Letters for September 3, 2009

Letter of the week

Not all humans reject nature

Re “Human/nature” by Virginia Moran (SN&R Essay, August 27):

Ms. Moran’s belief that the shortness of the human life span is a cardinal reason for our being neglectful of nature is somewhat off the mark. With approximately 80 years of life, and about one-quarter of that time involved with education, there is more than enough time to learn about, participate in and be cognizant of how individual and collective behavior affects current conditions, as well as the immediate and distant future.

Her second allegation, having to do with our primitive brains not having evolved out of greed and self-preservation, is also fraught with error. The very existence of people, nearly 150,000 years in our current human shape, indicates some success towards sustainable life and attention towards generation upon generation of expansive and creative people across the planet.

Of course, some communities are better at being in harmony with nature than others. Were Ms. Moran to visit the country of Sweden, she’d notice rather vast differences between there and here. The physical size of Sweden is about equal to California. However, they have not populated it endlessly, with about 9 million people now and a low rate of increase. Moreover, their society does not allow for urban sprawl—one cannot be paving over every adjacent free lot with more and more asphalt or a parade of small shops. Theirs is a good blend of fair and responsible capitalism and socialism without—yes—the rapacious greed found here in the States.

Along with Sweden, most of the other Nordic countries have, or are working towards, good environmental policies that do not hold as an unviable mantra “growth for growth’s sake.”

If Ms. Moran wants a better educated citizenry, more attuned to the imminent collapse of the eco-system and all other attendant features of a failed government and society, she will probably not find it here in this state. Unless there happens some sort of giant epiphany by those hikers in their REI uniforms; in conjunction with the modern-day robber barons deciding that profit is not everything, an awakened political community and the rest of the nonhiking populous deciding that a more “natural” environment is better than what exists now, one fears that matters will only become worse. Sad, probably, but then this state and country has had plenty of time, and brains, to have fixed it all long ago.

Richard Andresen

Another initiative

Re “Altered state” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, August 27):

Not covered in this article, but filed two weeks before [Richard] Lee’s initiative, is the California Cannabis Initiative. Voters deserve the full story and can visit the Web site to learn about the volunteer cannabis legalization initiative that is much better for the people than the proposals covered in this article: http://californiacannabisinitiative.org.

Tim Castleman

Marlboro Kush or Kool Skunk?

Re “Altered state” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, August 27):

Ahem. There are three initiatives [about marijuana] in California besides Assembly Bill 390. There is the Oaksterdam (R. Lee) one, where we will not be allowed to practice proper horticulture by limiting private citizens to 25 square feet (you try to breed plants in 25 square feet and show me it can be done). And then, ta da! The initiative that not only allows proper practice of horticulture but also keeps us out of jail! That initiative is the California Cannabis Initiative.

Legalization and decriminalization are two different things, and it is confusing to figure out at first. Legalization makes marijuana (cannabis) legal on all levels by removing laws against it, and decriminalization makes aspects of cannabis not subject to fines or jail. One lets you be free, and one sends you to prison if you exceed 25 square feet of garden space.

So please volunteer today for the California Cannabis Initiative and help us gather signatures to legalize cannabis in California. It can’t be about letting only corporations grow our cannabis. Marlboro Kush or Kool Skunk, anyone?

Jack the Grower

A vote for reality-based medicine

Re “Swearing by diet” (SN&R Letters, August 20) and “Legislating diet” by Matt Perry (SN&R Frontlines, August 13):

Whenever I read comments like those espoused by [Nancy White] Henderson, I cringe. I agree with her completely that eating a healthy diet is beneficial to one’s health; no physician will dispute that.

However, everything else she says is, well, just plain ludicrous. She has such disdain for the medical community—physicians, pharmaceutical houses—that since she happened to heal her gums by going on a vegan diet, she has summarily decided that by following that type of diet, one can cure all ills. And it is particularly dangerous for her to proclaim that her breast cancer friend is now “healed” having also followed a vegetarian diet.

I’m assuming your readers are savvy enough to not accept the rantings of this unintelligent woman who is predisposed to hate the traditional medical establishment. Why, if it were up to Henderson, no one would ever need chemotherapy, no one would ever need heart surgery and no one would ever need a kidney transplant, etc. All they would require would be to start on a vegan diet and, a few months later—like magic—they would be cured. No physicians would ever be needed, no cancer treatments, no life-saving transplant surgery—just a vegan diet. I hope your readers are intelligent enough not to run to their bathrooms and flush their tamoxifen down the toilet.

I fully understand why you printed her letter, if only to amuse your readers.

Jacqueline Harris
via e-mail

Homeless Catch-22s

Re “A good night’s sleep” by Kel Munger (SN&R Snog, August 20):

I applaud the article and Kel Munger for [her] views. Also, the fact that Mayor Kevin Johnson actually spent a night in a homeless campsite absolutely amazes me. And major props to him for showing concern in a nondistanced way.

Other factors to consider are the unreasonable requirements made upon homeless people by the shelters just to be able to get on and stay on the list for a bed. Anyone requesting a bed is told to call or be on site, every single day, to be on the list. If a day is missed, the person is taken off of the list.

Can a homeless person be expected to have a cell phone turned on, to continually be able to pay the bill, to be able to call every day? Can a homeless person be expected to be able to borrow a phone to call the shelters every day? Can a homeless person be expected to have money for transportation to get to the shelter, to be kept on the list, every single day?

And what about their personal belongings? Can they be expected to carry all of their personal belongings to the shelter every day just to be kept on the list? What about job searches? When the shelters require the people to take their personal belongings with them every day when they leave the shelter, how are they able to even do a job search?

Kathryn Haseltine-McConkey
North Highlands


Re “Target: public employees” (SN&R Editorial, August 27):

The editorial stated that 10 percent of the Sacramento region’s workforce is made of public employees. Instead of “public,” we should have said that 10 percent is made of state employees. We apologize for the error. This has been corrected on the Web site.