Letters To The Editor
For Quality Healthcare In Marin?
The local press in Marin County have omitted and/or failed to investigate both the obvious
and the absurd in the process by which a strategic planning consultant has been selected (for Marin General Hospital). The product of the next several months by several consulting firms will not constitute an 'independent analysis' as suggested in the IJ editorial of March 2, 2005. There is nothing 'independent' about an analysis when the primary beneficiary (Marin General Hospital Sutter) of a favorable outcome is paying for the various elements of the consulting studies with a $500,000 payment or reimbursement to the Marin Healthcare District Board for this purpose.
HealthCare Management Consultants (HCMC) was one of the firms invited to interview Tuesday evening, March 8, 2005, after several other consulting firms qualifications statements had been eliminated in the preliminary screening process by Directors Jackson and Ramirez. Several of the firms excluded from consideration have conflicts-of-interest, having current or past business relationships with the Sutter Health System. Of the four consulting firms invited to interview, our firm, HCMC had no past or current relationships with Sutter, never recommended Sutter Health for any acquisition or takeover, and pledged to never have a consulting relationship with Sutter or any other party, which may have derived financial benefit from our recommendations for 15 years following the completion of the consulting project.
HCMC received its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on February 11, 2005, almost as an afterthought. Other firms received their RFQs on or about February 2, 2005. The Qualifications Statements were due February 16, 2005.
HCMC had completed the entire process, including a 35-part questionnaire focused on quality and patient safety remitted to us by Dr. Ramirez on Thursday, March 3, 2005. On Friday, March 4, 2005, Dr. Severinghaus sent us an Email which implied that we should ignore Dr. Ramirez questionnaire and asked us to consider instead 5 questions with several parts, which would be asked of us when we appeared for the Tuesday, March 8, 2005, interviews. Neither the Letter of Understanding between the MGH Board Chairman (Dr. Tavel) and the MHDB Chairman (Dr. Severinghaus)-nor the initial Request for Qualifications-nor the "Options To Meet Seismic Requirements for Marin General Hospital", which accompanied the 5 interview questions-nor the 5 interview questions implied, inferred, or were relevant to quality and patient safety issues, which have challenged Marin General Hospital (MGH) for many years. Reliable and respected quality assessment organizations rate MGH a Grade C hospital at best. Marin County is among the wealthiest counties in the nation. It has endured significant quality and patient safety lapses, nurse shortages and labor strife, and a mediocre hospital while paying among the highest prices for hospital care in the State of California.
HCMC was unable to appear at the interview on Tuesday afternoon. However, we were confident that one of the three other firms would have been selected; it appears that conflicts-of-interest were not among the disqualification criteria referenced by Director Jackson's assertion that consultants had been 'vetted'.
One of the 3 interviewed firms currently does work for Sutter; one of the firms has done work for Sutter in the recent past; one of the firms identifies Sutter as one of its clients on its Website. The consulting contractor selected by the District Board clearly recommended that Sutter takeover the operations of St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco and was involved in the UCSF-Stanford merger/debacle.
Given the extraordinary number of conflicted firms solicited initially and the three conflicted firms interviewed, Dr. John Severinghaus had the option of starting the process or search all over again, which may have required another 3 weeks to complete. Instead, he insisted on having a vote on the interviewed firms, against the protests of some members of the public, Dr. Ramirez and Dr. Arnstein. There are hundreds of healthcare consulting firms without past or present ties in the United States to Sutter Health.
Residents of Marin County would be well-advised to take greater responsibility for and interest in healthcare in their community. The Marin Healthcare District Board has been co-opted by a process scripted, choreographed, and directed by Sutter Health.
The healthcare market in America doesn't begin and end with Sutter Health. Many Grade A healthcare systems may be interested in serving the needs of Marin residents on a safer, more quality-oriented, and cost-effective basis than the limited options, which consultants have been retained to consider currently. To secure other options, Marin County residents will be compelled to rely on resources other than vested financial interests or their agents inclusive of the MGH Board and the MHDB as currently constituted. Otherwise, Marin County residents will be left with what flavor Sutter rather than a choice between superior healthcare organizations or Sutter Health in the next ballot measure. They will be stuck with the status quo for many generations unless they insist that other healthcare organizations (Mayo Clinic, UCSF, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, etc.) be actively solicited or retain a professional team to upgrade healthcare quality and more effectively manage the resources at MGH.
The seismic options and brick and mortar issues should be secondary to the most important issues confronting Marin County residents-averting a monopoly on its healthcare services, inferior quality, patient safety vulnerabilities, and high costs.
Either Marin County is ready for substantive reform or to arrange cosmetic superficialities. It most certainly has a unique opportunity to upgrade its healthcare, which many communities throughout the nation do not. It is in the public interest for community leadership to explore all prospective opportunities for affirmative change now. It will be too late soon.
Terry B. Brauer
Chairman & CEO
HealthCare Management Consultants, Inc.
HealthCare Initiatives, Inc.
I've always wondered about how Adolf Hitler could have been stopped in the 1930s during his rise to power. And I've blamed the German people for not having stopped it from the beginning. But at the time nothing like that had ever happened before and our world barely escaped a one world evil empire.
Suppose the same thing were happening today and we can all see it coming - what are we to do? Are we going to sit back and let it happen again - or are we going to nip it in the bud? We know better now and with today's technology we no longer have the excuse that we didn't know. We can say that we don't see the same thing coming because it is so obvious.
When telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act there can be no denying that we have a responsibility to act and to prevail. So I ask the people of the world one simple question, "Are we going to sit back and allow it to happen again - or are we going to rise up and stop it?" We simply can not sit back and allow this to happen.
In Memory Of Bruce Crane
I am sending you a check in memory of Bruce Crane who died February 26, 2000.
He admired you and your paper, and so do I.
It is wonderful how your paper exposes issues of health (cell phones), the environment (plastics), and most of all how our county government and court system is treating young women and the elderly.
Thank God for the Coastal Post.
People's Choices/Voices: Say No To Pesticides
I wish to share my letter to Marin Supervisor Steve Kinsey about the annexation of West Marin into the Marin Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District, and I hope people continue to write him their concerns about this annexation.
Dear Supervisor Kinsey,
I'm writing in reference to the Annexation of West Marin into the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District.
I write this letter as a senior woman, 36 year homeowner, and resident of West Marin.
As I talk to people and circulate petitions, I find there are two salient categories of issues: "Say No to Pesticides," and Public Debate/Local Control.
• There is a groundswell of opinion in favor of West Marin as a Pesticide Free Zone. However this comes out, I hope we are all attuned to the needs and rights of majorities, and also minorities in numbers and in special categories.
• There is much dissatisfaction about lack of public debate and loss of local control. The story has been unfolding piece by piece over many weeks, is still unfolding, and the most complete current write-up seems to be by Jim Heddle, Ecological Options Network, "Mosquitoes of Mass Deception," emailed to me; I was told it was in the Bolinas Hearsay.
I am shocked over the inattention to public debate and local control paid during the annexation process at every level and step of the way. As homeowners, we are all culpable for looking at an innocuously written some/kind/of/ballot, thinking this is not a public election ballot, and either throwing it away or "voting" one way or another, without opening something so clearly central to public health INTO the public debate arena. Marin LAFCO and BPUD are equally culpable. This annexation into the District processed, especially in early stages, through your office. It had reached the point in August where the intend was to BRING us in:
Marin County BOS Minutes 8/10/2004 under topic West Nile Virus: "Supervisor Kinsey pointed out that West Marin is not currently within the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District but noted that the District Board is working with the Local Agency Formation Commission ("LAFCO") to bring forward a ballot measure this fall to bring West Marin residents into the District."
We now know that this "bringing" was achieved through the district hiring a firm very skilled at this "Brining."
The values, the heart, the soul of West Marin are in public debate, local control, and a healthy environment. We are an intelligent bunch, including/especially yourself, and we are most capable of responding to a sense of urgency (media manufactured or no) around potential disease. As a group, as a whole, as a community, as even a loose collection of unincorporated towns filled with strong-minded and idiosyncratic individuals, we can hew the solutions out, locally.
I feel on this one we are all, homeowners, BPUD, Marin LAFCO, and supervisorial office, culpable for NOT bringing all residents together in open, totally open-to reject or accept the District, or to think of creative arrangements-and totally local democratic process, long, long before the point at which Jim Wanderscheid felt he had become "in charge." Culpable yet also capable of coming up even now the a process and an eventual outcome that serves West Marin's needs, values, heart, and soul.
Best Wishes And Good Luck!
Here's $5 and my best wishes toward helping you 'keep on truckin'-good luck!
I was dismayed to hear about the decimation of the Full Circle program. this is yet another incidence of the withering away of funding for all socially beneficial programs. The most effective seem to be the first casualties. Where do we go from here? Looks like down and out.
Bush And "Untruths" On Social Security
The President plans to hit the road again hawking a privatized Social Security system that permits workers to divert a portion of their payroll taxes into the stock market-your retirement benefits will be tied to the market.
When the stock market goes sour, your benefits are reduced-bye, bye guaranteed benefits. Why would President Bush jeopardize American workers this way? Follow the money. Who stands to gain the most from Bush's Social Security scheme? Corporate America and Wall Street.
What Bush-Cheney aren't telling Americans about their privatization hoax. Workers would be allowed to put up one-third of their payroll taxes into a private account. This shift of Moines will sharply reduce the size of monthly checks eventually, for everyone in the system. This is an out and out scam being perpetrated on American workers by Bush/Republicans.
Why does Bush keep telling Americans that Social Security will be "flat bust" in 2042 when even the most inattentive of us know this to be an untruth. What is true about Bush's grandstanding is that you will be giving up a Social Security guarantee for a new stock market risk account.
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Taser International Inc.
Stun guns transmit 50,000 volts of electricity
Through two inches of clothing
And it's perfectly safe
94 recent stun gun deaths, must be an aberration
* * * *
I have six daughters and Bush's abstinence program would work only if all daughters had led a cloistered and sheltered life or lived in a monastery. Such is not the case for well-rounded teenagers in America.
A small but aggressive minority of religious right-wingers has dominated recent dialogue on sexual education at the expense of our teens. The Bush administration continues to pander to this frothing base by spending millions of dollars on unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
Teenagers are going to have sex and it is ignorant to think that if you show them pictures of aborted fetuses and of herpes on genitals they'll magically stop being sexual.
Teenagers need trusted and open-minded adults, family, counselors and teachers with whom they can discuss the subject of sex. Bush's focus on abstinence is symptomatic of 19th century programs based on denial.
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Give Corporate America The Cash
Republicans keep asking Democrats, what is your Social Security plan? Democrats keep replying, make a simple adjustment. Yank the golden fleece out from under those who stop paying Social Security on taxable earnings over $90,000. Republican and conservative pundits must be hard of hearing
"The stock market can be a giant casino." (Robert Reich) Why would President Bush risk or even consider putting millions of Social Security recipients at risk by creating private accounts based on the stock market? How safe are private accounts? Ask Enron employees who lost everything to the ravages of the stock market. Private accounts won't fix anything except Corporate America's profit margins.
47 million Americans count on Social Security and a few anti-tax Republicans want to throw their ideological monkey wrench in the works and screw it up for everyone. What is the real issue here?
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Congressional Feeding Tube
Congress tries to intercede as feeding tube is removed from Terri Schiavo-doesn't Congress have anything better to do - actually it is a vocal and aggressive minority of Republicans, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, the religious right and anti-abortion extremists who have interceded.
Religious right-wingers are using the Terri Stave's situation as a rallying cry to marshal their base and force their will on the majority. A full 80% of Americans, including the Christian right say, for God's sake, let her die.
Would you want to live in a vegetative state year after year like she has? Would Terri have wanted this? The matter is out of her hands; she is being used as a political pawn by forces who don't have her best interests at heart. Evangelical extremists are setting the tone of debate at Terri's expense.
Sure Cure For Social Security
There is nothing complicated about a sure cure for Social Security Problems. Why, in the name of reason, should a person making $90,000 per year, or $10 million for that matter, pay no more total tax than those making $45,000.
Not even a progressive tax is needed. Just the same flat tax on all incomes would make Social Security solvent forever. And if all income was taxed equally, lower tax rates for all could prevail.
Unfortunately, greed and politics will probably combine to prevent this common sense solution.
Los Altos Hills
Prison Violence Will Grow
On January 11, 2005, a prison guard was stabbed to death at the state prison in Chino. Three days later on 1/14/05, several guards were the victims of a coordinated attack by prisoners fifty feet from my cell here at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, California.
In its May 2004 issue, the Coastal Post printed one of my letters in which I predicted an upswing of such incidents. The reasons why this sort of violence and worse have become inevitable are multifold. But the number one reason has to be that the state's corrupt judges are too cowardly to make the law apply equally to everyone.
Giving their government brethren total non-accountability, California's judges "defer to the expertise of prison officials." Translated out of judicial doublespeak, that is a coded message to prisons saying: "You are ONLY subject to the punitive aspects of the law. DO NOT EVER come into our courts expecting the beneficial/protective side of the law unless you have a lot of bribe money to pay for it."
So, more prisoners are realizing the futility of pursuing the redress of grievances through peaceful, legal means and hence the violent protests. Like a gigantic, volatile powderkeg, the system is precariously close to major explosions that will occur both inside and in the community.
Another primary factor is that the California Department of Corrections (CDC) is literally infested with top-level administrators who simply aren't very intelligent. Exponentially compounding that liability, nobody has the courage to rock the political boat and say, "This is not right." Nobody has enough foresight or common sense to see what IS coming. To the CDS's decision makers it is all about politics and a paycheck, NOT justice, fairness, or the ultimate safety of the public. This is, in fact, what the state's corrupt judges have allowed to develop right before their eyes, an out-of-control monster.
How do I know these things, and much more, about this system you citizens are blindly paying for? I have observed and studied the problems from a front-row seat since 1965 with more than thirty years of that time in juvenile hall, jail, and prison. (Do the math. That's ninety-plus years if measured in eight hour day shifts.)
I have paid attention. You will never hear any government employee publicly saying that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to the subject of the criminal justice system. I know its fundamental flaws, and what should be done to fix them, better than any thousand government employees combined. And the state, with all its power, does not have a Goliath who could survive a debate with me on the issue. That's fact, not ego.
So pay attention, people. You will be hearing news of escalating violence and it's only a matter of time before it transcends the confines of this failing prison system your extorted tax dollars are paying for. Remember the Marin Civic Center shootout. I will be saying, "I told you so."
Lastly, if that dead prison guard's family swishes to sue those truly responsible for causing the dangerously explosive conditions which led to his death, I will gladly provide them an arsenal of usable legal ammunition. And then some.
"It's not that I'm so smart, it's that I stay with the problems longer." - Einstein
James Samuel Kor Jr.
Highly Dysfunctional State Prison
Censorship In West Marin
Conspicuously while I was away with faculty and students from New College of SF on an investigative tour of Palestine with its new Middle East Center, I was banned by Dave Mitchell from writing letters or guest columns anymore to the Point Reyes Light concerning Palestine and its just resistance/struggle against the illegal apartheid settlement and occupation of Palestinian land and people by Eastern European Jews.
I met with Dave Mitchell upon my return from Palestine and discussed my censorship. I was told I had "shot my wod" on the subject. I was also told he was pressured to stop printing my article's and letters by a certain group of influential people, when asked.
I learned that I am the first person in the 50 year history of the award winning paper to be censored and banned from writing, quite a distinction.
Dave Mitchell told me however he would still cover any event I organized and would continue to support me in the ways that he could.
However when I promptly organized a protest rally at the Point Reyes Light building concerning censorship at the paper Dave became quite psychically disturbed and in the end never covered the event in the paper even though one of his reporters came down to photograph our protest contingency and our beautiful signs that read "Point Reyes Light caves in to Zionist Pressure" and "Criticism of Oppression is not Hate Speech" etc.. The reporter was excited and real when he told us this was a life time opportunity as an apprentice writer to cover political censorship and Palestine.
However the Light readers never saw those protest pictures or read that reporters article concerning censorship at the award winning community paper even though Dave had just promised me he would cover my events.
What Dave did not tell me at our meeting that afternoon that we discussed my censorship was that he was then and had weeks earlier at the time of my actual censorship been in the middle of negotiations with 'certain individuals' who would buy into his Local paper and 'save it' because he was failing financially at the paper. Later Dave in his Parsley Sage editorial column claimed that that buy-in or buy-out of the paper never happened after all. In the end someone loaned him money, the paper went up to a dollar, new advertisers poured in and a Mrs. Blum was hired to stream-line modernization; and I'm speculating here, but as a condition of some sort I believe Kate Hart was banned for the new era "unless she sticks to local issues."
I thanked Dave for carrying the debate and my letters concerning the brutal occupation of Palestine for as long as he did well over two years almost three, he suggested I start my own paper.
I was right to remain focused on the occupation, I was right to remain focused on those US policies that sustain the occupation. I never once used hate speech or personally attacked anyone in exposing Israel's occupation of Native Palestinian land and Dave Mitchell agreed. Dave made a decision to ban me from writing that I think he will one day professionally and ultimately personally regret.
The balance of Power remains heavily on Israel's side. Unilateral disengagement from Gaza still means Israel will maintain an Israeli siege around the territory and consolidate Israel's hold on the West Bank.
Israel violates International Law and is protected by the US veto at the UN and prevents the implementations of International Law's applicable to this conflict and the dispatch of an international protection force to protect the Palestinians. Without a National and International popular movement against the illegal and immoral occupation we cannot shift the balance of Power and that's the real reason behind my censorship. We must continue to educate people and mobilize to change these facts so we can hold our elected officials accountable. Soon the letters that gave me my unique distinction will be available for the interested public to scrutiny
I'm putting them together for a censored subject project...
I'd like to point out that Editor Don Deane upon my return from Palestine invited me as a banned writer to write an article about my trip for the January Coastal Post. I think you can find it in the CP archives on the Internet.
FRIENDS OF PALESTINE
As if meat-based chili wasn't gross enough already, a woman recently found a human finger in her chili at a Wendy's in San Jose. Mmmm, yummy!
A severed finger is certainly vile, and a health hazard, but so is meat. Animal flesh contains enough artery-clogging fat and cholesterol, hormones and antibiotics, and potentially deadly bacteria such as E. coli, to make anyone sick to their stomach.
Besides, animal products already contain traces of blood and pus, fecal matter, rat hairs, and other unappetizing odds and ends; finding a finger is not that big of a stretch.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to avoid all disgusting, unhealthy animal products-go vegetarian. Visit PETA's Web site at GoVeg.com for a free vegetarian starter kit, and leave the rotting corpses behind.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
Editor's Note: I'm convinced!
Demand for Retraction of Article by Terri Alvillar "The Lost Estate of Sophie Tucker Greenberg"
Demand is hereby made for a retraction of the false statements contained in the Article written by Terri Alvillar appearing in the March, 2005 issue of the Coastal Post.
Demand is further made that the Coastal Post immediately remove Ms. Alvillar's article from any search at its website. Finally, demand is made that the Coastal Post publish this letter, in the interest of balanced reporting, in a place as prominent as Ms. Alvillar's article.
The article is a fabrication and a regurgitation of the objections and petitions of Susan Elliot filed in this estate proceeding. Those objections were considered by the Court and found to be unsubstantiated. All of my actions were reviewed, approved by the Court and found to be appropriate. The article is unresearched, misleading and false.
To set the record straight, the following are the facts which refute those false statements made by Ms. Alvillar:
1. Claxon hired the Administrator: Curing the Court hearing in May, 2003, when it became clear that the three siblings could not work together, I was appointed as Administrator by Commissioner Mary Grove in open court, with the consent of counsel and the parties.
2. Claxon did not disclose to Susan that Caron Schmierer had been his secretary for 19 years: The fact was fully disclosed at the outset. I make no secret of my early years as a legal secretary.
3. Claxon instructed Elliot to turn over the keys to the Administrator: The Administrator's responsibilities in any probate action are to secure the assets of the estate. This is my standard procedure in any estate proceeding.
4. Threats by the Administrator to call the police and have Susan Elliot removed: This is a total fabrication and never happened.
5. Personal property: Susan Elliot and her husband were present during the removal of all personal property from the residence. All personal property was placed in storage by Susan and her husband, except for one storage unit rented by the Administrator when Susan Elliot refused to cooperate with the Administrator during the removal of the personal property in furtherance of the Court's order to list and sell the residence. There were no valuable lamps or blankets.
6. No inventory taken: The required Inventory & Appraisal was filed by the Administrator and is a matter of public record. The three siblings agreed that the contents of the house should be valued at $3000, and that was the amount reported to the probate referee. There was no need to itemize the personal property under those circumstances.
7. The Will: Despite the claims of Ms. Alvillar and Ms. Elliot, the 1984 Will did not leave the house exclusively to Susan Elliot. In fact, the house was never specifically mentioned in the Will. As can be seen from my declaration in response to Ms. Elliot's opposition to my First Report and Account filed on October 13, 2004:
(1) The 1984 Will was discovered on June 11, 2003;
(2) Mr. Claxon, Ms. Elliot's counsel, was notified and received a copy on June 12, 2003.
(3) The Will was filed with the Court on June 13, 2003.
(4) Norman Greenberg and Edward Greenberg were mailed copes on June 16, 2003;
(5) Norman Greenberg filed Notice of Intention to Contest Wills on June 20, 2003;
(6) Ms. Elliot herself signed a Proof of Holographic Instrument on July 16, 2003; and
(7) Mr. Claxon filed a Petition for Entitlement on Ms. Elliot's behalf on July 17, 2003.
Therefore, the statement that I did not inform the Court or the beneficiaries about the existence of the 1984 Will until October, 2003, is completely and utterly false. The independent documents that fully support and confirm this timeline are a part of the Court's file, and are attached to my declaration, and are a matter of public record. If Ms. Alvillar, or anyone else for that matter, would have bothered to simply read the Court's file, these facts are easily verified.
8. No sign on the residence for sale: Attached to my declaration of October 13, 2004 is a letter from the Realtor attesting to the fact that a sign was placed on the property on Monday following execution of the listing agreement on Friday. The property received a total of 22 offers. If the property was resold by the purchaser, it was only after it was repaired and put into proper condition. The condition of that house in June, 2003 was deplorable and there were no estate funds with which to do the repair work.
9. The Estate was never worth $400,000. The total inventory as evidenced by the Inventory and Appraisal, if Ms. Alvillar would have bothered to look in the Court's file, was $247,779.59, not $400,000 as reported. With respect to the fees in this matter, the information concerning the total value of the estate and the detailed description of our request for fees is also a matter of public record. This case involved the necessity of filing 5 years of back tax returns, an Appeal of the Probate Court's previous decisions to the District Court of Appeals and the California State Supreme Court filed by Ms. Elliot's brother, contested matters filed by Ms. Elliot against the Administrator and by Ms. Elliot's brother against Ms. Elliot, requiring repeated hearings on the same issues.
The Coastal Post should require corroboration on articles submitted by its reporters prior to publication. Ms. Alvillar should have read the Court's file and conducted proper research, instead of parroting the unsubstantiated allegations filed by Susan Elliot.
Retraction Demand By Colin C. Claxon Regarding "The Lost Estate of Sophie Tucker Greenberg
Would you please let me know what fact checking or background information you consulted, to corroborate your story appearing in March issue, obviously without divulging your "sources."
For example, did you review the court's file with regard the history and progress of the case?
Did you speak to and/or interview Norman Greenberg who was chiefly responsible for turning what should have been a simple case into the litigious matter that it became?
Did you review the accounting filed in the action, approved by the court, which authorized the fees paid, detailed the Moines received by Ms. Greenberg prior to closure of the estate by borrowings against the estate, the income taxes owed for prior years, with penalties and interest?
… the fact that I personally loaned Ms. Greenberg $500 to rent a truck to remove her personal belongings from her mother's house, and that the administrator only took action when Ms Greenberg did not; she never used the money I gave her for a truck rental;
…that in the year after the decedents death, the house utilities were disconnected, the real estate taxes unpaid, the property deteriorated, the homeowners insurance unpaid; funeral expense unpaid, and that because Ms Greenberg did nothing to protect the estate so in desperation her brothers filed the initial action to probate the estate;
… that Ms. Greenberg, and her brother Edward, and his attorney agreed on the appointment of Fiduciary Resources and Ms. Schmierer in open court; Norman while standing silent, did not object: all because Ms. Greenberg and her brothers agreed that it would be impossible for them to act together as executors (Ms Greenberg had her brother arrested when she found him at the home in Vallejo with what she perceived as "burglar tools" to gain entry into the home. I believe he has since sued her and her husband in Federal Court for that action).
… that I filed the will finally admitted in court in June, Ms Greenberg was given a copy and I immediately filed a petition to have it admitted in June. It could not be heard due to court backup and Norman's will contest until October. Ms Greenberg won the will contest and Norman lost. I represented her. Eventually the appellate court affirmed the result I obtained, dismissing Norman's appeal.
… that Ms Greenberg agreed that the house should be immediately sold because there was no other way to pay the bills owed, and the property was in such disrepair that she had no hope of restoring it and that she personally reviewed, with me and her husband, each of offers received and approved the one accepted;
Finally, I join in Ms. Schmierer's demand for retraction dated 3/14/05 and for publication of her letter of that date.
The idea, clearly the argument and conclusions you want your reader's to draw, are that this estate was somehow "lost" by someone's actions, presumably Ms; Schmierer's or mine. That conclusion is without any foundation, is clearly unsubstantiated, not warranted by any reasonable examination of the real facts or the court's file and smacks of a hidden agenda unrelated to this case. That suggestion or conclusion is certainly not applicable to this writer or the result obtained by this writer in the action on behalf of Ms. Greenberg. She won her case!
It is unfortunate that your newspaper apparently lacks the motivation, or structure for oversight and/ or editorial review, which if in place would never have permitted the referenced article to run as published. This is not I trust an example of what this paper has become, which amounts to a repudiation of the fine reputation which you enjoyed at one time. That is sad.
I have mailed this email to you today and demand that you publish this email in the above form together with the letter from Ms Schmierer. After all objective and fair reporting seeks to inform your reader's of the truth of the subject discussed. This was not an editorial piece. Publication of this, the rest of the story, will hopefully balance the scales of truth.
Colin. C. Claxon
Prime Time Photo Op
I was appalled at the State of the Union speech photo-op , showing the mothers of a marine killed in action and an Iraqi man killed by Sadam Hussain embracing each other. This was demeaning to our military, who are not supposed to be risking their lives to generate ammunition for Bush's reckless and deceptive policies. This outrageous misuse of such a scene is symbolizes the shameful tactics used by this administration, which are unprecedented-but sadly they have been effective.
Blasts Graham Over McCutcheon
I want to address what I consider extraordinary statements made by Judge Stephen Graham attendant to the sentencing of Curtis McCutcheon a county employee in the Information Technology department, for possession of child pornography. In particular, that the illegal voyeuristic activities of Mr. McCutcheon were linked, by Judge Graham, to the kidnappings, rapes, and murders committed by others. But then I recalled the occasion that he compared me to Heinrich Himmler (Hitler's right-hand man who facilitated the concentration camps in Germany) for sending a legally-required change-of-address notice by fax to the Marin Humane Society. At which time he stated that he was "duly elected and sworn to protect the residents of this community," ignoring, of course, that I was a resident of this community whose right to defend a lawsuit, and comply with the laws that control such activity in accordance with the law, was constitutionally-protected activity.
Then there is Judge Graham's remarks: about the "horrible industry of demonism and bestiality and animalism." I have lived in Marin for twenty-five years. I regularly read the I-J, the Chronicle, the Coastal Post, and listen to the radio virtually daily. I don't recall anything about activity such as those things being a problem in the Bay Area. That begs the question "To what is Judge Graham exposing himself (no pun intended) when he is not on the bench?"
Then there is the instantaneous remand into custody, leaving Mr. McCutcheon not even a few minutes to embrace his loved-ones and friends. Such violates the standard practice of affording a person a reasonable time to "get their affairs in order" before going to jail. I suppose that Judge Graham was concerned that given a few days to prepare himself for long-term incarceration, Mr. McCutcheon might construct an alter to Satan on which he would have sex with an under-aged cat. But, Graham assures us, after four-years in prison Mr. McCutcheon will emerge as a man no longer a risk to society. I will sleep so much better now.
As to Graham's harsh sentence being justified because "society (has) to send a message," how far, exactly, does Judge Graham think news of the sentencing of Mr. McCutcheon is going to travel; informing who, and to what extent is it going to change the behavior of anyone? Golly, if only animals could influence the belief system of humans, Graham might be deemed some sort of savior. The thought makes me feel warm and fuzzy... and think about the notion that judges who hallucinate ought not be on the bench.
San Anselmo Minutes And Comments
MINUTES of the San Anselmo Planning Commission March 7, 2005
B. OPEN TIME FOR PUBLIC EXPRESSION
A letter to the Commissioners from a member of the public was read aloud by Planning Director Wight.
Undisclosed in the Minutes is that the letter was from Louise Mathews about the intent of the town government agency to control the planning process of the Red Hill Community Park.
Each member of the commission received the same letter, Commission Chair Marty Zwick was absent. No direct response from any commissioner or Interim Planning Director Wight has been received as of March 21.
The March 7 Letter (excerpt):
The Staff Reports prepared by Interim Planning Director Lisa Wight indicated the San Anselmo Planning Commission would be used in only an advisory role during the Planning Commission review of the Red Hill Community Park development at the Red Hill Middle School site owned by Ross Valley School District.
If the Planning Commission makes no determination, no appeal can be filed because no determination has been made. Town Council determinations (Council has final approval) can only be appealed by court action. Are the Planning commission members aware of the action proposed by Interim Director Wight?
It is requested that the San Anselmo Planning Commission agendize a discussion of the Red Hill Community Park planning process and by doing so protect the right of Appeal and defend due process.
No answer has been received from the Town and based on the Minutes recited above, the question was supposed to go no further.
What is the underlying intent of Red Hill Community Park development?
Who are these elected officials protecting their interests by denying our rights?
Louise L. Mathews
Small Businesses Drive The Economy In Marin
In her now famous book, The Economy of Cities, Jane Jacobs outlined how a small group of civic-minded investors changed the shape of the Boston area's economy in the 1950's. The change began with the vision of Ralph Flanders, a machine-tool executive in Vermont who later became a US Senator. Flanders was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston during W.W.II where he studied the economy and investment patterns of the area. He noted that the main problem was that the rate of new businesses was too low. This was because there was a lack of capital for new enterprises. Most money was tied up in "safe" investments.
Today after the dot.com crash and the explosion of charges of criminal behavior against CEOs of major companies, scandal at the Fannie Mae, the failure of Money Market funds, criminal activities of investment houses and the collapse of pension funds, people are wary of where to put their hard earned money. This fear, if it becomes entrenched, could lead to economic stagnation. Charles Geisst in his recent book on the history of speculation in American capitalism outlines the boom and bust past which is littered with similar periods of mistrust following financial scandals.
We must realize that small business is the engine that drives prosperity and a recent study by the American Small Business League demonstrated that even the Small Business Administration has been awarding small-business contracts to big business due to the lobbying of these companies. This fraud undermines the potential for increases in productivity and innovation. While government action to remedy corporate scams is underway in the likes of Eliot Spitzer, New York Attorney General, we can undertake local activities which can maintain Marin's economic condition and improve our cities' bottom lines.
Investors need security and trust but also reward for putting their money in action. The Federal Reserve has demonstrated that the interest rate when adjusted for inflation has been less than zero since late 2002, dipping to nearly (minus)-2.5% in mid 2004. People can invest in highly speculative financial instruments like hedge funds which have grown to more than a trillion dollars since 1999. However, these funds are not productive, they bet on changes in various other financial indicators and devices.
Rather Marin's investors could join with civic entities and produce an organization similar to that Ralph Flanders built in Boston. He drew on bankers, manufacturers, civic leaders, unions and the colleges and universities to create an alliance to produce small loans and grants to individuals and small businesses to increase innovation. The result was the East Coast's "Silicon Valley."
In a recent Financial Times article, Neil Buskley tells how Procter & Gamble reinvented its product lines by investing in outside researchers and entrepreneurs. We need to create a local environment where ideas can flow into new ways of doing things and new products to enhance our way of life and this can be done in a sustainable context.
Small businesses in Marin are already producing new approaches with little money as when the Strauss Dairy built a methane generator to process the manure from their herd of cows which produces electricity. So where can we find a Ralph Flanders to start the process of investing locally in Marin in 2005?
Tax Reform Needed
Desperately needed tax reform is now being discussed by the President's advisory panel. Our current federal tax system is a horrifying maze favoring special interests, big business, and campaign contributors. Estimated compliance costs are in the billions every year. Those billions could be spent creating jobs and raising wages, but instead they go to accountants helping their clients get out of their fair share.
Now is the time for a truly progressive, fair tax. H.R. 25, the FairTax bill, is exactly that. It eliminates all federal tax burdens, including payroll tax, on the working poor. It restores the ability of the small business owner to compete with corporations. It puts collected dollars to work in federal programs, not wasted on IRS collection activities.
There are tremendous benefits to this bill for our economy, including our ability to compete in global markets and keep our jobs here. I urge everyone to become familiar with the FairTax at fairtax.org and convince your elected officials to do the same!
Worldwide Social Changes Gaining Momentum
Many people have commented on the recent trend toward democracy in the Middle East and have also noticed the continuation of peaceful transitions of power in Eastern Europe. It seems that most of the media and many experts are missing the full scope of the story. Undercurrents of change are also stirring in China. Recently, a Chinese Language newspaper published an editorial called the nine commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party. The editorial comments on the nature and origin of the CCP, its tyranny, how the CCP persecutes Falun Gong and destroys traditional Chinese culture and religions and its responsibility for numerous genocides.
This document has spread like wildfire all over China and the Chinese speaking world. Proving that the pen is mightier than the dragon, over three hundred thousand people have resigned from the CCP in just a few months. Desperate reactions can already be seen from China's leadership. This history changing document and the phenomena it is causing can easily be found online in many languages, yet few people in the West seem to have grasped that the worldwide momentum of change has moved into China.