The Coastal Post - June 2000

Letters To The Editor


We Saw Elian Reuited
   What Republican politicians, right-wingers and religious right, saw and read into the Elian Gonzalez rescue. A photograph of terrified Elian; an automatic weapon (that the Republican Congress won't ban); jack-booted thugs and Gestapo tactics; illegal home invasion (there was a duly obtained warrant); a night raid (it was early morning); the ever-present Castro; and on and on and on.
   What the rest of us saw. Elian reunited with his father.
*    *    *    *
Gun Owners Don't Seem To Get It
   There are 80 million good, law-abiding gun owners, who don't seem to get it. They are in denial of a real segment of society, racists, sociopaths, lunatics, who have the same access to guns as they do. With guns in hand, these people can reap havoc on society and the American public. NRA's solution: harsher sentences for felons after they have carried out their murderous rampages.
   The real question is how we keep guns out of the hands of an unbalanced segment of society , and who they are. And there lies the crux. There is no way of knowing who these people are before they act. Thus we see the increasing call for sensible and thorough gun control. The alternative is to watch as 80 people, including about a dozen children, continue to die each day from gun violence.
Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA

Not Doing Much About Growth Control
   I am VERY curious as to why Northern California, which is (was?) one of the most beautiful places in the United States, doesn't seem to be doing much to control its growth and subsequent overcrowding. Isn't that an issue the press could/should tackle?
   Even the Coast, particularly around The Sea Ranch is packed-too many homes too close together. When I last saw that area 20-25 years ago, it was lovely wild land with a few houses on the cliffs. The benefits of living there in your fair state are diminishing rather rapidly. Makes me sad.
Dallas
[email protected]

Inaccurate Medical Records A Health Risk
  I suggest that every single person take increased responsibility to oversee services delivered for medical health. In order to accomplish this, you will need more information than is typically available.
   When you have been treated, how sure are you that medical records are recorded accurately? What procedures or information have been either omitted or exaggerated?
   Let me share my experience. My life has been drastically changed due to serious brain damage.
   After this happened, I found out that the medical records had been intentionally inaccurately recorded. The thing that caused the damage could have been easily discovered and almost certainly would have been prevented, had I been aware of the inaccuracy.
   Frankly, I was stunned that medical records would be inaccurately recorded, and even more shocked to find out that it's not so unusual. Laws can be changed to help us avoid such problems.
   You can help by contacting me if you have had a similar experience, or know of someone who has.
   The e-mail address is: [email protected]
Fax: (909) 514-0394.
   Any doctor or lawyer interested would be helpful.
Ruben D. Connor
Grand Terrace, CA

Sweat Shop Slavery
   There's an obvious difference between slavery and getting paid to work. However, when long hours every day are rewarded with payment that barely provides for survival, how can that not be interpreted as slavery? As a country we pulled together over 100 years ago to abolish slavery and move our way towards a more civil country with respect to basic human rights. If the exploitation does not take place within the 50 United States, is it less of an issue?
   The words "sweat shop" have been tossed around, but some people are not even clear what they mean. Fancy packages and expensive price tags on the things we buy in America make it difficult to picture a center geared towards mass production run by millions of men, women and children who work in extremely abusive conditions. In 1996, 50 percent of the United States' clothing factories were sweat shops and 75 percent of them were violating health laws, safety, and basic human rights.
   President Clinton had this to say of the issue: "Our nation has always stood for human dignity and the fundamental rights of working people. We believe everyone should work, but no one should have to put their lives or health in jeopardy to put food on the table for their families."
   Yet the sweat shops continue. An area that has gotten much attention recently is Saipan, which is an American territory in the Pacific Ocean. Popular clothing companies that grace the pages in magazines and run commercials every five minutes have thousands of workers located there. In fact, the factories in that area have exceeded their legal limit of foreign garment workers by more than 4,000 people. Even though the workers make $3.05 each hour, minimum wage, they suffer as illegal indentured servants who do not get paid overtime and work in horrible conditions. Most of the workers are women. They work 12 hours a day and seven days a week in crowded factories, and then retire to crowded barracks to sleep. Women are forced to get abortions because having a child would affect how much they produce. One man claimed to never have seen a woman with a child in the factory areas in Saipan. If any of the workers complain, they are deported. This is all possible because Saipan is allowed to create its own immigration policy, which is an issue that even the Clinton administration says is out of hand.
   Sweat shops have been an ongoing controversy and something that the government seems to be unable to control properly. Ideas and possible solutions are floating around, but so far no nations have had truly significant effects. Many companies have done their best to eliminate sweat shops in third world countries and then continued to donate money to the effort, but there are still hundreds of companies who are using the same horrific policies to ensure that they produce as much as possible. After all this pain, exploitation, and breaking of rules, all that remains are the clothes whose tags read "Made in America."
   It is hard to find a solution to a problem that is so widespread and, to put it bluntly, successful and beneficial. Boycotts have been done, but how far have they gone? With the Internet at our fingertips and access to e-mail at school and work, technology seems like the perfect way to get the word out. I recently got a petition for the benefit of women in Afghanistan. Even if that petition does not serve as direct help, it got the word out there. I doubt there are many people who could look behind the scenes of a sweat shop and not be affected in some way. Education is the best tool for this problem. I, and many others, feel helpless concerning this issue because we have seen our government fail us. Sweat shops, child labor, and exploitation in third world countries are not issues that should exist. It seems silly to me that these could even be a problem in our world. But what can we do? The first step is to educate, and after that maybe the answer will be clear.
* * *
   This is an essay my 11th grade American Literature class at Sir Francis Drake High School had to write after we finished the novel, The Grapes of Wrath. We had a "fishbowl" discussion about some research we did on basic human rights involving the government and labor. Then we each picked a topic and wrote a response to it and sent it in to various newspapers and on-line publications and newsletters.
Megan Marsh
[email protected]

The Recriminalization of Usury
An idea whose time has come?
   If anything in particular stands out about the recently concluded 2nd International Conference on Globalization and Development held in Havana, Cuba, it is that none of the papers presented at the event included any analysis of financial speculation and its consequences for international market stability and the developing countries, not to mention the negative repercussions of its actions on the principal stock markets.
   The theme was brought up during debates on the subject of financial architecture, in the heat of which Francisco Soberon, president of the Central Bank of Cuba, suggested including an in-depth analysis of specific aspects of financial speculation on the agenda of the next conference. He stressed that nations recently affected are having to set aside substantial reserve funds in anticipation of future onslaughts when, in fact, they need these resources to emerge from the crisis itself. Soberon then revealed that part of these reserves are placed in U.S. banks, which means that they are indirectly used to finance the most powerful nation on the planet.
   That suggestion prompts reflection on the possibility of a repeat of the financial crisis of recent years in which speculators played a destructive role. The danger is latent, but these days the wolves' modus operandi is to dress as Little Red Riding Hood's grandma and pretend to be trying to help. And now we have the paradox of one of the most notorious of them turning into an ideologue of capitalism.
   Such is the case of Hungarian-American megaspeculator George Soros, renowned for his intervention at the beginning of the Asian financial crisis which adversely affected the Thai and Malaysian economies, and for his forecast of the failure of the real plan in Brazil. He is currently revealing himself as one of the theorists and critics of capitalist excesses.
   Although it is not clear how he made his fortune, it is known that Soros is now one of the largest investors in real estate, land and livestock breeding in Argentina, with considerable business interests in Brazil and Venezuela. His company, Quantum Funds, with capital of $20 billion USD, is the speculative machinery operating from the strongholds of offshore tax havens, mainly the Cayman Islands, which, thanks to speculators, have become the fifth largest financial center in the world, according to the Financial Times.
   Speaking at the 1st International Economists' Conference last year, also held in Cuba, Mexican economist Alfredo Jalife labeled the integrated and global phenomenon of speculation from offshore tax havens as electronic pirating. He explained then that, by means of electronic bids, megaspeculators armed with their ominous hedge funds, are operating in the same way as the corsairs of long ago who held licenses to lay waste on the high seas.
   This was the image left by the modern pirates when they brought down the Mexican financial system in 1995 and subsequently those of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the repercussions of which later spread to Brazil, Russia and other countries. These actions also restricted the growth of the world economy.
   The latent dangers of financial speculation is a factor to be taken into account when defining the bases of a new international monetary and financial order, referred to as the new financial architecture, which could take on the challenge of present-day globalization. Neither should we forget the underlying weight of the illegal economy reflected in the billions of dollars produced by money-laundering operations. This is the source of concerns which surfaced during debates at this year's forum in Havana.
* * *
 Much of this material was taken from an article by Joaquin Orama in the February 6 Granma International.
Harrell Schultz
Sebastopol

Prisoner Thanks For Post Help
  I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for running my story. I didn't know about it until Ellen from Lindesmith Center contacted me. A lot of people are contacting me. Marin County and Bay Area people are so cool.
   I don't know if I told you before, but I was born at Marin General. My mom was born in Kentfield. I spent the first years of my life at 182 Locust Avenue, Mill Valley. I attended the Old Park School and my sisters went to Tam High. My dad was the foreman at Leon C. Felton Volkswagen on the Strawberry side of 101. Anyway, I have some great memories of life there. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be had my parents not moved from there. They moved to a little town up by Grass Valley in 1969.
   I don't think I told you this either, I was Country Joe McDonald's drummer in the early '80s. I've played with a few legends, actually.
   I am writing  summary of all the events in my case thus far. There is so much more to it than I explained before. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons, one, to respond to all the questions I'm getting, and two, to help me in the preparation of my declaration
    I have a petition for writ of habeas corpus I am working on to file into Placer County Superior Court. This is my second one, the first is still pending the U.S. Eastern District Court.
   Also, I have a USC42 1983 Civil Right complaints (suit) in the same court, for the wrong-doings at the CDC reception center.
   I have been doing all of this on my own, but Ellen is trying to get some law students to help me. When I get finished with my summary, I will send you a copy.
   My wife, mom and family have not been in touch except by letter, so my resources are limited, but when I make it through this I am going to commit myself to several worthy causes.
   Could you please send me a copy of the April issue of Coastal Post? I would really appreciate it very much. I will continue to stay in touch with you and keep on sending my energy, love and prayers out to you all there at my favorite newspaper. Please pass on my love to Mr. James Kor-he and I are road dogs from way back.
   God bless you all,
Mickey Hodges
P19019
Box 4000 17-214L
Vacaville 95696

Bush Quotes From The Net
   "How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"
-Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort,
S.C., Feb. 16, 2000.
"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"
-Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000.
"This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."
-Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary
School in Nashua, N.H. As quoted in Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000.
"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
-Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000.
"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate. Quotas, I think, vulcanize society. So, I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position."
-Quoted by Molly Ivins, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000
(Thanks to Toni L. Gould).
"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."
-Iowa Western Community College, Jan. 21, 2000.
"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will not stain the House."
-Des Moines Register debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000.
"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses."
-At a South Carolina oyster roast, as quoted in the Financial Times,
Jan. 14, 2000.
"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"
-Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000.
"There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country."
-Larry King Live, Dec. 16, 1999.
"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?"
-Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New
Hampshire, in The New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999.

   "It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then."
-From a 1994 interview, as quoted in First Son by Bill Minutaglio.
Provided from the net by
Jim Scanlon
San Rafael

Greenspan Hurts Home Buyers
   One of the biggest myths in America is that Federal Reserve Chairman Allen Greenspan has anything significant to do with the economy. Mr. Greenspan is hurting middle class home buyers by raising interest rates. He hasn't figured out that low unemployment, good wages, and a strong economy is a good thing and something that he should not try to stop or slow down.
   What Mr. Greenspan hasn't figured out yet is that the Fed can't control economic growth by messing with interest rates because the government is no longer borrowing mass amounts of money anymore. We are in a surplus economy, not a deficit economy. We also have computers and robots doing a lot of work that used to be done by people and therefore an increase in the cost of labor is not going to be as inflationary as it was 30 years ago. This is the 21st century and the rules have changed.
   Higher interest rates doesn't stop inflation, it makes it worse. It makes everything bought involving credit more expensive. I say to you, Mr. Greenspan that your clueless policy of trying to slow the economy is like trying to stop a train by standing in front of it. I think if I were you I'd get out of the way.
*    *    *    *
McCain Puts Party Ahead Of Country
   "I'm a War Hero" used to mean something. It implied that a person had the strength, patriotism, and courage to stand up and fight for what you believe in. At least that's what John McCain wants us to believe when he goes to Vietnam to remind us that he was a prisoner of war. He may have been a hero 30 years ago, but is he a hero today? I think not.
   John McCain ran on the principle of campaign finance reform in an effort to get rid of legalized political bribes where big contributors give vast amounts of soft money in exchange for favors once the candidate wins office. He called his bus the "Straight Talk Express" and committed himself for standing up for principles. Now that George W. Bush has won the Republican primary, McCain has abandoned his principles to endorse a man who has already raised and spent more money as Clinton and Dole spent in 1996 put together.
   I therefore say to you, Mr. McCain, that you can't have it both ways. Don't say that you're a war hero and that your principles mean something and then sell out and put your party ahead of the good of the country. You make war heroes look like wimps. Get up off your knees and quit embarrassing us by groveling like a coward to the Republican party machine. It takes more courage to stand up to your friends than to stand up to your enemies, and your principles are still worth fighting for.
Marc Perkel
[email protected]

No St. George
   I have long admired your fearless exposing of evil-doers and unfairness. So I come to you with a question: Can you confirm or deny the rumor I heard from our UPS guy- to wit: George Lucas bought a building on Park Way in San Anselmo and (in this housing market, no less) evicted all the tenants? Gave 'em 30 - days notice. Indeed, I live about a block away from the building in question and have noticed that it is indeed empty now, and possibly being painted. My building was also bought at about the same time and I have yet to hear our mysterious landlord's name, so I'm kind of nervous. Should I be seeking another dwelling (god forbid)?
Name Withheld
[email protected]
San Anselmo
PS- in the event that Mr. Lucas is my new landlord, could you not print my name as I really cannot afford to move at present. Thank you.

Anti-Million Mom Marcher
   While waiting with my wife and 2 children in preparation to march at the pro-2nd Amendment counter-demonstration to the Million Mom March in Sacramento, California one of the Million Mom Marchers, an older woman perhaps in her mid 60's, came up to me and said: "You should be shot for bringing your children here!". I'd heard stories of violent statements by these supposedly peace loving gun-haters but to experience this first-hand was really quite chilling. Both of my children were at my side when this statement was made. I can only guess what effect it had on them.
   My children; ages 7 and 11 both enjoy target shooting and have been instructed in safe handling of firearms. My wife served Our Country in the Marine Corps. Our family respects the Constitution. We aren't criminals. We aren't violent people. We love Our Country. My wife and I have taught our children to respect the rights of others and to love God. We will not alter our commitment to these basic values.
   We were out-numbered at least 5 to 1 at the Sacramento march by the gun-haters. Perhaps many of the people on the "right" side of this issue didn't hear about it. Perhaps some had Mother's Day celebrations or had to work. Perhaps many who claim to support the Bill of Rights were too busy watching "the game" or counting their money. Sadly history tells us that only about 20% of the citizens will actually fight to gain/keep freedom. The 80% will watch as the 20% use their personal and material resources to protect EVERYONE'S freedom.
   Our country is in VERY serious trouble. We are on the verge of losing our most basic right of self-defense. We must all get active in defending our Constitution before its too late!
Daniel Cook
Lodi, California 95240

Release Of Census Records Could Be A Problem
   Census 2000 has focused new attention on the Census Bureau's guarantee of confidentially. Thanks to recent advances in software and computing power, public scrutiny is likely to intensify when "anonymized" individual long-form records are released. Since the early 1970's the Census Bureau has released millions of identity-obscured census records in addition to the more familiar population statistics. However, these data sets were so huge and computationally daunting that only a handful of researchers used them. As a result, the general public has been unaware of the availability of these data.
   Over the last decade, computing power has exploded. Combine this with our MicroAnalyst software, which is heavily optimized for mining huge microdata sets, and anyone can work with individual-level census data on a home computer. This is a first, and it will worry some people. The Census Bureau has an exceptional record of protecting confidentiality and anonymizing data, but many people simply are not aware that their personal census records can be released in any form, anonymized or otherwise.
   For more information please contact QueryLogic at [email protected] or (800) 960-8615. QueryLogic is a software developer and consultancy specializing in demographic microdata.
Tim Wolfe
CEO of QueryLogic Corporation
[email protected]

Whales In Danger From New Navy Technology
   I just returned from our annual trip to Hawaii. Every January whales migrate to the warm waters off Maui to give birth to their young. This year there were visibly fewer whales than usual.
   I found out that the U.S. Navy has been testing a new technology off Hawaii, a low frequency active sonar system (the SURTASS LFA system). Speakers send out pulses of low frequency sonar that create a powerful sound and pressure wave through the water. The navy says they listen for reflections of the sounds to locate enemy submarines. The navy claims that new silent submarines are a threat requiring this new technology.
   However, an article in Earth Island Journal, Summer 2000 explains that the navy's official justification for the project is misleading, because the navy's major purpose for this technology is to provide political cover for interventions in foreign countries.
   During navy tests, whales were seen to immediately leave the area of testing. In one incident off the east coast off the island of Hawaii, a snorkler emerged suffering from acute trauma according to her doctor, and four months later was still suffering from headaches, nausea, fatigue, inability to concentrate, loss of memory and depression. In addition, two whales calves and one dolphin calf were found abandoned. For one calf to be abandoned is very unusual. For three calves, all of different species, to be abandoned is unprecendented.
   Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Navy was testing this sonar system in the Bahamas and 17 whales were stranded, and five died. Two whales had bleeding eyes, suggesting acute shock trauma. The Navy claims the injuries and deaths are coincidental.
   The hearing of marine mammals is many times more sensitive than our own. According to a report from the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, some of the possible consequences to marine mammals due to the loud decibel level of this sonar system are "death from lung hemorrhage or other tissue trauma; temporary or permanent hearing loss or impairment; disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, acoustic connection or sensing....possible decreases in individual survival and productivity and corresponding decreases in population size....." (report from U.S. Marine Mammal Commissions)
   The Navy did not complete the required Environmental Impact Statement. Therefore these tests are illegal. The navy is ignoring the evidence that this technology serious threatens the marine environment, including endangered whales. The navy's unwillingness to acknowledge the danger might be because they have already spent four hundred million dollars on the sonar system.
   The navy plans to use the SURTASS LFA sonar system in 80% of the world's seas. Now they are planning to test further, and at higher decibel levels; 10,000 times more intense than the Hawaiian tests.
   Please contact your elected representatives and ask them to request the General Accounting Office to conduct an audit of the entire SURTASS LFA progra m. Also ask your respresentatives to call for a moratorium on any further testing of this system until the litigation now pending in Honolulu is decided.
   If you are moved to take further action, please communicate your views to the Secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig at: 1000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20350-1000tel: (703) 695-3131fax: (703) 614-3477.
   As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that every has."
Vivienne Verdon-Roe
Bolinas, CA

Stop Navy Noise Pollution Endangering Marine Mammals
   As I write, Natural Resources Defense Council's Marine Mammal Protection Team is working to stop the U.S. Navy from deploying a dangerous technology across 80 percent of the world's oceans-a technology that would flood the seas with sound that is billions of times more intense than that known to disturb whales.
   This Low Frequency Active sonar is intended to detect submarines. But it is only the latest and most powerful example of deafening sound technology that is invading oceans around the globe.
   The Navy has applied to the National Marine Fisheries Service for a permit that would allow it to degrade marine mammals' habitat and interfere with activities essential to their survival.
   The Marine Mammal Protection Team will challenge that permit, and take the U.S. Navy to federal court if that becomes necessary.
   On March 15, five different species of whales and dolphins began stranding themselves across a series of islands in the Bahamas. Despite heroic human response, nine died. This occurred while the U.S. and other nations were conducting anti-submarine and other military exercises in the vicinity, and using acoustic technology.
   One marine scientist speculated that noise may have disoriented the marine mammals and frightened them into shallow water. Other experts suggest the noise could have given the whales and dolphins vertigo, a deadly confusion when they swim hundreds of feet deep in a black sea and must surface to breathe.
   The Navy had been testing the new system in complete secrecy for years, in violation of our environmental laws, when NRDC brought the tests to light in 1995. By threatening to sue, we delayed deployment of LFA for years.
   A single LFA transmitter would generate sound in the range of 235 decibels, a level of noise millions of times more intense than the 160-decibel level known to cause disorientation, memory loss and seizures in human divers.
   Whales are equipped with exquisitely sensitive hearing, which enables them to use sound to follow migratory routes, locate one another over great distances, find food, and care for their young. Noise that undermines their ability to hear these critical sounds can seriously threaten their ability to function and survive. As one scientist put it, "A deaf whale is a dead whale."
   As a result of our intervention in 1995, and thousands of letters written, the Pentagon agreed to conduct a full-scale study of environmental impacts before putting the LFA system into use.
   The Navy's own tests showed that gray whales exposed to just 120 decibels of active sonar began to swerve from their migration paths. The actual LFA system is designed to run at levels that are millions and even billions of times more intense. Navy tests with blue and fin whales showed that the sonar caused many of them to cease vocalizing. And one-third of the humpback whales, whose songs are a primary mode of communication, stopped singing altogether.
   What concerns marine scientists even more is the potential long-term impact on the behavior and viability of entire populations of marine mammals. The Marine Mammal Commission warned that if the LFA system is deployed as proposed, the impacts could range from lung hemorrhage to disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, acoustic communication and other vital behavior. It is these long-term effects that pose the greatest risk of pushing endangered species over the brink into extinction.
   Next month, the Navy will issue its final Environmental Impact statement. It will not have an answer as to the long-term health effects because the Navy has never studied that question.
   We must act now to challenge this permit and block deployment of LFA. I urge you to write letters of protest to the Navy and National Marine Fisheries Service, and send a tax-deductible gift to the Marine Mammal Protection Team to help us take effective action to prevent deployment of this dangerous technology. Only NRDC has the track record of courtroom success against the Pentagon to hold the military accountable to our environmental laws. Your gift will enable NRDC to mobilize public outrage and make the Pentagon obey the laws meant to protect marine wildlife.
John H. Adams
President
National Resources Defense Council
40 West 20th St.
New York, NY 10011
www.nrdc.org
submitted by:
Theodore D. Hiatt
San Rafael

Outlaw Bicycle Path Building
   On April 27, Gordon Rubard, Boy Scouts of America, Marin Council restored the Alvillar family "Friends of Tamarancho" passes. It turns out the revocation was instigated by some disgruntled BTC (Bicycle Trails Council) trail builders who were annoyed that I asked the County if their construction needed permits. The BTC's actions only caused an unnecessary and ackward situation for Ranger Galbreath and Mr. Rubard.
   Not exactly a minor project, this year's mountain bike trail segment of 2.5 miles includes about 900 cubic yards of excavation on steep slopes (a permit is required for 250 cu yds), a 48' bridge across a major stream (construction within 100' of a stream requires a permit), a smaller bridge (requires permit), felling of healthy trees (requires permits), obstruction of creeks and natural drainage areas (requires permits), and approximately 40,000sf of vegetation removal (a permit is required for 10,000sf).
   Only after the question was raised at County Planning, and the bridge was almost finished, did the BTC apply for a permit to build the bridge. BTC President, Jim Jacobsen, who evidently is not a licensed contractor, signed the application as Owner of Camp Tamarancho, which the County advised is not legal. Strangely, the application's project description said "pedestrian bridge" and the application was approved for "hiking only," although the circuit was designed by mountain bikers for primary use by mountain bikers (including races). Materials alone for the bridge cost over $4,000., it is planned to be used for public conveyance, and yet the work is not being done by a licensed contractor.
   The County does not appear to be following their own rules by allowing the BTC's project to proceed without permits-a project which has had serious detrimental impacts to Fairfax neighborhoods and to the environment. I guess this is another example of what Supervisor Steve Kinsey calls the "Outlaw Culture." I just can't tell where the outlaw culture ends and the other one begins.
Terri Alvillar
Fairfax, CA 94978

True Little Old Lady Story?
   An elderly lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her car. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at them at the top of her voice, "I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of the car you scum bags!"
   The four men didn't wait around for a second invitation but got out and ran like mad, whereupon the lady, somewhat shaken, proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and get into the driver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition. She tried and tried and then it dawned on her why.
   A few minutes later she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into her car and drove to the police station. The sergeant to whom she told the story nearly tore himself in two with laughter and pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale white males were reporting a car-jacking by a mad elderly woman described as white, less than 5' tall, glasses, and curly white hair carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed.
   Story from the net courtesy of
Alex Horvath
Santa Rosa

Subject: the dangers of fluoride
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 14:58:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: "DAVID PHILLIPS" <[email protected]>
To: <[email protected]>

WARNING:  Keep Out Of The Reach Of Children Under Six Years Of Age
   If accidentally swallowed, call poison control center immediately.
   A product with such a warning label should be kept out of our children's reach. It is actually found in a very common house hold  product-toothpaste.  I have always wondered why a product you put in your mouth would have such a warning.  Recently I have been reading articles against fluoride.  I have no way to prove the articles are true but there have been enough of them from dentists and respected university studies for me to question the safety of adding fluoride to our water.
   One alarming story I have read about repeatedly is that the fluoride put into our water is a waste product from fertilizer manufacturing plants.  This fluoride solution contains other toxic substances and heavy metals.  These articles also report a possible correlation between fluoride and cancer, osteoporosis as well as higher rates of hip fractures in people over the age of 65. When fluoride is given to a patient be a doctor, a prescription is needed. Adding fluoride to our water is practicing medicine with out a license. Would the government consider adding Prozac or Ritalin to our water?
   Also disturbing is that by adding fluoride to our water, everyone will ingest different amounts depending on how much water they drink. Over half of the country adds fluoride to their water so we are already consuming fluoride from soda, juice and processed foods there by making this a national issue. Since the majority of water we use goes down the drain, this means more pollution to our water sources.
   If the government thinks they can take care of our teeth better then we can, they should discuss better brushing, flossing and eating habits. If they believe we need fluoride, they should dispense free tablets so that everyone receives a known quantity and eliminating the pollution down the drain.
   We already have known additives in our water, like chlorine, and unwanted additives, like MTBE. We do not know how fluoride will react chemically with these additives.  Perhaps we should focus our energy on removing unwanted chemicals from our water before we add more.
David Phillips
[email protected]
 
 
 

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