MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
Letters To The Editor
After Hurricane Katrina, Isn't It Time We Start Listening To Mother Nature's Warnings?
This past hurricane season is galvanizing concerned Americans into another kind of storm - a storm of public demands for meaningful action on global warming. I am writing to ask for your support in the critical year ahead by making a generous year-end donation to Environmental Defense. From the tropics to the Polar Regions, global warming is wrecking havoc, and at a faster rate than most climate scientists had predicted. Hurricanes have become increasingly destructive and scientists predict they'll get worse as global warming continues.
Already, melting sea ice is threatening Arctic wildlife and moving the globe toward a dangerous tipping point where less ice will lead to more absorption of heat from the sun, warmer temperatures and then even more melting ice. The net affect could be a doubling of the warming predicted from greenhouse gas emissions by themselves.
That's why we are pushing so hard to advance global warming solutions now. Our extraordinary team of scientists, economists, lawyers and other environmental experts has developed some of the most innovative and far-reaching ideas to curb global warming pollution.
Why do we think we can make a difference on global warming? Just look at our track record. Because of our work and diligence over the years, the air is cleaner and waterways are less polluted. Hazardous wastes and toxic chemicals are handled with greater care. We have brought species like the American bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. The ozone layer is on the mend.
But our work is not done. And our greatest challenges lie ahead.
Global warming action remains our paramount concern in 2006.
In the coming year, we must work with renewed vigor to push for far-reaching reforms, including a national cap on global warming pollution. The consensus is growing among Democrats and Republicans alike that something has to be done, and soon. Our job, with your help, will be to make sure that the pressure for action translates into lasting and effective national policies.
Together, we will work harder than ever to take on global warming, so that we can leave our children a planet that is as diverse, as healthy and as vibrant as the one we ourselves inherited.
Arts And Healing Network
The interview with Sandy Leon Vest (December CP) was originally published in November, 2005 at www.artheals.org and conducted by Mary Daniel Hobson, a Stinson Beach artist and the Director of the Arts and Healing Network (AHN).
AHN was founded by Stinson Beach artist and community activist Marion Weber. It is a remarkable resource for artists, art-lovers and/or anyone interested in the healing power of art and music.
Sandy Leon Vest
Thanks Judy Borello
We are writing this note to acknowledge the Coastal Post and Judy Borello of Moo Town News, for the extraordinary article she wrote (November 2005) regarding the Senior Exercise Class at the Dance Palace. Judy always seems to have her finger on the community pulse. Her whimsical description of the exercise class was right on the mark.
Judy Borello is extremely community minded and has lived in West Marin since the mid 60s. She has experienced life as a West Marin rancher and is well equipped in how to write about it. Her late husband Bob Borello, dearly missed by many, was the salt of the earth and an astute and knowledgeable steward of the land. Judy is passionate and has strong opinions on many issues but she respects the ability of others to disagree with her opinion.
Thank you Judy for taking the time and effort to honor our class and the wonderful people who we have had the honor of meeting at our exercise program. Thank you to the Dance Palace for providing us such a great space to hold our class.
Please Erase Sutter From The Hospital Lease
The local daily when it refers to Sutter/MGH or its parent, Sutter Health of Sacramento, usually describes the two corporations as not-for-profit. What you are not told is both corporations are structured to avoid paying taxes, but both corporations are highly profitable. Marin General's 200 4 profit was $15,800,000.00, according to its federal tax return.
It is no secret that patients using Sutter/MGH often get short shrift. The hospital is chronically understaffed and sometimes dangerously understaffed. The hospital has been threatened many times, because of quality issues, with loss of reimbursement of its Medicare claims.
Because of a defective 1885 lease, Sutter/MGH cannot be effectively monitored for quality issues by the Marin Healthcare District's five directors. At least three of the five, all doctors, want MGH returned to community control.
By terms of the 30 year lease expiring in 2015 the lessee is responsible for maintenance of the hospital. Dues this include seismic upgrades required in the central and east wings? Even though Sutter/MGH is the source of revenue the hospital corporation wants the Healthcare District to pay for the upgrades. In fact, Sutter is suing the Healthcare District in an attempt to avoid paying for the upgrades which the District says is the lessee's responsibility.
Sutter is offering to unwind the lease and simply wants to be paid the profit it would get if it still ran the hospital. A Sutter alternative is that Sutter would rebuild but require a 50 year lease. Patient revenue would, of course, pay for any construction. A 50 year lease would have to be approved by the voters of the district. It would be a lead balloon. The task will be difficult but Sutter should be erased out of MGH.
Norman Carrigg, MD
Congress Foot-Dragging On Kelo
A family's most valuable and necessary possession is its home. Yet today across America, under the
Supreme Court's bizarre "Kelo law," local governments are snatching homes and small businesses from people and bestowing them on more affluent individuals or profitable businesses able to pay more taxes than the lawful owners.
This is "land redistribution" worthy of Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Robert Muabe. In 1964 Barry Goldwater warned that "A government big enough to give you all that you want is big enough to take away all that you have."
You have proved his point. That you and your colleagues have done absolutely nothing to overturn the Court's obscene "Kelo law" (with legislation that would correct this outrage) is a black mark against you personally and each member of our over-paid foot-dragging, hubristic Congress.
Prison Violence Escalating Towards Tragedy
Earlier this year, a guard was murdered at the state prison in Chico. Since then, there have been countless attacks, both individual and coordinated, upon prison personnel by inmates throughout California's gulag system. In fact, prison officials are currently attempting to defuse the increasing volatility within the system by conducting mass transfers of inmates. At best, this amounts to a "Band-Aid remedy" crafted by fools too incompetent to cope with the root causes of the escalating violence and chaos.
Federal Judge Thelton Henderson recently placed the medical services division of the Dept. of Corrections under federal receivership. This drastic step was taken because the caliber of medical care had plummeted from its usual ranking of deplorable to downright abysmal. The number of unnecessary prisoner deaths became too great to cover up. In every relevant area where civilized, fair standards have previously been maintained, the State's Prison System is now failing miserably.
Being the dutiful facilitators they are, mainstream media are complying with the corrupt system's "DON'T GO THERE" directive. As a result, the public is not even close to being adequately informed of the condition of the prison system which is deteriorating rapidly now.
I am writing this letter to guarantee all who read it that serious consequences are looming on the horizon. Human beings are already being driven across the threshold of what is tolerable. The worst of it may be that the very stupid, evil personnel running the system claim to be doing what they are doing in the name of "The People of the State of California."
You don't care? Well, what is the price tag attached to society's apathy. We could ask Marin County Superior Court Judge Haley- if he hadn't been killed during the Marin Civic Center shoot-out-when violent protest erupted which was linked to prison conditions. Who's next? It is a fair question to ask since the state of the system is as bad or worse now than when Haley was killed. Let's all pretend we have historical amnesia and that we didn't see it coming AGAIN, didn't have "actionable intelligence." When the state inflicts unfairness and rights violations, you do also.
Live from the Gulag California,
James Kor Jr.
Frank Valley Rifle Range Danger
I'm old and feeble and strictly a one man show, but I'm doing what I can to inform the public about the Frank Valley Rifle Range next to Muir Woods National Monument.
A courtesy copy of my efforts in that regard is enclosed:
AN OPEN LETTER TO MARIN COUNTY RESIDENTS AND GUESTS
Recently, after hearing extensive gunfire in the Golden Gate National Recreation area while hiking there, I undertook a cursory investigation which revealed that a rifle range exists within Mount Tamalpais State Park, a short distance off Frank Valley Road and within several hundred yards of Muir Woods National Monument, and that it is used by Federal forces among others. This seems to me antithetical to the fundamental concepts of park planning and, quite honestly, a very curious revelation.
Presently I am awaiting an answer to a letter I wrote November 22, 2005 to the Director, California Department of Parks and Recreation in Sacramento requesting an explanation.
I bring this to your attention, in case you may find it of any intest or concern.
No war is first is politics. The study of how dangerous obligated emergency is, is important. Is life is OK if you do not make it worse. Ideas and answers are not which person. Conscientious objection is active in the Bay Area. It has difficulties to make sense. People here in Marin even objected to banking because money is used for military defense.
The Coastal Post is full of conscientious objection and inspiration to send to China. The Point Reyes Light is fair and decent. The Hearsay News as I listened to Betty Storz believes the plebeians mental condition has merit but also since it is verbal, reciprocation does not occur like a writer would like and it is a joke on myself if I cannot communicate an article really won't either.
Words are not science. Not kill belongs to any consideration of fulfillment and happiness. You cannot steal that from anyone. Make friends morality is first because it is a lot easier than buying new property or getting rid of property. Non-violence is not like money, food, bathroom. It is nothing. It is nothing but of person's habitat. Everything we say and everything we do is only for life because we get sick and die. The poverty of the farm, the hospital, the orphanage has more substantially people do not kill. You do not have to diagnose a person they feel better think are stronger and healthier. Please accept the phrases or slogan for your establishment your right to life, only for life or I will only give you life.
PS Don't kill anyone that ever live in the USA and other countries.
Bond Measures And Patchwork
Bond measures are usually attempts-at-rescue, from intolerable problems. The infrastructure-deterioration accelerated in 1962 when counties stopped being state senate districts. Losing representation, most counties in return, got sporadic, piece-meal, and only "temporary" patchworks of funding.
Ask Governor Schwarzenegger now, and your California state legislators, for a constitutional amendment, that would designate each California county, a state senate district. Adoption, would remove the state senate, from "all" future attempts of re-districting and gerrymandering, while growing a stable basis of accountability. (see proposition Title and Summary #729, that was Attorney General prepared, April 17, 1996)
Legislators do your job!
Bullying In Fairfax Needs To Stop!!
During the recent Oust Egger campaign, I was violently, verbally assaulted in front of many witnesses by then council member, Mike Ghiringelli, after the election debate in front of the Fairfax Women's Club. He was screaming so loudly, and with such vulgar language, that a neighbor on the street above called out for quiet. I understand that there is a videotape of Mike screaming inside the Women's Club, made by his supporter, Linda McCarthy. I filed a complaint with the Fairfax Police Department. I was told that the incident was under investigation by Officer Phil Torres. Has the police department looked at the video-tape of the incident inside the building or talked to the list of witnesses I gave the police department?
I have yet to hear about any sort of a follow-up. I am writing this letter to publicly call for an investigation into this incident and to encourage others to not be intimidated by hateful acts of this kind. It was frightening , overwhelming and unprovoked. I see that Mike has once again been given his right wing rant column in the RVR where he will probably again have a podium to misrepresent facts. Please friends and neighbors who witnessed this event, step forward and demand some sort of disciplinary action by the Fairfax police department. This behavior follows in the footsteps of misconduct by Mike during council sessions where he threatened fellow council-members. Bullying and intimidation should not be allowed on the streets of Fairfax.
Election Reflection-Dirty Tactics
Now that the smoke has cleared and the election results are final in Marin's local races it is time to move on. But not before we learn the lessons from this past election.
In Fairfax there was an unusual battle waged for any small town. A well-funded opposition campaign, replete with anonymous "hit piece" mailers, was launched against 39-year council member Frank Egger in a town of 7,319.
A few simple questions: Why did the folks behind the Oust Egger campaign not simply push for the candidate of their choice and promote their own vision for Fairfax? Why did they choose to run a negative attack campaign - without ever saying what they themselves stand for and want?
Apparently the Oust Egger group didn't believe it would win by simply running its own candidate. The reason for this may be obvious (the funding and support of Oust Egger came from a select group of developers and building contractors frustrated by Egger's pro-environment leadership on the council), but that doesn't make it OK.
And never mind that the mailers' allegations against Egger were later declared to be an "unfair campaign practice" that contained "false and misleading statements" by the League of Women Voters in Marin. The damage was already done.
That's how "dirty" politics works: it distracts voters from the real issues, questions, and decisions that affect us all (regardless of political opinion), just long enough to push an agenda forward.
Miller Is Historically Accurate
Dr. Miller's article is absolutely historically accurate. I lived in Marin County 10 years ago and loved visiting Bolinas! keep up the good work and include me in your e-mail list if you have one.
BA, History and Islamic Studies
U of Toronto, '67
Arnold Vs. Tookie
Arnold panders to the far right fringe and theo-nazis as he denies clemency to Stanley Tookie Williams. Schwarzenegger changed from being a steroid pumping body builder to governor of California. To all intents and purposes Tookie Williams changed his life in prison becoming a service to society pointing to a new more positive direction for gang members. People change. It is sadly evident that mercy and clemency aren't strong suits in Arnold's constitution.
Now that all is said and done, Stanley Williams has joined his fathers and forefathers; may he rest in peace.
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Government Monitoring Phones And Library Cards
At first I thought it could only be a blogger's dream. From the news we know that NSA is monitoring phone calls and spying on Americans. Well, Bush's Dept. of Homeland Security is also monitoring book requests from libraries and comparing them against a "watch list" of supposedly dangerous books. Didn't this go out with the cold war?
A student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth made a request to check out Mao's Little Red Book which prompted Homeland Security into action. They sent out two agents to visit the student and would not allow him to check out the book. What?
Yes Virginia, there is creeping fascism and totalitarianism rearing its ugly head in America thanks to President George W. Bush.
* * * *
Religious Extreme Isolation
Colorado based Focus on the Family has closed all its Wells Fargo accounts because the San Francisco bank contribute to a gay rights group. The group blames and uses (their hatred for gays) as the reason for the movement of their money to First National Bank of Omaha. Gays try to fit into society while groups on the religious extreme are trying to isolate themselves from society.
Bush Missed The Don't
Seymour Hersh writing in the New Yorker Magazine said that President Bush talks to the Lord and receives many of His directions from Him.
If so, he missed an important word as the Lord called me and said to tell Bush that His cell phone cut out in March, 2003 and the word "DON'T" was missing in the conversation with Bush concerning his intention to invade Iraq.
He said that He told Bush, "DON'T go to war with Iraq." Apparently there was a frequency failure and therefore a miscommunication between the two. He has been busy elsewhere in the universe since then and didn't get back to Bush.
He said that he sent Bush instructions in March, 2003 on how to pursue Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who were responsible for the Twin Towers tragedy but Bush apparently ignored them and attacked Iraq instead.
He has instructed me to tell Bush to "pull out" immediately from Iraq. His armies are to kill no more and that His name is not to be used in seeking His blessing for the mission.
It is this message that He told me to relay to Bush. This I have witnessed.
David A. Whelan
O'Neil Responds, Andersdatter Retorts
Brian O'Neill, in response to my letter asking for his resignation for mis-management of the park, (in particular with regard to the trees across from the Pelican at Muir Beach, and the destruction of the eucalyptus trees, four healthy trees, I believe, which were cut without notice or discussion within the community) and which caused "significant and deleterious changes in the National Park and in particular to the character and face of Muir Beach", has responded as follows:
Dear Ms. Andersdatter:
We are responding to your letter dated Oct. 18, 2005, regarding removal of a tree at Muir Beach.
We understand your attachment to the large eucalyptus tree next to the mailboxes on Highway One in Muir Beach. After growing at the site for many years, the tree was leaning over and creating a safety hazard for park visitors. We share your feelings that this was an unfortunate circumstance. Our National Park Service (NPS) responsibility-- first and foremost-- is to create a safe environment for visitors. Ensuring a safe visitor environment may at times require removal of a tree, whether native or non-native.
NPS representative attends most of the Muir Beach community Services District (MBCSD) meetings. The MCBSD (Yes it was spelled this way. . . it's not my typo. . KMA) Board was briefed on this issue and verbally concurred in removing the tree. NPS staff members also informed neighbors in the area. We are sorry if you did not get notified. We will focus on increasing our communications to neighbors when we have future projects in the Muir Beach community to ensure that everyone is notified ahead of time.
After the tree was removed, herbicides were not used, but a weed cloth was laid on the site. NPS Management Policy 220.127.116.11 states that "Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a decision-making process that coordinates knowledge of pest biology, the environment, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of Pest damage, by cost-effective means, while posing the least possible risk to people, resources and the environment." Wood chips were left on-site to prevent growth of non-native vegetation and reduce erosion at the site.
Community residents and the Park are partners in stewarding the resources of the Muir Beach Area. To that end, we will strive to work together with residents of the Muir Beach community to care for these resources.
Thank you for contacting us on this important matter.
I am sending the following reply:
IN BETWEEN BOOKS at the Butterfly Tree
P.O. Box 790, Sausalito, CA 94966
Nov. 28, 2005
National Park Service
Fort Mason, 'San Francisco, CA 94123
Dear Mr. O'Neill,
I received a response from you regarding my letter dated October 18, 2005, in which I asked for your resignation for poor and wasteful maintenance of the National Park at Muir Beach., and for the significant and extremely ruinous changes made to the area across from the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach., which was done WITHOUT notification or input from the community. . .
In your letter you stated that "The MBCSD was briefed on this issue and verbally concurred in removing the tree."
In fact if you look on our web site, where our minutes go back for two years at least, it was never placed on the agenda, never discussed in any meeting with the MBCSD Board. Steve Shaffer, currently the President of the Board, told me that not a single member of the five member board has any memory of it being discussed at all. Leighton Hills, our manager replied with the following email:
"According to John John, he remembers some reference made by Alex at a CSD meeting listing "areas" of trees slated for removal. I'm guessing it may have come up when Alex or someone described the removal of Pines a few years ago, on the stretch of Highway 1 midway between the Pelican and the turn off for Green Gulch. If so, it was so vague as to not register in any board member's mind, nor make it into the minutes as far as I know. It might make sense to learn from Alex which meeting he attended, and then check the minutes for that meeting. They are all neatly listed under Meetings on the CSD website.
"Nevertheless, if anyone had truly known the specifics and extent of this tree removal project, we would have at a minimum asked that the project bestaggered, that other trees be planted to create a similar ambiance or a host of other possibilities. I'm not a huge fan of Eucalyptus, but they are major trees that make their presence known, and I think that has to be addressed when taking planning steps affecting community character.
"I think it would be typical for Alex to have drafted the letter for Brian, so the viewpoints are probably Alex's. Anyway, get the date and then check the minutes. I sure don't recall anything."
"Leighton Hills, District Manager
Muir Beach Community Services District
As you know, the Park has taken it upon themselves for a long period of time to make significant changes without consulting the surrounding communities. As you know this last tree slashing was done behind our backs when the roads were closed, ostensibly for CalTrans repairs. It was during this time when a very recent neighbor, Alex Naar, who works for the NPS in fire management, and moved to Muir Beach from Vermont, (I believe he said), started out by using pesticides on the stumps of eucalyptus trees he cut at the top of the ridge, on the border of our water shed, applied by a park "volunteer" without notifying anyone in the Muir Beach neighborhood., without posting that the spraying would be in effect on a certain date, and more particularly without notifying the MBCSD Board who is responsible for our water. . .
It appears Mr. O'Neill believes that the cutting of the "landmark" historical tree by the mailboxes was done for reasons of "safety to the visitors who might come to the park!"
That tree was perfectly healthy, and I have photos of the beautiful healthy stump, showing no disease. It stood behind the row of mailboxes, and was in no danger of falling, and was well loved by dozens of residents, residents who were outraged by the brutal destruction of the tree . . . home to the endangered owl, to raptors such as vultures, red tailed hawks, and falcons who alight there now and then, crows, ravens and many more; all part of the character of Muir Beach. I am not sure, Mr. O'Neill, that you know that hummingbirds (who will sometimes get caught in the eucalyptus) do not as a rule, necessarily go near them, preferring honeysuckle and a variety of other plants. A variety of bird species do exist near by and use these trees as a necessary part of their aerial patterns and habitat, because the eucalyptus grow so tall in Marin.
The monarch butterflies, which will soon be on the endangered list along the California Coast if we do not guard their habitat of milkweed and allow them stopping places of eucalyptus and pine, ( both trees NOT native but nevertheless, housing for the monarchs on their migration). The monarchs are gravely diminished in the last 10 years. Compared to 30 years ago when they covered the pines in the Terwilliger Butterfly Grove, they are close to becoming rare.
The residents of Muir Beach were never endangered by the trees that stood by the mailboxes. . . there was no reason to cut those trees. . . it was an arrogant senseless decision by one man and one resident who doesn't like eucalyptus, and it was done without asking anyone else! I, for one, do not want "big Daddy" in the form of the NPS, protecting me from eucalyptus trees, when they can't even give a parking ticket to the gobs of cars parked bumper to bumper along Highway One where it is clearly marked NO PARKING and where there are many, many native plants growing beside the road!
No weed cloth has been placed on the stump as of this date.
No debris has been cleaned up. . . it is a disgusting sight where beauty once was. No debris has been removed from the site on Frank's Valley Road either! Just more piles of it!
The "wood-chips" from grinding up the eucalyptus were left two feet deep and cover the ground, assuring that certainly NOTHING will grow beneath the tree- stumps and debris, native OR non-native!
Have you been out to see the hideous destruction committed by NPS fire management personnel??? Have you been out in the woods lately? Or are you there in your office in the City all day. . . Do you even know what is happening first hand.? For most of us here are appalled at the destruction in front of us on a daily basis, since Alex Naar began his "fire management". . . and the disregard for the cutting! Leaving behind the stumps- jagged and broken and abandoned! Not a straight cut clean across anywhere. Ruination!
Again, with such uglification of the California Park Lands taking place under your administrative watch, I believe you should resign. Your watch has been a waste of tax payers dollars and heartbreaking. Marin County deserves better care. For those of us who love California, it is clear you have a "slash and cut" manner of uglifying Marin. I do not believe you deserve to remain as administrator!
Frankly, I have no personal knowledge of the part played in any of this tragic tree loss by Alex Naar, who also apparently thought it was the right thing to do, who told me I could write to you as his "boss." Maybe he just followed your orders, and went ahead on his own comeuppance with hubris and arrogance. . .without considering the policy of the MBCSD Board which is not to cut any trees on our CSD community land without putting it on our agenda at the MBCSD meetings. . . After all Mr. Naar merely lives at Muir Beach. He works for the National Government!
I would also like to correct you, Mr. O'Neill. . . in saying that you understand my "attachment" to the trees. I can see you do not understand it at all. For I am not "attached" to the tree, I love the tree. The tree is my neighbor, my friend, a home to animals I love. It is clear to me, Mr. O'Neill, that you do not understand the trees, nor could you possibly appreciate the native eucalyptus trees, and you certainly cannot care much about the California I love, having left this park land scarred and uglified for these last few years. . . I notice there is no mention of "debris" or clean-up in your letter!
I also see nothing about rectifying a horrible mistake. . . the murder of an exceptionally beautiful work of art . . .the trees by the mailboxes. No mention of mitigation, no admission of your terrible mistake,, for the tree was NOT dangerous. However the aged diseased pine right next to it was left standing; crippled and at the end of its life, diseased with dead limbs ready to fall in the next wind . . . which is what just happened. This most recent storm took down a very large dead limb... It appears that once again the NPS has poor judgement about the trees of California.They could hire a lot of tree workers to "dead-limb" and care for existing trees.
Gossip has it, that at the Pelican Inn now, some of the waitresses are reluctant to serve the NPS people who come there after what they did... what kind of public outrage has the NPS created here? And who is in charge Mr. O'Neill??? Who is in charge????
citizen and resident of Muir Beach and
the United States of America
cc to Jon Jarvis, etc.
Phony Reasons, Phony News
It is not a surprise the Bush administration is bribing Iraqi journalists to print stories in Iraqi newspapers written by the US military pretending to be Iraqi citizens. After all - the Bush administration is doing the same thing here. That's why we are fighting a fraudulent war in the first place. I suppose if you lie your way into a war you might think that you could lie your way out of one. This is America. Can't we do any better than this?
Small Mind For A Big Job
Any reasonable individual who has followed the case of "Tookie" Williams cannot help but conclude that the man was guilty of the charges that landed him in Death Row. All levels of our Judicial System have exhausted every possible way to find him innocent or at least save him from being consigned to the gallows. This being the case, no one expected Governor Schwarzenegger to do better than what our judicial process could. The only thing the governor was expected to do was either stay his execution or commute his death sentence to life imprisonment, without parole. The governor was to make this judgment based on humanitarian reasons outside of all the legal aspects already covered in the numerous legal remedies sought by William's twenty-five years of defense efforts.
The governor was not expected to extract from him a confession and much less, to find him innocent.
As the titular head of the state, Californians have empowered him to exercise extra-ordinary powers beyond the realm of our normal justice system, to decide between life and death. It is therefore only logical to conclude that the governor's decision was not to be influenced by the court records of the case.
Otherwise all the governor had to do was refer to the decisions already made and hope for some flaws or weaknesses in same. This is exactly what Governor Schwarzenegger did. He should have realized that he, as well as his office, did not have the required competence to do so.
What the governor could have done was to save the life of this man for the sake of the families of his victims. Mr. Williams apparently has a large following and supporters among well to do celebrities who will do almost anything to save his life. The governor could have worked out a plan where Mr. Williams will be saved from execution in return for his providing for the economic well being of the families of his victims. A temporary stay on his execution would have done the trick. Depending on the effectiveness of his efforts during the duration of the governor's remaining term, he may be rewarded a commutation of his death sentence by the latter or his successor.
This arrangement would have worked favorably for all concerned. Mr. Williams would have been temporarily saved from death. His friends and supporters could have had the chance to rally behind him for the opportunity to earn a commutation of his death sentence. The families of William's victims could have been given substantial material compensation. And the governor could have demonstrated to the world that there are better ways of achieving justice than to execute convicted criminals. No one would have held such a humanitarian act by the governor against him. It would have enhanced not only his image as a man but as a leader. It would have worked miracles for his chances to win a second term.
Too bad, Mr. Governor, you blew it. What you did only fortifies your image as a "Terminator." You have proven to be a man with a mind that is good enough for Hollywood but not for the top position of the largest state of our country and the fifth largest economy in the world.
Antonio R. Serna
Smiley's Back In The Day
I was looking through the Internet under Raymond Victor and saw your website and was really happy. When I was about 12 I used to hitch hike from Lagunitas out to Bolinas to go surfing with Ron Nelson. His brother Bob kept a couple boards at a local shop there. We used to go passed Smiley's. It is my belief that back in the day Grace Slick used to go there and perform. The times they did change! The winos of the streets were friends of ours. Making their way from San Anselmo to Bolinas they would stop here and there begging for spare change. Tequila Dave, Rick Lapari, Ed Sunshine, Tommy Fox, and of course the infamous Rick Clays. Many gone now Smiley's still lives on in our hearts and minds.
I'm a local who grew up at Shafters swimming hole where any day in the summer 100-200 people skinny dipped together. They called me the Lagunitas Kid. I dove for silver dollars and to give the crowd a thrill. Several times Janis Joplin would come down and grace the swimming hole.
When days were old we traveled to Bolinas to see what the skinny was in the surf. We would crest Tocaloma Hill and if the fog lay low on the coast we would turn back. but I remember days of crowds gathering at the famous little Saloon in the sleepy little town. I remember a man whom lived up on one of the Mesas who owned an 8 ' Airplane. Smiley's was always the name that stuck so well in my mind. My great uncle Joe Deliperi owned the bar at the bottom of Tocaloma hill called What else? Joes Place. Its now a bed and breakfast. he worked for machine gun Kelly in the prohibition days. I bet they even supplied bootleg whiskey to Smiley's You never know as they didn't speak much about it. Today I live in the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada's where I am writing screen plays and about too shoot a movie of my own. I worked on Nash Bridges TV show as an extra and went on to work on several movies in the bay area. Finally I branch out on my own. You know one day maybe a movie about Smiley's should be shot. or maybe a documentary. I would be very much so up for something like that, keeping the fever going another 100 years or so. Well, I only wanted to remember the ood old times back in the 60's where peace Love dope was the slogan and people were actually friendly and not so much politically correct. I'm thinking it was a groovy kind of love. Long live Smiley's because this Lagunitas kid has just about run the gammit. A few years to go and the next generation will become your visitors.
Actor Writer Director
Taking Money From The Poor And Disabled
The United States Supreme Court ruled today the government can garnish the Social Security checks of old disabled people who haven't paid back their student loans. The decision against a 67 year old Seattle man who lives in public housing who says he needs his $874 a month to pay for food and medicine. It may be legal for America to take money from a poor old disabled man but that doesn't make it right. It speaks as to who we are as a nation and a people and reflects the (lack of) heart of America's soul.
Domestic Spying and Intimidation of Military Families
Letter from a Military Mom
By Jack Dalton
It wasn't that long ago that the military command in Iraq started pulling computer access to various units. Seems some of the troops were writing emails home to family, to friends, to various anti-war groups and the like, and the military was getting a bit disconcerted by that. After all, can't have your own troops pretty much turning the "official news" on its head now, can you? So what do you do? You shut them up in any way that you can. Let them know they are monitored works pretty good.
But, what about the "moms" back home who are writing on the internet? Moms like Robin Vaughan, whose letter detailing her recent experiences with the Department of Defense and the Army is below.
Moms writing back and forth to "sons and daughters" in Iraq, who might "slip" and tell "mom" what life is really like in Iraq; can't have that now, can we? What if the "moms" start telling others what their sons and daughters are telling them (at least the ones who are still able to access a computer). Can't have that people might turn against the war ON Iraq. I guess we better threaten and intimidate the moms so they'll keep their mouths shut, stay off the internet and just go home and be a mom. Doesn't matter to the military these moms only wanted to do what moms do--especially military moms--worry and take advantage of the internet to chat with sons and daughters.
This is pretty much what has happened to Robin Vaughan, the mother of a young man who was in Iraq. We have a DoD and Pentagon (military) that has become the foreign policy 'setter', and enforcement arm for the Bush/Cheney cabal--(you know, the guy who said, with a smirk, that he broke the law then pretty much asked, what are you going to do about it?)--that is now attempting to eliminate the rights, the very speech, of a group of mothers with sons and daughters in Iraq.
Read Robin's letter. Write her. Give her your support-what has been done to her and the other mothers in her group cannot go unanswered! This will only get worse the longer we delay in taking this nation back from the crooks, thugs whose hands it now is in. Too many Iraqis; too many of our own; just too many, period, have been killed and maimed already! Now moms are being threatened…what next? (Definitely a rhetorical question.)
Robin's letter came to me thru VAIW (Veterans Against the Iraq War). I have since exchanged a couple of emails with Robin and phone calls, and plan on helping her get this story out-read her letter and join me.
Letter from a Military "Mom": Domestic Spying & Incident of Intimidation of Military Families
Written by: Robin Vaughan
I am sending this letter to you in hopes of finding a source to hear my concerns. It is something that has bothered me since the occurrence, and I know it is not something that should have happened, and I worry for my family's safety as I step out to speak about this.
During my son's deployment to Iraq, February 2004-February 2005, I created a small group website on MSN, for families and friends of our soldiers' deployed unit. It was a membership-only site, and we were a tight group of mostly "Moms", from all over the United States, just trying to make it through each day. The support and help we gave one another is a singular experience of grace, I will never forget.
During the first few months of our site, the Army decided to call every single family on the site, informing them that the site was not to be used by any of the families. The Department of Defense called families in the middle of the night to notify them to not use the web site. Most of the families were near tears, thinking they were getting "THE" call telling them their child or loved one had been killed or injured.
The information received via the phone call was to inform the families that the base did not condone the site, nor [did] the Army, and that it was not to be used; the gist was, families were not allowed to use the site, or they could get into "trouble". Some members reported their soldier calling from Iraq, telling them to be careful about using the site as the Army was monitoring it.
As Web Mistress of the site, I needed to respond and qualify this information, as well as to educate this commanding officer as to the rights and liberties of a private web site; which I did. I was told I would have to let a commanding officer on the site to monitor the messages; I did allow this, but I also informed the officer that this was a courtesy, as there is no such law, or right of the military to monitor, shut down or exclude our web site.
I believe we received this order, and treatment for a couple of reasons.
Occasionally we would voice our concerns publicly over what our government was failing to do to help our soldiers, or we would share or argue political opinion as well. The second reason may be: the armed services all have a group of their own family-type support (FRG); as we were not local to the base our soldiers deployed from, the site was a means to provide that support, as best as we could.
The support group at our base tried to force the site to be given over to them, which I refused. At this time I was told, I might want to be careful, as the government was monitoring the site as well. Soldiers in our unit, while in Iraq, were telling their parents to stay off of the site, or to be very careful of what they wrote. This came from a rear detachment officer in charge, and members on the site.
I reminded the Army I am a private citizen, not on base, with a private site making no claims to have any affiliation with any branch of service, but clearly stating we were families and friends of our unit in support of one another. We were treated to power by intimidation. It isn't hard to make that work, when you have someone's child in a war zone.
We were a group of 77 families from all over the country, at the time of the call. Every single family was phoned and told not to use the site; and I believe some 150 other families were phoned as well, as it was an official order from a commanding officer.
I have waited to speak of this situation until my son was home safe and sound, and also after his transfer to another base. Yes, I was afraid of repercussions that could have harmed him, one way or another. I called my local senator's office, 4 months ago, following up every 10 days to 2 weeks, and still have no answers or support.
I admit I am not comfortable writing this, as required to, as I am still concerned for my son and the other soldiers and families involved on the site. We didn't endanger them by means of displaying their photos with their names, giving up information about their location and actions. We were very careful to not breach Intel protocol, learning Ops protocol, as well as respecting and complying with it. We simply were at times, vocal about our displeasure with our president and government for how our military was being treated, or how the presidential election was being handled.
There are literally hundreds of military family, private support groups on the Internet. I truly believe we were singled out because of my refusal to hand the site over to the local F.R.G., as well as [my] outspoken political beliefs.
It's simply amazing that my son and others risk their lives for "Freedom" in Iraq, when his own mother's civil liberties are threatened, and families are intimidated into silence, by the very same Army he is serving. I am hoping after reading this you may direct me as to where I can at least have this concern heard. Basically, are the following common practice, and legal?
**The Armed services can order families from communicating in a private forum?
**The Armed services can threaten private citizens' first amendment rights?
I want to make sure this is not happening to other service members' families. We live in a hell every day during the deployment of our loved ones; we don't need the added bullying or stripping away our means of helping one another.
Any idea or direction you can point me in would be greatly appreciated. Also, this problem can be corroborated by other families if need be.
Why did it take so long for me to step forward?
Originally I contacted my Senators office, with no reply for six months, and have also spoken with the A.C.L.U; (with little hope of action due to the length of time that has passed) but until now was not willing to come forward in a public way. It took until September for my son to be safely stationed at another base, and other families' service members to either be out of the service altogether, or be transferred as well.
We were afraid for their safety, our own, our relationships with them and their future in the service--all of these things could have been affected and we couldn't chance one more problem or pressure being added to the already heavy load the families and soldiers live with. The intimidation worked. Is this just something silly I should let go?
It doesn't seem trivial to me, but I am learning unless it happens to someone personally, no one seems to care.
Thank you, for your time.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
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