Letters for October 26, 2000

Literary bull puckie

The SN&R’s got a hit with Mr. Jackson Griffith!

See Oct. 12’s pick: “video clips of the closest thing we had to Lord Buckley living the Tom Waits song catalogue are still being edited, and other aspects of the musical, dramatic and metaphysical presentation are still waiting to be pulled out of the ether by participating adepts.”

See the same issue’s In the Mix. “They make magical sepia-tinged and conga-driven music that snakes around corners like smoke from a fine Cuban cigar.”

This is great literary bull puckie! I’m jealous! More, more, more!

Rick Martin Sacramento

Burger is indigestible

Re “Don’t Blame Israel” by Jeffrey Burger, (SN&R Guest Comment, Oct. 19):

Jeffrey Burger is right about the “gross representation” in the U.S. media’s coverage of the current violence in the Middle East. He’s wrong about who is being misrepresented.

Did the U.S. media report that Palestinians consider Ariel Sharon to be a war criminal responsible for many Palestinian deaths? Burger called Sharon’s actions “ill-advised.” They were much more than that. They were a deliberate provocation. Sharon knew exactly what would happen as a result of his visit. When Ehud Barak had the opportunity to rebuke Sharon, he praised him as a “statesman” instead.

Was it a big story in the media when the U.N. voted recently to chastise Israel, and the only votes cast against this measure came from Israel and the United States?

How do you think it would have played in the United States if police had shot teenagers in the face at the WTO protests and President Clinton had declared that they should have gotten out of the way?

I am of Jewish heritage, and I grew up believing that Israel was a righteous state and that Arafat was a ruthless terrorist. As I grew older, I turned to sources other than the mainstream media and drew my own conclusions. It is a shameful fact that Israel treats Palestinians as less than human and that the United States (and that means every one of us) is complicit in the violence.

Becky Sacramento

All hail SN&R

Re “Royally Stoned,” (SN&R Capital Bites, Oct. 19)

All Hail! You guys have done it again!

I am the ultimate female basketball fan, the only thing rivaling my interest in it being the reading of your newspaper. I was getting drunk at the Sacramento Brewing Company on Marconi when a friend and I read last week’s Capital Bites column. We just about fell out of our booth (probably had something to do with the half-empty second pitcher of beer on the table) but nonetheless began laughing hysterically and visibly annoying the other diners.

“Royally Stoned” was so righteous in its descriptions of the Kings, the “drug-war rhetoric” and the law enforcement here in Sacramento that we had to read it twice. Bites’ comical description of Jason Williams’ positive drug test did skirt on the borders of offensive, but then who isn’t laughing at him anyway? I know that I will be shouting out a few pot shots (no pun intended) at Jason from my sky-high seats at ARCO Arena. And, yes, Jason has become a “symbol for stoners everywhere” that you can toke your smoke and shoot a hoop all in the same day.

I was unaware of the Prop. 36 vote before but am now entirely fired-up for drug-war reform. Just the words drug-war reform tickles me pink! I am new to this whole adult world and its harsh politics, and I think that maybe some of our legislation needs to go back to elementary school.

Hell, smoking a joint, ordering a pizza and watching our favorite team is a weekly occurrence for everyone I know! The numbers you reported for persons locked up for simple possession is an atrocity. No one even came out to my house here in downtown when I called 911 at 2:30 a.m. to report the clip of ammo that was unloaded two doors away from my bedroom window. Maybe the cops were too busy pocketing someone else’s hard-earned stash at that moment.

I don’t think this is about whether to smoke pot. It’s just that even if you like to watch porn on your Macintosh or eat Taco Bell Gorditas until you are 300 pounds, as long as you’re doing it in your own home and it is making you happy, how can anyone deny you that freedom? As long as enforcement continues, this will never be a free country!

Jamalyn Sacramento

Hey, SN&R, get your own house in order!

Re “Stinging the Bee” (SN&R Capital Bites, Oct. 12):

I take issue with the tone and “facts” of the Capital Bites column of two weeks ago.

It’s obvious that your paper, which I generally enjoy, still suffers from an inability to do anything but bash the Bee. Doesn’t it seem odd that if this story on reporting rape statistics is such hogwash as UC Davis administrators try to claim, that almost half of universities then failed to report their crime statistics on time?

Isn’t it just possible that the Bee article rousted them from their comfortable position? It sure got the publicity. Furthermore, an investigation into the reporting habits of UC and CSU campuses has been launched as a result of this series of articles. Was it an obvious attempt to win a journalism award? Sure. But so what? Were there a couple of minor facts that were incorrect? Sure. But that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. The SN&R is famous for these same type of big-picture articles, and your writers have made a career of exposing injustice while missing some facts. As an example, I point to an article you printed with numerous factual errors a few years back on unclaimed property at the state Controller’s office.

But what the Bee did was right. It was good to expose the campuses for the misrepresentation they were committing. Was UC Davis unfairly singled out? The university seemed to feel so. But I don’t think that was the intent. I think it just came out that way because they are the local school. I don’t want to make it sound like I hate your paper, because I don’t. But I suggest you get your own house in order before you go criticizing other papers for writing articles that serve a great purpose but may have a couple minor mistakes.

Brent Nicholas Roseville

Hello, Mr. Fox

Re “Take a Stand” (SN&R Editorial, Oct. 19):

With regard to the comments in favor of Placer County measures “V” and “W,” I would like to submit my own opinion of the impact the passage of these measures may have upon the taxpayers of Placer County.

These measures will, without option, burden county taxpayers with a one-quarter percent tax increase for 20 years. However, “V” and “W” do not commit Placer County to any specific and mandatory spending plan with respect to the “Placer Legacy” plan. Measure W is merely a one-quarter percent sales tax increase to be placed in Placer County’s general fund with no strings attached. A supposed advisory committee, to be appointed by the county Board of Supervisors, would “monitor” the spending.

Hello, Mr. Fox. Would you mind watching my chickens for 20 years?

Measure V does not establish any mandatory requirements for the manner in which the “W” tax-increase funds would be spent. “V” only has the teeth of an advisory commission with no delegated power to control the expenditures. Please note the recent (past five years) demonstrated performance of the Auburn City Council with regard to the concerns and advice of its volunteer airport commission, which was disabled three years ago by the city.

The most significant defect in “V” is its “advisory” function, which permits present and future supervisors to ignore advisory input when it does not fit their agenda.

Voters, take care. Be careful of what you may wish for and receive if measures V and W are approved by you. You are going to hear a lot of “I told you sos” if you approve this “end run” around the two-thirds majority requirement for new taxes. This one will take only a simple majority (51 percent).

These measures are deceptive in their promise to provide funding for the worthy concept of the Placer Legacy Plan for the reasons stated above.

Roland P. Harper Colfax

How about take a pass?

Re “Take a Stand” (SN&R Editorial, Oct. 5):

Measure O on the Sacramento County ballot, the so-called “Senior Community Initiative,” is a fraud written by a wealthy land speculator, Mr. C.C. Myers, to override the county’s General Plan so that he can build a huge, exclusive, gated golf course development, Deer Creek Hills. This project has so many serious defects that even the pro-development county Board of Supervisors refused to approve it. Myers has spent nearly $770,000 on the campaign.

Measure O amends the county General Plan to allow similar projects anywhere in the county, overriding county zoning. It exempts Deer Creek and similar projects from most county policies governing land use, water, air quality and transportation. Passage of Measure O would break the county’s Urban Services Boundary, leading to sprawl development covering the county’s remaining farmland and open space. Taxpayers will be expected to build an eight-mile road for the project and to subsidize the project’s inadequate water supply when it fails.

Deer Creek Hills will not benefit Sacramento’s retired seniors, who cannot afford Deer Creek’s home prices. The rural location is distant from medical and urban services, with minimal mass transit and has the county’s highest measured air pollution, unhealthy for seniors with respiratory problems.

James P. Pachl Sacramento

Is this democracy?

Re “Democracy Is Good Business” by Peter Keat (SN&R Guest Comment, Sept. 28):

Peter Keat writes that the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op (SNFC) is an example of a “democratic, community-owned business.” SNFC member/owners and the board of directors make decisions at board meetings. They are open to the public. In contrast, decision-making by investor-owned businesses is un-democratic. For the owner/investors, the earning of higher returns on their investments is all that counts. Profits—not people—matter.

The decision-making process at the SNFC sounds like democracy, but it isn’t. Case in point is member/owners first learning in a Wall Street Journal article about the plan to build a second store.

Seth Sandronsky Sacramento

Paint jobs

Re: “Beyond Statistics” by Wanda Ellis (SN&R Letters, Oct. 5):

You, Ms. Ellis, need to read my letter of Sept. 21again!

First, calling me a racist is the response I expected when I wrote the letter. It seems to be the popular hiding place for all who wish to ignore the facts. However, it is rather pointless in this case because nowhere in my letter did I state my race or ethnic background at all.

Second, your drug statistics are interesting and worth looking into, but why didn’t you cite your sources? The facts in my letter are not mine; they were taken from the SN&R article to which I responded, which in turn came from the Department of Corrections.

Third, if you are going to blast me for what I write, the least you could do is be accurate! I did not stereotype black leaders, as you state. In fact, unlike your ridiculously silly list, I didn’t stereotype anybody! I didn’t say African-Americans are lazy or ignorant or inferior to white Americans in any way. I merely took the statistics in the article and offered a more reasonable explanation than the mass “conspiracy” theory against African-Americans some black leaders and organizations would have us believe.

Last, it is indeed a shame that an apparently law-abiding, tax-paying citizen such as you should be discriminated against in any fashion. That was exactly the point of my letter. Black leaders must admit to the apparent problem among black youth in this country. Forget about gathering new statistics and address the overwhelming statistics we already have.

Until that happens, regrettably even you will continue to be painted with a broad brush.

Ron Waggoner Sacramento

Untender mercies

Re “Rockcrit Nostalgia” by Mark Halvorson (SN&R Film, Sept. 21):

Mr. Halverson’s piece on Almost Famous will surely help him secure his place in the annals of journalistic obscurity. He himself has fallen into the journalistic trap of trying to make a reputation by making “unmerciful” observations with little regard to the “honesty” of the work.

This movie has completely captured the essence of the teenage rock experience in the early ‘70s. As a San Diego native who was 16 in 1972 and also a ‘74 graduate of Clairemont High School (aka Ridgemont High), I can assure you that this film, although not a “passionate soul search,” is honest!

I suppose only Cameron Crowe and the rest of us who actually “lived it” will truly know the awesome integrity of this film, not to mention the on-location filming in Balboa Park, Pacific Beach and the now-crumbling San Diego Sports Arena. Mr. Halverson, if the “biography” of your teenage years has the “emotional depth” that you require in a film, then be my guest, “Show me the money.”

John Barrientez Sacramento