Letters for September 18, 2008

Letter of the week
Reality spa

I save about $700 a month by using the light rail and a bicycle. I enjoy better health and have more time to read, travel times compare favorably with drive-and-park and it’s pleasant to look out a moving window from air-conditioned comfort. No more car repairs, payments, tickets, tests, traffic and the other stresses of car ownership. For those who enjoy multiculturalism and diversity, abundant pleasures beckon.

Think of light rail as a traveling “reality spa,” where you board and await treatment.

Since some of your fellow passengers are in between prison sentences, you will learn a great deal about judges, parole officers and prison life. You will also learn many things about the police and about child services, as well as hearing first-hand accounts of the drug rehabilitation programs in Sacramento.

The average American IQ is 100, which means that 50 percent of us have IQs below 100. You will meet the people in that group on light rail.

Your co-riders come with cell phones into which they shout obscenities. This is therapeutic and improves self-image by demonstrating that one has friends. Occasionally, a passenger will share his rap music with his neighbors, sometimes electronically and sometimes viva voce. You will rarely enter a quiet car.

Bicycles are limited to one entrance per car, and because it is therefore the most congested, this is the entrance chosen by the bulk of riders. That’s either herd instinct or yet another demonstration that man does not learn by his mistakes.

Sacramento’s obese have chosen light rail as their preferred transportation provider. It seems an obese person can be quite comfortable on one of the double seats.

The harmless homeless, sensed before they are seen, all seem to have interesting stories. There but for fate go the rest of us. As the homeless recycling network is based on light-rail routes, their travel has the productive purpose of feeding them and keeping them independent.

Police, transit police and Wackenhut guards are frequently on the train. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are there to protect you. You should know they are there to raise money by writing the tickets that pay their salaries.

The foregoing is all true and you must expect it, yet once you have become habituated to the light-rail culture, you will begin to see many acts of kindness and meet many big-hearted individuals. One need not be smart, educated, thin, healthy, cultured or prosperous to be good. The light-rail “reality spa” treatment ends with a renewed belief in humanity’s goodness.

G. Lauren

He can’t get no … sympathy

Re “Sympathy for the CEO” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature, September 11):

What a joke that McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt believes that the McClatchy company “has always cared about quality journalism.” The Bee and the rest of the McClatchy newspapers have always slanted the news toward the left and are often nothing more than mouthpieces for the liberal Democrats.

Many of us are glad to see that old news media that used to dominate public opinion are now dying a slow painful death. Good riddance!

Jeremy Carruthers
via e-mail

He hooked it up

Re “Sympathy for the CEO” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature, September 11):

Just to set the record straight: It wasn’t a record-company friend that got Gary [Pruitt] a backstage pass at the ’99 Stones concert in Minneapolis.

It was yours truly and one of our reps at the Star Tribune who had worked previously at KQ92, the local rock station that was one of the primary sponsors of the Stones concert in Minneapolis. Chris Conner was the rep; I was the V.P. of sales at the Star Tribune at the time.

I’ve got a nice personal thank-you note from Gary for making all the arrangements so he could go backstage and meet the Rolling Stones. Cheers!

Charlie Hoag
via e-mail

Look for ‘sympathy’ in the dictionary

Re “Sympathy for the CEO” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature, September 11):

Gary [Pruitt], wipe that million-dollar smirk off your greedy face. You are a disgrace to a company that once had the respect of Sacramento and its employees. Now? Not so much.

Do you think about the thousands of people you put out on the streets when you are collecting your bloated paycheck every month? I doubt it. You are so out of touch, you actually gave yourself a bonus for orchestrating the worst acquisition in newspaper history. Bravo!

Seriously, I cannot believe you agreed to do this. Did you think anyone would actually sympathize with you? My guess is most people wouldn’t urinate on you if you were ablaze in your nice, newly remodeled office on the second floor. Do everyone involved with McClatchy and its newspapers a favor and resign. You have failed miserably. Take your millions and leave town.

Todd Keller

The end of print

Re “Sympathy for the CEO” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature, September 11):

This is an insightful, well-written and sympathetic report. Had it not been for the plunge in the economy, Pruitt’s star would have risen higher in the heavens, and he might have been on the cover of Fortune magazine.

Without a major turnaround, however, I predict the demise of print editions of many major newspapers in favor of the Internet. That’s a business decision to be made as events unfold. I fear it would be a major blow to our form of democracy and the future of this nation.

In the meantime, I mourn for my former compatriots at the Bee whose careers have been cut short through no fault of their own.

Dick Tracy
Grass Valley

They all love K.J.

Re “Division of labor” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, September 11) and “Sticking it to the union?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, September 11):

It’s too bad that your twin articles on labor’s role in the mayor’s race didn’t mention the main reason that the overwhelming majority of unions in Sacramento are supporting Kevin Johnson: Mayor Heather Fargo’s repeated crossing of Unite-Here Local 49 picket lines, her failure to support SEIU [Local] 1000’s state workers against the assault on their wages by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or [American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees] picketers at [UC Davis Medical Center], and her slashing of the budget for our city’s heroic firefighters and police officers that are causing fire station “brownouts” and halved the number of police patrols on our streets.

Since you omitted the list of Johnson’s endorsement while detailing the three small unions endorsing the mayor’s re-election, here’s a partial list of unions that support Johnson besides the Sacramento Labor Council: Sacramento Firefighters, Local 522; AFSCME; [International Longshore Warehouse Union] Local 17l; Teamsters Local 150; United Food and Commercial Workers union; and United Health Care Workers.

And one more thing: Your article notes that Johnson should show “solidarity with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” and oppose Proposition 8. He’s done just that, denouncing it as an “attempt to stain our Constitution.” Ed Bennett, the head of Sacramento Stonewall Democrats (who has not endorsed Johnson) had this to say about that: “We, at Stonewall, applaud Kevin’s opposition to Proposition 8 and we are confident that his support will stimulate awareness within all communities that discrimination is wrong and that enacting discrimination into the constitution hurts everyone.”

Steven Maviglio
campaign manager Kevin Johnson for Mayor

That ‘thing’ isn’t funny

Re: “Please remain calm” by Nick Miller (SN&R Snog, September 11):

Nick Miller, in his lame Snog, ridiculed John McCain for having a “thing” on his face.

It’s called skin cancer, and it isn’t funny. Moderate voters will be turned off by the ugly personal attacks toward McCain that are so often seen in leftist rags like SN&R.

J. Belkin
via e-mail

Adolf spelled correctly …

Re “Adolph ate his veggies” (SN&R Letters, September 11):

I suppose you should be embarrassed to not know how to spell the first name of the individual who had more influence on the 20th century than anyone. It’s Adolf, not Adolph.

Jim Ferguson
via e-mail

Editor’s note: We’d like to say that everything about Hitler makes us so upset that we couldn’t think about the spelling of his name, but in fact we simply goofed.

… and we’ll never write about him again

Re “Adolph ate his veggies” (SN&R Letters, September 11):

James Sakauye is wrong, and SN&R is a little silly for having published his letter.

On page 89 of The Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook (1964), Dione Lucas, recalling her pre-World War II stint as a hotel chef in Hamburg, Germany, states: “I do not mean to spoil your appetites for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler, who dined at the hotel often. Let us not hold that against a fine recipe though.”

Anybody who says that Hitler was a vegetarian is repeating Joseph Goebbel’s slick propaganda designed to make Hitler seem like an ascetic übermensch among übermenschen. The news doesn’t have to try to be “fair and balanced” by presenting both sides of a story when one side says a fact and the other side makes something up.

Steven Rosen

Who’s insane?

Re “Obama’s race to lose” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, September 4):

R.V. Scheide has declared that Sen. Barack Obama will be the next president because Sen. John McCain is insane. Perhaps. Being an insane liberal, R.V. Scheide should know when others are insane! Crazy is as crazy does.

via e-mail

Save those student bucks

Re “Studenthood” by Alia Cruz (SN&R Sac 101, August 28):

I thought trading for books among friends and renting were good suggestions. Here’s a way that will cut down the amount of time students spend looking for compatible trading partners (friends with desirable trades) and limit the purchase of any book they need to $8.95, no matter how much the book originally or currently costs. Go to www.edubookswap.com, register, add the textbooks they get to trade, and look for the textbooks they need. The more students that sign up, the more books available; thus the more money they save. I consider this a true “grassroots” solution aimed at lightening the cost burden of education, plus it’s eco-friendly. Check it out.

Marty Henderson