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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

April, 2008


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Letters To The Editor

Legal And Penal System Out of Control
A legal doctrine called "laches" applies to both civil and criminal law. Laches is the failure to act timely.
Suppose you contract with another party to perform some job. A long time goes by and you never get around to doing that job. You contract is voided by your failure to act timely.

Similarly if a person is arrested and charged with a crime the US Constitution's Sixth Amendment states, "{In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial..." If the prosecuting authority fails to act timely laches bars prosecution.

The US Supreme Court decision reaffirming "speedy and public trail" would achieve as much correction of the police state and out of control legal and judicial abuse throughout the US as the Miranda Decision (1966) accomplished.

Take a look at the facts.
The New World Order: Implementation is progressing with a police state in America and global cops abroad.

In 2005, 2,320,359 people were in US prisons.

The yearly cost per inmate is said to be $37,000.

If 2,000,000 defendants were note given a speedy trial, if each accused was tried six months later than "speedy", it would cost an additional $37,000,000,000.

That's your tax dollars.
Now is the time to stop feeding the police state and restore some sanity and control over America's out-of-control legal and judicial system.

J.M. Scott
Aka Jungle Jim
Los Cruces, NM

Stop The Flourishing Prison Industry
In this time of recession we have a flourishing prison industry. What with 1 in 100 Americans now behind bars isn't it time to consider better ways of handling that one percent. The statistics for young black men and for Hispanics are worse. Expensive room and board is not the way to handle many prisoners who wind up in prison because it's the easiest way for a judge to handle a case.

A case in point is that of Philip LoCoco who at age 19 while speeding at 80 MPH struck a tree. His two friends in the back seat sustained significant, permanent injury. LoCoco and the car owner seated next to him fared better. One of the two rear passengers was not using a seat belt, sorry to say.

LoCoco was not on alcohol or drugs. It's not news that speeding is common teenage behavior, which sometimes ends tragically as it did last May 28.

At the February trial Judge Kelly Viera Simmons, according to the IJ said, "The extreme indifference to human life was amazing." That is her opinion and not a fact.

According to the published report, she told LoCoco, "If you are not significantly punished with prison, then I would be doing a disservice to you and the community."

Judge Simmons is wrong-headed. A joy ride ended horribly. There wasn't extreme indifference to human life. So LoCoco, a productive citizen, was sentenced to two years in prison.

What is accomplished by that? LoCoco not only has to live with memories of that awful May day but with the loss of his father who shot himself last year.

Mandatory community service would have been more appropriate than San Quentin. Probation would have made more sense.

The starting point for ending one percent incarceration is the bench

Norman Carrigg
San Rafael

Concern About National Debt
Few people know and others don't seem to care that when President Bush took office in January 2001 the debt was $5.7 trillion, but because Bush throws our money around like confetti he raised our debt to $9.3 trillion. It is expected that before he leaves office he will raise the debt to over $10 trillion.

If anyone thinks we can pay back 10,000,000,000,000 plus more debt from cost of Social Security, Medicare and costs of Bush's illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan without living in extreme poverty, they should take an IQ Test but their test score should be kept secret to avoid embarrassment.

And our Bought Politicians who helped get us into this mess will remain wealthy while we are forced to live on bare existence.

We currently owe $586 billion to Japan, $400 billion to China, $244 Billion to Britain, and $123 billion to oil exporting countries.

A day of reckoning is going to come and when it does bankruptcies will become so numerous we will wonder why and how we were so silent and gullible that led us to live in a life of poverty.

Carl Greeley
Barefoot Bay, Fl.

The Fish Rots From The Head Down
Get real, people! The Chino, California slaughterhouse atrocities wouldn't have been a blip on the radar had not the meat been slated for school kids' lunch programs.

These abuses (and far worse) are routine at slaughterhouses, packing plants and "factory farms" across the country, as has been documented in Upton Sinclair's 1906 THE JUNGLE, Eric Schlosser's 2001 FAST FOOD NATION, and Michael Pollan's 2006 THE OMNIVORE's dilemma, to name a few. No one has the right to be surprised. Perhaps the most important of these exposes is Gail Eisnitz's 1997 SLAUGHTERHOUSE, which includes searching interviews of workers, inspectors, veterinarian, USDA officials, and parent of sick, dead and dying children.

Steven Mendell, president of the Chino slaughterhouse, opines that, "My system broke down." Hardly. The videotaped abuses are the system, while those responsible look the other way. Bottom line: corporate profits.

And the workers are as brutalized and exploited as the animals. Just as in Sinclair's day, the majority of the employees are Mexicans, Central Americans and Southeast Asians. Many are undocumented, illiterate, and speak little English. Reportedly, injuries in these abattoirs are three times those in other factories. The average slaughterhouse worker lasts but three months, toiling under horrendous conditions for minimum wages.

As usual, only the grunts will be punished, a la Enron and Abu Ghraib. It's the owners, managers and government officials who should be doing the serious jail time. The fish rots from the head down, starting with the White House and the USDA. Meanwhile, we are all complicit, and the suffering continues unabated.

Eric Mills
Coordinator
Action For Animals
Oakland

Family Planning & Population Control
Poverty can never be mitigated until an effective means of family planning/population control is implemented. Our environment cannot sustain the current reproduction rates.

Compared to over-population, other measures are almost irrelevant. Unless this administration's zealotic opposition to this essential need is halted, and these vital measures are addressed now, increasing poverty and eventual degradation of the quality of life--as well as environmental degradation-- is inevitable.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

Israel Gave Up Gaza For Peace
Israel gave up all of Gaza more than two years ago in the hopes of peace, evacuating 9,000 Israeli civilians from this territory. What has Israel gotten in return? More than 4,000 rockets shot towards Israel - rockets that are aimed at kindergartens and other civilians.

Now Iran-backed Hamas controls Gaza and they want to destroy Israel. 335 rockets were fired from Gaza into neighborhoods in one week. As many as 150 rockets have been fired at Israel in one day. What country would stand idly by while their civilians are being slaughtered?

Just like the Americans went after the terrorists after 9/11, Israel has a right to wipe out those terrorists who seek its destruction. It is the ONLY democratic state in the Middle East. We must support those who are fighting the same enemies - the cowardly evil terrorists who kill innocent civilians.

Suzanne Kleiman
Benicia

John Edwards Not So Corporate Attorney
While reading Mr. Hutchinson's endearing editorial about former Senator John Edwards, I found a mistake that I think should be cleared up. The former Senator is described as a "corporate lawyer". While this label is fitting for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, it is an insult to a renowned people's lawyer. Senator Edwards made his fortune representing children and aggrieved adults against some of the most powerful corporations in the world.

James Aloezos

LOWE LETTERS
Ralph Running And Cows
Ralph Nader running for president helps Republicans. Ross Perot running for president helped Democrats. How is John McCain as president going to help conservationists, Greens and Ralph Nader's VP running mate Matt Gonzalez?

The League of Conservation Voter's ranked senators on their environmental votes last year - Sen. John McCain got zero percent, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama had voting records of 73 percent and 67 percent respectively.

Nader says he's no spoiler and cows jump over the moon.

* * *
Worse Than Bush
And so it starts, and it's going to get ugly. There is no way to paint a pretty picture about what's going to happen. Radio talk jocks, Cunningham, Savage, and Limbaugh have started to spew out their inflammatory vitriol about Barack Obama--dredging up stale innuendo from the past to create guilt by association. Before any of the religious folk get caught up in this sewerage, Barack Obama attends the United Church of Christ.

Will Americans again succumb to the visceral hatred of Republican, conservative and religious hardliners? Americans must stand up to these crusaders on the right or suffer a fate worse than George Bush. To be continued...

* * *
Fiscal Dwarfs
Anti-tax Republicans are a blight, a cancer in America; the retro agenda and party ideology of these fiscal dwarfs is more important than the good of the country.

Will Americans return to the surpluses and fiscal responsibility of the Clinton era or will it continue to down the road of rising debt and a pig and a poke being offered up by Republicans?

It's still the economy, stupid, and it's been going nowhere but south under GOP voodoo, trickle down economics.

How many Americans are better off today than they were 4 or 8 years ago?

You can't blame the last seven years on the Democrats and why would anyone vote to put another anti-tax "give to the rich" Republican candidate into office.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

My Three Cares: Rot, Paper & Pistons
1 We should each know the exact location of where our garbage goes. And everything anyone puts into a blue can ought to be recycled.

2 Those who are willing to settle for no voter paper trail have something to hide.

3 That's the gas: piston-popping vision dropping; leaving us all exhausted.

Harry Holdorf,
Pacifica

Organs For Our Brothers And Sisters
It could be you. Today it is my family, tomorrow it could be yours. I wait, anxiously, with a whisper of hope that he can hang on. He is my brother. He is a precious, beloved 42 year-old father, husband, son, brother and friend. He needs new lungs, and probably a heart. We pray that he will survive until a donor is found. I hope you are never in this position. Please encourage your readers to become organ donors today. It's the least we can do for our brothers-the ultimate gift.

Julie Wiesner
Vancouver, WA 98685
[email protected]

Romantic War
President Bush said last week, "Isn't war romantic?" Yeah, sure. Ask thousands of amputees if they are enjoying going to the dance with no legs? Ask those wounded soldiers with their faces fried like a grilled steak from burns if they have been embraced lovingly by their lover lately?

As for the romance in Iraq, President Bush has strong support from the Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, who said during an Iraq visit recently that he will continue Bush's war another 100 years if need be and he'll follow the ring leader of the Twin Towers tragedy, Osama bin Laden, to the gates of hell. The only problem is McCain won't find him in Iraq to follow as he is looking for him in the wrong country. Osama is hiding out in the hills of Afghanistan?

It's strange how those who preside over wars enjoy the romance from afar in their tent or palace. General Robert E. Lee exclaimed after watching the slaughter at Gettysburg, "It's good that wars are few as we could grow too fond of them." I don't think those who are buried under the crosses are enjoying the festive occasion too fondly?

David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

Smoking in cars when children are present

Tue, 4 Mar 2008 12:06:06 -0500 [03/04/2008 09:06:06 AM PST]


I'm afraid that the proposal to ban smoking in cars occupied by children represents an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy and autonomy of parenthood. The autonomy to make one's own decision about risks to subject a child to is not to be interfered with lightly. It should only be done in cases where there is a substantial threat of severe harm to the child. Interfering with parental autonomy in a case where there is only minor risk involved is unwarranted.

Let me explain what I mean by substantial threat of severe harm and minor risk.

If an infant is riding in a car without a car seat, there is a substantial threat of severe harm should the car be involved in an accident. In fact, if the car is in any major accident, severe harm to the child is almost certain. Death is likely if the accident is severe. The connection between not being in the child restraint and suffering severe injury or death in an accident is direct, immediate, and definitive.

On the other hand, exposure to secondhand smoke in a car in most cases merely poses an increased risk of upper respiratory or middle ear infection. The likelihood, more often than not, is that the child will not suffer any harm. What is involved is only an elevation of risk for an ailment. There is no certainty of harm, nor is there any substantial threat of severe harm. The harm, if any occurs, is removed in time from the exposure and in most cases it is impossible to directly connect the exposure with the ailment. Thus, the connection is neither direct, immediate, nor definitive.

This difference is not subtle. In fact, it is so stark that it serves as the basis for deciding when society should interfere with parental autonomy regarding exposure of their own children to health risks. Generally, causing harm to children or putting them at substantial risk of severe, direct, immediate, and definitive harm is viewed as something for which there is a legitimate government interest in interfering with parental autonomy. Simply placing children at an increased risk of more minor health effects is not something for which there is a legitimate government interest in interfering with parental autonomy.

If we extended the argument of the supporters of this proposed legislation, then we would also have to support laws that regulate a wide range of parental activity that takes place in the private home which places children at increased risk of adverse health effects.

We would have to ban parents from smoking in the home. We would have to ban parents from drinking more than a drink or two at a time in the home. We would have to ban parents from using insecticides and pesticides. We would have to ban parents from allowing their children out in the sun without sunscreen. We would have to ban parents from allowing their children to ride giant roller coasters. We would have to ban parents from serving their children foods that contain trans-fats. We would have to ban parents from serving their children peanuts before age 3. We would have to ban parents from allowing their children to drink soda that contains sodium benzoate and citric acid.


And more:
Allowing their infants to play with walkers;

Allowing their children to watch more than four hours of television every day;

Failing to ensure that their children get adequate physical activity;

Owning a wood-burning stove;
Failing to filter water that contains trihalomethanes;

Not boiling their babies'' bottles before serving them milk;

Not breastfeeding their infants;
Allowing their children to watch violent television programs;

Allowing their children to watch R-rated movies;

Serving alcohol at a party;
Allowing their children to drink alcohol; and

Failing to keep vitamins out of the reach of children.

One could easily argue that 'If you love your children, [these are all things] you should learn not to do.' That may or may not be true, but what is clear is that we should not interfere with parental autonomy by banning all of these things.

The question I find interesting is why a child advocate would single out smoking around one's children as the sole example of a situation in which the government interferes with the autonomy of a parent to make decisions regarding the exposure of her children to a health risk. What is it about smoking that, among all of the myriad above health risks to which parents often expose their children, it is the one and only one that is chosen to be regulated?

I fear that the answer is that there is a moral stigma attached to smoking as opposed to these other risky parenting behaviours. And I also fear that it is the anti-smoking movement that has contributed to this moral stigma. What it ultimately comes down to, I'm afraid, is that the anti-smoking movement is starting to moralize. We are starting to try to dictate societal morals, rather than to stick to legitimate public health protection.

It's a dangerous line that we're crossing. Because once that line is crossed, there's little assurance that the autonomy of parents to make decisions regarding raising their children can or will be adequately protected.

Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay, Ont.

Red Hill Community Park has been renamed Sir Francis Drake Red Hill Field.


Will the Drake High School take over the Ross Valley School District site behind Redhill Shopping Center and develop the area with the cooperation of the San Anselmo Town Councilman Peter Breen and Tamalpais Union High School District trustee John Wright into

_ _Night lighted sports field for soccer, football, and lacrosse

_ _Community center for daytime, nighttime and weekend events

_ _Town of San Anselmo Recreation rent-to-play area

_ _Sunny Hills Academy physical ed resource

_ _Tamalpais and Ross Valley School District sports access on demand

The Red Hill Community Park has been failing from its good intentions to be the public community park. It is now an adjunct to Drake High School because TUHSD Trustee John Wright and Councilman Peter Breen built in language and then crafted legal interpretation to allow for taxpayer funding of their legacy project.


Initially, the $750,000 according to Peter Breen and John Wright was taken from the Measure A Bond. Then the TUHSD said that the money was taken from the District's General Fund.


The Red Hill Joint Powers Authority led by Wright/Breen since its inception then deal-brokered access to a couple million dollars from the Measure A that is needed to build the 24 hour-7 day a week synthetic surface sports field. Field Turf is groundwater impermeable product of choice for the sports field and track.


At the first bidders conference for the project, the Red Hill JPA demanded that the project use Field Turf which violated the rule of public bidding which prohibits requiring a brand name product. The bids also came in $1.8 million to high because the fundraising tactic of including in-kind materials and services never materialized.


I believe in order to avoid challenges to the "branding" and other oddities of the public project construction project selection process, the attorneys for the TUHSD initiated a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) in January 2008. I contacted Marin County Schools Superintendent Mary Jane Burke to question the actions of the THUSD against the Measure A Bond taxpayers and community at large.


The response from Superintendent Burke's office "This is a TAM DISTRICT issue." What does Ms. Burke's $450,000 salary entitle the taxpayers when the Tam District manipulates and obstructs public participation in the development of school projects? A voice mail reneging authority.


The Marin Community Foundation dollars recently received, along with two million dollars siphoned from the Measure A Bond, and then added to the potential rental income for field use will outweigh any politician's motivation to listen to residential concerns about noise, traffic, night lighting, and the threat to health and safety.


Legal maneuvering to avoid accountability and the development of rationale policy decisions at the Red Hill JPA level will provide the impetus for the San Anselmo Planning Commission and Council to further short circuit needed traffic mitigations, ADA assessibility issues, and will derail needed flood mitigation along the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard corridor.


The Red Hill Community Park is limping its way toward the construction phase. Drake and Redwood sports field synthetic surfaces future may have been a major contributor to Corte Madera Creek flooding because of design implementation that directs all rainfall directly into the storm sewers that flow into the creek from the 3-5 acre synthetic surface sites.


Peter Breen and John Wright have a vision and that vision will not denied as long as they can mandate that they will have the authority to power-punch their way to the cash cows languishing in the debt field of the Ross Valley.

Louise L. Mathews
San Anselmo







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