Letters for the week of November 1, 2012

Does Brown want to lose Prop. 30?

Re “Jerry Brown’s moment of truth” by Marc Cooper (SN&R Feature Story, October 25):

The problem Gov. Jerry Brown faces in this election is the body politic’s lack of faith in the state Legislature. I have no faith that any tax dollars added to the state budget by this—or any other measure—won’t 1. prevent the restructuring needed to balance the budget through real cuts; 2. be sopped up by the unions and fat pension plans (we don’t have fewer public employees because they became less expensive, we have fewer because it is easier to fire less tenured people than it is to reduce union salaries); 3. be spent on nanny-state programs representing the political issue of the day (i.e., mauled by a Chihuahua? Someone will quickly find a politician to write a law outlawing the pooch, and Taco Bell, for good measure).

“Vote local, spend local” is my motto these days. I will not vote for [Proposition] 30 or any new taxes until the state lawmakers earn my respect by overcoming divisive politics. Maybe the governor’s real agenda with this measure is to highlight the absurdity of budgeting by state proposition.

Why have a representative government if the people have to do the work of their representatives? Mob budgeting, is that what we’re about now? Perhaps the governor knows it won’t pass, or maybe he doesn’t really want it to pass. Perhaps he’s just trying to force us toward the logical end of a broken political system: a budget crisis that forces the public to demand that their representatives take their legislative responsibilities more seriously than their party affiliation.

Benjamin Bannister


Bogus endorsement

Re “Vote with us!” (SN&R Opinion, October 25):

Your endorsement for Dianne Feinstein for U.S. Senate was anything but “independent” or “alternative,” as your paper claims to be. You asked us to blindly vote for her because she is a Democrat, and you failed to mention what you did not see eye to eye with her on.

Feinstein has been in office for 42 years. She is a “has-been.” She has been responsible for driving companies out of California, for creating a state with the highest income tax and driving California to the gates of bankruptcy. Right now, instead of campaigning, she is taking a taxpayer-funded vacation and is refusing to even debate her opponent, Elizabeth Emken.

But I guess we should vote her in yet again, because, well, she is a Democrat. Tell me again: What is independent about that?

Grant Erfert


Pilgrims were drunks, too

Re “Tell your pilgrim to shove it” by Becky Grunewald (SN&R Brew the Right Thing, October 18):

Becky Grunewald is to be commended on her taste in beers, but she is woefully misinformed about Pilgrims and their attitudes toward this most excellent beverage. She praises Lagunitas Brewing Company’s fine DayTime IPA, but inaccurately suggests that our country was founded by Puritans whose attitude toward “day drinking” stood in sharp contrast to much of the world, where a midday beer is considered “as natural as day eating or day drinking.”

In truth, the “day drinking” of beer and “day eating” were considered one and the same by our Pilgrim forefathers. As all good beer nerds know, it is a historical fact that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock rather than continuing further south as planned, because they were in serious danger of running out of beer. … North America was colonized by Europeans, and beer was considered an essential and nutritious part of the daily diet, a food to be consumed at all times of the day by young and old, and with good reason. In the days before people understood the dangers of bacterial contamination, beer was much safer to drink than water, didn’t spoil as quickly as milk, tasted good, and offered vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber, and calories that people needed to survive. Beer was an essential part of the colonists’ diet, and they had no qualms about enjoying it throughout the day.

Joe Martin


Volunteers should fix up schools

Re “Homework improvement” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, October 18):

It is disturbing to read of the sorry state of C.K. McClatchy High School and other schools in Sacramento. What will happen to all the students—our future leaders—who experience an education in such a setting? … Then we read how much money is required to turn things around, and we want to throw up our hands in despair. We know such monies will not be available for many years, if ever. What do we do until then?

It seems we are faced with two choices: We can either continue to bemoan the terrible state of education in our community while we lose a generation of kids … or we can do the best we can with what we have and decide not to give up. We can use volunteers. …

If someone puts together a volunteer corps, I am willing to put in a few hours a month working at McClatchy. I am sure many parents and others will do the same at all our schools if given the opportunity.

Mike Savino


New bike lanes rule!

Re “Don’t get ’Jerry Browned’” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 18):

I really enjoyed this article and was happy to find out that more bike lanes have been added to downtown. …

As for the suggestion that a better bike lane should be placed between parked cars and the curb, I strongly disagree. … The idea of a bike lane caught between cars where the passenger’s side of the car could just as easily open into an innocent bicyclist … [it] wouldn’t fly at all. I’d much rather ride in the road than even contemplate the obstacle course a lane like that would entail. At least with the bike lane between parked cars and the roadway, the bicyclist has the option to cautiously ride around any obstacles in the bike lane.

I’m just thrilled that we have bike lanes at all, and even new ones in these times of economic hard times for the state and city governments. When it comes down to it, the sharrows or bike lanes work best when there is a mutual respect between the bicyclist for the power of the car and the car driver’s respect for the vulnerability and right of way of the bicyclist.

Ellen McMahill