Letters for September 20, 2007

More fuel efficiency, accountability

Re “Driving under the influence” by William J. Kelly (SN&R Feature Story, September 13):

This article had lots of interesting information, but the question might be: Can we improve the California energy system?

Clean Air Performance Professionals supports a smog-check inspection and repair audit (at this point, no one knows if a smog check-failed car has been repaired), gasoline oxygen cap and elimination of dual-fuel CAFA credit to cut car [emissions] impact over 50 percent in one year.

Some folks believe corn ethanol in gasoline increases oil use and oil profit. Ethanol uses lots of water. A corn-ethanol waiver would stop a $1 billion California oil refinery welfare program, coming from the federal government at $0.51 per gallon of ethanol used.

Charlie Peters
Clean Air Performance Professionals

Yep, we are …

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

Yes, the September 7 peace rally on the West Steps of the Capitol was weak sauce.

I am a new member of Sacramento Peace Action, and I had an idea ahead of time that it would be an insignificant display of the popular demand to withdraw from Iraq, first because it was held on a Friday afternoon. I knew that I had to be at work and figured that most other people had the same schedule conflict.

At five o’clock, I pedaled my way to the Capitol to catch the last hour of protest, neglecting to stop by my apartment to pick up my “Peace is nice, try it you might like it” protest sign. At first I felt encouraged by the large group of labor workers shouting in Spanish on L Street, but as I turned the corner my heart sank. I saw the same people I had seen standing on J and 16th every Tuesday.

The second reason I suspected the number of attendees would be minuscule was that I did not see any fliers posted anywhere until the day of the actual event. The only reason I had heard of the event was because I talked to those people outside Memorial Auditorium a few weeks before. Otherwise, nothing.

How can the peace movement expect any kind of attention or attendance if they don’t make people aware of their events?

The last reason for poor turnout occurred to me as I circled the meager number of booths, listening to a chorus of ladies in tie-dye, and it seems to me this is the heart of the matter. I recalled the last rally in Sacramento that I had attended in early March of 2003 as the Bush administration was revving the engine of the war machine. It had been a fairly large gathering. There had been massive demonstrations all over the world, because people actually thought that the war could be prevented.

Now, though, we are nearly five years deep in the Iraq conflict, and the people’s optimism has decayed. We know now that it didn’t matter to the Bush administration how many people marched in opposition to their plans for war; unless we came after them with torches and semi-automatics, they were still going in.

Powerlessness has two hands gripping the throat of the American population, and we are left to scrape out a living nine to five, Monday through Friday.

Sabrina Arey
via e-mail

… we definitely are …

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

It was with both dismay and agreement that I read Jaime O’Neill’s article on the September 7 anti-war protest at the Capitol. I attended the protest and, while I was glad some people came to speak out against this tragic war in Iraq, I was also disappointed at the turnout.

While some of the hackneyed slogans and occasional clichéd messages didn’t bother me, I was particularly disturbed by the violently anti-Israel rhetoric of some of the signs I saw at the rally. One sign had a Star of David with a Nazi swastika embedded inside it—and, for good measure, the whole thing was covered in flames. While I think it’s legitimate to criticize Israel’s policies and its treatment of Palestinians, there is a way to do it that’s sensitive and compelling—and this definitely wasn’t it. The local peace movement ought to reject this sort of violent rhetoric.

I am still against the Iraq war, and will continue to speak out against it. But I, and people like me, will be less likely to attend anti-war rallies like the one on September 7 if we’re left wondering whether Borat is coming by afterward to pick up his signs.

Dairl Helmer

… and here’s why

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

Code Pink.

Grandmothers for Peace.

Cindy Sheehan.


Same old shit.

Yes, it was a pitiful and insignificant event.

Dennis Johnson

Some parts of south Sac are just fine, thanks

Re “Pay attention to south Sac” (SN&R Guest Comment, September 13):

With respect to Mr. Harry, what part of south Sac is he referring to? Northern Franklin Boulevard? The apartments northwest of Brookfield? Parkway Estates? Everything south of Tangerine, including Elk Grove? Meadowview? Pocket? Land Park? Can we be more specific as to what area we are talking about?

Not all of south Sac is bad, and being a 40-year resident of the area I can say it has seen its ups and downs. I also know the areas that have had the tenacity to protect the safety and sanctity of their neighborhoods resent being lumped in with the few remaining bad areas. So please, Mr. Harry, be specific.

I would also like to add that stopping crime in your neighborhood must be as proactive as allowing it to get started in your neighborhood in the first place. Residents and law enforcement must work together, since neither side can eradicate crime alone. Residents must be proactive! It’s not the job of law enforcement to parent wayward youth, only to pick them up when their parents fail to do their job in the first place. People must accept personal responsibility for their actions.

Where is the sheriff’s leadership taking us? I say, why aren’t we leading the sheriff? He does, after all, work as a public servant, which means he works for us, the public.

Name withheld by request

Poop and immigration

Re “No. 2, make it ándale!” by Gustavo Arellano (SN&R Ask a Mexican! September 6):

Amazing how overtly racist trash from the Left is considered humor (by the Left), but making the distinction between those in this country legally and those not is considered (again, by the Left) racist. Pretty twisted.

Mark Williams

The Mexican replies: And it’s amazing how you bring in the legal/illegal debate into letters about Speedy Gonzales and poop! But nope—you ain’t a bigot, right?

Targeting the wrong gangs

Re “The pot issue” (SN&R Feature Story, August 23):

Just wanted to share this Web site (www.druglibrary.net/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/), which tells the disturbing and amusing story of how pot came to be prohibited by Congress, based on proceedings so slim that when researchers went looking for that issue of the Congressional record in about 1970, it was nowhere to be found, for quite some time having slipped down between the bookcases which had to be disassembled before this pathetic account of totally nonscientific and undemocratic lawmaking could come to light. This bit of political sausage is among the wurst ever.

Also, most people who haven’t yet run afoul of our demeaning and mean criminal “justice” system also haven’t realized that of the usual suspect drugs, only pot can be detected for more than a few hours as all the others are water soluble and quickly eliminated by the body. So it is easier to get away with a coke, crack, speed or crank high than a mellow marijuana one. What I don’t understand is why employers never test for actual mental or physical function in the moment, or for lack of sleep or emotional stress, if they really cared about public safety rather than just legal or political liability.

I question the myth that pot is a totally negative intellectual influence. I think that believing one’s own bullshit (or accepting others’) is far more likely to sabotage clear and rational thought. Politicians who oppose legalization are also uniformly opposed to actual science. I say bring it on. Let’s talk data.

And last but not least is our government’s insistence on yet another undemocratic policy which resolutely opposes public opinion. Is it because pot tends to reduce fear and violence and induce peaceful behavior? I think the cops have been targeting the wrong gangs.

Muriel Strand

Another place for no advice

Re “I don’t do advice” by Kimberly Brown (SN&R Higher Ground, August 23):

You can add Sacramento Friends Meeting (Quaker) to the group that suggests finding one’s answer within. Quakers believe there is that of God within each of us. Instead of spending so much time speaking to God in prayer, we are more interested in spending time listening for God’s voice.

We encourage folks to seek out professional help when necessary or even good close friends for help, but ultimately the Final Authority will be what you feel in your heart is the answer from God.

Sacramento Friends get together at least once a week for an hour on Sunday morning spending the time just listening for God’s voice. In the silence we hear God’s voice.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” By sitting down to listen for God’s voice, God can help us resolve issues we may be dealing with.

Gary Miller
via e-mail