Letters for October 19, 2000

Ignorant anti-hero

Re “Finding Global Religion” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, Oct. 12):

Thank you for printing the story. Despite its motives, its real power was to demonstrate how completely illiterate, non-intellectual and generally ill-informed most of the anti-WTO protesters are.

While I am sympathetic to many of their views, I am often embarrassed to admit it publicly, lest I be lumped together with people like the anti-hero of the piece. By his own admission, he knew absolutely nothing about the anti-globalization protests until he was fed propaganda by an incredibly unobjective source, a group of militant protesters.

It is unfortunate that, while serious intellectuals are attempting to study this complex and vital issue, the overwhelming majority of media attention goes to naïve, ignorant young people eager to latch on to a grossly oversimplified and biased platform.

The effects of capitalism run amok on the international community is an important topic. It will not be solved, however, by uneducated and uninformed kids running around smashing windows. If these kids want to “rebel” against globalization, they might want to try reading and learning about the issues at hand before latching on to an irrational mob. But, of course, that would take intelligence, patience, and an open mind, characteristics that are unfortunately in short supply among the protesters.

Jared Rodecker Davis

The perils of infill

Re “The Players” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R, Oct. 5):

Your story is an apparently fair assessment of Sacramento mayoral candidates to this passing-through Portlandian. For me, its stumbling block was the vague term “infill.” Cosmo Garvin didn’t broaden its meaning by his admission that position papers are “all very wonky stuff.” Although “wonky” isn’t listed in my Webster’s, allow me to say a few things about infill.

Adding infill housing to a district that is mostly housing increases that district’s transportation demand. Adding office space to a district that is mostly office space (downtown) has the same effect on the transportation demand between these co-dependent districts: Overwhelming at rush hours, dangerous at all times and worse if these districts’ “single-purpose” nature is maintained. Another 100,000 office jobs downtown is probably a mistake.

Don’t count on the road system ever being able to handle the load. Do count on an expanded light-rail system being able to better accommodate the “infill development of mixed-use, economically diversified districts” throughout the metropolitan area in a regional effort to manage growth. This more complicated definition of infill may be difficult to comprehend, but it should be public information, wonky or not.

Art Lewellan Portland, Ore.


Re “Left Out” by Noah Veil (SN&R Letters, Oct. 12):

Noah Veil, I have never seen the 98 Rock staff guffaw as hard as they did after reading your letter. You are a comic genius. Just in case the phenomenal punch lines slipped by anyone, here is a review:

1). You really got the staff giggling with your contempt for 98 Rock’s treatment of Deftones: “Deftones only got regular play [at 98 Rock] with the release of White Pony.” In fact, we’ve played the singles from Adrenaline ("7 Words") and Around the Fur ("My Own Summer” and “Be Quiet and Drive").

2). The Simon Says joke was a classic one-liner: “. . . only got airplay when KRXQ found out they were being pursued by labels.” Laughter abounds! Simon Says was on tons of “Local Licks” shows and Sac Rox 3, 4 and 5. “Perfect Example” from Sac Rox 5 was put into regular airplay on the station, and it was then that the label bidding wars began.

3). The ad-lib regarding Severance was your shining moment. I’m starting to laugh all over again as I write: “Severance had their first ‘Local Licks’ show after 98 found out they had won MTV’s ‘Big Deal.’ “ Heh, heh, “Local Licks” is scheduled six weeks in advance, and MTV contacted 98 Rock to pick a band to send to San Diego for the contest! We picked Severance. 98 Rock was all over the band long before the MTV “TRL” win happened.

Zoppi has always been a Sac Rox favorite, and I’m proud to have backed them the past four years.

My gosh, I’m laughing tears all over again! I must collect myself and get back to work. I do thank you, Noah Veil, for your comic relief.

P.S.: Sacramento Rocks: Napster of Puppets, which features Sacto’s best unsigned bands, is available exclusively at Tower Records. All proceeds go to the Mustard Seed School.

Kylee Brooks music director KRXQ 98 Rock

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

Good neighborliness?

Re “Small Inconvenience” by Dale Kooyman (SN&R Letters, Oct. 5):

Mr. Kooyman points out that the engineering term for half-street closures is “diverters.” He is correct because they divert traffic from one residential street to another. He says that, since the diverters have been installed, there have been no pedestrian deaths in Midtown. There is no causal link between diverters and pedestrian safety, except to say that if cars can’t travel on your street, then pedestrians can’t get hit by one. Diverting traffic from H Street onto my street means that pedestrian safety is now compromised in my neighborhood.

Thanks, neighbor.

Kenneth Dandurand Sacramento

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 (SNFC) 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

Paint jobs

Re “Beyond Statistics” by Wanda Ellis (SN&R Letters, October 5):

You, Ms. Ellis, need to read my letter of Sept. 21 again!

First, calling me a racist is the response I expected when I wrote the letter. It seems to be the popular hiding place for all who wish to ignore the facts. However, it is rather pointless in this case due to the fact that nowhere in my letter did I state my race or ethnic background at all.

Second, your drug statistics are interesting and worth looking into, but why didn’t you cite your sources? The facts in my letter are not mine; they were taken from the SN&R article to which I responded, which in turn came from the Department of Corrections.

Third, if you are going to blast me for what I write, the least you could do is be accurate! I did not stereotype black leaders, as you stated. In fact, unlike your ridiculously silly list, I didn’t stereotype anybody! I didn’t say African-Americans are lazy or ignorant or inferior to white Americans in any way. I merely took the statistics in the article and offered a more reasonable explanation than the mass “conspiracy” theory against African-Americans some black leaders and organizations would have us believe.

Last, it is indeed a shame that an apparently law-abiding, tax-paying citizen such as you should be discriminated against in any fashion. That was exactly the point of my letter. Black leaders must admit to the apparent problem among black youth in this country. Forget about gathering new statistics and address the overwhelming statistics we already have.

Until that happens, regrettably even you will continue to be painted with a broad brush.

Ron Waggoner 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 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

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

Folsom sprawl

The city of Folsom presented its request for a “sphere of influence application” (SOIA) 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 were 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 over 1,200 homes substantiating the community’s concern, each with over 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 diseases 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.

In 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