Letters for September 25, 2003

Refreshing uncertainty …

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

I read with great interest Cpl. Garth Talbott’s account of his experiences as a paratrooper in Iraq. His story illustrates the ambivalence experienced by an individual placed in a war environment.

Unlike Bush’s polarizing media rhetoric that each American must be resolute in supporting his “holy war,” the words of Talbott were refreshing in their lack of conclusion and certainty. While great “leaders” like [Donald] Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein strategize and march their armies across the Earth like pawns on a chessboard, the real struggle that will decide if we have a world of war or peace goes on relentlessly in the hearts and minds of ordinary people like Garth Talbott.

It would be interesting to talk with this brave young man 20 years from now to understand how this experience has informed his beliefs about the need for war.

John McCormack

… and wisdom from Iraq

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

For a young man who is a dropout from a continuation school, Cpl. Garth Talbott bestows more wisdom than half of the people commanding the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have so much respect for this soldier.

I am proud of our troops and now even more passionately dedicated to a regime change in the United States. I truly hope that Cpl. Talbott is alive and well and will one day return to Northern California.

Larry S. DuBois

Hyperbole gratefully accepted

Re “Know your riots” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, September 11):

Garvin’s article was a sorely needed dose of perspective for Sacramento. I was impressed by his research on the CATIC (California Anti-Terrorism Information Center).

Great work. Oh, what proof that the alternative press is a bastion of democracy and conscience. Thanks.

Craig Bond

Lose the Pinkerton tactics

Re “Know your riots” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, September 11):

Thank you for Cosmo Garvin’s excellent article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture ministerial-conference protests.

The city manager said he would have the report back on the city’s “handling” of the protesters in mid-August. But then he put it off until mid-September.

The Sacramento Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture (SCSA) was promised 20 minutes to give a different perspective on what we expected would be a self-congratulatory evaluation, only to discover from a reporter that the city manager had a “press preview” of his report last Friday, to which we were not invited.

Additionally, the report meeting, long set for 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, September 16, was changed to 2 p.m. at the last minute because “some citizens requested the change.” Mayor [Heather] Fargo told me at a neighborhood-association spaghetti dinner that those citizens were some business people. Then the meeting was changed back to 7 p.m., 24 hours before it was to occur, thereby furthering the confusion.

Candidates for office always assert the importance of “transparency” in government, yet the situation is going from murky to solid mud: stealth ordinances that make wearing bandannas illegal, meetings postponed, pre-emptive press conferences and changed meeting times. What other tricks will our transparent city officials try next? Parking tickets for activists? No garbage pickup?

Here’s a novel idea: Instead of marginalizing SCSA members, how about listening and learning from us?

We don’t want to be right. We want to see smart, democratic policies instead of Pinkerton tactics.

Lauren Ayers

What’s he smoking?

Re “Candidate of the week” by David A. Kulczyk (SN&R News, September 4):

First of all, I want to state that never in my life have I ever responded to an article that I’ve read. However, I cannot fathom the stupidity of Leonard Padilla, with the statements he made in his interview.

His view of state employees is severely skewed. He obviously hasn’t been doing his homework in regard to the job security of state employees. Does he not realize how many state employees are in danger of losing their jobs? According to the Department of Finance, there are 22,000 people projected to be laid off throughout the state. In my office alone, out of about 160 employees, 75 people have received notification that they may be laid off. What kind of security is that, I ask Padilla?

Does he have a proposal for all 22,000 state employees to keep their jobs? Would he limit his salary to his proposed $60,000 annual salary? And why limit state employees to $60,000 when those employees have invested their time and money into the college and training required for their more highly paid positions?

My suggestion to him is to do his research first before punishing state employees for doing their jobs. We provide a huge contribution to the state of California. How dare Padilla hold us down because we chose to work for our state instead of private industry?

Secondly, how in the world does a convicted felon think he’s going to be elected into a state position? With his warped view, I wonder if he can be believed about never smoking marijuana, as he stated in his interview. Like former President Bill Clinton, did he smoke, but not inhale? He seems high to me!

Rebecca Lambregtse