Letters for October 2, 2008

Letter of the week
Why not him?

So I’m this guy living in Sacramento. I’ll admit, Sacramento isn’t Wasilla, Alaska. But it’s about as far away from [Los Angeles] glamour as you can get and still live in California. Score one in my favor. I’m a man of the people.

I’m also an experienced government executive, not at all like your typical blowhard U.S. senator. In fact, I’m president of my local neighborhood association! Maybe that sounds like no big deal to you, but there are maybe 3,500 people in my neighborhood. I’ll grant you, Wasilla has more than 6,000. But then I’m a president, and she was only a mayor, at least until recently.

It’s true that, as mayor, Gov. Sarah Palin sported a much bigger car than mine. She had her mayor-mobile, a white Chevy Suburban purchased by the Wasilla taxpayers in an act of true-blue Republican fiscal rectitude. My president-mobile is a light-blue five-speed Honda Fit I bought last year. Clearly, I’ll need to talk to my fellow board members about an upgrade.

But when it comes down to it, I’m more or less a hottie T-ball dad. I’m tall and muscular, with a square jaw and close-cropped salt-and-pepper gray hair. I don’t wear go-go boots like Gov. Palin, but if I did, they would look way, way sexy on me, guaranteed. I wouldn’t even need lipstick to complete the look.

I’m also a good public speaker. Seriously. I can even speak intelligently about foreign policy, having majored in international relations back in college days. I know what the Bush Doctrine is, and can even tell you a thing or two about the Truman Doctrine.

So there you have it: I’m cute in boots, I have executive experience and I give a pretty decent speech. Compared to Gov. Palin, my wheels are dinky and my grasp of foreign policy suspiciously solid, even elitist, you might say. But if you’ll elect me governor in a couple of years, I promise I can work those problems out. Or just lie about them consistently enough to get noticed as V.P. material.

You will elect me, won’t you? Don’t be a hater. If you are, you’re fired.

Matt Mitchell

Not the best

Re “Best way to abandon your auto” by Kimberly Brown (SN&R Best of Sacramento, September 25):

In the “Best of Sacramento” issue, you posed the question of the best way to abandon your auto. Here you had many, many options to choose from: you could have opted to have your readers support the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, which represents area cyclists in order to make “more and safer trips by bike” and who envision “bicycling for everyday transportation” as “common because it is safe, convenient and desirable.” Furthermore, they want to make Sacramento a “cycling capital.” You could have chosen to have readers support their local bicycle shop. You could have readers begin taking Regional Transit. You could have even had readers elect to write their representatives in favor of the Complete Streets legislation.

But no, with all these options you decided the best way for your readers to abandon their autos was to join Critical Mass, an event which does nothing to promote cycling and everything possible to make motorists hate cyclists even more.

In your brief bit you went so far as to say that Critical Mass educates “drivers, pedestrians and cyclists about the rules of the road.” Since when? I’ve yet to see a Critical Mass, in any city, hold workshops on safe cycling. I’ve yet to see a Critical Mass invite motorists to workshops teaching a cyclist’s right to the road. What I have seen are groups of cyclists riding far outside the law, running red lights, blocking intersections, etc.

In all of my years as a bicyclist and a bicycle advocate in cities and states across the country, I have yet to meet an actual bicycle advocate (read: a cyclist who rides legally, lobbies their representatives, educates the public, etc.) who rides in Critical Mass.

Even in San Francisco, where Critical Mass “began,” bicycle advocates got so tired of the Critical Mass riders being quoted in the media as being elected spokespeople for bicycle advocates that a group started Critical Manners (think Critical Mass but actually riding legally, running workshops and educating motorists and cyclists).

Next time you want to help promote a car-free world, how about you do a little journalistic research and recommend something which actually makes sense, as opposed to just helping promote a hipster party on wheels which does nothing to educate cyclists/motorists or promote bicycle safety?

Gabriel Frazee
via e-mail

Not that big a complaint

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

I think the “Best author” selection is a sad commentary on the literacy and intellectual depth of the Sacramento region when two mystery writers, Barry Broad and John Lescroart (whose name was misspelled!) are held in greater esteem than legitimate local literary lions, Joan Didion and William T. Vollmann.

That Didion and Vollmann were further insulted by having their names included with William Preston Robertson, who, to my knowledge, has written only one book (a movie tie-in at that!), The Big Lebowski: The Making of a Coen Brothers Film, is nothing short of embarrassing. Sacramento should be ashamed.

By the way, Robertson’s book is available through W.W. Norton.

William Preston Robertson

Some pluses for slow food

Re “Slow down, already” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Essay, September 25):

Bland is correct. The slow-food movement is largely a leisure-class preoccupation. But isn’t this usually how innovations get diffused through society? Early adopters are typically affluent and well-educated.

The more interesting story is how quickly the slow-food meme has spread beyond the few. Or can you name another Italian fad that has taken root all across the United States in recent times? Ideally, the movement will lead to some concrete political achievements, such as getting rid of the subsidies that make high-fructose corn syrup a staple of the American diet. That would be a great benefit to poor Americans.

Jeff McCrory

Show their faces!

Re “Never forget Tupac” by Nick Miller (SN&R Sound Advice, September 18):

In [this item], you covered the faces of two who wore a sick joke and rubbed in our faces our losses. Why not show them for who they are?

We have been known for being so friendly with our enemies it’s pathetic. Why cover the faces of two individuals who were bold enough to show up in a public place as the Twin Towers and a United Airlines plane. We all lost that day. There is no humor in the fact [that] we were all victims that day of people like them who found humor in our friendliness.

Show their faces so we know who we are working with during the day and shopping in the malls with. This is something we need to recognize and understand that our enemies are still making a mockery and we will never forget!

Michele McDougale
via e-mail