Letters for October 4, 2007


Re “Blow up the mall” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, September 20):

I’m sure the writer feels very Cosmo-politan while wielding his old-fashioned ideas about smog, sprawl and suburban malls when he states that “the mall is dead” and that downtown shopping hubs are as outdated as “TVs with knobs and V-Hold.” There would be very little to call Cosmic about this polis however, if this aspiring green community didn’t have a mass-transport-compatible central shopping venue for its Midtown and otherwise mass-transit inclined populace.

If the suburban mall fails, then to hell with it! We don’t need these massive complexes of asphalted acreage generating their own traffic and weather patterns. Every neighborhood should indeed have its local marketplace.

However, in an urban setting, a central commercial area is absolutely necessary, providing an alternative to those polluted and dangerous treks to the suburban hinterland for a pair of socks. The population density of Midtown and downtown is such that it may easily support the Plaza, and if you think that the lowdown and dirty denizens of the St. Rose transit stop blight the neighborhood, then consider the gaping cracks in the walls of the abandoned buildings surrounding the stop, and what else may be hiding in there.

I say: Bring on the shopping carts! I’ll take one down to the Crest Theatre and the state-owned buildings across the street to where the real downtown is … right after I pick up some socks at Target.

Gus Peterson

Neither dirt nor trick

Re “Dirty trick initiative” (SN&R Editorial, September 20):

I read this editorial with considerable interest. Frankly, it bothered me.

If you were to switch the terms Democrat(s) and Republican(s), would your opinion remain the same?

I do not care about the political parties involved. I care deeply about the principles challenged by your point of view. Federalism, that often-circumvented foundation stone of states united in one viable country, allows for the creativity of diversity while it maintains the security of unity. Under the Constitution of the United States, it is the states that determine how members of the Electoral College are selected.

“Winner takes all” is not a mandate; it is a tradition that has challenged the will of the people on more than one occasion in their selection of a national leader. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, currently do not follow this tradition.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats long ago gave up any notion of representing the interests of the general public. The existence of both parties has devolved into something on the order of national street gangs that butcher each other for no better purpose than maintaining team identity. Public policy has become opposition to whatever the other team proposes and espousal of anything the other gang opposes.

I come back to the beginning of this letter with a question: Does your editorial represent your honest view of political theory or does it demonstrate which gang you support?

Owen Rowell

A total tool

Re “Travis Gruber’s day off” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, September 20):

Lord, does this Peele person sound like a total tool. Just a screaming example of why this society as a whole hates the media: (1) holier-than-thou tattletale approach, and (2) no freakin’ sense of humor at all.

Keep it up, Mr. Peele. The newspaper industry had enough to worry about already without your “help.”

Jim Sells
via e-mail

Bravo for Bites’ bin Laden obit!

Re “Osama bin Laden is deader than a freakin’ doornail” (SN&R Bites, September 13):

Bites! You are the best! Nobody, I mean nobody, bothers to even mention it but you! The “Osama bin Laden is deader than a freakin’ doornail” column is pure genius.

I don’t even mind that you brought it down to dissing Cheney (who deserves it) and Petraeus (who doesn’t) as the “liars o’ the week.” That they might be—we can debate that some other time—but what I want to know is: Where are all the skeptics (or even conspiracy theorists) when it comes to the current body temperature of our favorite terrorist?

I mean, doesn’t Der Binster have, like, 20 sons, and many I’m sure sound just like him. Who or what freakin’ expert is going to be able to say with 100 percent certainty that the voice is actually that of Osama himself? Or, better still, can they say positively that those video images belong to the Binster or a fresh from SuperCuts, shoe polish-haired body double sittin’ inside the deep dark recesses of some Afghanistan condo-cave?

How come nobody else is even mentioning this? My belief was always that the Bush team had him secluded in the penthouse of some Atlantic City casino. That is, until they felt the need to trot him out, dead or alive, for political gain. I thought they might pull him out in 2004, but John Kerry was so weak, they didn’t need their big guns, so to speak.

But I bow to your greatness. You are correct. There are no room service tabs for the CIA to cover. He’s gone, toast, charred on both sides. Excellent work, my friend.

Richard Copp

Crude but correct

Re “We’re fucked” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R News, September 13):

Other than the crude title, I join the lament that the local peace rally on September 7 fizzled. To me, the reason that it failed is quite clear.

Only the volunteer soldiers and their families suffer real sacrifice. A “Support our troops” sticker on the back of a new SUV sums up the depth of sacrifice for the rest of us.

We don’t “feel” this ugly Iraq war, so we didn’t show up for the rally. Jaime is right; we’re “bleeped,” indeed.

Dale H. Hypse

Still trying, no matter what

Re “We’re fucked” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R News, September 13):

It may well be that we are fucked, as Jaime O’Neill announces in his piece on the September 7 peace rally. But it’s not the fault of the peace movement, as his mean-spirited piece seems to suggest. Indeed, if the war has become deeply unpopular, and disgust with Bush policies in Iraq is high, most of the credit must go to those hundreds of thousands of activists working on their own time and their own dime against a dictatorial administration running the world’s most powerful propaganda system—the war-mongering mainstream media (see Norm Solomon’s documentary War Made Easy for proof of how the corporate media sold this illegal war).

And, yes, the activists are weary. Calling the hundreds of thousands who marched against the war before the war a “focus group,” sending more troops when a big majority clearly wants the troops home, blandly continuing to lie about Iraq’s situation—Bush’s “determined indifference” has been a genius strategy. It’s hard not to lose hope of “imposing the popular will” on these corrupt leaders.

But calling the gathering “a circle jerk”? Considering the hundreds of hours of work that go into planning something like Friday’s rally, that’s hideously cruel. Yes, we are “righteously impatient” that a war that was wrong from the start is only growing—with “real people suffering and dying every day.”

And let’s be clear. The Democratic Congress is not “powerless.” Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein and Matsui have been derelict in representing the will of their constituents. They could, if they truly had the will and stopped playing politics, make it clear to the Bush administration that no funding bill would pass that did not have a definite timeline for withdrawal. The Dems do have votes enough for that.

All the activists I know are wracking their brains to think of what we can do to stop the Iraq disaster and prevent Cheney from getting his wish for war on Iran. Please, Mr. O’Neill, save your snide remarks for the warmongers and those Dems in Congress whose refusal to draw the line abets them—and don’t feed the “apathy” and “ennui” that makes it easy to stay home. Instead, tell us your ideas for getting people out to reclaim our possibly fatally wounded democracy.

Jeannie Keltner
Because People Matter

Editor’s Note: Look below for more reader responses to Jaime O’Neill’s story about the anti-war rally and Josh Fernandez’s preview of a Shepard Fairey art exhibit (“Obey Webster’s,” September 20).

Driving away support

Re “We’re fucked” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R News, September 20):

I am opposed to the United States being at war with Iraq and would like to participate in anti-war action. I have not done so, however, because of the prevailing anti-Semitism and hateful attitude toward Israel that is common among many who oppose our war with Iraq.

It’s ludicrous when people who have never visited Israel and who know nothing about the Israeli situation decide that Israel is tormenting anyone. Their belief is based upon what they hear from the American media or from someone else who is equally as ignorant. Talk about sheep—it’s shameful, and typical of American presumptuousness.

Laurie Ferns


Re “Homeless is where the heart is” (SN&R News, September 20): The “Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness” is a program of the city and county, not Self Help Housing, which is among the plan’s providers. Diane Luther is the director of the city/county Ending Chronic Homelessness Initiative. This has been corrected on the Web site.

“Corrections and clarifications” (SN&R Letters, September 13) stated there is no lounge upstairs at Stonegrill & Bar. Actually, there is a small lounge area on one side of the stairwell and a huge dining room on the other side.

Web extra

It’s up to the people

Re “We’re fucked” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R News, September 13):

As one of the organizers of the September 7 peace rally at the state capitol, I am a bit perplexed at the tone of the story published by SN&R. If the general population supports the purpose of the rally, perhaps the story should have been on why there was such a low turnout rather than criticizing/ridiculing those who did turn out. I suppose the reporter’s job is to critique the organizers, speakers and musicians, but the tone of ridicule of the participants is difficult to understand.

The Bush Administration has kept this war from affecting the lives of the vast majority of ordinary Americans. The American public does not appear ready to come out into the streets to stop the extremist actions of the U.S. government. Gas is still pretty cheap and everyone is pretty busy. How we get U.S. citizens to confront our government to put an end to the humanitarian disaster that the U.S. government and military have created might be a story you can have your reporter look into. To me, that would be preferable to exclamations pertaining to sexual intercourse.

Edward Barakatt

Head for the lifeboats

Re “We’re fucked” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R News, September 13):

What is a pitiful flop was O’Neill’s insipid, negatively biased report of the September 7 anti-war rally; not the successful rally, which about 400 people attended.

True, 400 people will not stop the war, but millions out on the streets before the 2003 invasion did not stop it either.

Clearly, it is going to take a lot more people and work to turn the U.S. foreign policy Titanic around. A better use of SN&R space would be to focus on how we collectively are going to do that. If O’Neill has some new ideas, let’s hear them; otherwise, he can go back to his stupor in the Titanic’s bar while others try to change its course and find the lifeboats.

Maggie Coulter
via Email

Peace, not pieces

Re “We’re fucked” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R News, September 13):

Jaime O’Neill’s article about the People’s Rally to End the War was cruel, mean-spirited and obscene.

I’m proud to say that I attended the rally and worked as a crowd monitor. And while it would have been nice to have more attendees, I feel that the 200-plus people who did attend were happy to be there. To describe the crowd as listless, weary, not to mention, “a smattering of people, varying from the deeply concerned to the marginally loony” is a grossly insulting mischaracterization.

The organizers of the People’s Rally diligently worked all summer to pull together the wonderful program of speakers and musicians that graced the Capitol on September 7. They didn’t deserve such an abrasive and horribly inaccurate critique of their heartfelt effort.

The Sacramento peace movement is not in pieces! It is alive and well and continues to grow and is not to be judged by one awful and degrading article that SN&R somehow saw fit to print.

Maurya Perazzo

Obey Fairey

Re “Obey Webster’s” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Night&Day, September 20):

I think Josh Ferandez takes the saying “no press is bad press” to another level.

Josh: Copying definitions of words you should know, instead of doing a little homework and giving us your descriptive version of the Shepard Fairey event at the Toyroom, makes you sound daft. Hell, why stop at copying single Webster’s definitions from your computer dictionary? At least try Wikipedia, where you can copy whole paragraphs.

Taking a typo from a press release, then confusing the meaning to the relationship of the art and the show itself, is a waste of everyone’s time. This show, “One Man Army,” took us over a year to put together, and it catalogues more than 15 years of Shepard Fairey’s art. Writing five sentences of nonsense, then wrapping it up by saying “It’s sure to be weird,” is beyond me.

We’ve (Toyroom) done weird, and we like to do weird, but this show is far from weird, unless you call the art piece “Two Sides of Capitalism,” which is Shepard’s version of currency as a symbol of government intimidation and domination in capitalism, weird. Then I don’t know what to tell ya. Shepard Fairey has been compared to and referred to as the Andy Warhol of today, he’s being studied as one of the most influential street/political contemporary artists of this century, and will definitely go down in the history books.

Josh, I invite you to view this exhibit and rewrite what you really think. I guarantee you won’t summarize it as weird … even the Webster’s dictionary definition.

John Soldano
Toyroom Gallery

Obey rules

Re “Obey Webster’s” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Night&Day, September 20):

Let me be frank. I live and work in San Jose. And I consider myself an art enthusiast and advocate. So why would I be so concerned about an extremely poor commentary about an ongoing Sacramento show? Good question. “But you won’t find my meaning in a dictionary, sheesh!”

The article I am referring to, by Josh Fernandez, has to be one of the most disappointing and pointless commentaries I have read in quite a long time. What a total cop out by Josh Fernandez. I could liken it a 3rd grade anecdote ending, “and then I woke up.” No doubt Mr. Fernandez was perhaps daydreaming when he thought he could review an art show without physically going to it. Now that’s weird … actually no, it’s quite disappointing.

Personally, I happen to like art and feel that the roots of my interest sparked with local Davis and Sacramento artists and friends while I was a student some 12 years ago. I still am a very frequent art connoisseur and find myself visiting Sacramento, especially the second and third respective weekends to view the art openings and also to visit close friends.

The Toyroom Gallery’s Shepard Fairey show, “One Man Army,” must have been one of my most anticipated shows. I’m sure it is likewise for many other local fans of Shepard and the genre. It was rather a pathetic and hollow surprise to read the article in the aftermath of the show. I found myself asking out loud, “Why would SN&R ever publish a review by someone who has neither taken the opportunity to physically visit the show nor even perused the equally rich image content of the online exhibit on their Web site (www.toyroomgallery.com)?”

It is my suggestion that SN&R propose to Mr. Fernandez to visit the Toyroom Gallery [and see] Shepard Fairey’s “One Man Army” show for a true account of the show and his real impressions based on the exhibit, not his speculations.

Similarly, I would recommend that no reviews on musical albums be accepted without the reviewer having listened to the actual music on the album, and no restaurant suggestions be made without the reviewer having actually eaten the food. These tips I make to you in jest, but with earnest intent to point out the obvious.

Lloyd Park
via Email