The Coastal Post - July, 1996

Letters July 96

Letters II July 96

Protest Transmitters

On July 16 the Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider approval of a Negative Declaration of Environmental Impact for cellular telephone (microwave radiation) transmitters at the Mount Barnabe Fire Lookout in Lagunitas. The fire lookout property was donated to the County for fire protection purposes only, not to be operated as a telecommunications facility.

There are over 25 violations of the Marin County Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan present at the project site, as well a significant impacts which dispute the findings of the Negative Declaration and call for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.

Please write to the Board of Supervisors before July 16 to ask them to enforce the Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan, reject the findings of the Negative Declaration, and prepare an Environmental Impact Report for the project. Your comments can be handwrittenthey do not need to be typed. Attend the July 16 meeting to express your opinion on this matter.

We the people of Marin need elected and administrative officials who will deliver economic results without adding to existing development, economic or health and safety problems.



Do No HarmTo MGH

The IJ gave Dr. Larry Bedard and Paul Lofholm good advice: Resign!

The two hospital politicians got themselves elected to the Marin General Board. They do a better job of caring for themselves than they do for their constituents. Both have lucrative hospital contracts. They are supposed to watch out for consumers of hospital care.

These two goats have tended the hospital cabbage patch too long.


San Rafael

Post A Gem

Enclosed please find my check for a six-month subscription in the amount of twelve dollars.

I appreciate the quality and depth of your newspaper. The Coastal Post is a diamond in the rough of Bay area journalism.


Corte Madera

Seeking Truth

Please tell me I'm wrong on the following, for I thought expression of free speech was a "done deal."

1. If you tell the truth about Jews you're an anti-Semitic;

2. If you mention someone in history, though, Jews will have your business confiscated, if they don't want this person mentioned;

3. The Constitution was written for all people of and in the United States of America.

4. So people who don't believe in the human writings of the Constitution are therefore not covered by it and are not protected under it!

5. The truth isn't a thing, it is the only thing.



Macho Sports No Fun

Re. Brent Zeller of Woodacre letter, "Societal Cooperation Needed," June Coastal Post.

"Almost from the day we take our first breath, we are taught to compete. Competition is everywhere we turn and it is out of control."

It certainly is this way for men. As soon as I came out of the womb, my father saw me as competition for his wife's attention. As males, we are taught to compete with all other males, whether friend, foe, family member or stranger.

The best example from my life that I can use is with sports. As a kid I played sports and enjoyed them only in my elementary school's after-school sports program: flag football in the fall, basketball in the winter, soccer in the spring; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after school for two hours.

There was a sense of play in the practices and games. This sense of play disappeared, though, by the time I reached high school, when sports was dominated by aggression, competition and humiliation; all of these seemingly were part of the male jock initiation.

I was done by the ninth grade. I liked basketball, but it became clear to me that I would always hate coaches and teammates. We were all pitted against each other.

After the ninth grade, I continued sports in less competitive environments, but by the time you're a man it seems almost impossible to find a "less competitive" sports environment. I don't know if I'll ever associate sports with "fun" again.


San Rafael

Center For Research In Taking Money

I take back what I said about supporting Supervisor Brown's request for a state investigation into the disease/drug laboratory that's been marketed to Marinites as the Buck Center for Research in Aging. We need a federal investigation.

The situation is scary and sad. Ten years ago there was a lawsuit settlement involving the San Francisco Foundation and Beryl Buck's trust. A county supervisor with a law degree made a deal behind closed doors for a project he has since openly boasted as being his.

Rather than staying within it's designated $4.5 million a year allotment and doing something that would help "aging" people, as its name implies, the center has spent the money in an on-going fight to develop $100 million worth of private real estate.

This non-profit laboratory complex is planned to be the size of a small town. It's not a business. If it's built, it will require and consume endless millions as it generates endless debt thought its endless maintenance, mortgage and operation costs.

We "public" taxpayers will be forced to pick up the tab through federal grants and subsidies, if any are available. Is it any wonder why the national debt keeps increasing? It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul, except that it's also robbing Paul along with his wife and kids!

Anyone who has spoken out against this supervisor's pet project, which now includes a majority of Marin voters, has been viewed as an "enemy." His hostile letter of February 22 to Buck Center administrative director Mary McEachron, which only the Coastal Post has dared to print, confirms this.

Many now realize that this project would have died a natural death millions of dollars ago if it hadn't been for this supervisor's relentless, adversarial politicking and prejudice votes. And what has motivated him for all these years? Does he really care about people, humanity or even research? Rumor has it that he's retiring to a cushy job consulting for the "Buck Lab Center" and will travel around the country living off Buck Trust and taxpayer's money.

If there isn't a morality code or existing law to prevent this type of bureaucratic scamming of community trusts, then we need to demand that our lawmakers get busy and write some.


San Rafael

Ode To A Mother

"Mother is a term that goes without question

A title held by miracle workers

and angels in disguise;

By the first person you meet in life

and the last one you leave

By your touchstone

and your life support.

"Mother" is a person

who bears the fruits of life.

A person who will show you

but not force you.

A person who will always be present

even when absent from the room.

A person who's heart is unselfish

and mind is wide open.

You are my mother

and for this I am blessed.

The lullabies you sang to my cradle

will follow me to my grave.

God's wisdom was endowed in you

and occasionally I get a glimpse.

Thank you, Mother, for life

for the breath you gave me.

I will enjoy it to its fullest.


Corte Madera

No Disease 100 Percent Fatal

From Osler's Web, p. 645:

"It is similarly instructive to note that, as with most infectious agents, only a small proportion of people who were exposed to the polio agent developed symptoms. Ninety to 95 percent of all polio infections were unapparent, or without symptoms; four to eight percent manifested as a minor illness, without any central nervous system involvement; another one to two percent were no-paralytic but bore signs of aseptic meningitis.

In all, just one-tenth to one-eighth of one percent of all polio infections results in paralysis. (From statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control's National Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Surveillance Division)."

Comment: Polio was the last big viral epidemic. We now, supposedly, have another viral epidemic of AIDS, which is supposed to be 100% fatal BASED ON AN ANTIBODY TEST to the supposed HIV virus.

Such efficiency has never existed in nature before, nor could it. Why are not the biologists and all the other scientists speaking up about this? It is just high school biology.


San Francisco

Not All The Views Fit To Print

Get up in the morning, grab a cup of java, reach for the morning paper and whamoa sneering murderer rudely greets you with outreached arms, displaying society's most obscene gesture.

How many naive, innocent children got to view this outrage!? Moreover, how many wanna-be sick criminal psychopaths can now expect the Chronicle to display their depraved faces on the most-coveted front page, after committing vile crimes?

I can visualize the smoky, pot-filled editorial office of this West Coast liberal media flagship, debating the fine societal moral nuances of publishing such an unabashed indecent photograph.

Surrounded by multi-cultural wall posters celebrating gay rights, feminist social inroads, radical environmentalists and ethnic extremiststhese gatekeepers of the liberal media decide, "Hey...anything goes today, hell, let's sell some papers!"

What can be expected by and from an American society that has been entrapped by a wayward, ultra-liberal social agenda for the last 30 years?

In large part, our governmental bureaucrats and politicians, left-leaning court justices, school administrators and teachers, and most of all our public media personages are all avid perpetrators of our society's downfall. Family values, morals, virtueall are things of the past. There is no longer the traditional and effective societal badge of shame for those members of the tribe who overstep the boundaries of good taste or aberrant behavior. Over time, secular liberals took care to dispose of that all-important historic American cultural attribute.

Whacked with social unrest and rampant crime, we've reaped what was sown. So keep picking up, reading and yes, support the Chronicle, folksthe freak show's just beginning.


San Rafael

Anthropomorphic Cosmology

In the realm of science, materialism and evolution are accepted beliefs. Yet, the questions remain, did thinking intelligent life evolve from non-thinking matter (chemical); or was matter designed by thinking people?

Chemicals were designed with purposes in mind. If it was a random rock kingdom, the coincidental odds of many chemicals working together to create life by themselves as a team is infinitesimal.

Perhaps conceive an elder human, with billions of years of memory and design experience, and many other elder humans of a somewhat lesser age of billions of years of accumulated memory and research and knowledge. With such great knowledge, they could design a world.

To us young humans, the elder humans and others would appear as God and angels. Designers from higher dimensions (Heaven), where people live forever, never die and reincarnate, and can amass billions of years of knowledge.

An evolution of an amoeba from chemical mistakes to a monkey to us? Or from our eternal minds, such a human design of evolution created before we entered this world?

We can design highly complex machines, supersonic jet planes and a mono rocket. As we launched a moon rocket, Mankind launched the creation of this new world with a big bang.


Myrtle Beach

South Carolina

MGH: Walk Your Talk

The May Coastal Post carried a thoughtful article about the disastrous effects of greed in hospital care, written by a Marin General registered nurse, Ether Blau. As highly-qualified caretakers are replaced by unlicensed personnel, care quality diminishes. That's reality.

With reduction in care quality, there are some untoward events. This is true at Marin General as well as at other hospitals economizing similarly. Administrative salaries are never slashed and at MGH there were hefty year-end bonuses for administrators.

For years MGH has functioned as a cash cow for those who operate the hospital. Millions of dollars have been funnelled out of MGH for purposes having nothing to do with hospital care. None of those dollars will be funnelled back.

Along come two registered nurses who work in the Marin General intensive care until to challenge Ms. Blau. In the June Coastal Post is a letter signed by Mary Pieper-Warren and Kristine Kavanaugh tellings readers: "We continue to be astonished that a small group of Marin General nurses think they can improve health care and working conditions by frightening patients away from the hospital."

Nurses Pieper-Warren and Kavanaugh, on the contrary, should be grateful for those few courageous nurses who are crusading for better patient care. MGH management spends thousands on display ads published in local papers to tell the public about the "excellent quality of Marin General Hospital."

Too bad the monies spent on display ads and monies funnelled out of MGH are not funnelled to patient care where there is desperate need.


San Rafael

Miller's Views Overstated

Every month for almost a year one of my congregants has given me a copy of your newspaper sand highlighted Edward W. Miller's monthly column.

I am from the word "go" a First Amendment person who believes in the right of free expression in the United States. At the same time, however, it alarms me that your newspaper carries month after month the rantings of a man who seems obsessed with a passion for fermenting anti-Israel and by extension, anti-Semitic feelings among your readers.

I know that the State of Israel is far from perfect, nor is our own United States. Sometimes zealots in both countries have exceeded the boundaries of what sensible people call decency. However, I believe that despite its known transgressions, the U.S. is a decent country and a strong democracy. I believe equally that the State of Israel, despite its lapses, is also a decent country and a young democracy struggling to find stability, security and peace in its not yet 50 years of existence.

Printing Dr. Miller's monthly installments of his modern parallel of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and publicly giving credence to his obsessive anti-Semitism and Israel bashing, marginalizes the Coastal Post and casts an enormous shadow on your credibility as a journalist.


Congregation Rodef Sholom

San Rafael

Nakamura Deluded

In publishing Karen Nakamura's clearly libelous column with its mendacious attack on Sue Gilliam, the Coastal Post has both dishonored itself and destroyed any reputation for probity that Ms. Nakamura may have previously enjoyed.

Anyone acquainted with Ms. Gilliam knows Ms. Nakamura's allegations are specious, groundless, and preposterous. Ms. Nakamura has uncritically swallowed false allegations from unreliable informants, allowing herself to be manipulated and her column used by those who support the illegal aliens among us.


San Rafael

Egregiously Slanted Journalism

Karen Nakamura's attack on Rick Oltman in the June Coastal Post was plain outlandish: Karen did not get her facts straight, she misinformed the reading public, she made false accusations, and clearly has not thought her material through to any logical conclusion. To undertake a journalistic endeavor and then so violate the journalistic trustto be fair, objective, and accurateis inexcusable.

Rick is not and never has been the Chairperson of the Republican Central Committee. Alan A. Hill holds that post, and has done so for several years; Rick is Executive Director of that group. The Independent Journal never "screamed" that Rick was removed from his post, because such did not occur. The Republican candidate for State Assembly, Davy Crockett, challenged Rick's holding of the Executive Directors' joba little stab, perhaps, at some free publicity? Maybe not! The Central Committee looked at the matter, but never removed Rick from his job. Further, Rick has never stated, least of all publicly, that beating anybody up is acceptable. Somehow, you just plain got things wrong, Karen, and I have to wonder at your motives.

Your comment that Rick's Canal neighbors were complaining makes no sense. Which neighbors? As I understand from the newspapers, there are a lot of unhappy neighbors in the Canal, who hold many complaintsincluding Rick, et. al. At this point, it's pretty much point of view.

Then to brand the Canal Property Owners' Association as evil conservatives (the evil seems implied to me) is poppycock. Man in that group are liberal democrats who own property in the area and want to protect it. Not a major sin!

Accusing Rick Oltman of basing his career on making life uncomfortable for illegal and legal immigrants is a strange interpretation. You much really think him evil. Maybe he is simply trying to resolve what he (and many others, including myself) see as a growing problem deleteriously affecting our country and our own vulnerable citizensmy own son included.

Frankly, I'm grateful. My family needs the help. We certainly don't get it from you and the other ultra-liberals. And, an effort to "clean up crime" is a move to "raise" property values (not that that would be such a terrible sin either). Looks more to me like a move to protect property values (also far from sinful).

For you to assume that the underlying assumption in the anti-illegal movement is that one human being is more valuable than another is emotional poppycock, designed, I fear, to rile deep-seated fearsnone of which is healthy for anyone. Most of the people I know who are opposed to illegal immigration are just plain realistic.

The United States simply cannot take care of all the suffering people in this world, much as we might wish to, and you do them a grave disservice when you tell them we can and will.

As to the gated neighborhood, I guess it was alright with you that that neighborhood was suffering from odious nightly behavior, which had nothing to do with parking? Didn't you read about the prostitutes who were bringing their clients there at night and littering front yards an the street with their debris, none of which was appropriate for children to find in the morning, and some of which was just plain dangerous. People from the Canal were coming there to party and get drunk, strewing the streets with beer cans and liquor bottles. Unpleasant and nefarious events. Why did you neglect to mention those problems?

Seems to me you should be criticizing these inconsiderate slobs. As to the community meeting Mr. Oltman and Ms. Gilliam supposedly broke up, it was Mr. Oltman and his group who were blocked from attending that public meetinga no-no in this country. As to Ms. Gilliam, I have no idea if your comments are true, so I won't address them.

However, considering the myriad of misinformation you spread about Rick Oltman and others, I would have to verify everything with honest people who do not resort to emotional buzz words to make their points and cloud motives.

Stick to the facts, Ms. Nakamura, if you want to be effective. Then either the truth will shine through your argument or the mighty holes will become obvious.

If you want to say that you don't like Rick Oltman and Sue Gilliam, by all means do so (Rick can be a mite caustic upon occasion.) If you want to say that you do not agree with their politics, and think them wrongby all means, do so. You can even say you think they are "mean, nasty" people, which it appears you do. But don't make inflammatory, emotional remarks based on either your own emotionalism or an intent to rile.

In my opinion, it is the ultra-liberal person (and I would put you in that category based on your article about Rick) who is doing the real damage by telling very needy immigrant peoples they have "rights" in this country, when they don't. I would say it is the ultra-liberal person, who is using overly emotional language to rile innocent people and misinform the general public that is really causing the trouble.

We have many problems in our country. The carelessly written word is not the way to solve any of them. It only creates more dissatisfaction and more havoc, and I think you have been enormously irresponsible in this matter.



MGH Mortality Rates Report Flawed

A recent Coastal Post article describing cardiac mortality rates in Marin County and elsewhere is flawed.

A recent state-sponsored study looked at heart attack mortality rates throughout California. The rates in the Bay Area were generally quite good and Marin General's mortality rate was 12.4%, statewide average of 13%. This was well within the "expected range." Several of the other hospitals in California Health Care Systems did better still, affirming the value of our affiliation with Sutter/CHS.

Several key points must be made:

1. This study used data from 1990 to 1992. Since that time, Marin General, not satisfied to be within the expected range, has put protocols in place for more streamlined and efficient cardiac care, and has developed a top-notch cardiac surgical and angioplasty program.

2. Hospitals with better than expected outcomes were characterized, generally, by their ability to deliver high level cardiac surgical and angioplasty services, and Marin General now has such a program, with excellent results.

3. For the year 1995, Marin General's mortality was substantially better than average. The National Registry of Myocardial Infarction showed a statewide mortality of 11.2%, and Marin General's was 9.7%. For patients who were able to undergo emergent treatment with angioplasty or clot-busting thrombolytic drugs, mortality was zero (0%) for the entire year of 1995.

Marin General Hospital remains proud of its cardiac program and remains committed to continuous improvement. The outcome survey from 1990 to 1992 was reassuring in that we were better than the state average, but we are not content. More recent statistics are still better, and we await future state-sponsored studies as they are released.

We feel strongly that irresponsible use of incomplete statistics is a public disservice.


Medical Director

Marin Heart Institute

Landlords: Rent To Pets

Waiting in line for the school bus at the bottom of the stairs of my Mill Valley school during the '60s, I would notice a mother park her station wagon in front of the school while her son and daughter piled into the car. For some reason, she could often be seen rearranging the tailgate area where two huge fluffy white samoyeds would eagerly crane their necks while she opened the tailgate, tails wagging furiously like feathery flags.

Once the tailgate was in place, and the dogs had turned to greet the two children absent from home all day, the brother and sister, whose names are lost to me now, would reach back and return the greeting. Everyday, the ritual occurred: mom, family pets and prodigal children exchanging greetings. And everyday, until the children were safely in the car, the two dogs would scan the faces of the gathered children in anticipation of the two children they cared for most.

After a full day of school loaded down with homework and waiting for the long bus ride home and an even longer walk up the big hill, I couldn't wait for my own greetings from our family dogsAbner, a black standard poodle with his own set of rules (rules he made up as he went along), Ginger, an gentle apricot standard poodle with a heart of gold and Teddy, a Siberian whose quiet beautiful demeanor simultaneously made him my mom's special favorite and Abner's nemesis.

The fact that Ginger also saw something special in Teddy made it impossible for Abner to ever get along with Teddy. Even in their old age, Abner would still try to challenge Teddy to doggie duels through separating doors. But all three were lavish in their "omigodyou're back" greetings.

If you can't "stand" animals and you only like people, you don't even have to consider the welfare of the pet. You can simply improve the quality of life for a person by allowing them to enjoy and care for their pet in their home.

Pioneering landlords should set the rules and have them signed by the tenant so there can't be any question the tenant is unaware of the rules. Insist on pet references from past landlords and obedience trainers. Charge a refundable pet cleaning deposit and keep every penny if the pet owner is not responsible. Fine a pet owner who doesn't clean up after a pet while on the grounds. Insist on a dog who has graduated from obedience class. Visit the tenant's current rental. Ask to meet the pet.

As you can see, there are plenty of avenues to check the credentials of a pet owner. You will be creating a better tenant for yourself and for other landlords.

Any reasonable pet owner I have ever met would gladly meet these fair requirements. Just as you will interview many irresponsible and uncooperative tenants, you will interview that many with pets.

Pets, however, are not the problem, and pet owners make the best tenants. When the tenant is irresponsible, however, his pet will probably be just one of the many problems you will have with him. Careful screening of any tenant, with pet or without, is the answer.

Perhaps in Marin we can reverse this prejudicial trend against any and all pets and begin to extend compassion to families with pets.

As society has changed, fewer of us have the luxury of owning our homes, and as we age we don't always have the luxury of keeping them. We often become renters or residents of homes where convenience and financial considerations take precedence over humanity and compassion.

Run down the rental columns and the symbolic front door slams in the face of the companion who shares your life, your ups and downs, provides entertaining memories, performs heroic feats of protection when called upon and who trusts and depends upon you. "No pets allowed"!

Pet owners often find themselves at at terrible loss for housing when it comes down to them or their pet. That's a terrible position to be in, and the pet is the big loser, often embarking on a disturbing cycle of revolving homes.

Rental policies on pets can and should be more flexible, reflecting the responsibility, cooperation, commitment to pet rules and sincere effort of the pet owner to prove to the landlord that pets can be a welcome part of rental living.

If you are a landlord and are concerned at all about animals, why not give them a chance to stay with their family?

If you are a landlord with your own pet, you know the rewards of living with a pet. Why not think of ways you can loosen up the no pets rules while still keeping the value of your rental intact. After all, if all pets were so destructive, no one would keep them at all, including yourself.


Vaccines Save Lives

This letter is in response to Stephen Simac's front page announcement, "Vaccines Are Leading Cause of Infant Deaths."

Ten leading causes of infant death

All causes: 33,466

1. Congenital anomalies: 7,129

2. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: 4,669

3. Prematurity: 4,310

4. Respiratory Distress Syndrome: 1,815

5. Newborn affected by complications of pregnancy: 1,343

6. Newborn affected by complications of placenta: 994

7. Accidents: 898

8. Infections specific to newborn period: 772

9. Intrauterine and birth asphyxia: 549

10. Pneumonia and influenza: 530

All other causes: 10,457.

These figures are for 1993, the latest year for which figures are available. Source: Monthly Vital Statistics Report, National Center for Health Statistics.

When I was a child, in the 1940s, my mother used to quietly check my neck when I slept, during the summer months. Two of my friends had recently developed paralytic polio, and we were all warned not to go swimming at the local lake during the summer months. It was believed that there was a virus or something that was responsible for this illness. I still remember the panic on my parents' faces when my brother and sisters would develop an innocent "cold." Everyone waited in terror until it became clearer that this was not the onset of polio or infantile paralysis. It was the Salk and Sabin vaccines which have protected our children and adults from this scourge. Mr. Simac either has a poor memory or is totally ignorant of the history of this illness.

Smallpox has been removed from this earth because of an intense World Health Organization effort to vaccinate the world population. Now smallpox vaccination is no longer needed since we have eradicated this plague.

Meningitis is a terrible infection of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord. Since the introduction of HIB vaccine a few years ago, this illness has almost disappeared.

Tetanus is still an agonizing, deadly problem in countries that do not routinely vaccinate against this infection. The vaccine is extremely effective. There is transient arm pain at the site of injection, a small tradeoff for its protection.

Sixteen years ago in Oakland, there was another disbeliever in vaccines. The young son of a chiropractor died the most agonizing death due to diphtheria. The father subsequently became a believer.

Pertussis vaccine has prevented the deaths of hundreds of infants yearly. It once was a leading cause of infant death. And the new acellular vaccine has ever fewer side effects of the annoying fevers or sore arm following injection. This vaccine DOES NOT cause death, brain damage or sudden infant death syndrome as Mr. Simac suggests.

For American children today, measles, mumps and rubella are almost as foreign as diphtheria, polio and smallpox. Yet prior to vaccines, there were three to four million cases of measles a year, resulting in an average of 1,200 cases of encephalitis and 540 deaths each year. About two million cases of mumps occurred annually, resulting in 2,800 cases of meningitis; 1,900 cases of encephalitis and 33,000 cases of orchitis (infected testicles). Nearly 1.5 million cases or rubella occurred, with major epidemics every six to nine years. The last rubella epidemic in 1964-65 resulted in 12.5 million cases of the disease, and 20,000 infants born with congenital rubella syndrome (deafness, blindness, heart defects and often severe retardation), 11,250 spontaneous or surgical abortions, and 2,100 newborn deaths.

I hope this information will convince you that vaccinating your children is an act of love.


San Rafael

Three Strikes Unjust

I am a 34-year-old man raised in Indiana with true Midwestern values. Three years in the United States Navy as a submarine fireman, honorably discharged. I then mastered the art of cabinet making due to my love of creating with a hands-on attitude. I reside in a sunny area known as historical San Rafael. I am truly a family-oriented grounded person who enjoys family get togethers, church groups and self-help organizations.

Presently I am in late stages of HIV infection and take AZT, 3TC, Septra, among other anti-viral drugs. After being refused medication for pain and chronic suffering, the County Clinic forced me to self-medicate. As I write this, I am in custody at the Marin County Jail and awaiting trial for possession of an alleged one-tenth of a gram ($10 wortha miniscule amount) of suspected heroin.

I have been incarcerated here for one year. I face the possibility of further incarceration under the scheme of the Three Strikes legislation. Bear in mind I've already been sentenced to death for my addiction.

What's good about Three Strikes?

Society, the taxpayer and your neighbors and friends are saying, "enough is enough." Lawlessness must have consequences which protect innocents from felons by aggressive district attorneys.

Taxpayer cost of Three Strikes

The staggering construction budget in California for prisons is greater than for university and elementary and secondary schools combined. Academic achievement has gone from number one on the elementary/secondary level to number 46. Book expenditures for university libraries have been cut so drastically some professors are seeking employment elsewhere. What does this say about us as a community? And the image of our great state? When the cost of incarceration drafts all other state expenditures for betterment of taxpayers?

What's not good about Three Strikes?

Many more things worth contemplating: 1) No latitude for judicial or jury discretion means the poor ignoramus that steals a piece of pizza gets 25 years to life for equal of a murder or rape as his third felony conviction. Is that the justice Jefferson and Madison had in mind? 2. The assumption is that each strike is a full swing; not so in the real world of public defenders, social miscasts, the financially downtrodden. So many cases are plea bargained that the poor, uninformed or marginal get the process of justice where the content is lacking.

Busy courts overwhelm public defenders. Even when doing their best, they simply aren't meeting demands thrust upon them. Pretty good work is a long way from top flight work, the difference between acquittal or confinement. Some convictions are even one incident broken into multiple strikes.

The state mandates health and education programs to return inmates to the general population with values and skills to lead a productive life. San Quentin has no progressive or alternative therapies for those of us that have contracted the AIDS virus, and is subjecting us to cruel and pernicious punishment. Facing each day of impending death, no counseling or support groups, just warehousing. Doesn't the state's Commission on Self Esteem apply here?

Bottom line

When will taxpayers take a deeper and much longer look into judicial processes and penal systems? Is what passes for standard the most effective we can do? Is it worth one million dollars per inmate to feed, cloth and house a person in jail for a lifetime? What are the measurable techniques and programs which reduce recidivism while increasing personal accountability, responsibility, education and self-respect? When will society select more strategic options and cost effective solutions over quick-fix palliatives. Is it worth paying two to three times the cost to incarcerate a person with HIV?



Marin County Jail C-9

13 Memorial Dr.

San Rafael 94903

Editor's note: Since you wrote this letter, the California Supreme Court has set forth three conditions under which judges have discretion in sentencing.

MGH Endangers Patients' Health

Several recent letters in Marin's daily paper from Marin General Hospital (MGH) sycophants and shills praising the purported "excellence" of MGH health care leave a sour taste in the mouth when one considers the huge MGH debt increase, the decline in medical services, the layoffs of skilled nursing staff, and the preoccupation with higher salaries for top executivesand the clear bias of that daily as apologist for MGH.

I remember all too well reports of substandard treatment by MGH, made public by victims or relatives, at meetings of the elected board, reports which, incidentally, the public board attempted to suppress, trying to gag complainants from speaking out in the board's public meeting about MGH shortcomings and mistakes.

I remember especially my good friend, the late Luke Asbury, a man with an abiding love of the outdoors. At age 75 he had made a solo trip in a great loop about the American southwest on his motorcycle. An active man with an agile mind, a high sense of the absurd, and a sparkling wit, Luke's final two years were made a hell by a botched operation at MGH which left him crippled and wheelchair-bound, forced to give up his mobility, leaving him dependent upon friends for even the simplest excursion outside his home, and without even so much as an apology from MGH, let alone a penny of compensation.

How many others have suffered from flawed diagnosis or substandard procedures at MGH? Maybe your readers should hear from some of them as to how far downhill the county's once fine hospital has gone.


San Rafael

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