Letters for October 27, 2005

SMUD’s customers will pay

Re “PG&E’s playbook” (SN&R Cover, October 13):

This article provided significant insight into SMUD’s battle with PG&E over the annexation of PG&E territory in Yolo County. However, the article didn’t discuss how the annexation could impact existing SMUD customers.

Existing SMUD customers have nothing to gain from the annexation but much to lose. When the Folsom area was annexed some 20 years ago, SMUD ratepayers were promised the new customers would pay $25.9 million in surcharges for the cost of acquiring PG&E’s electrical system. But Folsom customers paid only $11.3 million in surcharges, and SMUD’s existing customers were gouged for the rest.

SMUD has never brought in a major project on time and within budget in the lifetime of any of its ratepayers. The Yolo annexation would be no exception.

SMUD’s board of directors won’t allow existing customers to vote on the annexation—because they know they’d lose.

Stephen Green
president, Lake Natoma Heights Homeowners Association

Power-grabbing ‘reform’

Re “Still the one” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, October 13):

We didn’t get the governor we expected. California recalled Gray Davis largely because of the perception that his decisions were based on the size of campaign contributions from various interests. Now Arnold Schwarzenegger takes sizable checks from corporations at the very moment he is signing or vetoing bills affecting them. As Jill Stewart says, voters have trouble seeing true reform amid all those piles of cash.

When he ran for governor, Schwarzenegger promised that the minimum guarantee for public-school funding would be cut only “over my dead body.” California schools have already suffered multiple cuts and deferrals in the last several years, resulting in school closures; increased class sizes; layoffs of teachers and custodians; and the virtual elimination of librarians, counselors and nurses. The governor’s Proposition 76 would reduce the minimum funding base for schools by about $4 billion more—about $25,000 per classroom.

Under 76, the governor could create and declare a “fiscal emergency,” giving him the power to take unilateral budget actions, bypassing the constitutional system of checks and balances. This is not a reform, but a plan to end representative democracy while preserving its outward shell.

All of Schwarzenegger’s propositions aim at enhancing his power. He may get away with it, if disgusted citizens stay away from the polls. Following Chuck McIntyre’s suggestion (SN&R Letters, October 13), we should vote No on all of them.

George Sheridan
Garden Valley

Stewart misinterpreted survey

Re “Still the one” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, October 13):

I was pleased to see that Jill Stewart cited our survey in her column about Governor Schwarzenegger, but I’m afraid she has misinterpreted the results.

While it is true, as we reported, that a plurality of voters want the governor to be successful, it is also true that 83 percent of those who disapprove of the governor’s performance say they would vote against him if the election for governor were held today—a finding Ms. Stewart forgot to mention in her column.

Moreover, while people want the governor to be successful, our survey offers no evidence to support Ms. Stewart’s assertion that this is because they agree with his “reform” agenda. Sadly for the governor, his high disapproval rating is also a strong predictor of people’s intentions to vote—even while they hold out hope that their governor will be successful.

Phil Trounstine
director, Survey & Policy Research Institute at San Jose State University

Prima facie evidence of numbskullery

Re “'Damnrat’ Democrats” (SN&R Letters, October 13):

I laughed when I read Nick Schrier’s letter, thinking this is just another example of right-wing (I won’t dignify it by calling it “conservative”) numbskullery. He states that “Bush haters will stop at nothing,” evidently enraged about the legitimate criticisms of Bush-administration failures during Hurricane Katrina.

Well, Mr. Schrier, you are prima facie evidence that Bush lovers will stop at nothing to prevent holding this mendacious incompetent responsible for anything.

Kevin O’Connor

Not so ‘best’

Re “Best of Sacramento” (SN&R Cover, September 29):

I recently saw your “Best of Sacramento” issue, where Rick’s Dessert Diner is listed as best dessert. I’m surprised and disappointed if this is considered Sacramento’s best.

On September 17, after a great afternoon with my girlfriends from out of town, I came up with the bright idea to have dessert at Rick’s. The cake one of my girlfriends ordered looked great but was totally tasteless, perhaps from being in the fridge too long. After trying two bites, she told a man behind the counter about it.

Instead of asking if he could offer her something else, the guy proceeds to tell her how the problem must be hers. I was embarrassed, upset and then angry. This type of treatment really put a damper on our day. We will never ever go there again.

I wish I’d kept my big mouth shut and just gone to a coffee shop. With such disregard for customer care, this place will only make it for so long. Standards must be quite low when such an organization is chosen as best.

Edwina Jones
via e-mail