Letters for October 19, 2006

Bad reasons for a new tax

Re “King’s ransom” by R. V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, October 5):

Great article! It amazes me how anyone equates their personal self esteem to the Kings. What is the word? Oh yeah: shallow!

And, for someone to equate losing the Kings to losing a limb or a child, well, that is just plain moronic. Sacramento was on the map before the Kings got here, and it will be on the map after the Kings leave (if they in fact do).

It is correct that the poorest people in Sacramento will be hit the hardest by the increased sales tax. They are also the people who can least afford to go to a game at Arco and pay inflated prices for food, beer and parking (which will increase with a new arena).

I used to be a season-ticket holder some 10 or 12 years ago. My $18.50 seat is now over $100 (too bad my income has not increased at that rate).

But I do not begrudge the Kings for that. According to the laws of economics and capitalism, if you have a waiting list for your product, then your price is too low. I say raise the prices and make the people who participate pay the freight.

The argument that “this is the way it is done in other cities” (75 to 85 percent funded by the taxpayers) is just like your child wanting something because all of the other kids have it. If it does not make sense to give in to your children, why are we giving in to the Maloofs?

Mr. Dickinson seems to think that someone will have to explain to all of the children wearing King’s jerseys why their team is no longer around. I will do that if he wishes: “They did not get their way, so they cried, packed up their toys and went elsewhere.”

It would be much better to raise the sales tax to repair the roads, the levees and to fund more police than to build a “Purple Palace” for a bunch of mostly illiterate professional basketball players who live in big houses in gated neighborhoods and are employees of billionaire brats.

November 7th will be fun to watch!

Dennis Johnson

Good benefits from an extra one-quarter cent

Re “King’s ransom” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, October 5):

I just finished reading your article on the Sacramento Kings and the prospect of a downtown arena. In short, I feel sick.

I found the article extremely one-sided. The negative tone of the piece was set when the author claimed that the “playboy” Maloof brothers “kidnapped” the Sacramento Kings eight years ago. And now we’re faced with a ransom? No. That’s pro sports. It’s a big business. There is no denying that.

Since the “kidnappers” robbed us of our beloved team (the one that the city never owned) all those years ago, we’ve made it to the playoffs almost every year. The Maloofs are fans, too. They want the best for their team. If that means a new arena, then so be it.

Arco Arena, as loud and dear to the hearts of so many Sacramento fans as it is, myself included, is run down. A third-party company, years ago, said that in five-to-eight years from that time the arena would be unsafe.

I realize that many people do not understand the inner workings of a major multi-million-dollar deal such as this. I don’t claim to. But I do know that it is what Sacramento needs. A new arena adjacent to the downtown area means more people visiting local businesses. It means a revitalization of such areas as K Street. Even if the city doesn’t see a dime from the arena, it sees a local economy that will grow stronger and faster than we’ve seen in some time.

We are a top 20 market and we should act like one. If we lose the Kings, then we will not gain another professional sports team for many years, if ever. It is a big deal for a city to have a team. I don’t see the league giving a franchise to every big city. We are lucky.

An extra quarter from every hundred dollars we spend (of which half of will go to police, EMS, and other public services and projects) seems a small price to pay for a facility that will help Sacramento to continue to grow. If we don’t have the foresight as a community to see this, then perhaps we don’t deserve the Sacramento Kings.

Jeremy Huntley

More than just black and white

Re “Separate and unequal” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R News, October 5):

Let me guess the following about Jonathan Kiefer: More than likely, he’s Caucasian, from an upper-income family, who moved to Sacramento from somewhere else and no doubt he never attended Sacramento city schools. Mr. Kiefer has mistakenly adopted an East Coast elitist’s view of the nation’s school system that is limited to white versus black—it completely ignores the complexity of Sacramento city schools and the Sacramento region in general.

I’m a second generation Southeast Asian-American who graduated from Sacramento city schools (Earl Warren Elementary, Will C. Wood Junior High School, and Hiram Johnson High School). I thrived in the schools I attended despite the constant racial and ethnic tension that existed, primarily between Hispanic and black students. It seemed to me that a lot of those students did not respect themselves or others.

I hung around others like myself who studied hard and planned to go on to college. I since have graduated from college and now work as a professional. My wife and I purchased a new home in Roseville two years ago. My wife and I don’t yet have children, but if we did, I would fight any attempt to send my children across district lines in order to fulfill some East Coast liberal’s idea of achieving racial, ethnic or income parity in Sacramento’s public-school system.

J. Tran

Police use pretense to bust political pro-prostitution pajama party

Re “Crashing the pajama party” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, October 5):

I was in attendance at the party and can shed some light on the evening.

In her article, Ms. Beckner quotes Lt. Schneider that at 6 p.m., 10 undercover detectives “surrounded the area” based upon a complaint of excessive noise.

The party didn’t begin until 8 p.m.; therefore, the “excessive noise” complaint as justification was a lie. They didn’t “raid” the party until 10 p.m., or shortly thereafter, and were in the party for at least an hour.

Thus, 10 of Sacramento’s finest were occupied harassing guests at a party that the police themselves described as “well organized” and at where they admittedly found zero violations of the law for over five hours. Is this how you want your tax dollars spent?

They shut the party down, using an obscure ordinance relating to parties at small hotels. But political fund-raisers are exempted from that ordinance. It was a political fund-raiser.

Bill Simpson
Hidden Valley Lake

SN&R’s sex bias is part of the problem

Re “Crashing the pajama party” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, October 5):

Your objectivity is suspect in your report on Sacramento police officers enforcing prostitution laws at a public sex event operating under cover of a political event. Your paper is involved in similar trade in your sex advertising, setting up an intrinsic conflict of interest.

Legal-prostitution advocates are stretching it when they claim it is a “victimless crime.” Everyone involved is a victim, from the providers (who typically suffer traumatic early sexualization at an average age of nine years) to subscribers, many of whom are sex addicts with families in pain.

In the dichotomy that “you either help solve or contribute to a problem,” SN&R is a contributor.

William Keevers

Give the kids a chance

Re “My first film fest” by David Riedel (SN&R Scene&Heard, October 5):

I would like to speak out on behalf of Access Sacramento’s A Place Called Sacramento (PCS) film contest.

It is obvious that David Riedel did not understand the filmmaking event for what it is. The program is not a traditional film festival that provides a showcase for the best in local filmmaking talent (although many talented film folk offer their assistance and many stellar films have been created over the years). It is a screenwriting competition and filmmaking program that offers a stepping-stone on the creative path (often the first) for people interested in becoming a filmmaker, or just in participating in the process.

Not everyone is meant to be a filmmaker, but how do you know if you don’t try? Access Sacramento’s PCS program can be the spark that ignites the imagination and aspiration for someone who otherwise would not have access to any other hands-on filmmaking activity, creative, technical or general filmmaking assistance. As a PCS alumni producer (Sac Noir, 2001; The Pink Dress, 2003), and now the current director of the Capital Film Arts Alliance, and co-director of the Sacramento Film & Music Festival, my involvement in filmmaking was born of that first experience with Access Sacramento.

I just recently finished my 19th film project as a producer since beginning in 2001, with many award-winning films and festival screenings on my résumé. There is a burgeoning, creative indie film community in Sacramento, and many of these award-winning filmmakers, writers, actors and crew in the region also have credits in a PCS film.

I will admit that my first PCS film was not my best, but it opened my heart and mind to the art of filmmaking and taught me some of the most important lessons that are constant in my filmmaking activities today.

Laurie Pederson