The Coastal Post - September 2000

Letters To The Editor

Deadly Driving?

Please advise the residents of Bolinas, and other nearby areas, that there are at least two people driving in our area who, frankly, should not be allowed to drive. I have seen Mr. PROVA 50 (as his license plate is spelled), ambush drivers at several points on the Mill Valley to Bolinas stretch on Highway 1 and try to force them off the road as he attempts to speed on at 50 plus miles an hour. Once he tried to force me off the road as he tailgated me at high speeds starting up the ascent to Mt. Tam from Mill Valley. I was forced to slam on my brakes and yell loudly that if he did not stop I would call the CHP on my cell phone an have him arrested for attempted manslaughter. Mr. PROVA 50 seems to enjoy passing on blind curves also.

Miss GREEEN (as her license plate is spelled) tailgated me this morning as I left my home in Olema and headed toward Stinson Beach. She was so close to me as I attempted to drive through Thirteen Curves, that, had she been any closer, she and I could have been arrested for attempting intercourse in public. It did not matter to her that there was a car in front of me. I was forced to slow down and tell her to get off my back. She seemed to understand the message until we were out of the woods. She then proceeded to tailgate me again. I slowed down. She pressed down on her horn and passed me on a curve, then proceeded to pass two other vehicles right at the curve that leads into Dogtown.

I realize we all have times that require more urgency than others. However, Highway 1 belongs to ALL of US. I'll be damned if I'm going to let two maniacs take over the main route of access to my work and my home. These people are not just disrespectful to other drivers, they are deadly. If they are feeling suicidal, they should seek professional help. The wish to die does not grant them the right to commit homicide.
N. Medina
Olema, CA

It Can't Be For Real

I can't believe my eyes as I read your paper, is it for real? You are too wonderful... Truth, I see truth and I see integrity and I see incredible courage to speak out. Good writing, interesting stories, relevant!? relevant! Your wonderful and awesome and I love you all incredibly madly for having backbone to say the truth and not be bought, you made my heart soar with the story of air traffic facts, river status, awesome. I worship adore you all and wish you all the peace and strength and understanding to increase and heap many blessings upon you. You all and your Post are very cool, and very HOT! Blessings.
L. Atwood

Global Peoples' Assembly?

World government as the road to Disarmageddon? Guy Meyer's article (8/1/00) in the Coastal Post offers such a message making the point that we need "a new way of thinking" because we are "mired" in the old modes which produced the A-bombing of Hiroshima-Nagasaki and a modern world which remains full of weapons of mass destruction. In short, we are dangerously stuck.

But help may be on the way. In September in New York City activists will be meeting to discuss the flaws of the United Nations, and a proposal to create a Global Peoples Assembly. Remember the slogan "Think Globally, Act Locally"? Activists are already planning Local Peoples Assemblies (e.g., Seattle, Los Angeles, Europe), and Regional Peoples Assemblies (summer, 200l, San Francisco).

Local or Regional Peoples Assemblies may begin to elect representatives to a Global Peoples Assembly and then attempt to become part of the United Nations in order to "democratize" the UN by adding a new Assembly to represent "the people." This strategy would not necessarily lead to democratic world government.

Whereas conventional thinking leaves "foreign" policy to one's country, the new thinking is world citizenship and world patriotism. Because nations and the United Nations have failed to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, failed to protect the environment, failed to insure natural human rights, and failed to stop criminal predators who take over nations, it is necessary according to the new logic, to intervene on behalf of the world public interest and to establish new structures.

The 21st Century may therefore mark the beginning of a giant step forward in terms of ethics and morality: World citizenship with both rights and responsibilities. Narrow self-interest no longer acceptable. New structures to reflect the new thinking.

Patriotic world citizens may one day regard the CONSTITUTION FOR THE FEDERATION OF EARTH as a modern day Magna Carta. In development by the World Constitution and Parliament Association, the CONSTITUTION FOR THE FEDERATION OF EARTH (CFE) is ready for review as a replacement for the United Nations Charter. The CFE addresses critical global problems which the UN has been helpless to resolve.

An important feature of the CFE is its call for democratic structures. (A democratic world federation is what world federalists from Einstein to Walter Cronkite have felt is required to save the world.)

The CONSTITUTION FOR THE FEDERATION OF EARTH calls for a tricameral World Parliament consisting of a House of Nations, House of Peoples, and House of Counselors. Implementation will require democratic ratification and the initial steps will include establishment of a Provisional World Parliament.

Youth will most likely be the first to adopt this challenge. The new generation, raised on Star Trek and the World Wide Web, will find the establishment of an "Earth Federation" under the CFE rather natural. Youthful environmentalists will like the Provisional World Parliament's plan for "Earth Dollars" which cannot be spent on weapons of mass destruction or on environmentally destructive projects.

Disarmageddon? Join the Earth Federation.
Roger Kotila
San Rafael


The History Channel had a program on the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and suggested that Sirhan Sirhan may have been programmed through hypnosis in a "Manchurian Candidate" type scenario to kill RFK. A book has been written about the same subject. In the 1962 movie, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, Lawrence Harvey has been brainwashed by a Chinese hypnotist and turned into an assassin under their control after returning to America.

With the rash of Church burnings and School shootings in the past several years and the rarity of such events prior to this is as if an invisible hand or Manchurian Svengali were orchestrating events... And the KGB and other groups have been studying mind control for years... And has had as their goal...destabalization of this country... Naawh... it couldn't be ...its just a figment of this writer's imagination...And Frank (Sinatra that is) is not here to tell us if its so...!
Woody Voinche
Marksville, LA 71351

Heard About New Toilet

I'd called about buying several Coastal Posts from your office. I got four copies at the grocery store. I'm on your mailing list. Steve Simac's article cracked me up. I met Steve in the Bolinas Clinic a few months ago. I've been a Stinson Beach resident - Calle Sierra - for 45 years. I heard the toilet in the old garage was recently replaced. I remember using it 60 years ago. The last witch, Janice T., was my friend since 1972. I miss her. It's true, Bo men being killed. Only a few left. Good luck always.
Mary Jones
Stinson Beach

NRA - Stronger Than Ever

In a strong backlash to the Clinton administration's preposterous charges blaming NRA for gun crime, and the Clinton-Gore threat of more gun prohibition, rational Americans are joining NRA in droves.

In April a year ago, NRA membership stood at 2.7 million. Today it's at an all-time high of over 3.6 - almost 3.7 - million, a 35 percent increase in just 15 months, and is projected to reach four million by year's end, thanks to NRA's best recruiters, Messrs. Clinton and Gore.
Fielding Greaves
Former NRA Director

Combating West Marin's Millionaires

Recent events in Bolinas and newspaper articles about rising housing costs and dropping school attendance rates all point to the arrival of people with millionaire incomes pushing out people with modest incomes. One way of combating this trend and producing a level playing field is to follow the lead of communities in Pennsylvania and introduce an income tax. This can be crafted to making moving into the community by wealthy individuals and displacing lower income individuals costly. The rationale can be devised to protect the health of the community by maintaining its cultural and economic diversity. The tax can be applied to provide for the purchase of property and its rehabilitation into low cost housing. This would provide housing to reduce the need for transit as a second benefit.
Niccolo Caldararo

Filling Remy's Void

Linda Remy's August op-ed piece about Marin General Hospital is as frightening as it is precise and informative. I have been attending Marin Healthcare District board meetings since 1974. Through the years, few elected directors have had Remy's comprehension of hospital operations. She always did her homework and has been an outstanding consumer advocate. When she departs this November, she will leave a void. However, a candidate for her seat is outstanding as well.

Newcomers to the Healthcare District (all of Marin except Novato) may not know significant hospital history. The hospital opened its doors in 1952, paid for by the taxpayers of the district. Responsible for its operation are five elected directors whose office terms are four years.

In a detour around democratic processes, the five directors in 1985 agreed to lease the hospital for 30 years to its CEO, Henry J. Buhrmann, and the hospital attorney, Quentin Cook. The tenant-friendly lease was written by Cook. Both men are public employees who assumed similar positions in the privatized MGH. As Remy pointed out, it is illegal for public employees to make contracts to benefit themselves. Gary Giacomini, then a county supervisor, described the lease as "the biggest theft of public property in Marin County's history."

MGH has operated behind closed doors since the 1985 privatization. The elected board has little authority because of the lopsided lease. The elected board was basically inert until November 1996 when the nationally-known consumer advocate, Sylvia Siegel, and Remy were elected. Joining Dr. Diana Parnell, already on the board, the three voted to sue in Sacramento Superior Court to break the lease by then in the hands of Sutter Health, Sacramento. What happened in 1985 is not in dispute. In a preliminary ruling, a judge maintained that the suit is tardy and the four year statue of limitations has run. Not so, argue district lawyers who cite case law that the statue does not expire for public properties. I expect a decision in favor of the district board at the appellate level. It will take time.

In the meantime, it is mandatory that we elect three pro-consumer directors this November. Dr. Diana Parnell has been a courageous director of eight years. She deserves re-election. Dr. John Severinghaus was appointed to the board when Siegel resigned for health reasons. He is asking to be elected for the two remaining years of Siegel's term. Like Parnell, he is an outstanding director. He deserves to stay. Remy's seat is being sought by Esther Blau, a top-notch candidate. Ms. Blau is a registered nurse who has been at MGH for years. She is caring and a strong consumer advocate who would be an ideal replacement for Remy.

Once MGH is back in community control, the money-siphoning of patient revenue to Sacramento will end. The hospital will serve the community and no longer be a cash cow for a hospital chain.
Norman Carrigg, M.D.
San Rafael

The Birds and The Horses

The best analogy given by anyone to the Republican economic philosophy which underscores their budgetary and fiscal planning for the country is what Senator Joe Lieberman gave in his acceptance speech in the recently concluded Democratic Party Convention. The Senator compared the G.O.P. economic platform to the old country adage; that the west way to feed the birds is to give the oats to the horses.

This analogy candidly illustrates what the G.O.P. "Contract With America" and President Reagan's "Trickle Down Economy" concept are all about. The question I want to ask Americans who re currently supporting Governor George W. Bush and his party, particularly those who are having problems making both ends meet in their family budget is: Are the Republicans giving you the oats or are you one of those who are happily trudging along the rear end of the oat eaters for your subsistence? Until you can honestly and intelligently answer this question, you are not prepared to do yourself, your family, nor your country, justice by casting your valuable vote in November 7, 2000.
Antonio R. Serna
Rohnert Park

The War Against Starthistles

I'd like to expand a little, if I may, on the article about herbicide spraying near Marshall. The particular weed targeted by the spraying is yellow starthistle, a non-native and highly invasive plant. For those of you who devote most of your attention to domestic gardening, the plant we're dealing with is that prickly blue-green weed you see alongside the freeways everything. This plant doesn't do well in controlled areas, like backyard gardens; it relies on finding areas that are seasonally cleared of original vegetation, but otherwise ignored. Cattle and horses don't like this stuff, in fact, it's poisonous to horses who eat enough of it. Because the starthistle season comes after the regular season for our various grasses, pasture lands are quickly being overwhelmed. When CalTrans does their routine spring mowing alongside the roads, it's a perfect invasion route for the starthistle. Most herbicides cannot hurt this plant, which is why people want to be hopeful about the effectiveness of Transline. Hand-picking will not control this weed: it would take an army the size of Sherman's to burn a path 50 miles wide and 300 miles long to start to control the infestation we've got right now. Some programs of controlled burning at just the right part of the season are paying off, but there needs to be more of it. A few people are having success with Barbados sheep, probably the only animal that eats this plant, but sheep have their own problems to consider... including theft.

The hilltop trails where I ride have no starthistle; the trails are along grassy hilltops that are now mowed or grazed, so the starthistle can't get established. Obviously, this invasion is something we've allowed to happen, and now we've got to figure out how to stop it. Any ideas you have are welcome, talk to your local farm bureau.
Jeff C. Matthews

Inspired by Tent City, PA

It was truly inspiring and heartening to see Tent City in Philadelphia on C-Span on Sunday, July 30.

I saw similar sights in the countryside while riding on the train from Moscow to Leningrad in 1981.

What I saw was huge tent settlements in the forests bordering the railroad. In the daytime, the women worked on the railroad picking up excrement and TT from the tracks while their menfolk mentored the offspring back at "camp."

When the women returned to camp in the evening, there was great celebration: bonfires, bbq's, music, dancing, etc., before the men took the nightshift patrol staging enterprising takeovers on outlying districts to marshall goods, capital and other assets to bring back to their communities.

This only provides that the US is not the only previously thought of land of free enterprise and opportunity.

However, we must acknowledge that our system is more advanced because we have these enterprise districts right here in our own midst in the great population centers instead of delegating them to the backwaters.

Kudos to the liberalizing principles of the Administration of the past eight years that encouraged the creative, enterprising and self-sustaining progress of from "welfare to work."

Can we hope for more from the party of compassionate conservatism?

Al Gore is right! Give them more computers and websights to keep them occupied and off the streets!
Olga Goldsmith
San Rafael

Ballots Or Bullets

I would like to preface my letter with a brief story that is pertinent. Several years ago I was fortunate to have witnessed a speech by renowned statesman Dr. Kenneth McFarland. He was the keynote speaker at a seminar given by General Motors' Chevrolet Academy at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

McFarland specifically pointed out several instances of what many people consider criminal abuse by government officials and government agencies. "Many of my friends" he said, "have raised the question - 'can we solve our problem of government abuse by ballots or will they have to be solved by bullets'". (As I recall this speech was recorded and marketed under the title "Selling America to Americans.") McFarland then stated he personally did not think we had passed the point of no return, however he hastily added, "many of my friends do."

I recently had an encounter with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that has caused me to recall Dr. McFarland's speech and question and I would like to share that with you now.

My name is Henry Harrison, I live in Jackson, Tennessee and I have been in the business of making concrete blocks since 1983. My company is called Concrete Products, Inc.

Following a recent trip to New York to visit our newest grandson, my wife and I returned from the trip to discover a registered letter from the EPA. In my absence, and without my knowledge, they had found me guilty of failure to provide them a required letter stating we had tested rainwater on our business property. The EPA fined me $2,500.00, in a secret trial. I WAS NOT ADVISED THEY WERE HAVING A TRIAL. They also offered a deal in the letter that if I would accept their guilty verdict and not appeal it, they would reduce my fine by $500.00. I am not sure why I was offered this deal, since they had already had a secret trial, found me guilty and fined me.

I requested Tennessee Congressman John Tanner ask for information concerning this unconstitutional and possibly criminal offense by a government agency. They told him my company was required to test rainwater when it fell to the ground. I have a written statement saying otherwise but in a secret trial of course EPA would not have access to this information. They further stated I had not sent them a copy of a rainwater testing report that we had filed and assumed the testing laboratory had sent them.

As a result they simply had a secret trial, declared us guilty, fined us $2,500.00, offered us a $500.00 deal not to contest their verdict. They have done this to hundreds of companies in the State of Tennessee. They further announced they owned their own appellate court, and their own court of appeals, which would hear the hundreds of cases from companies they had recently fined (in secret trials) in Tennessee.

I assume they could have fined me $25,000, $250,000 or $2.5 million in secret if they chose.

These are not 5 and 10-cent crooks. These are some of the most brutal criminals to ever control of a government agency. Was Dr. McFarland right? Will we be able to correct unconstitutional and criminal acts by government agencies by ballots or will it come to bullets?
Henry Harrison
Jackson TN 38301

Gun Control In England

I recently read the letter sent in from Esther Riley about gun control in England and the UK. I feel I must set the record straight.

I am a Brit, living here now, but I travel to England regularly, so I have first hand knowledge of Gun Control in England.

Since Tony Blair banned hand guns (totally against the wishes of the majority of the people, including the police) gun crime has escalated beyond anything we have seen in California. Violent crime is now worse than in the US, and getting worse as time passes.

Even in Northern Ireland, which is in the process of peace talks, gun violence is worse than it has ever been in the past.

When Blair banned guns, he kept all information under wraps, putting a 100 year secrets order on it (only in the UK and Eastern Block). The only reports anyone hears about gun violence in English newspapers come from the USA, as the occurrence of gun violence is suppressed in the UK.

Incidentally, my children do not eat at McDonalds' since an investigative report produced in England documented allegations that McDonalds donates money to NORAID (fundraising for the IRA).

There are plenty of Regulations governing the ownership of guns in this country (USA). I challenge anyone who does not believe this to try to go to a gun shop to purchase a gun. Everything is registered. Even in England with it's highly restrictive laws there is not as much paperwork as there is here.
Yours Sincerely,
Glyn Morgan

It's A Hoax

I am simply curious why your publication has a bogus article entitled "Post Office Wants to Tax Email" by Kate Turner?

What other articles do have that have no basis in fact?
Bob Wilson
Austin Texas

Wants Punitive Sanctions Against China

An unclassified CIA report to Congress on Wednesday August 09 2000 said that China increased assistance to Pakistan's ballistic missile program in 1999.

US officials have regularly talked with China about its proliferation activities. China always claims that it has never been involved in proliferation, and also commits to stop proliferating in the future.

Again and again China has promised to stop its proliferation which it claims it is not involved in anyway!

Also, the Washington Times reported on August 03 2000 that hackers suspected of working for a Chinese government institute in Beijing broke into a computer system at Los Alamos National Laboratory and pilfered large amounts of sensitive information.

Repeated and calculated Chinese involvement in proliferation and espionage activities poses a grave danger to our national security.

I urge the Congress to impose severe punitive sanctions against China. When we have the laws to defend our national security, why not use them? Are campaign contributions or trade dollars more important than our national security?
Mo Kher
Bloomington, Il

Democratic Sex Police?

Gore and Lieberman may be "Men of God" and big into religion, but it doesn't make them morally superior to us low life heathens. At least we know where we come from and why we're here. We're here because of sex (see birds and bees). Al Gore and DNC Chairman Joe Andrew do not speak for the Democratic Party when they try to imitate Republican sexual oppression.

Who do Al Gore and Joe Andrew think the are to punish California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez for having a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion? When did the Democrats become a sex police party? It's a fundraiser, not an orgy. Playboy is an adult 45-year-old mainstream magazine for heterosexual men. It's inconsistent to declare that a Playboy fundraiser is immoral while a gay fundraiser is not. At least she's not fundraising at a Buddhist Temple! I call on Joe Andrew to step down as the head of the Democratic National Committee.
Marc Perkel
Springfield Mo.

Where Is the Outcry From the Anti-Gun Crowd?

Anti-Bush leftists, like most of the people in the TV industry, are pretty much the same crowd as the anti-freedom gun grabbers. So why is the Late Show with Craig Kilborn advertising for a sniper to kill George W. Bush? Clearly, this is a poor taste attempt at a joke, but imagine the media outcry if it had been conservatives suggesting that Al Gore should be killed by a sniper. It's also interesting that it took several days of intense nagging by a few concerned people to get CBS to even admit to it...and of course you won't hear the story repeated endlessly on the evening news for the next several weeks.

We hear radical leftists like Alec Baldwin and Spike Lee calling for violence against decent law-abiding people and we hear about radical leftists like the "Million Moms" at the Republican convention who stole from and intimidated a group of Second Amendment Sisters. These are the same people who want guns registered and confiscated "for the kids". It reminds me of an incident a few months ago when we participated in the Second Amendment Sisters march in Sacramento. My brother and sister's families, including children, were peacefully standing around waiting for the march to begin. We were all holding up signs urging people to honor the U. S. Constitution and the right to self-defense when a kind and gentle gun control advocate stomped up to my brother and said "It's disgusting that you brought your children to this, YOU OUGHT TO BE SHOT!" If this is how these people think, it's not surprising that they don't trust anyone to own firearms.
Greg Cook
Mountain View, CA
[email protected]

Phony Accusations Against Mardeusz

Kelly Viera has shown her complete lack of credibility in alleging that Ms. Mardeusz is afflicted with "Munchausen's by Proxy" syndrome. This "syndrome" does not appear in the DSMIV, which is the "bible" of mental health disorders, and therefore it is NOT a legitimate psychiatric diagnosis. Furthermore, those who promote this "syndrome," limit the criteria to parents who cause MEDICAL trauma to their children to gain attention, which can only be diagnosed by a psychiatrist--not an attorney!

It would have nothing whatsoever to do with allegations of family violence. For those who understand that the attacks on Ms. Mardeusz are politically motivated and retaliatory, Viera's most recent phony accusations against Mardeusz come as no surprise. Viera must have put on an extra big dunce cap to dream up this destructive tactic. FYI, in Mono County, CA a mother in a custody battle was falsely accused of "Munchausen's" by non-medical officers of the court. Acting on the false label, the 5 year old child was taken away from his mother. He died 11 days later in state custody, from improper medical care. Viera's Munchausen attack is shameful.
Karen Anderson
Pioneer, CA 95666
[email protected]

McCain's Solemn Vow

McCain's Thursday night vow to serve came as a shock to some -- a disappointment to many. But his words to the Republican National Convention were carefully scripted.

And though I've waited days for the press to latch onto his choice phraseology, perhaps meant purely for his own personal justification, no one has bothered to make more than a passing joke about it.

He spoke of his commitment to serve his Country, and relayed the story of Bush Senior's service during the War under McCain's grandfather. But when offering his own commitment, his words were awkward, though carefully chosen.

...He vows to serve his party - but under whom?

In his own words, "under the Son Of his grandfather's Brave Subordinate." Yes, under the SOB(s)!"
Teirra M. Vituscka
[email protected]

The Newspaper Preservation Act And The Examiner

As Milton Friedman observed, legislation aimed at correcting defects in the marketplace often achieves the opposite effect for which its passage was touted to a trusting public.

The Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 was enacted to "keep alive failing newspapers so communities had multiple editorial voices." Invoking the Preservation Act in the case of The Examiner seems a ironic. While the specific intent of the Act was "multiple editorial voices," the authenticity of the "voices" seems to be an irrelevancy in this particular case.

U.S. District Judge Walker and The Examiner have both shown a willingness to bandy about the names of Bennack, Irish and White, the Examiner staff who did not let integrity stand in the way of bartering "editorial voice" for political favors.

Curiously neither Judge Walker nor The Examiner seem to come up with the names of Bennack and company's counter parts. With whom did Bennack, Irish and White talk turkey, i.e. cut the deal?

(Now that Bennack, Irish and White have demonstrated their willingness to compromise a free press, will they remain stalwarts in San Francisco journalism?)

For every piece of political extortion there are those who make the demands and those who meet the demands. For example: insurance commissioners and insurance companies. They travel in pairs; scratching each others' backs.

Was this one of those rare instances in history where the bribeā "favorable pressā" was just left, unsolicited, on a tree stump or in this case a newsstand with the hope that Willie Brown would acknowledge the gift with a wink and a nod of approval?

Perhaps the Newspaper Preservation Act was invoked not for the sake of "multiple voices" but for the sake of sweetening the pot. The beauty of the Preservation Act is that its invocation reaches into the tax payers' pockets to subsidize The Examiner to the tune of a $66 million. Let's hear it for the "multiple voices" even if they are disingenuous voices for hire.

The subsidy gives Ted Fang something for his time, patience and $100 million. Meanwhile Clint Reilly gets $2.5 million just for standing in the way. Lawyers carve up another $3.5 million. The Heart Corporation gets its dream paper. And, Willie Brown got some good ink, for a while.

Such a win, win, win, win situation; it makes one absolutely swoon. Although murky by way of conventional morality, this piece of socialized capitalism has been blessed by "four government investigations." What more is to be said? Why must Judge Walker sully the euphoria with such aspersions as "political cronyism," "political favoritism masquerading as law enforcement," and worst of all "malodorous?"

"Malodorous" indeed! That is the musky redolent funk of money and politics thrashing about in bed together.

It looks as though Clint Reilly's benediction is already coming true: "Newspaper owners" are beginning to "live by the same standard to which they hold people in public life" and that may be cause for worry.
Jeffrey R Smith

What's It All About?

After 2 days of demonstrations, and a media presence large enough to choke an elephant, you should pardon the pun, I just don't get it. Thousands of people, exercising their First Amendment rights -- and unless you are no more than 20 feet away, you don't have a clue what it's all about.

Every press report seems to be the same rhetoric. . . commending the Philadelphia Police Department for their restraint. Restraint? Against what?

The credit goes to the protesters and their conduct, if you ask me. And more importantly, aren't reporters supposed to "report?" I'm more interested in who the demonstrators are and what their message IS. I just don't get it.
Teirra M. Vituscka
Riverside, NJ
(The Jersey side of Philly)

Airbag Problems With Toyota

I am writing this letter our of desperation to alert consumers of an incident that happened to me.

My family purchased a 1999 Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner in Nov. 1999. On Jul. 21, 2000, I was involved in an automobile accident while traveling on Hwy. 25S and another vehicle pulled out in front of me.

I was traveling approximately 65 mph with my cruise set at 64 when the front of my truck hit the passenger side of a 1991 Caprice Classic and my airbag did not deploy. The truck's front end was demolished.

That afternoon, I contacted the Toyota Customer Assistance Center to report what has happened. I was told that it would be 3 working days before I would be contacted regarding the airbag.

Approximately 4-5 days later, someone contacted me from Toyota and they stated that they would be able to examine the airbag within two weeks. I expressed to her that my insurance company would be making a determination on the vehicle soon and if they opted to repair the truck, I did not think that they would allow it to sit at the body shop waiting on them (Toyota). She then stressed to me the importance of not repairing the truck until they had a chance to examine it. I told her that she needed to talk with my insurance company to inform them of their plans for checking out the truck. She dismissed the thought of talking to my insurance company almost immediately.

Two days later someone from my insurance company contacted me and informed me that the truck was a total loss and that it would be moved to a salvage yard the next day. I then telephoned Toyota again relaying this information. This time the representative that I spoke stated that it would take approximately 30 days before someone could come and look at the vehicle. I told him that my insurance company stated that they allow the vehicle to remain at the body shop if Toyota agreed to pay the storage fees. He just restated the time frame (30 days) it would take their person to come and examine the vehicle and reiterated that the vehicle should not be repaired before they got here. I asked if they could designate someone from the local dealership to come and check out the vehicle. He stated that the mechanical repair people at the dealerships are not qualified perform the necessary test on the vehicle. Toyota has hired people who are specialized in that area and they are few and number. He went on to state that my type situation is one that rarely occurs. I went through the preliminary to show you how I came to this point.

It appears to me that they are shooing me off because I am just "one" individual. Toyota supposedly builds high quality automobiles and I am very disappointed that they would not want to take it serious or of high level importance that there may be a defect in one of their best selling automobiles. I am astonished that they would wait until a fatality before they would even move. I understand recalls cost money, but to me the life of an individual is something money cannot buy. Product makers always want to appear in their advertisements as if they are interested in the satisfaction of the consumer and the preservation of the quality of life when really it is all about money.

This letter is just to let other Toyota owners know if the same or similar situations unfortunately happens to you, do not allow Toyota make you think that it is an isolated incident like they did me! And do not let them shoo you off. I will not be quiet about this until they check those trucks out! Because something is definitely wrong. They cannot tell me that the sensors did not go off because the truck was not hit just right to set them off, because the motor was pushed back to the front wheel of the truck. This is just a letter for information purposes.
Penny Woodberry
Raymond, MS

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