Letters for October 24, 2002

Let Peter dance!

Re “Mr. Camejo, the Floor Is Yours” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R Cover, October 10):

I want to offer the folks at SN&R a few words of congratulations for allowing Camejo onto the political dance floor. I was getting pretty sick of observing the Davis do-little-dance. And shuffling along to that old dance ditty, “Simon Says,” is tricky, especially when Simon keeps having to eat his words. The rhythm of the dance and the concomitant dance steps keep changing when you’re doing the Simon Says shuffle.

As far as political cameo performances go, Camejo is no John Travolta. He could use a break. But, thanks to the Los Angeles Times and other elitist organizations, he is having a hard time stayin’ alive. Yes, he comes across at times as quixotically idealistic, and he is often out of step with all of those other smooth-taking politicians. Furthermore, in our materialistic world, fraught with crass commercialism, he has a hard time finding a dance partner. But, for God’s sake, does that mean we have to kick him off the dance floor?

I am not an aficionado of the Green party, and my dance steps steer far to the right of either Camejo or Davis. But I abhor the supercilious attitudes that disallow well-meaning, artlessly candid candidates like Camejo from having a voice or at least a small spot on a dance floor that is too crowded with woefully conformist candidates.

Bruce L. Thiessen

Hey Dems, shut your yaps

Re “Mr. Camejo, the Floor Is Yours” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R Cover, October 10):

I was disappointed that you refused to give Bill Simon his due in this article. He was the only major candidate to debate Mr. Camejo, and he attempted to get Mr. Camejo included in the last debate. It should have been clear that it is Governor Davis who is afraid to include the Greens.

Yes, Simon has political considerations in mind when he tries to include Mr. Camejo in debates, but at least he’s willing to do it. All of the Dems out there who vote for Davis should be ashamed that they are backing a coward who apparently has no core values, let alone a commitment to democracy. Otherwise, he would be willing to go toe-to-toe with any candidate, regardless of party.

So, all you Dems out there keep your yaps shut about President Bush’s “assault” on our freedoms; you are backing a soulless autocrat to lead this state. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why Governor Davis refuses to give up the emergency powers he invoked in the energy crisis?

Steve Tolle

The education planet

Re “Truant or Home-schooled?” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, October 10):

This article states, “Ultimately, [home-schooling] advocates say, parents must be able to decide what kinds of information their children are exposed to. ‘We’re not asking for permission,’ Hall said. ‘We have that right.’ ”

Um, no, you don’t. What planet are you from? In this little old nation, we are a democracy. Do you have any concept of what that word means? How about tyranny? How about tyranny over the mind? When any parent assumes the right to decide what kind of educational information their school-age child receives, they are crossing the line between freedom and tyranny.

Do these home-schooling parents really know everything? Are they even qualified to teach? And, the big question: Are these parents afraid that the children they raise are going to be so weak-willed and weak-minded that they cannot be trusted to make their own decisions? What exactly are you protecting them from: ideas, reality, popular culture, diversity?

This issue has almost nothing to do with providing a child a proper education and has everything to do with control and fear. I imagine the unspoken motivation behind most home schooling is religion. If so, home schooling becomes nothing but a sham designed to spoon-feed a parent’s religious beliefs to an innocent child. This I find reprehensible, but I understand and accept that others feel differently.

I don’t believe a home is the same as a private school because, as far as I know, there is no accreditation process for home schooling. Let me also point out that the many wonderful, accredited teachers I had in the public education system did not force their belief systems onto me. Therefore, I ask, why should a parent who is claiming to fill the role of teacher have that right? They shouldn’t. This country espouses freedom and miserably fails to protect the freedoms of anyone under the age of 18.

So, I must ask: Should we abandon the public-education system? Who are we leaving behind? Oh, the legions of underprivileged and disenfranchised. Hmmm, well, they have no money and, therefore, no power, so who cares about them?

Personally, I am thankful everyday that my parents gave me the gift of freedom: to think for myself, to decide for myself and to not have their views rammed down my throat to the exclusion of all others. Freedom comes at much too high a price to be squandered this carelessly by thinking people who should know better.

Nina S. Walker

Keep ’em locked up

Re “Paying for Crimes” by Meghan Kalkstein (SN&R News, October 3):

With all due respect for the tragedy that befell Peggy Lopez and for her resulting conflict over whether she qualifies for a claim to the Victim’s Compensation Fund, the thought that convicted criminals should be released from jail to better pay money into the compensation fund is laughable.

Kalkstein unknowingly stated the true focus of “tough-on-crime policies enacted in the name of crime victims” when she stated, “In recent years, the average lengths of jail and prison sentences have been getting longer. Paroles have been tougher to get, and, for those who do get out, tougher parole standards have caused more ex-cons to be taken off the street and sent back to prison.” The focus must be to lessen the number of crime victims in this state by being tough on those who prey on innocent members of our society.

Thank God that the fund is there for those who truly qualify. The thought that it would be in society’s best interest, as Ms. Lopez put forth, that these perpetrators “rather than consuming taxpayers’ hard-earned money, should be out of jail, working, paying taxes and paying to the restitution fund to cover the needs of the victims of crime in the state of California,” is naive at best.

These predators were not upstanding citizens before they committed the crimes and it is naive to imagine that they would be productive members of our society if released by early parole.

Society’s first priority must be to keep our streets safe.

June Dockins

Name that architect

Re “Best of Sacramento” (SN&R Cover, September 26):

We are writing in response to the listing of Sacramento’s Federal Courthouse as the best building to denote the Sacramento skyline. We thank you for acknowledging the new building and, in turn, the architectural profession, but we were discouraged that the architects for the building were not identified.

Not mentioning the architect when reporting on a building is frustrating to the profession. Much like an artist is credited for a painting or a composer is praised for his music, an architect should be noted as the primary consultant for every building or project.

The [Federal Courthouse] project’s architects are from Nacht & Lewis Architects. The construction was by Bovis Construction. Finally, the developer was the General Services Administration.

In closing, we would like to show our appreciation for the article and simply remind you that every building has an architect.

Paul W. Welch Jr.
The American Institute of Architects California Council

Morris Gee
American Institute of Architects Central Valley

Dwain hits the Lotto

Re “Bonds away” (SN&R Editorial, October 10):

The voters of California passed the Lottery Initiative (Proposition 37) in November 1984. Lottery sales began in October 1985, and, since that time, the lottery has raised $13 billion for California’s public-education segments, K-14 and higher education.

The Lottery Act mandated that public education receive at least 34 percent of the lottery revenues taken in each year. Since 1985, public schools reportedly have received 37.3 percent of all lottery revenues.

What happened to the other 62.7 percent? Somebody is making out like a bandit, but it’s obviously not kids and schools.

The Lottery Initiative was supposed to solve our financial woes. Instead of the perennial ballot measures and bond issues Californians are asked to vote on, perhaps voters should be saying, “Show me the money.”

Dwain Barefield