Letters for October 2, 2003

Just say it!

Re “End game in Iraq” (SN&R Editorial, September 18):

SN&R writes, “It is now painfully clear that the administration has not been truthful in its plans for Iraq.”

Why is it so difficult for you to say it? Bush lied!

I read SN&R because I tire of the corporate-run, mainstream media pap that I’m served everyday. So, please quit pussy-footing around and just say it.

Bob Kampmann

It’s California—a car is a necessity

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

Jill Stewart’s hatchet-job on Assembly Bill 231 was mean-spirited, illogical and factually inaccurate (did your editors read that bullshit?).

Sure, Jill, California will be overrun with food-stamp-stealing criminals driving Rolls-Royces now that we will allow (with numerous exemptions) people in California to receive food stamps and own a reasonably priced vehicle. You know, a car, so that poor people can seek employment and education, better themselves and someday make enough so that they can get off of food stamps?

Do your homework, grow a heart and stop picking on the 5 million Californians who risk not having enough to eat.

Dan Scott

Sacramento’s not world-class without civil liberties

Re “Know your riots” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, September 11):

This article exposed the bad-faith efforts of some city leaders. The police presence during the June agricultural exposition was over-the-top. I don’t blame the cops. I blame city leaders.

Prior to the expo, volunteers formed the Sacramento Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture to help educate Sacramento about issues concerning fair trade, human rights and agriculture. Why didn’t the city follow the citizens’ lead and provide forums for discussion of the issues, thereby facilitating our rights to free speech?

Instead, all city leaders had to offer was dishonesty, fear and militarization of our police force. The fact that so many people around the globe are acting out against corporate globalization and free-trade policies—perpetrated through organizations such as the World Trade Organization—should give us all reason for pause. Do you think that maybe this global outcry comes from human beings, mostly poor, all over the world, who are hurt by current policies?

The city leaders’ professed goal of catapulting Sacramento into the ranks of world-class cities by hosting big conferences and “handling” protesters sounds shortsighted to me. If we really want Sacramento to become world-class, we need to promote fair-trade policies and pass local laws that recognize the larger importance of sustainability and democracy over profit. That’s where our globalized future lies.

Cory Fulton

Only three unarmed states

Re “Look who’s packing” by David A. Kulczyk (SN&R News, September 18):

In this article, Vermont is mentioned with Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin and D.C. as a state where you cannot get a permit to carry a handgun.

While true, I think you should be clear to your readers that in Vermont, no permit is ever needed to carry a firearm. This is also the case in Alaska. If you want to carry a gun, you can.

In addition, Missouri just changed its laws to allow carrying a firearm. Appeals courts in Wisconsin and Ohio have overturned their laws against carrying and their respective supreme courts are awaiting new laws from those state legislatures.

So, in essence, we are down to three states, plus D.C., where carrying firearms is illegal.

Tom Herlihy
Chicago, Ill.

Forget the irony— save the bees!

Re “The sixth extinction” by Alison Rood (SN&R Essay, September 11):

In her essay, Alison Rood explains that she moved to the sterile, sprawling suburbs because she had no choice, but her neighbors moved there because they are Stepford consumers with no understanding of ecology or beauty. Yet, her own complicated path to the “ruined meadow” suggests that the newest arrivals may deserve the same compassion and sympathy that Rood asks from us.

To mitigate the horrors of sprawl, one can do many things. One can plant those native plants on the Welcome Wagon lady’s list, not just soak up the irony. No, it won’t bring back the antelopes, but you could save a native bee. Take tiny creatures seriously.

Furthermore, in this crowded world, one can decline to bear or beget children. Adopting existing kids or just going it alone are great ways to work for a less-extinct future.

Wolfgang Rougle

Smoke and mirrors at St. Hope

Re “No hope for MESL” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, September 11):

Thank you for the article on the achievements of Sacramento High School students who were enrolled in the [Math, Engineering, Science and Language Arts (MESL) Academy]. However, I wish to address a few key points.

I did not “misunderstand” the Kennedy High School principal’s response to the request to locate the MESL Academy at that school site, as Mary Shelton told your reporter. Many under-represented students, particularly the African-American students, at Kennedy are failing academically, as they are throughout the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD). Only when Ms. Shelton sought support from the district and was refused did she begin to backtrack from her earlier statement about the good sense it made to have MESL on the campus.

Still unknown to most of the public is the strong-armed persuasion by the district and St. Hope to almost force enrollment into the St. Hope charter. Sacramento High School students who wanted to enroll in St. Hope only had to walk over to the principal’s office to pick up an application. On the other hand, if they wanted to enroll at another high school, parents had to travel to the Serna Center to get application materials.

Additionally, SCUSD board minutes will show that former Superintendent Jim Sweeney publicly stated that the MESL honors academy “should be established as a stand-alone” very similar to the West Campus facility. He also stated that it was the district’s responsibility to locate a site for this to occur. Yet, the SCUSD administrative staff and the board failed to act upon his request.

Elected school-board members, the top district administrative officials and the mayor of Sacramento have failed and betrayed the public trust by allowing an unproven charter organization to take control of these students’ futures. While I testified that there needed to be change at Sac High, everything that St. Hope has done and that the district and school board supported has been smoke and mirrors: from using models rather than real Sac High students on their slick St. Hope brochures to changing the lock on my classroom door to prevent MESL students from preparing to take their SATs over the summer. I am not sure what the intent is for this “hostile takeover,” but providing a quality education for the Sac High community is not it.

The MESL honors academy will continue to provide academic leadership in the Sac High community. There are interested parties who truly want these students to become college graduates and productive citizens.

St. Hope’s employment offer to me did not hold a promise of academic achievement for students at Sac High, or of support for the teachers and parents, and so I refused. I’m not sure what the final goal of the district, the board or St. Hope is, but I know from what has already occurred that it is not about “hope” at Sac High.

And, as a reminder to all those who have low expectations of Sacramento High School students, the MESL graduating class of 2003 earned over a million dollars in scholarships, including the prestigious Frank H. Buck Scholarship.

Jean A. Crowder
coordinator, MESL honors academy, formerly at Sacramento High School


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

The phone number given for Bikram’s Yoga College of India in our Sports & Recreation section was incorrect. The correct number is (916) 554-7687. The photo of Evan Drath in our Arts & Entertainment section was incorrectly credited to Jill Wagner. Larry Dalton took the photo. Also, the painting by Marjorie Methven in our Arts & Entertainment section was incorrectly titled. It is called “Tres pie.”