review board, etc., by proportional representation. We can let local residents—not wealthy developers—decide what is best for Sacramento and for our communities. I tell people to strengthen their neighborhood power and keep the mayor’s power in check. That does not make me popular with the power brokers of our city.

C.T. Weber

SN&R doesn’t really see homeless

Re “Bring it home” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Editor’s Note, September 27) and “War on homelessness” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, September 27):

SN&R co-editor Rachel Leibrock wrote that the only encounter she has is with a homeless guy who asks her to wipe her car’s windows when she makes a stop.

I … walk around Midtown and actually interact with many of the homeless on a daily basis. I personally know some of the homeless, have talked with them and have given money to some. The majority of them are not down-and-out because of the downturn in the economy. They either have drug problems or are mentally ill. Some even have violent tendencies and have been recently released from being incarcerated. …

The shelter has strict rules about no drugs, no drinking, no pets and no fighting, so many of those you see on the streets of Sacramento do not want to stay in the shelters. They would rather be doing their own thing and not have to follow the rules.

Because Sacramento has been so lenient toward the homeless, things have gotten out of control. Many of the homeless sleep in the doorways of businesses and homes, going to the bathroom right there in the doorway. … They have made local businesses’ restrooms unusable, many times trashing them. They throw their trash all over the place. They dig in city trash bins, pull the garbage out and throw it on the ground. They have no qualms about littering.

I have seen fistfights between the homeless, and on one occasion, one pulled a knife on another one. One woman was asking me for money in exchange for sex, and she later said she had [tuberculosis]. One crazy homeless man threatened to assault me, because he thought I was staring at him.

This is the reality if you walk Midtown on a daily basis.

So instead of making excuses for many of the homeless, you should get out of your car and walk the streets. You will see a totally different picture than the one SN&R is printing.

David Gonzalez