Letters for September 12, 2002

Rebuilding faith? Absurd!

Re “A Separate Peace” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, September 5):

Your front-page blurb for this story reads “Muslim community … finding a way to rebuild their faith in America.”

Even aside from the lapse in grammar, I find that an astonishing thing to say. As my memory serves, it was Muslims who attacked the United States last September, and, despite that aggression, it is the United States that continues to allow Muslims to practice their religion, go about their business and exercise their full range of constitutional liberties. Even that archenemy of civil liberties John Ashcroft has not been able to subvert the guarantee of those liberties, though he continues to try.

It is, in fact, the essence of the American way that Muslims and other U.S. citizens have their rights protected, but could you point me to the Muslim country where similar tolerance of difference is to be found and where civil liberties are as zealously guarded?

“Rebuild their faith in America,” indeed. Gimme a break.

Jaime O’Neill
via e-mail

Muslims tolerant, but only of monotheists

Re “A Separate Peace” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, September 5):

I welcome the idea of Islam becoming a peaceful religion, but history will not bear out the contention that it always has been peaceful.

In lands where Islam is dominant, it has traditionally practiced tolerance toward Jews and Christians, only charging them a tribute but otherwise allowing them to practice their religions unmolested. Other religions have not been treated the same way. To overlook this fact is to betray a deep ignorance of history and also a deep bigotry in favor of monotheism.

To pretend that the polytheistic religions of Africa, Asia and Indonesia simply never existed is to insult the graves of the thousands who died at the hands of Muslim armies while trying to defend their ancestral cultures and ways of worship. Most recently, the Kaffirs of northeastern Afghanistan were subjected to a brutal and systematic cultural genocide by the Muslims of Afghanistan between the years 1896 and 1930.

In Islamic lands today, if someone is a Druse or a Yezidi, he or she must practice in secret, and thousands of Zoroastrians fled Iran during the Islamic conquest to settle in Bombay, India, where they are known as Parsees, that is, “Persians.” If Islam were historically a religion of peace, there would have been no need to flee.

Let us learn to live in peace with Muslims, by all means, but let us not sacrifice truth in the process.

Ian Elliott

Nothing sour about this puss

Re “It’s Always about Sex” by Keith Lowell Jensen (SN&R Music, August 29):

In this piece about the Riff Randalls, the writer referred to me as a “legendary Sacramento sourpuss.”

I would like it to be known that I have never met Mr. Jensen, and can guarantee that he has absolutely no substantial proof when it comes to the sweetness or sourness of my puss.

For the record, it tastes like smoked ham.

Skid Jones
via e-mail

Bigger yachts …

Re “A View from the Class-war Trenches” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, September 5):

Okay, I get it … Republicans bad, Democrats good. I guess you could’ve saved a lot of newsprint if you’d just thrown in a “duh” or two and ended the article right there. Just who is it, do you think, who’s going to complain about the redistribution of wealth (whether it’s justified or not)—the poor?

I guess if I wanted to sensationalize, I could throw in a bunch of unsubstantiated statistics about how throwing money at poverty actually increases dependence and perpetuates even more poverty. But that would be as inane as saying the bottom 99 percent of us are on the same team, or that the top 1 percent ever spent money on anything except bigger yachts.

Look out, your agenda is showing.

Richard Copp

… and Navigators

Re “A View from the Class-war Trenches” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essays, September 5):

This essay is dead on.

All of the money in the United States should be taken from everyone and redistributed equally to all. Within a year, those who were poor would be driving gold-plated Navigators and living in luxury apartments. Those who were rich would be selling gold-plated Navigators and renting out luxury apartments. The poor would once again be poor, and the rich would once again be rich, and SN&R would be whining and crying about the inequality of it all.

William R. White

Measure T takes on the general fund

Re “A Taxing Rebuttal” (SN&R Letters, September 5):

In Joe Sullivan’s response to Capital Bites’ take on Measure T—this is the Taxpayers League’s effort to reduce the city’s utility tax from 7.5 percent to 2.5 percent via the ballot box—he claims that there were months of negotiations with the city. But he does not tell us that at no time would the league discuss the effects of a $39 million general fund hit.

Such a hit would seriously damage services that citizens already are not too thrilled about. More importantly, the city’s vision of its future can be realized only if seed money is available to bring back into Sacramento the tax money we have sent to Washington—money needed for creating a riverfront, decking I-5, developing railyards downtown and in Curtis Park, retrofitting dead and decaying strip malls, and completing other projects.

This explains why the Sacramento County Taxpayers League can’t gather support for Measure T, and the rest of us are getting behind the No on T campaign.

And who might “us” be?

The Sacramento County Alliance of Neighbors and many other neighborhood groups; the Metro Chamber of Commerce; the black, Hispanic and Asian chambers; community organizations; labor unions; police and firefighters, to mention just a few.

Brooks Truitt


Re “Dog Days (and Nights)” by Matt Raymond (News, August 29):

This article on a Sacramento resident’s struggle to have a barking-dog nuisance dealt with properly is interesting for several reasons. First, many of us have similar experiences with neighbors’ dogs that are incessant barkers. The dog next to us frequently keeps us awake with its recurrent late-night barking jags.

As responsible dog owners, we are often moved to anger by the careless disregard shown by our neighbor for his dog, but there is little we can do to alter the status quo. Through our own experiences, we learned long ago of the refusal of Animal Control to take any active steps toward curtailing nuisance barking. But this brings up the other thought Raymond’s article prompted: Laws may be passed making an activity technically illegal, but enforcement is where this pseudo-panacea falls flat on its face.

No law will be successful if it is unenforceable. An anti-nuisance barking law would certainly belong in that category because the simple fact is that there are far too many nuisance-barking incidents for any animal-control group to actively police. Thus, although the circumstances of Joanne Magram’s complaints may draw the attention of the media finally (and consequently the begrudging attention of Animal Control), many thousands of others in our area have similarly aggravating and irritating dog-barking problems and these people’s needs will never be addressed (nor could they be).

In view of this disturbing truth, it behooves us all to take any means available to deal directly—within the limits of the law—with whatever problems we face in our neighborhoods. This means a greater assumption of individual responsibility among citizens and neighbors, acting together to protect and police their own neighborhoods rather than relying on a far-too-overstretched civic police force to deal with recurrent, everyday simple nuisances.

An organized neighborhood is usually the best protection against a wide range of minor daily annoyances that our law enforcement agencies simply haven’t the manpower to protect us from. Group censure directed toward an errant neighbor probably would be an effective tool for addressing such situations as Magram faces.

Chris Carey