Letters for October 26, 2006

Give them shelter

Re “Flophouse Shuffle” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, October 19):

The loss of more than 300 single-room-occupancy hotel units in downtown Sacramento has been a major contributor to homelessness here. As Yannello wrote, SROs “always have been seen as the final rung on the ladder before homelessness.”

In Sacramento County, a domestic-violence shelter had to turn women and children away almost every night last year. It is estimated that 15,000 people in the county were homeless at some point last year and the number of disabled, chronically homeless people is 1,600.

Proposition 1C, the affordable-housing and emergency-shelter trust-fund act on the November 7 ballot, will provide $2.85 billion for emergency shelters for battered women and homeless families, stable homes for emancipated foster youth and affordable homes for seniors and working families without raising taxes. Sacramento County’s recently adopted 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness cites Proposition 1C as an important source of potential funding.

By voting for 1C, you can offer a helping hand to those in our community who need it the most.

Julie Spezia
executive director, Housing California

Counsel for the young and (un)Republican

Re “No on Q and R,” (SN&R Guest Comment, October 12):

I’m not sure it’s a good idea to label yourself a Young Republican when you’re submitting editorial comment to the SN&R, but I guess that’s just my thing. However, that being said, while I agree with the basic thesis of your comment, Mr. Hrabe, I have several concerns.

Yes, it is true that there has been “no economic study [that] has proven that sports arenas make a positive economic contribution to their region,” but to focus solely on the financial aspect of the endeavor is rather short-sighted and, in my opinion, un-Republican. Your assertion that businesses lose revenue from a higher tax burden is technically correct, however that’s only if you are assuming (and I believe fallaciously) that revenue is finite. And I thought the only-so-many-slices-in-the-pie theory (and we couldn’t possibly bake a bigger pie?) was a Democrat principle.

You see, while this tax could be considered a negative, as most should be, so are interest payments, and the majority of us willfully take out 30 (and now 40) year mortgages to own a home. Would I vote to supplement the Maloofs? Well, the answer to that is, of course, a big, fat “no”! I have seen nothing that guarantees the taxpayers (owners) anything except the privilege of keeping the Kings. I have a better idea: Let’s pass a separate initiative. Let’s develop the dilapidated rail yards and build a sports arena on our own! Yes, bye-bye Kings, Maloofs, Grant Napear—it’s been fun. The television commentators and all the other pundits saying we haven’t got the acumen or gravitas to operate our own arena, or that we need the Maloof, is a slap in the face. Hell, let me run the arena. Even I could successfully operate it with a half-billion dollars in start-up money.

Richard Copp

The Great Man’s more than OK

Re “The Freewheeler, revisited” by Edward Dunn (SN&R Music, October 12):

I really enjoyed your article, “The Freewheeler, revisited.” As a 58-year-old who has been listening to Dylan since 1963, I think you addressed several important issues regarding the Great Man. I love most of the songs but I also know that, like all other great artists, some of his work is just OK. History shows that every great artist has fans that are more into idol worshiping than critical analysis. Dylan and his musical and literary legacy will survive his fans, his voice, music critics and his guitar playing. And that’s more than OK.

Ray Giles

The dodger’s arena

Re “Kings’ ransom” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, October 5):

County Supervisor Roger Dickinson has labeled calls for public disclosure of the county’s current arena proposal to the Maloofs “laughable.” That’s the second time I’ve heard Dickinson dodge a public request for details about an arena for which he wants Sacramento to pay $600 million.

I watched him do it the first time during the supervisors’ deliberations on the arena tax, when a financially challenged mother asked Dickinson to use one minute of her allotted speaking time to explain to the two small children at her side why “Mommy should invest in an arena instead of their milk.” Dickinson squirmed, then muttered a pathetic, “You can use your time as you wish” (obviously not true, since he refused her request).

My concerns are: (1), The county’s refusal to share the latest details with taxpayers/voters a month before the election is insulting; (2), If county and city officials can’t defend their arena aspiration to one concerned mom, how can those officials (and taxpayers) possibly survive against the “wolves” that the Maloofs will send to negotiate the final details?

Dickinson needs to remember: In more than one way, California is a “three strikes” state.

Gary Sawyer

Has Sacramento peaked?

Re “Kings’ ransom” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, October 5):

Thanks, SN&R, for a well-balanced article on Measures Q and R and the debate over funding a sports and entertainment facility, as well as numerous other quality-of-life projects throughout Sacramento County.

The Kings have made a major impact on the national visibility of Sacramento during their 20-plus-year tenure in our community and have contributed in innumerable ways to Sacramento’s lifestyle. But their days in Sacramento are probably numbered.

The resentment of the two wealthy Maloof brothers by certain elements of our community is discoloring the real debate: Should our community have a quality arena facility for hosting not only the Kings, but also numerous other entertainment events that are attended by over two million persons annually (currently at the built-on-the-cheap Arco Arena)? And should we fund numerous other quality-of-life facilities in the county (including, but not limited to, libraries, community/recreation centers, etc)?

It is clear after reading the article that certain political leaders in our community, such as Dave Jones and Grantland Johnson, would prefer Sacramentans wear purple and yellow SEIU shirts instead of purple and black Kings shirts. They see every glass half-empty, and long for the days when Sacramentans who desired to attend sporting and entertainment events had no choice but to go to “the city” (San Francisco). It was obvious Sacramento, despite being the state capital, was a cow town with few urban amenities compared to “the city.”

This morning, I opened the paper to learn that the Sacramento-based global institution Tower Records had gone out of business, high-rise condominium projects planned for downtown Sacramento are being canceled, and measures Q and R are likely to fail in the November election. Perhaps Mr. Jones and Mr. Johnson are pleased with these developments, as they may allow for more homeless shelters, low-income housing projects and mental-health clinics to be built in downtown Sacramento instead of a new arena and high-rise residential buildings for yuppies.

However, it feels like Sacramento peaked about a year ago and is beginning a decline. From my perspective, without the Kings and a quality entertainment facility to host events here in our downtown, we’ll be “just another Stockton with a Legislature,” as one local columnist wrote recently.

So long, quality-of-life; welcome back cow town!

Geoff Davey

First fest hornet’s nest

Re “My first film fest” by David Riedel (SN&R Scene&Heard, October 5):

My first question: Who exactly is David Riedel?

Second question: Why would SN&R publish such witless disgorge as his so-called “critique” of A Place Called Sacramento?

I am extremely angry and disappointed with SN&R’s lack of professional discernment after reading Mr. Riedel’s noxious harangue against this year’s filmmakers. As one of the participants in the festival, I’m incredulous as to how his clumsy misrepresentation could be considered print worthy. Our film was one of the lucky ones. It somehow managed to escape his spiteful notice and, so too, his unequivocal condemnation. What education or accomplishments entitle him to criticize the merits of this or any other event? There is not one constructive word in any of his vapid criticisms; surely you do not confuse juvenile schoolyard name-calling with journalism? I also feel the addition of a nasty front page teaser was totally unnecessary and in bad taste. Shame on you, SN&R!

The open hostility evident in Mr. Riedel’s attempt to discredit and undermine the hard work of so many talented folks is really very sad. Would it have been too difficult for him to show a little respect and support for local efforts? If this inelegant tirade is any indication, perhaps Mr. Riedel’s deep resentment stems from his own profound lack of creative ability.

Does any sort of writing workshop happen before articles are chosen?

Is the news reviewed?

Gene Hoisington