Letters for October 21, 2010

Letter of the week


Re “Meg’s bargain” by Rich Williams (SN&R Essay, October 14):

What Meg Whitman is really saying:

“I’m going to create jobs. I set up eBay research and development and support centers in India and China, rather than hiring Californians.

“I’m going to create jobs. I plan to lay off 40,000 state workers without providing other avenues for their employment. I’m going to create jobs. The stores those laid-off workers used to shop at will have less business and will have to lay off employees. The factories and food growers and truckers and warehouses who supply those stores will have less business and will be forced to lay off employees.

“I’m going to create jobs. I oppose Proposition 32—which will fund new green-energy companies and energy-efficient building retrofits—so I’ll be eliminating thousands of potential new jobs in that field, too. My policies will throw between a quarter and a half-million Californians out of work.

“Vote for me. I’m going to create jobs.”

Ed Hass
Elk Grove

Taxing pot out of town

Re “Too high” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 14):

I don’t use the stuff, but let’s be reasonable; radical differences in approach will lead (at least) to users traveling to areas where taxation is least.

On the national level, such differentials with regard to age and alcohol purchase have been shown to cost lives by youth commuting to consume and driving impaired for the return trip. I realize that age isn’t the issue here, but most reasonable people would agree, I think, that there is going to be an issue of sampling near the point of purchase before facing the drive home by many—too many. This will cause increased highway danger for everyone. Not good.

And, yes, those set to continue profiting from illegal distribution certainly will, and any benefit of reduced crime from legalization will suffer.

Frank L. Topping
Rancho Cordova

Future cannabis farmer of California

Re “Smoke and spin” by Nick Miller (SN&R Beats, October 14):

We’ll pick the devil or pick the devil: Jerry or Meg. Not really a choice, is it, for those exercising their democratic duties and wanting to pick a leader who supports cannabis reform?

I have seen the “cut taxes” way of improving the economy, and it leads to a lack of investment back into the state and an exodus of good-paying jobs. Greed is not good in this case. I figure Meg wants to start at the top and work her way down toward the end of her first term. Jerry wants to ramp up what is left of industry and rally the economic troops. Both will be floundering without economic growth.

We have a chance to empower first-time small business in places like Stanislaus County. Folks—like myself—are willing to learn to be in canna-business. I am willing, since jobs that pay enough to pay for a home are now getting 25 applicants or more per job offer around here, two years after my welding plant closed and took my job with it.

Maybe what we need in California is “homegrown” industry aimed at small business! Forget the “mega-cannabis factory” way, and focus on putting people in local communities to growing the state’s cannabis.

I volunteer to learn how to be in business producing certified California cannabis. Pick me! Jerry! Pick me! Meg! Anyone! A job, please … pick me!

Ernst Berg

God sez yes on 19

Re “Smoke and spin” by Nick Miller (SN&R Beats, October 14):

Balking on the cannabis (marijuana) issue could cost Democrats dearly if Republicans get smart and seize the cannabis issue. Cannabis prohibition and extermination isn’t consistent with Republican ideals, such as states’ rights, smaller federal government, free trade, capitalism, constitutional rights, etc. Millions of Democrats will jump ship and vote for Republicans if they do the right thing and support ending one of the most embarrassing segments of American history.

Another reason for Republicans to support relegalizing the relatively safe, God-given plant cannabis that doesn’t get mentioned is because it is biblically correct since Christ, God Our Father, indicates He created all the seed-bearing plants, saying they are all good, on literally the very first page of the Bible (see Genesis 1:11-12 and 29-30). The only Biblical restriction placed on cannabis is that it be accepted with thankfulness (see 1 Timothy 4:1-5).

Stan White
via e-mail

It’s about consumers

Re “Can you drive 60 by 2025?” by Jim Motavalli (SN&R Green Days, October 14):

This article makes it appear as though the Consumer Federation of America is an environmental advocate, which it is not. CFA was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest in the public-policy arena through advocacy, research and education. CFA’s conclusion that a 60-mile-per-gallon standard is achievable was based on three consumer analyses.

First and foremost, a 60 mpg standard would save consumers a great deal of money because the value of reduced expenditures is much greater than the increase in the cost of buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Second, the technologies to achieve 60 mpg, while providing consumers the same performance and vehicle characteristics as they demand today, will be available over the next decade and a half.

Third, in public-opinion polls, consumers support higher fuel-economy standards, because they meet their economic standards for an investment, and they believe much higher levels of fuel economy will be good for the nation and the automakers.

Please visit the Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency (www.consumerfed.org/index.php/transportation/motor-vehicle-fuel-efficiency) section of our website to learn more.

Mark Cooper
Washington, D.C.

Mark Cooper is the director of research for the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit association of more than 280 consumer groups.

Brubeck and Desmond for her

Re “What album changed your life?” (SN&R Streetalk, October 14):

Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, Jazz Goes to College, especially “Balcony Rock.” That was a while ago.

Sharon Goodnight

Verbal abuse is abuse, too

Re “Be kind” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Popsmart, October 14):

Verbal abuse is the worst kind of abuse out there. Whether it’s a bully on the playground, a co-worker at a job or a significant other, verbal abuse happens all the time, and people don’t understand how terrible it is. It tears people down inside, and that takes a long time to heal, much longer than a physical wound.

The old phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is absolutely wrong. It’s a great concept that growing a “thick skin” will protect you from people’s words, but the moment you hear a put-down, it’s already done its damage, even if you push it out of your mind the next moment. It’s taken you a notch down.

And if you get low enough, suicide does come to mind. My heart goes out to all those who have taken that final step. I wish someone had reached out to them and told them that there was hope and a better future ahead. Life does get better after bullying, though it’s not an easy road.

Sarah Reed
Rancho Cordova

Save the universities!

Re “Conflicts of interest and high-risk investing on the UC Board of Regents leaves students paying the bill” by Peter Byrne (SN&R Feature, October 7):

This was one of the most important education stories I’ve read all year. How can we possibly allow what was once the best higher-education system in the nation be dismantled to line the pockets of the people who were appointed to protect it? And most of us wouldn’t even know about it, if not for SN&R’s reporting.

It’s not just that we need a well-educated workforce to regain our economic standing. We’ve also got to have the sort of creative and scientific minds that will move us into the economy of the next century. We have to get California’s universities back on track.

Mark McMillan

Bravo … but he wants more

Re “Conflicts of interest and high-risk investing on the UC Board of Regents leaves students paying the bill” by Peter Byrne (SN&R Feature, October 7) and “The truth pill” by Rebecca Bowe (SN&R Frontlines, September 23):

When SN&R ran the story on Project Censored, I was so grateful and excited that I decided to write and thank you. Unfortunately, as with so many good intentions, life got in the way.

But with your story on the UC regents of October 7, I absolutely must congratulate you on apparently becoming the paper you’ve always had the potential to be. Not only are you telling the stories the mainstream press won’t talk about, but you’re doing it well—especially in the case of the regents article.

This kind of investigative reporting is critical, sorely needed and, I’m convinced, has an eager, half-starved audience. If you plan to be doing more of it (as I’m praying you will), there are, no doubt, lots of important stories out there awaiting your investigation.

However, the biggest, baddest and best—the most inaccurately reported major news story of the last 50 years—is one you’ve already covered. Poorly! Just think: You could do it well this time. You know, thoroughly, with lots of real investigative research.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? We all know. It’s the story that really will come out sooner or later. 9/11. I double-dog-dare you.

Thomas Lambie
Grass Valley


Re “Smile, you’re a tomato lover” by Kel Munger (SN&R Best of Sacramento, September 30):

I enjoyed that Kel Munger captured the excitement of growing her own vegetables in “Smile, you’re a tomato lover.” However, I was disappointed to hear Munger say that she couldn’t grow her tomatoes organically because she doesn’t have a compost.

What? First, you can buy organic compost at any nursery. Second, there are numerous organic fertilizers and amendments on the market. I think she’s confused, thinking “organic” means no use of any fertilizer, which is simply not true. And with all the DIY, apartment-sized worm bins any Google search will reveal, there’s really no excuse for not composting, but that’s another point entirely.

Munger crossed over to the dark side by supporting Miracle-Gro in her article. That stuff will drain right out of her pot and right into our rivers. It harms the Earth, and it will even harm her potting soil—I bet there is very little worm and biological activity in there.

Just say “no” to Miracle-Gro and go organic. You can still buy fertilizers, pest sprays, soil amendments, etc.—just make sure they are organic! It’s not hard, and the benefit to our environment is huge.

Phoebe Feeley


In the story “Right race, right time” by Lien Hoang (SN&R Frontlines, September 30), we mistakenly stated that Kaiser Permanente is supporting Ami Bera’s congressional campaign. While many of that company’s employees have made campaign contributions to Bera, Kaiser Permanente does not support political candidates.