Coastal Post Online

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MAY 2002

Letters To The Editor

Cheery News!

We always love your cheery news! Keep the presses rollin'.

Sandi & Randy

Sausalito

CP Seeks the Truth

The motto of my alma mater Cal Tech was "Seek the Truth, For the Truth Will Set you Free."

Enclosed a token of my appreciation. You do the same!

Howard Waite

Inverness

Worth the Price Despite

Well, I almost did not resubscribe because of the inane babblings of writers such as Stephan Simac, Frank Scott and Edward Miller; however, the CP does tell me about the Alta Tunnel and the egregious actions of Steve Kinsey, plus Mootown News and many of the letters are worth the price. So, it's enclosed.

Ray Schneider

Corte Madera

MUTA's Request to DA

To: Paula Kamena, Esq., Marin District Attorney

Re: Family Services; Request Criminal Investigation

The Board of MUTA has resolved to request an investigation by your office of the circumstances alleged in the Coastal Post newspaper article written by Teri Alvillar.

Many of our members are elderly. Members of the MUTA organization have expressed grave concern about the allegations made in the Coastal Post article, particularly in view of the detail stated in the article, i.e., names, dates, details and otherwise seemingly verifiable information.

The allegations involve the conduct of County employees and others, which conduct would appear to violate numerous criminal statutes if the allegations are true. These are matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the District Attorney's office.

It is the job of the District Attorney to investigate all allegations of conduct which may be deemed to be criminal. The MUTA Board respectfully requests that you conduct a thorough and objective investigation of the allegations. That the investigation involves County employees, should not have an affect on the D.A.'s willingness to investigate nor on the result.

MUTA requests your prompt response to this communication so that we can know whether or not your office will look into this matter or not.

Nancy P. McCarthy

Marin United Taxpayers' Association

In Israeli Lobby's Pocket

How can Ariel Sharon thumb his nose at the president of a country that guarantees Israel's existence and has given them billions of dollars in aid? Easy, because that arrogant man knows that most of the US Congress and Senate are in the Israeli Lobby's hip pocket. Any member who has the temerity to stand up against that lobby is targeted. A reminder is the fate of two who tried that: ex Republican Senator Percy of Illinois and ex Democratic Senator Weike of Connecticut.

Our government policy of almost blanket support of any Israeli action has, of course, led to alienation of previous Arab friends along with oil embargoes and some overseas bombings. Now the dynamics have changed big time. American cities and civilians are now in the terrorists' crosshairs and these guys are here. We can probably get most of them but not all. We are evolving from an open society into a guarded one and it will get worse. All this for a greater Israel which has enlarged itself by confiscating the land of others and by grabbing their water. it is time for our politicians to put US interests first. It is also time for those who call themselves American Jews to start becoming Jewish Americans.

Willian McShane

Novato

Seeks Truth Re: Officer Alvillar

I would like to take this opportunity to commend Fairfax Councilman Caldararo for trying to get at the truth regarding the investigation of the late Officer Ric Alvillar. Ric served the town of Fairfax as well as the Ross Valley Community with courage and distinction.

On a personal note, he responded to my call for help several times over the years when I was experiencing medical problems as a result of my disability. Speaking as a private citizen, even if the allegations against Officer Alvillar were true, they would only have resulted in a couple of days of suspension without pay. I am deeply troubled with the fact that he was being subject to possible termination.

When I spoke with Officer Alvillar a couple of days before he passed away, his deepest desire was to "be given an opportunity to challenge the allegations against him and to completely clear his name." This statement has, in a sense, become his last request and I believe it should be honored. There have been editorials that indicated that, "Town officials shouldn't have to go it alone." We must remember that Officer Alvillar was previously cleared of allegations once by a judge and reinstated with back pay once before. When utilizing public funds in any investigation, Town officials are not going it alone, and the public has a right to know and be assured that the disciplinary process protects the rights of the parties involved.

Peter Mendoza

San Anselmo

Upside to Voter Apathy

James S. Kor of Soledad brings up very salient points in his April letter to the editor regarding American voter apathy.

I'm beginning to see an up side to voter apathy, however. The less people that vote, the more sway my individual vote has! One vote out of a thousand makes my vote more influential than one vote out of ten thousand.

Maybe it's more intelligent to be concerned about the quality of the electorate than the quantity.

As for those who espouse the Australian model of "democracy" -- compulsory voting (making it illegal not to vote), I see absolutely nothing democratic about a totalitarian tactic such as that.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

Open Letter to Bush

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to permit medical cloning could have the potential of bringing cures for a vast range of accident- and disease-caused physical disabilities.

It is unconscionable that President Bush, Sen. (physician) Frist, Sen. Brownback and so many other Republicans have taken such a position on the issue.

Their opposition to therapeutic cloning is on a par with the infamous anti-science Papal refusal to recognize our sun-centric solar system, with New England's disgraceful witch burning, and the early Christian dogma that women don't have souls.

Like the abortion issue, the medical cloning issue should never be treated as a political or religious matter. It is a therapeutic and health science issue, and the public overwhelmingly supports it.

What Bush, Brownback and Frist et al in effect are saying to the gravely ill and the permanently disabled is, "Learn to live with it, Jack. It's the Lord's will." A righteous God would be appalled at an attitude of such depraved indifference, heartless cruelty and primitive "religious correctness."

Fielding Greaves

Republican voter

San Rafael

Thanks To Edward Miller

Thank you for the courage which allows Edward Miller to speak the truth, especially about that old sacred cow, Israel. It is heartening and refreshing.

Linda J Porter

The Price of Peace

The very obvious charade presently going on between President Bush and General Sharon is adding insult to injury as far as the Palestinians are concerned. No one in his right mind will believe that the Prime Minister of Israel can ignore the stern warnings of the President of the United States of America, and get away with it. It is very obvious that a lot of nodding and winking is going on in the exchange of official dispatches and presidential pronouncements between the Bush administration and the Sharon government over the apparent efforts of the US government in stopping the butchery of Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces.

This ridiculous scenario can be compared to a gruesome situation where a law enforcement officer is called upon to stop a man from raping a helpless lady. The cop arrives while the crime is in progress and tells the rapist to stop in the name of the law. The rapist refuses to stop and instead tells the cop to wait until he has finished. The cop insists but in the meanwhile goes around the immediate neighborhood purportedly asking the victim's neighbors to help him do his job. The neighbors tell this "confused" cop to go and rescue the poor girl rather than waste his time asking them for help. At this writing, the cop is still going around the neighborhood waiting for the rapist to tell him that he has achieved full gratification and can therefore now allow the cop to rescue the poor lady.

Is it therefore any wonder why the Palestinians cheered gleefully when they learned of the September 11 attack? Were they mistaken in their belief that the Bush administration was all along behind Israel in the latter's belligerence towards Palestine? Would anyone have behaved differently under similar circumstances?

The Bush administration should understand that the USA is the only world power that can broker a peace settlement in the Middle East. Our failure to be effective in that endeavor is because we have been behaving like that "confused" cop who went through the motions of enforcing the law but in effect was assisting the rapist in the commission of a crime that apparently served their common purpose. Peace cannot be served unless there is justice and justice cannot have two faces. The Palestinian-Israeli question will be resolved when both sides address their problems with honesty, compassion and fairness. The international community should be the arbiter. Should its efforts fail, let the two competing forces settle their grievances through their own resources without any assistance from the Super powers. It is only then when peace can finally be achieved.

Antonio Serna

Rohnert Park

Paper Publishes Free Hate

I read your paper for the first time even though I am a 34 year Marin/Sonoma resident. I was shocked and appalled by your acceptance of the bigoted, racist, Jew-hating incitement- provoking article by Edward W. Miller. This is the first and last time I will read your paper. I will also ask others not to read it. This is not free speech. This is free HATE!

Laura Ried M.A.

[email protected]

 

Bush: Don't Let Arabs "Tread" On US

Three cheers for Yasser Arafat who along with his fellow Arabs is diverting Pres. Bush's attention from Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein as he whip-lashes Israel, his only real ally in the Middle East. How long is going totake for Pres. Bush to realize that the Arab dictators are only fair weatherfriends?

The real enemies of the Untied States whose brutal destruction of thousands of Americans by Saudi killers are gaining their second breath and preparing for more strikes as we brow beat a trusted friend. President Bush in labeling Arab states as parts of the Coalition against terror is like enlisting the thieves to protect your house. Arafat's scheme which appears to be working on a befuddled President is to have the Israelis accept the punishment like good scouts taking their casualties from suicide and PA killing squads as they followed the "take it on the chin" and "turn the other cheek" advice from Bush Sr. during the Scud blitz. Bush Jr. should have laid it on the line to the PA that if they persist in harboring terrorist they must bear the consequences. The American people should let the Arabs know that they can't buy the US off for a barrel of oil. Giving in to Arafat gives bin Laden and Saddam Hussein a breather which will spell serious trouble for the free world. If anything Bush and the United States should be assisting Israel in combating terrorism from wherever it raises its ugly head.

Dr. Norman Mann

San Diego

Transit Problems And Solutions

An article by Michael McCarthy in the March 5, 2002 issue of the Pacific Sun parallels one by Mark Pardo in the IJ which was of great interest to anyone commuting to, from or within Marin. Mr. McCarthy reports on studies by the Marin Congestion Management Agency taken from the DMV data of the increasing number of cars in the Bay Area. This trend parallels the rest of the country and the world. Even cities which were virtually car-free 40 years ago, for example, the Belgian city of Brugges, now is jammed with cars and is served by huge parking lots. In the IJ article, Mr. Prado quoted Debbie Hubsmith and Supervisor Kinsey that we must encourage people to use other means of transportation. I agree. Certainly using a bike is a non-polluting method of travel and those who show real courage are the ones who brave commuter traffic each day on a bike. In fact, one might say they are the heroes of the transit mess. One risks serious injury and potential death in traffic on a bike during the commute.

Nearly 30 years ago when I was traveling and studying in Europe, I watched thousands of people commute each day on bikes. Alas, this last year I revisited many of these locations to restudy the traffic patterns and found bike use down precipitously in almost every location. Traffic in Paris and most other French cities is horrific as can be said for other major European metropolitan centers, yet even in the countryside bicycle use is replaced by cars, motorcycles and other motorized transit. The culture of the car is a global phenomenon and though Europeans use their cars less than we do, their use is increasing.

I used to think that European policies on transit use would keep cars from becoming as predominant there as they are here. One of these was the cost of gas. Their idea is to make the use of gas pay for all the costs it creates in society. Thus while the philosophy of road use and the distribution of the costs of building and maintaining roads is to facilitate trade and transit in general, they allocate costs with the social impacts considered. We do not do this. Thus, the gas tax is applied to reduce the social costs of auto use. Impacts like pollution are often considered. However, there are other costs not considered in every case. For example, roads are constructed on land that used to be productive. It becomes state property and no longer generates food, employment, tax money or value-added products. Certainly four and six lane freeways function to move people and products for economic purposes, but today we know that materials which took less than an hour to get across downtown London at the turn of the century now can take several times as long to reach their destination. We need to ask if this means of transportation is still an effective economic method, as we recognize that the cost of all good and services increases with congestion and the increase in transport time.

Before WWII, the Bay Area and L.A. had effective transportation systems. In the Bay Area, the Key System operated trams, trains and ferries linking the East Bay and S.F. with the South Bay. Just prior to and shortly after WWII, in knowing violation of the Sherman Anti-trust Act, General Motors and several other firms proceeded with a national plan to replace public mass transit with gas operated buses and cars. References to their actions were detailed in 1974 by Congressional staff member Bradford Snell in "American Ground Transit." These facts were later detailed by Jonathan Kwitny in an article for the SF Chronicle's "This World" magazine on March 1, 1981 that reported on the final ruling against the corporations by US District Judge William J. Campbell. Judge Campbell ordered the corporations to pay $5,000 each for their violations, and individuals involved to pay $1 each as well as court costs. This simply shows that our present transit problems were created in a fashion similar to that which has dominated the recent collapse of Enron.

The public interest has not been served by transit policies. So how do we change things? This produces a terrible dilemma, as almost any proposed solution requires significant public costs tied to making one type of transit pay more and others less as a means of motivating people. Recent tax changes allowed companies and workers to reduce their mass transit costs which has been a boon to some agencies like BART. Recent proposals to raise the bridge toll to $5 are a step in the right direction but should be balanced by dropping the costs of Golden Gate Bus and ferry service. At present, it is no benefit to pay more than $5 both ways on a bus or ferry versus a bridge fare of $3 even with the cost of car maintenance and parking included. The main reason is convenience. A bus or ferry passenger must still often transfer at least once in the City while a car user can often park near their location. Another improvement would be to extend BART over Route 37 from the East Bay, as one can see from the figures in Mr. Prado's article that the over 90 cars per 100 people figures are from areas not served by BART.

Another improvement would be to enforce driving regulations concerning insurance and licenses. Highway Patrol figures show that some 50 percent of drivers today have either no insurance of lack a valid driver's license. Taking these drivers off the roads would decrease congestion and remove some of the worse drivers, making the roads safer.

There is one question, however, for which there is no answer -- how to make bicycling during the commute safe. I used to ride my bike to work every day and then I was hit by a car while trying to change lanes to reach a bike lane. I spent several months on crutches for my efforts and have not tried since. I am not sure if we can make bicycling safe, but perhaps we can take enough cars off the road to reduce the road rage that encourages injury to those on bikes. Bike lanes are a good idea, but drivers do not always respect them or give bicyclists room to reach them.

Niccolo Caldararo

Fairfax

Earthday Ignored By Most, Celebrated By Some With Vandalism

Sometime in the wee hours of Earth Day, someone came to the Pro-Degradation Interactive Wall in Point Reyes Station and tore down the whole central panel of posters. This is the part of the wall where people can write their opinions.

It was a very Pro-Deg thing to do, especially leaving it in the street. We'd like to thank whoever did it for their graphic representation of the theory of Pro-Degradation, which is to use up, waste and pollute all natural resources as quickly as possible. Adding the denial of free speech was a great bonus gesture. It's good to see that Pro-Deg is being supported in such an intelligent and thoughtful way.

Opinions are divided as to who tore down the posters. Some say it must have been some drunken kid on a mindless testosterone binge. Others think it may have been one of them goldurned environmentalists, who see Pro-deg as part of the Axle of Elvis, whatever that is. Of course, it could have been terrierists, seeing a chance to strike a blow against the American Way. Pro-Deg supports the Bush War on Terriers! Never did like em. Yappy little critters.

Paul Reffell

Marshall

A Bitter Birthday For A Captive Conservatee

For Henry Kallin, a/k/a Probate Case No. 282774, a long-time resident of San Francisco, it's bitterly ironic that on April 4, 2002, his 83rd birthday, that, in the name of "safety and welfare", he should find himself and his possessions -- as the evidence shows, against his will-under the control of Temporary Conservator Jewish Family & Children's Services (JFCS), San Francisco.

All his life, Henry, my first cousin, a former teacher and world traveler, has been a private person, who came and went as he pleased and kept to himself. The one thing you can count on if you know Henry as I do is that he would never surrender his freedom nor possessions unless he was tricked and/or forced into doing so. A David Havsky e-mail gives credence to my contention.

David Havsky, Senior Programs Manager for the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, who has been acquainted with Henry, on March 26, 2002, in his e-mail, states that he had noticed a deterioration in Henry's appearance and demeanor and tried to talk him into entering a facility. Said Mr. Havsky:

"He always gently demurred from these options, stating his reluctance to pay the fees required for financial and/or case management that would be provided to him in the residence of his choice (whether private or institutional)."

So, given this stated and characteristic reluctance, why and how did Henry Kallin have an uncharacteristic change of mind and heart, and how and why, when he was so reluctant to go along with David Havsky's suggestions, did Henry Kallin wind up handing over the controls, his person and his assets to JFCS?

According to David Kallin, Henry's son and the JFCS-"Designated Family Member," through whom all news about Henry is routed, JFCS became involved at the request of a friend "who convinced Henry he needed help, and he allowed her to contact JFCS, because of his affiliation with them in the past." (What that "affiliation" with JFCS was I have not been able to ascertain from JFCS nor from David Kallin.)

This fortuitous request for "help," according to a JFCS Case Manager, Sara Madigan, gave JFCS the legal right to enter Henry Kallin's premises. Also, as we have come to understand, Adult Protective Services was brought into the picture and a doctor's appointment was scheduled. And, in effect, the Conservatorship process was rolling.

The doctor's diagnosis of Henry, according to David Kallin, was that "he suffers from severe dementia, he is not oriented to time or place, and is only somewhat oriented to person. He has lost weight and is unable to obtain food independently and is completely unaware of his own personal needs."

Furthermore, according to David Kallin, the diagnosis reads: "He is unable to manage his finances, i.e., forgets to pay rent and bills, he does not know where his funds are kept, or whether he has funds at all, and UNABLE TO RESIST FRAUD AND UNDUE INFLUENCE."

Presumably, that diagnosis would apply as well to fraud and undue influence which might be engineered by conniving conservatorship specialists looking to make a "legal" score.

At any rate, from that point on, Henry's life changed forever, as he and his possessions were removed from his place of residence. And from that point on, presumably, Henry's assets became JFCS' to disburse as JFCS sees fit.

So, if in fact, as JFCS claims, Henry is safe and he's eating well in a clean environment, and JFCS conservatorship specialists are supposedly looking after his interests, what's the beef? Why the "conniving" allegation?

Well, for one, there's the price being charged to Henry Kallin for his assisted-living accommodations at Hampton Court Daly City. According to David Kallin, Henry is being charged approximately $4,000 a month for a semi-private accommodation. According to the marketing director for Hampton Court, we were informed via e-mail that the price for a semi-private accommodation is $3,200.

Considering the distinct probability that institutions placing people in such facilities receive discounts for multiple placements, there is a huge differential here, even given the possibility that Henry Kallin requires additional services-and there has been no indication that he did require such services.

There is also the information gleaned from the California Registry website which states that the average price for a "dedicated" assisted living facility is $1,800 a month for a private accommodation. So someone(s) could be profiting big-time at Henry Kallin's expense.

Then there is the puzzling $20,000 discrepancy which has surfaced regarding the estimated value of Henry Kallin's assets. While the California Superior Court records show a $200,000 surety bond was issued to JFCS, David Kallin, in an e-mail states he was informed "JFCS had to post a bond in the estimated value of Henry's wealth in the amount of $180,000, in the event anyone feels they have misused his monies."

Of course, whichever figure we choose to accept, we have to trust and believe the JFCS conservatorship specialists' claims that all the assets found in Henry's apartment have been honestly reported and accounted for .

And, truth be told, belief in the honesty of JFCS people is an extremely difficult proposition. There are several discrepancies to be scrutinized. But, above all there is The Lie. The inexplicable but significant, tell-tale Lie.

In early February, purely by accident, I came across the Probate Banner website of the California Superior Court, and was shocked to see Henry Kallin was now a Number -- PCN 02-282774 -- under the Temporary Conservatorship of Jewish Family & Children's Services. That is how I learned Henry had been placed under a conservatorship.

The date of JFCS' appointment as recorded on the California Superior Court, San Francisco County Register of Actions is listed as January 25, 2002.

Subsequently, I inquired of Suzanne Staples, supervisor for JFCS' Conservatorship program, as to Henry Kallin's status. In an e-mail dated February 7, Ms. Staples responded:

"JFCS was appointed Temporary Conservator for Mr. Kallin on January 11, 2002."

Considering the possibility of error, twice I tried in vain to get verification from JFCS' Associate Executive Director, Amy Rassen. To my astonishment, Ms. Rassen would not either confirm or deny the date!

Finally, after six days, on February 13, JFCS' Director of the Seniors- at-Home program, Mickey Sherman, responded. Via e-mail, Ms. Sherman stated:

"Yes, Jewish Family & Children's Services was appointed Temporary Conservator for Mr. Kallin on January 11, 2002."

Meanwhile, on February 10th, via e-mail I had contacted David Kallin and asked him to verify the date of appointment. David, who receives all documents relating to Henry and is apprised of all developments, on February 14, via e-mail, responded:

"1/11/02."

The fact is, if everything was as legal and above board as JFCS would have us believe, then why lie? Why deceive Henry Kallin's family?

What is it that prevented JFCS people from telling the truth?

If we can't trust JFCS to state the truth about the date of appointment, then how and why should we trust the JFCS version of events at any point of its intervention?

Why and how can we trust the doctor's diagnosis of Henry Kallin, so crucial in JFCS' determination to gain control over Henry and his possessions?

Why and how can we trust the accounting of Henry Kallin's assets?

Why and how can we trust any statement made by JFCS to the Court?

How can we trust any JFCS statement, period?

And most of all, given this proclivity to lie, how and why can Jewish Family & Children's Services be permitted to remain as Temporary Conservator for Henry Kallin?

If justice prevails, JFCS' Conservatorship will be terminated immediately and JFCS will be compelled to return to Henry Kallin his freedom, all his documents and every cent taken from him.

David Futornick

[email protected]

Greeting From Prague

I happened to run across your paper on a late Thursday evening in the Czech Republic. It's great! I have bookmarked it and plan to pass some articles on to friends. They'll love them.

My favorite article was the "Don't Think" piece, or something like that. Hilarious! It had all the worn stereotypes-corporate greed, materialism, Bush not elected, etc., combined with awful prose. The works!

For a second I almost thought the author was serious!! Ha! Great stuff. Better than The Onion.

I also liked the article about how Israel had "invaded" its neighbors, and wants to see all the Arabs dead! Woo Hoo! I'm laughing out loud as I write this! My goodness, I hope your paper is a daily, as I can't wait to see what satirical pieces you'll print tomorrow.

Regards,

Patrick Pray

[email protected]

P.S. Wasn't that Taliban guy from Marin County? Why not do a piece about him. That would be outrageously funny, too. Pretend he's actually being persecuted by the US, but he's really an American Hero! Ha, ha. That would be great! Write it so it seems Ashcroft and other Bush officials are

the real traitors. Gosh, I'm laughing now as I think about it. The leftists in CA must hate you guys for making fun of them like this!

P.S.S. Poland is not part of "Eastern Europe", as one of your satirists implied. Was this part of the joke, too? For the record, it's in Central Europe. Perhaps a minor point, but it would be like writing that Marin County was in Mississippi...

Fantastic?!

For a moment I wondered if I was dreaming when I saw the Coastal Post giving up some of its precious space for the article by Jim Scanlon, "Lord of the Rings: White Male Racist Imperialism". Aren't there enough real enemies in the world (corrupt multinationals and lobbies, war-mongering politicians and so forth) to be attacking without this 'tilting at windmills'? As someone who usually enjoys Scanlon's articles, I found it a bit disconcerting.

Does the accusation "White Male Racist Imperialism" really hold up in the light of day? No - the epic tale is full of powerful female characters, and human beings are depicted as being simply one among several highly developed species who have at least equal (if not superior) powers and intellect. Moreover Tolkien's epic is characterized by a deep feeling and love for the countryside and delight in other species for their own sake - something colonial and imperialist forces are completely indifferent to in their blind determination to wreak our biosphere for short-term profit.

So why this vicious diatribe? Apparently Scanlon, and Steve Simac too, think that enjoying a fantastic entertainment is a weakness that should be rooted out. This smacks of attempted thought control and is unworthy of the Coastal Post. Mythologies and epics are an integral and ancient part of human culture - each race has its own mythology and myth is not the exclusive domain of any particular race. As for the fantastic novel, it has been undertaken by many famous names in literature: Dante, Goethe, Rabelais, Voltaire, Cervantes, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, to name but a few. Fantasy is simply one way of letting the mind rest from the stress of life in the modern world, a welcome respite that helps many people carry on in their daily grind.

Some people might accuse the Coastal Post staff of living in a world of fantasy. In each issue you masterly lay bare the stratagems of the military-industrial-lobbyist complex that is undermining democracy all over the world. Yet in the face of such continually demonstrated injustice, you still believe in the possibility of an ultimate awakening of the peoples of the world and their casting off the corrupt elements in their governments. Your hopes and vision of the future are too often as yet still dreams, but if you abandon them, then all hope dies and nothing can be done. So dream on, and hope on, but instead of dissipating your fire on imaginary enemies target the real ones.

C. de Montet

Canada

Losing The War

Among the ruins outside Kabul I saw one poor man kneel down, face Mecca, and pray to his God. This is why the US and Israel will win every battle and lose the war.

Art Llebrez

Portland, OR

The price Of Israel's War

The state of Israel was created over 50 years ago as a home for Jews escaping oppression. It was a gift from the world community. Now the oppressed have be oppressors who have no tolerance for any religion other than their own.

No one has any doubt that Israel has the military might to defeat the Palestinians, but at what cost. I was raised Jewish and I donated money to plant trees in Israel. But now I see Israel as the aggressor who is taking advantage of a world wide warlike mentality to make a grab for more land. The way I see it, Israel is clearly escalating this conflict and they want a war.

Israel may win this battle but in the long term they are making a serious mistake. For the first time in my life I question whether it is still necessary for there to be a Jewish homeland and I think it's a mistake to support nations that are based on a single religion. Fifty years ago Israel was given a gift and they are abusing it. They have now become like those who oppressed them. I believe Israel has sacrificed it's standing in the world community and has lost it's credibility and moral authority.

Marc Perkel

San Francisco

What The Alvillar Investigation Should Have Proven

Following are a few reasons why Fairfax Police Chief Ken Hughes $18,000 investigation of Officer Ric Alvillar should have concluded the charges were unfounded:

The charges were instigated by Sgt. James Providenza who was responsible for Ric's firing in 1982 (Providenza is now a Captain in the San Anselmo Police Department). Ric appealed and won his job back by an Administrative Law Judge's ruling. The judge determined that Providenza's testimony was impeached.

In the 1992 case, Sgt. Providenza testified that he had never made a derogatory remark about Officer Alvillar (Transcripts Vol. I, p. 120). Contradicting him, witness, Sgt. Laura Weaver testified that Providenza pressured her to file false sexual harassment charges against Ric, telling her "Ric isn't the kind of man we want to be an officer" (Transcripts Vol. II, p. 354).

Richard Schmidt was chosen to conduct the 2001 investigation of Officer Alvillar even though Schmidt apparently held a negative opinion of Ric. A witness heard investigator Richard Schmidt speak disparagingly of Officer Alvillar as long ago as 1993. For years, several witnesses regularly saw Schmidt and Providenza having coffee together even though they worked for different Towns. Evidently, Schmidt holds no business license for his San Rafael office or for working in Fairfax. He was hired by Interim Town Administrator, Chuck Cate, without a written contract and with a verbal scope of services. Cate was involved in the 1992 investigation of Ric.

Following are just a few problems with Schmidt's report:

1) Sgt. Providenza accused Ric of intentionally destroying evidence, a Saturn emblem and some debris, even though he admitted that a lab test could not determine which Saturn it was but only that it was a Saturn. Ric already had put that information in his report.

2) Officer Alvillar was accused of writing a substandard report for a routine call outside Town limits. Officers are not supposed to be sent on routine calls outside the jurisdiction; only emergency ones. Testimony showed that Ric's reports had no more errors than reports of other officers. Examples of Ric's errors include leaving an extra space between the last letter of a word and a comma and not capitalizing the first letter in a sentence. The final report still hasn't been sent to the Highway Patrol which has jurisdiction.

3) Schmidt accused Officer Alvillar of making a harassment complaint against Providenza to cover up his own "misconduct" in the collision incident. Schmidt failed to notice that Ric's first of two harassment complaints against Providenza that month was made a full week before the collision.

4) Schmidt sustained an allegation against Officer Alvillar of Conduct Unbecoming an Officer. He told Ric and his lawyer that an accident victim was "quite offended" by something Ric said and that she'd made a complaint. The transcripts state Schmidt asked her "Were you offended?" The woman said "No" and she never filed a complaint.

The testimony of several witnesses in Schmidt's report is questionable. Two sergeants claimed Officer Alvillar wrote substandard reports because "he was born in a foreign country" and "English was his second language," neither of which is true. Ric told me that once he "dumbed down" his reports from college to 5th grade level, he received no more complaints.

Another sergeant testified that he didn't know why officers don't like Providenza. Ric told me the same sergeant said to him "If murder was legal for one day I'd hunt down Providenza and kill him."

Chief Ken Hughes recommended Ric's termination in spite of the following:

1) He knew Providenza's history of impeached testimony;

2) He knew Schmidt made false statements in the transcripts;

3) He knew Schmidt's findings were not based on facts;

4) He violated the Peace Officer's Bill of Rights by not notifying Ric until three months after he'd begun an investigation of him;

5) He improperly used a disciplinary action against Ric when no rules existed to support it;

6) He improperly used a disciplinary action more than 5 years old to support a termination;

7) He improperly used a disciplinary action that was still under appeal, to support a termination.

Terri Alvillar

Fairfax

State Of California Clearcutting

It has been demonstrated time and again that clearcuts are harmful to forest-health. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt. Then why does the State of California continue to demonstrate this? I propose that California discontinue the demonstration of unsustainable practices in the Jackson State Forest.

I'm sure we all know that there is more involved in a forest than the growth of trees. However, all other growth hinges on the growth of trees, and trees grow in definite stages.

I'm sure we've all heard the term "old growth," and we realize that it indicates a stage of tree growth. However, we may not realize what reaching that stage of growth allows a tree to do, in terms of the environment.

I will keep this letter to a minimum out of respect for other writers, and I will concentrate on one thing none can deny we need. That thing is water, and it is a fact that an old growth forest is capable of filtering water in staggering amounts. It's essentially a free service the forest provides, but it cannot render us that service unless it is allowed to remain in its old growth stage.

I will ask another question. Why would we want pure, free water?

Benjamin Fraser

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Thanks For Printing

Thank you for the courage which allows Edward Miller to speak the truth, especially about that old sacred cow, Israel. It is heartening and refreshing.

Linda J Porter

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