Letters for October 20, 2011

Letter of the week
An agenda for you

Re “Overtime with the occupation” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

Hey, Wall Street, corporate media and politicians: Your attempts to portray occupiers as “a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” falls flat (quote from an anonymous top hedge-fund manager in [The Sacramento Bee], October 15). Another unidentified veteran bank executive quoted in the same Bee article stated, “It’s not a middle-class uprising. It’s fringe groups. It’s people who have the time to do this.” The Wall Street banksters, corporate media and politicians have also accused the occupiers of not having a coherent message.

I’m middle-class and definitely was not looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll when I participated in Occupy Sacramento’s march and rally on Saturday, October 15. The turnout of several hundred was not a “ragtag group,” and despite your lack of comprehension, we do have a coherent message: Jail those who caused this economic crisis; overturn corporate “personhood”; end wars and corporate war profiteering; eliminate “pay to play” politics with publicly funded campaigns and elections; jobs, jobs, jobs, with public-works programs and bringing back “Made in the USA”; universal health care; hands off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; end the wars against women, GLBTs, the middle class, the poor, unions and the environment—and this is just for starters.

Get it? Got it? Good!

Dorothy L. Wake

Don’t give it up for News Corp.

Re “News Corp., contracts and cronies” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, October 13):

This article only confirms that cronyism continues to thrive in the Sacramento City Unified School District under Superintendent [Jonathan] Raymond. It all began when he was hired and he opted to bring aboard his cabinet, with their six-figure salaries.

Why can’t our elected school board stop being rubber-stampers for this superintendent? Once elected, do they forget why they were elected?

It’s disgusting that so much waste occurs and no one seems to be minding the store to see if the children of this district get the first crack at financial benefits—that is, enough teachers, enough custodians, enough supplies and equipment.

The latest information from Cosmo Garvin in Bites is especially disturbing. Isn’t there anyone out there “in power” who can negate this contract?

Wanda Au

Don’t blame the police

Re “Overtime with the occupation” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

I thought the article had a slightly unfair spin on the police actions for last Thursday. I don’t think it’s very fair to criticize what transpired. The park itself already has an ordinance for open hours.

The police reminded protesters at 9 p.m. that at 11 p.m. they would face arrest. They gave several more warnings, beginning at 11:45 p.m. Arrests then started at 12:45 a.m.

I fail to see how 3 hours and 45 minutes worth of extra time and warnings is unfair.

The article then tries to throw the homeless under the bus in their argument for fairness. They’re homeless, and the police let them sleep on a park bench.

The police presence was very fair on the chief’s part.

The police did not have any idea what could have happened. There is no central authority for the protest. There have been altercations in other cities. They were, by the writer’s own admission, professional and amicable.

Last, the article highlights in big, bold letters, a statement suggesting [police could] have turned on sprinklers. Really?

Amicable, professional police team; warnings upon warnings from said police team; 3 hours [and] 45 minutes of extra time to pack up belongings and leave; or sudden, surprise activation of the sprinkler system on an unknown number of men, women, children, dogs and all of their belongings, very possibly causing panic and confusion, and leading to who knows what.

For sure, probably protesters crying that they were treated like dirt, had the water turned on them without warning. Getting all their items soaked—electrical lights, electrical generators, clothes, cellphones, tables—when the police should have just amicably asked them to leave.

Johnson Huang

Please, more on Occupy Sac

Re “Overtime with the occupation” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

As our alternative (to [The Sacramento Bee]) press, how about some in-depth coverage of Occupy Sacramento? I’d like to see the list of demands and hear from some of the demonstrators what we can do to promote income equality in this country and help out those in Cesar Chavez [Plaza].

Alice Levine

Occupy Sac crackdown

Re “Overtime with the occupation” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

Bravo, Nick Miller, for telling it like it is. The show of force was excessive, and only made necessary because the city already has a draconian law regarding “camping in parks.” That law—and we all know it—is designed to harass homeless people. It was never intended to be used on a public demonstration.

But heaven forbid that the city doesn’t crack down on Occupy Sacramento. After all, if they let students overburdened with loan debt, unemployed white-collar workers and people who’ve lost homes and retirement funds to Wall Street greed protest overnight in Cesar Chavez [Plaza], why, the next thing you know, the homeless will do it, too.

Good grief. It’s a classic case of government power being used to protect the wealthy, and it’s a pure illustration of what the Occupy movement is all about.

Jan Kline

Harder on hemp than the Chinese

Re “Feds and meds” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

All humor aside, government-subsidized cannabis (marijuana) prohibition, persecution and extermination is related to many problems America faces today. One of the endless examples is how free American farmers may not grow hemp, yet communist Chinese farmers do—and America’s greatest foreign debt is with China.

Cannabis prohibition is a destructive monster that must be put to death. Political leaders must stop feeding the monster, and citizens must stop feeding politicians who feed the monster. Ending cannabis prohibition is one of the most important issues of our time.

Stan White
Dillon, Colorado

Feds’ weird priorities

Re “Feds and meds” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

I think that the Obama [Department of Justice] has the wrong priorities.

For some reason, Eric Holder is interested in stopping cancer patients in California from getting marijuana by going after pot clubs that are legal under California law. At the same time the Justice Department has been caught secretly supplying firearms to Mexican drug lords.

It seems to me that it would be more productive to stop selling guns to drug lords than to stop cancer patients from getting the medicine they need.

Marc Perkel

Stimulus for the cartels

Re “Feds and meds” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 13):

Mexican drug cartels are no doubt thrilled with the Obama administration’s crackdown on voter-approved medical-marijuana dispensaries. So much for change and 2008 campaign promises to respect states’ rights. So much for jobs. The medical-marijuana industry is one of the few job creators in the current down economy.

If [President Barack] Obama succeeds in destroying the domestic medical-marijuana industry, international drug cartels will move in to meet demand and reap the profits. This is basic economics. As long as there is a demand for marijuana, there will be a supply. Replacing domestic growers with organized crime groups that also sell cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin is not a good thing. Marijuana prohibition is a gateway drug policy.

Robert Sharpe policy analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy

Isn’t it ironic?

Re “Vegetarian jokes” by Mark Dempsey (SN&R Essay, October 13):

There was some tasty irony in Mark Dempsey’s “Vegetarian jokes” essay—writing about how comedians (and pop culture to a larger extent as well) stereotypes vegetarians as joyless scolds and humorless fanatics in a tone that was the very essence of humorless scolding. He did write it ironically, right?


Brandi Weed
via email

On realignment

Re “Realignment” (SN&R Editorial, October 13):

California’s incarceration rate is fourth highest among the 10 largest states, but that rate is somewhat misleading. The actual California prison incarceration rate is probably closer to eighth lowest among the 10 largest states. That’s because about a third (32 percent) of the in-state California prison population consists of county-jail inmates in prison only because of the 65,000 California county jail bed shortages.

The U.S. Supreme Court order to reduce the prison population by 32,000 beds ensures that most of the low-level inmates will be returned to the counties. The major point of realignment is that it will save about $125 million to annual prison operating costs.

Rich McKone