Letters for October 25, 2001

The big, thoughtful picture

Re “Foreign Lessons” by Elizabeth McCarthy (SN&R Essay, October 18):

I would just like to thank Elizabeth McCarthy for the heartfelt rendering of her personal story around the events on 9/11.

For once, someone was able to say something without blame assignment, hawkish wing-flapping, weepy questioning of the past or self-righteous denunciation of military action. She elegantly conveyed what was in her heart and mind, with simple background facts unadulterated by liberal, conservative, Democratic or Republican rhetoric. I agree with her long-term solution as well, but question how it can be implemented in the global capitalist system and isolation-inducing burgeoning populace.

Would that we all could step back as far as Elizabeth and see things for how they really are.

Dan Staley

Limbaugh buys SN&R!

Re “Left Out” (SN&R Editorial, October 18):

I read your editorial, and all I could think was that maybe I picked up the Limbaugh News and Review. I guess I am considered “left,” but I consider myself American. Your editorial touched on some political values that I have—not the exact values, but they are related—and I am moved to respond by my “aaagghh!” reflex.

Sixties-era rhetoric? Your own rhetoric used in this editorial could be called “millennium rhetoric” or “Bush/war rhetoric.” Listen to the words … “heightened security,” “impressive international coalition,” “engaged in strategic strikes.” Right out of the handbook.

Yes, I hate war, but it is necessary sometimes. Question is, “what are we fighting for?” Are we truly defending our homes, our families and our freedom? On September 11, we were attacked, and we could not defend ourselves. But right now, I see no planes bombing us, no troops landing on the beach, no cruise missiles heading our way. Anthrax? 30 people infected, one dead. There are more people who die from handgun violence in one day in the U.S. If you consider that Central Asia has vast oil deposits, and that Bush is an oil man, and that Bush went to China (where the market is for this oil), I wonder “what are we fighting for?”

Maybe we should abandon Israel. If we disable the Al Qaeda, more Americans will still die as long as the U.S. pursues a policy of economic dominance in the world. They will die in more war, more terrorist acts. Do not be so naive to think that destroying the Al Qaeda will end terrorism.

I am not frightened of Republicans taking over the White House and Congress. If these Republicans stand up against the president and his administration taking away more of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, more power to them. I am more frightened of the current crisis mode being shoved down our throats (your editorial is an example) scaring people so much that they will accept a heightened police state and maybe even a dictator (our beloved president is being referred to as “Commander in Chief”). Remember the crisis mode used by the Reagan administration to force-feed us the war on some drugs (crack babies)?

So please, you think hard about this. Are we truly fighting a war to defend our freedom? Or are we fighting to ensure big profits for oil barons? Energy is our economy, and if you have energy resources by the balls, you have the economy by the balls.

Tim De Herrera

Talking back

Re “How Has Your Life Changed Since 9/11?” (SN&R Streetalk, October 11):

I’m sure I won’t be the first person (or the last) to lambast Sally Hoffman for her utter stupidity. As a “very liberal-thinking person,” this offensive woman is using her privilege of free speech to dishonor our country, our leaders who are doing their best to restore peace, and our military who are risking their lives to preserve our freedom.

I personally have heard firsthand accounts of the state of terror during the attack on the World Trade Center. These heartbreaking stories have truly brought me into the reality of what took place on September 11. I would like to see this woman stand face-to-face with one of the survivors, or better yet, a family member of one of the victims, and say, “it was our turn.”

Oh, and if you don’t appreciate our arrogant country, Ms.Hoffman, I’m sure there is room for you in Afghanistan, where the women are much more humble.

Anna Walberg
via e-mail

Walters needs your support

Re “Why the Bee Stings” by Jim Evans (SN&R News, October 4):

As a working reporter/editor, I was very surprised by the article questioning the ethical standards of Dan Walters. I have never met Mr. Walters, and know nothing of him save the body of his work.

Walters is far and away the finest journalist in any medium currently working in Sacramento, and a model to the rest of us in terms of balance, thorough, incisive reporting and deep knowledge of subject. If only major metropolitan newspapers such as the SF Chronicle and the LA Times had such incisive in-depth coverage of the Capitol, we might have a much more responsible state government in place. His recent articles on the deals behind state and congressional re-districting alone are worth the price of a year’s subscription to the Bee.

If Walters were to set out to write a piece similar to the one penned by Jim Evans, he likely would have included more examples of the “80 to 90” speeches he makes per year, and provided the reader with the opportunity to get a feeling for the groups to which he speaks. For this hypothetical story, Walters would also draw a clear line between those groups and his resulting take on a number of issues, and not just development. If Walters were seeking additional viewpoints to buttress his arguments, he would find sources closer to home than generic quotes from a five-year-old book, or comments from an ethics professor on the far side of the continent who likely isn’t particularly familiar with Walters’ work.

One other thought: setting aside his donations to scholarship programs, we should feel very fortunate Walters has found a way to make extra income and keep his current position on the Bee competitively worthwhile. Without this revenue source, he might very likely be drawn to a market where one makes $30,000 per speech. Cream, after all, rises to the top.

Rob Griffith
via e-mail

Elk intervention

Re “Elk Grove Erupts” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, October 4):

I read with interest “Elk Grove Erupts” and I have followed the news regarding the Lent Ranch mall with interest. Those of us who are outside the boundaries of Elk Grove (but inside the famous “sphere of influence”) have no say in a development that will affect our quality of life significantly.

Many have complained about the lawsuits filed against this development. Most letter writers have come to the same conclusion: the citizens of Elk Grove want a mall and those who own the farmland have a right to sell it.

Mid-20th-century car makers indicated that people didn’t care about unsafe vehicles, so the industry indicated that clean air and water standards were unnecessary. Government then regulated the industry and then required standards for clean air and water, safe vehicles. We are better off today as a result.

Perhaps the families selling the land, the Elk Grove City Council and the developers need government intervention to curb their greed and keep their land in farming. Elk Grove made a bad decision when it approved the Lent Ranch marketplace. Government intervention is required when municipalities make bad decisions. Generations of people, wildlife and nature will be affected by this decision.

Shortsightedness is not the answer. To preserve and enhance our community’s quality of life, the Elk Grove City Council should work with other community groups to formulate an effective long-term plan for growth. Preserving farmland, open space and wildlife will be applauded by future generations and make Elk Grove a desirable place to live. I hope the Council, developers and families owning land will think past the greed that drives them and work for a better community.

Lisa Delfino-Hurtado

Give me liberty!

Re “Which Civil Liberty Would You Give Up to Fight Terrorism?” (SN&R Streetalk, October 4):

I was surprised to see in your “man on the street” commentaries asking which freedoms you would give up to feel safer, that 4 out of 5 surveyed would give up some freedom to feel safer. This is a disturbing bit of information as it desecrates every patriot, every soldier, every selfless leader, every ideal upon which this nation was founded. It says that when the going gets tough, the typical folks are hopping into the nearest foxhole abdicating all responsibility for their own lives. That’s not what America is about. That’s not what so many have fought so long and hard to preserve.

We seem to have entered a time in our history when to disagree with the “supposed” prevailing sentiment is unpatriotic. Well nobody’s asked me! I disagree! I am not willing to give up one single personal freedom to feel “safer.” The “safety” being peddled by the government right now is strictly an illusion. We are no more or less safe today than we were before 9/11. We’re just a little more conscious of our vulnerability than we were before.

Michael J. Hansen
via e-mail