Letters for October 9, 2003

A new “Best of Sacramento” category

Re “Best of Sacramento: Impressions” (SN&R Cover, September 25):

Best way to gauge the decline of culture in downtown Sacramento: SN&R Best of Sacramento issue.

P.S. I’m not blaming you, SN&R.

Maxwell Benedetti

Fighters for lovers

Re “Best of Sacramento: Impressions” (SN&R Cover, September 25):

Thank you so much for including Marriage Equality California in your “Best of Sacramento” list as the “Best Fighters for Lovers.” We are extremely pleased that you have honored us.

We are always looking for new members, folks who are interested in being activists as well as those who just want to know about developments in the fight for marriage. Please feel free to contact us or visit our Web site at www.marriageequalityca.org for further information.

Shelly Bailes, Ellen Pontac and Kinna Patel
co-chairs, Sac/Yolo Chapter MECA

Hey, Joe; they’re not the only ones

Re “If you could eliminate one person from the planet, who would it be?” (SN&R Streetalk, September 25):

As usual, your Streetalk section seems to have picked out the geniuses from the crowd. Two morons opine that the president of the United States should be “eliminated from the planet.” They perhaps do not realize that this means “killed.” It doesn’t mean voted out of office or impeached; it means killed.

Maybe these American citizens are unaware that they are advocating a crime, the murder of the president of the United States. These are the kind of people who will complain when and if they get a visit from the U.S. Secret Service, which should interview them to determine whether they are criminals, criminally insane, just insane or merely stupid.

It would be better for all of us if they just admitted to their stupidity and let it go at that.

Joe Morales

Dustin’s versatile —but can we find the Nar album?

Re “Fly me to the moon” by Dennis Yudt (SN&R Music, September 25):

Hey, it’s nice to see an article in SN&R about Dustin Reske. In addition to being in an amazing band, Rocketship, he has recorded at least a few of the great pop records of the last decade—Henry’s Dress’ Bust ’Em Green and the Softies’ It’s Love come to mind immediately.

Now if only the Nar album that he recorded would come out. Maybe SN&R should do an investigation into its whereabouts?

Amy Paris
via email

He keeps it sweet—and simple

Re “Bible study in a sweet way” by Bill Forman (SN&R 15 Minutes, September 25):

Thank you for the article about Calvin Little. Here is a man truly following Jesus. Calvin is a working man, using his own resources, giving food, compassion and teaching. He does this in a park. It is an interesting contrast to the article in the Bee on September 27, regarding the $30 million renovation of a church building.

I guess I missed the parts in the New Testament where Jesus urges followers to build elaborate buildings in order to hear his word and follow his teachings.

Sharon Goodnight
Elk Grove

Some may make a difference in Iraq

Re “From the front lines, with love” by Tom Gascoyne (SN&R Cover, September 11):

Thank you for the wonderful story about Garth Talbott’s time in Iraq.

I picked up the article and read it through without putting it down. It reminds me of my own experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the African country of Gambia.

Until I read this story I had never thought that a soldier may have had the same experiences. I was against going into Iraq, and I still think it was a bad idea, but this article demonstrated that people like Talbott may make a difference in Iraq, just not in the way the neoconservatives in power expect.

This article also made me realize that when you are in a country completely foreign to your own, there is no carefully planned political correctness or easy way of making people understand who you are or why exactly you are there. There is just this space and time where you and the people of the country try to meet and react as human beings. Sometimes it works quite beautifully; sometimes it doesn’t.

My thoughts go out to this young man and to his equally brave sister. I urge his sister to continue to write constantly. In a land where home seems so far away and people seem not to care what you are doing, letters from loved ones are truly priceless.

James Burmester

Save your tax preparer $50

Re “Nonsense and media” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, September 18):

Stewart’s comment re AB 1742 is wrong. The bill [she describes] is actually AB 1756.

While AB 1756 requires mandatory e-file, Section 19170 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code also makes the income tax preparer liable for a $50 penalty per return for not electronically filing, except where failure to electronically file is due to reasonable cause. Subsection (b) of section 19170 says reasonable cause includes “a taxpayer’s election not to electronically file.” The Franchise Tax Board will provide an opt-out form.

There’s no need to drop your current tax preparer if 100+ returns are an issue. Your preparer should provide you with the opt-out form. Then you can not only snail mail, you can save your preparer $50!

Alan E. Felion, CPA

Jill Stewart responds: AB 1742 amended AB 1756, to make e-filing start sooner. AB 1756 provided an opt-out, sort of. A state tax official says taxpayers must sign a form under penalty of perjury, and, “If we get too many opt-outs from one tax preparer, it won’t go well for them.”

The education of Jean Crowder

Re “No hope for MESL” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, September 11):

This was an excellent article about the plight of a little-publicized but successful program at Sac High, which ex-Superintendent Jim Sweeney chose to ignore and essentially throw out in his eagerness to embrace the St. Hope charter.

What is lost in this quagmire, and a real tragedy, is the potential of [the Math, Engineering, Science and Language Arts (MESL) Academy] to help even more minority students achieve in those subject areas and to go on to college. You have to wonder what kind of business Sweeney, et al., thought they were in, other than the one to feather their own nests.

Kudos to Jean Crowder for doing a tremendous job with MESL! I’m glad she held to her high standards and integrity. Unfortunately, [Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD)] and St. Hope fail in that respect.

Thanks to SN&R and Ms. Beckner for writing this insightful report.

Wanda L. Au

Reagan’s to blame

Re “American foreign policy for dummies” (SN&R Letters, September 18):

“American foreign policy for dummies” sounds like a book letter-writer Dennis McMurray should read, along with many others related to American history.

In doing so, he would most likely learn that even conservative thinkers acknowledge that, in 1979, the U.S. backed Afghanistan against the invading Soviet forces and used the CIA to train a network of militant Arab groups. These same groups were later linked to the murder of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and connected to what became known as Al Qaeda. I suppose Mr. McMurray would also be surprised to learn that the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, even though this fact is not controversial.

As for lax airline procedures, Mr. McMurray might rethink his argument against progressive activists when he learns that it was President Reagan—not progressive activists—who deregulated the airlines and airport security forces. In fact, it took 9/11 to move airlines back toward pre-Reagan standards of restrictions.

On the other hand, Mr. McMurray might thank progressive activists who fought for rights which are barely noticed today, such as child labor laws, the eight-hour work day, and women’s suffrage. But perhaps none of this matters to Mr. McMurray, considering how “violent” our world is.

Myles Montgomery