Letters for October 5, 2000

There were a couple of errors in our Sept. 28 issue that warrant correction.

In the news story “Depression in Men” by Amy Yannello, Dr. Robert Hales was incorrectly identified. He is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, with the University of California, Davis, Medical Center.

In our Get Involved column, the incorrect time was given for an upcoming protest at Beale Air Force Base in Marysville. The protest, which targets development of an anti-missile defense system, begins at noon Saturday, Oct. 7, at the base’s north gate on North Beale Drive.

Our apologies for the errors. ed.

Empty complaints

Re “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Sidelines, Sept. 21):

As the co-chair of the [Democratic Central Committee’s] endorsements committee, I would like to comment on the charge made by Sheila Deblonk about leadership denying her a position on the committee that did the mayor’s endorsements.

It is true she did ask for a spot on the committee. However, when taking sign-ups for that committee, I explained to her that all the slots had been taken and offered an apology to her that was fully accepted on her part. At no time was she intentionally excluded from participating on that committee.

The endorsements committee had been taking sign-ups for almost six weeks, which was known by all Central Committee members. Her request to serve on that committee unfortunately came to me too late. Additionally, one or another of Mr. Kerth’s top supporters on the Central Committee freely chose to serve on the school board committee when there were open slots on the mayor’s committee.

It is very clear that all members were given an opportunity to serve on whatever committee they wanted to.

Last, to say “we can’t lose now” because Robbie Waters is not in the race is also a false assumption. If we are going to support someone on their Democratic Party principles, clearly Heather Fargo is the better choice. Mr. Kerth has been a Demo- crat only since 1997. He has endorsed Republicans for the Robla School board and has not supported our endorsed candidates, who are also former Central Committee officers.

If you are a registered Democrat and want to vote for a Democrat for mayor, I challenge you to call Heather Fargo’s office and ask which Democratic officials and organizations are supporting her candidacy and then decide for yourself.

Richard Wake Sacramento

Hack work

Re “Mr. Clean’s Dirty Laundry” by Bob Mulholland (SN&R Letters, Sept. 21):

Half-truths and distortions are the stock-in-trade of our two major political parties, and no one practices this craft better than Bob Mulholland, chief political hack for the California Democrats. Mr. Mulholland’s attack on Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader in your letters section was a classic example of the master hack at work.

To attack Mr. Nader for making a profit in the stock market over the last decade seems to overlook the rather obvious truth that almost everyone in the stock market in the last few years has done pretty well. Why not attack him for not owning a house or a car or for living a rather meager lifestyle as well? Surly these things are as repugnant to the people Mr. Mulholland seeks to protect as making a little money by investing, probably in some of the same companies Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush shake down for big-buck campaign contributions.

If Mr. Mulholland and the rest of the political establishment really want Mr. Nader to answer questions about his stock portfolio, income or, God forbid, maybe even something relevant, then perhaps instead of trying to smear him in the press they should ask that he be included in the presidential debates.

As for the battle of integrity and ethics, Mr. Mulholland is way out of his league. Ralph Nader scares the hell out the political establishment because he won’t play by their rules. He won’t trade people’s lives for corporate donations and won’t support the status quo that both parties rely on to keep themselves in power and the citizens pacified.

Mr. Mulholland should stick to following Republican Senate candidates around dirty-book stores. It’s what his kind does best.

David Philipp Midtown Sacramento

Get the drift?

Re “A Kinder, Gentler Dr. Laura” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, Sept. 21):

I question the veracity of the KXTV general manager’s contention that he was “unaware” of Dr. Laura’s bigoted beliefs in June of 1999.

Given the recent programming carried on his station, I am concerned about how extreme the KXTV GM’s political stand may be. You won’t find it in the TV listings, but Ch. 10 has sold half-hour infomercials to the National Rifle Association, which have aired at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, and 11 a.m. on Sunday the 17th (and those are just the ones I stumbled upon). I consider the NRA to be a profoundly destabilizing organization for rationality in society, given its extreme paranoiac phobias. In actuality, its fervor supplements the fear and insecurity already sown by the federal government among the American people as it justifies the incredible Pentagon budget to fight a nonexistent enemy.

One right-wing broadcasting outfit like Chancellor Broadcasting in an area is enough. We need to expose the apparent reactionary drift of KXTV and bring it to light, if it does indeed exist.

Don Knutson via e-mail

A new approach

Here are reasons to vote YES on Prop. 36:

· It sends the message to the state legislators, governor and the nation that we want treatment instead of prison for addicted people. It has nothing to do with “legalization” of hard drugs.

· Opposition to the initiative includes the prison guards’ union (which wants to make and keep jobs by keeping prisons full), prosecutors (keep jobs), Jan Scully (a rigid law-and-order person). Drug courts? Loss of power, perhaps?

· Despite some problems with the proposition, such as lack of testing, these can be added by the legislature, which will be under pressure by the apparent “will of the public” to implement the proposition. Nothing is perfect, and defeat of the proposition will put back the concept of treatment instead of incarceration. The general public doesn’t understand nuances, only broad concepts.

· If participants leave or do not complete treatment programs, they can be sent to jail, so motivation is there. Locking them into treatment programs is not much better than locking them into jail. With personal choice gone, resentment and resistance increases, making treatment difficult if not impossible.

· What we have been doing to reduce drug abuse has been an abysmal failure for over 80 years. It’s time to try some things that have been successful elsewhere in the world where drug abuse is treated as a health problem, not a law enforcement problem. We can learn from other countries!

Amy W. Jaynes Sacramento

Beyond statistics

Re “Ask the Cops” by Ron Waggoner (SN&R Letters, Sept. 21):

You, Mr. Waggoner, need education. Your racist, bigoted opinion is just your ignorance showing.

Racial statistics cut both ways. They would tell you, for example, that whites (using that word the same way you used blacks) get caught with more volume (weight) of drugs than the street corner dealer, but they spend less time in jail. They would tell you, too, that more marijuana is in the suburbs (where white people live, or is that a stereotype, too?) than in the inner cities. There are many judges who dislike the mandatory sentencing laws because a first-time crack offense gives more time than more serious crimes, something statistics would tell you also. So see both sides of the coin.

As for your stereotypes of black leaders, I have a few for you. Apply them if you would with the broad brush that you paint my race with. See how you like it when the below are applied to whites:

· All white people who live in the Midwest belong to militias and carry guns.

· All young white men driving U-haul trucks have bombs and plan to blow up a federal building.

· All white men in pickup trucks plan to chain a black man and drag him to death.

· All rich white kids are going to come to school and shoot at least 10 children.

· All white people with white sheets are in the Ku Klux Klan.

After having been stopped twice by police, followed through stores, having white women grab their purses when I come in, and not being served as recently as this weekend, I can tell you statistical information can tell you how wrong you can be. I am an African-American military retiree, non-drug user who is not a welfare recipient. I guess that means I am not a statistic.

Wanda L. Ellis Elk Grove

Small inconvenience

Re “Give Central City Voting Rights” by Ann Dilzer (SN&R Guest comment, Sept. 14):

Contrary to Ann Dilzer’s statements, no “closures” exist in the traffic calming project area. “Closures” do exist at 14th and D (Mansion Flats), which have been there for decades, and in all other neighborhoods in the form of cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets.

The correct traffic engineering term for what Dilzer calls “half-street closures” is diverters. Not “experimental,” they have existed for years at 33rd and H, J and Alhambra, 28th and N, Campus Commons and several other neighborhoods. Diverters are the main accepted engineering technique that reduces traffic volume on overburdened streets and directs it to lesser-traveled streets or to arterials, just as they do in all other neighborhoods.

Some East Sacramentans say diverters are confusing and inconvenient. Traffic signals, seat belts, child restraint seats, etc., are all inconvenient; but they, like diverters in the traffic plan, are for everyone’s good. Since the diverters, there have been no pedestrian deaths. Inconvenience is a small price to pay for saving lives.

Dale Kooyman Sacramento

March on!

Re “Best Attitude in a Marching Band” (SN&R Best of Sacramento, Sept. 21):

I’m not sure how a Davis band can be described as the “Best of Sacramento,” but I agree wholeheartedly that the Cal Aggie Marching Band is the best at playing marching music with a twist.

Any marching band that plays “Welcome to the Jungle"—as they did Sept. 8 in Cesar Chavez Park—is No. 1 in my book.

I’m also a little jealous. As the drummer for the Brodys, I was thoroughly outmatched by the size and volume of their awesome drumline when they covered our song, “Beer Truck Driver,” at the park show. In the immortal words of Tom Petty, “You guys are gonna put me out of a job.”

Dave Kline Sacramento

“Dangerous illogic”

Re “The Needle and the Spoon” by Amy Yannello (SN&R, Sept. 14):

[Bi-Valley Medical Clinic’s] Dr. McCarthy makes an error in logic when he says that people on methadone are “just like” diabetics on insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs in the control of blood glucose levels. Methadone is not a hormone that the body needs.

Equating the two puts a dangerous illogic in place. If we believe that drugs are all just like substances that the normal body produces on its own and are used only to correct imbalances, then anyone who advocates a non-drug therapy can be accused of denying medical treatment. This has already occurred in New York, where a judge ruled that a mother and father would have their child taken away from them if they didn’t put him on Ritalin. Dr. McCarthy should be more careful with his comparisons.

Melissa Leistra Bittner Wilton

Got fat?

So the milk industry has chosen the “Survivors” as poster children for their “milk mustache” ads. What these folks need to know is that consumption of milk is not very conducive to long-term survival.

Milk is designed for baby bovines and is definitely “unnatural” for human beings. In fact, 95 percent of Asian Americans, 70 percent of African Americans and Native Americans, more than 50 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15-20 percent of Caucasian Americans are unable to even digest the milk sugar lactose.

Dairy consumption raises the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In addition to saturated fat and cholesterol common to all animal foods, dairy products contain pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. A 12-year study of 78,000 nurses found that those regularly consuming dairy products suffered more bone fractures than those who rarely or never did.

I plan to promote my and my family’s survival by partaking of the rich variety of soy, nut and rice milk products available.

Stanley Townsend Sacramento

Road weight

The other day I got pulled over and ticketed for running a red light—on my bicycle. Now I will admit part of the reason I do this is to get somewhere faster—which is not particularly fast—by not having to dismount and remount at every light and stop sign. But the other reason is because, even though I’m subject to the same road rules as an auto driver, I’m not really given the same weight in traffic. When the light changes at an intersection, I never know if I will be taken seriously or not, and I’m the real loser in the situation if things become ambiguous. It seems better for all if I can just get out of there before it becomes an issue.

In a time when we should be encouraging people to get out of their cars, it also seems that Sacramento’s finest could be using their tax-paid time more productively.

Susana Reichle via e-mail

Why I oppose Measure O

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors established an urban-services boundary as part of Sacramento County’s General Plan in 1993. It was established to combat suburban sprawl, a disease that is infesting the entire state of California. However, a local land speculator wants to change the rules for his own benefit.

The hoopla that C. C. Myers gave out to qualify his initiative (now Measure O) was: “Save Our Seniors!” The parcel of land that he wants to “develop” is Deer Creek Hills, a land in the rolling foothills at the edge of Sacramento County.

Why do our seniors want to be “saved” on such land, miles from any community? Were they asked? No, this is a manifestation of how wealthy executives dream of retiring—to “get away from it all” and to play golf day after day, week after week.

But do such retirees consider what they will want when the novelty wears off, when they become 80 or 90 years old? What will they do when they tire of the golf course—the same old view, the same old things to talk about with their buddies?

Well, C. C. Myers promises a road will be cut to Highway 50 to make driving easier. But the older you get, the less inclined you are to be driving at all. How about a bus? Well, that adds to the air pollution—and Sacramento County is one of the worst for pollution. Further, the Delta breezes blow the pollution toward the foothills—a hazard for older people with lung problems.

“Save our seniors?” Bosh! When I was planning my retirement, I decided on four requirements: (1) I wanted to keep in touch with people of various ages. There is nothing as devastating to a senior as isolation. I wanted to live near a community with cultural activities that I could join, where my mind could still be challenged in the exchange of ideas. (2) To live near public transportation. (3) Near good health facilities—clinics and hospitals. (4) Good entertainment—concerts, plays, movies.

Finally, Measure O seeks to extend the urban-services boundary to accommodate Deer Creek Hills—and C. C. Myers. If it passes, it is the camel’s nose under the tent. Then, some other speculator will be poking his nose into the USB and pushing it out of shape.

Dorothy Harvey Sacramento