The Coastal Post - August, 1996

Letters Aug 96


It's much easier to write a publication regarding some public issue or matter. That is why I am not signing this. (I don't trust people.)

Personally, I am disgusted with my country. I am less and less impressed with my native Northern California. To be specific, I am disgusted with what seems to be...most of you out there.


Marin County

Brute Force

According to Rabbit Barenbomb, free speech is A-OK. As long as you don't keep pounding the truth at people. Ranting? Ha! Try watching films of IsraelisĐthat's ranting! Anyway, I got a good laugh at Rabbit's ranting, then I went to the fridge and got a bottle of Guiness, went to the bookshelf and got a copy of the Guiness Book of World Records, looked up holocaust.

Now, with no war going on in China, nor China involved in any war, Mao Tse Tung killed 35,000,000 dissidents. What's the point? Well, no war in China while this happened?

So I went to the monopolbox (tv) and searched for films, docus, special reports, exposes, soap operas, current events, cartoons, movies, interrupted broadcastsĐyou name it. Not one mention of China in this respect?

What happened in Europe to any extent happened in wartime (all is fair in love and war!).

What I think needs to happen is the reincarnation of Richard the Lion-Hearted and Attila the Hun. And I quote Mario Puzo from The Godfather: " All business was settled!"



Fomenting Fermentation

To Mr. Barenbaum:

Sir, I find your indictment of Dr. Miller in the July edition of the Coastal Post repugnant. The Post has always given both equal opportunity and ample space for alternative opinionĐyour letter produced nothing in the way of constructive criticism. This is regrettable, for admonishment without productive analogy is open to misgivings and is not what the Letters section is all about.

Additionally, your condemnation contains an unfortunate choice of expression. The use of "fermentation" suggests that there exists an agent in Mr. Miller's words capable of working magic upon some factor in the human psyche which in turn compels the emergence of dark and ulterior convictions too powerful to resist.

Accordingly, you insinuate that Mr. Miller's views will initiate "hate" reactions in the Post's readers because either (1) the readers are inherently anti-Semitic and/or incapable of controlling some undefined underlying loathing of Israel, or (2) the readers are so stupid and dull and unable to comprehend critical political matters for themselves that they must be saved from their own ignorance lest another Hitler surface to enslave their very souls. Both are all too common and politically convenient motives for censorship.

The sad fact is that real informationĐthe kind you find so offensiveĐis far too often ignored by the mainstream American media. Dr. Miller is simply repeating what foreign sources have reported all along: the U.S and Israeli governments are well on their way to becoming the largest perpetrators of violence and unrest in the world.

Would you bar access to such information and sanction Dr. Miller's investigations? Is it preferable for you to denounce without substance than to rebut with hard evidence? Do you wish to take issue with Mr. Miller's integrity? It will take more than pretentious denunciationĐno shadowy "parallels" pleaseĐit is incumbent upon you to answer with proper contrary material.

The Coastal Post is an honest little paper, and that in itself is justification enough to demand that any opposition in response to its contents exercises more than just a right to condemn. There is also the obligation to extend to others the opportunity to ascertain the truth for themselves. Unfortunately, Mr. Barenbaum, your letter presumes that the readers of the Post have no moral, intellectual, or rational capacity to do so.


Mountain View

On The Radio

Hi Jim,

You were mentioned with glowing words on Michael Krasney's show on Monday when he was interviewing someone with regard to ozone depletion. A caller talked about the integrity of the Coastal Post and, in particular, one writer, named Jim Scanlon, who reported significant findings from his travels to South America.

I was on Kerner Blvd. when I heard it, on my way to the printer. I figured I was in your territory. Put a smile on my face...



San Rafael

Israel To Blame For Anti-Semitism

The accusations made by Rabbi Michael Barenbaum against Edward Miller ("Miller's Views Overstated") are outrageous. As a person who is very much involved in Middle East issues, I can attest to the accuracy of Miller's knowledge of that region.

Barenbaum accuses Miller of "fermenting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feelings" in the Coastal Post. Hopefully, thanks to Miller's accurate reporting, the Post's readers have learned that it is Israel, by virtue of its barbaric and savage treatment of the Palestinians and its murderous assaults on Lebanon, that has led to the escalating anti-Israel sentiments in America.

The Israelis literally have gotten away with murder, land theft, and crimes against humanity, largely due to zionist propaganda in America, the fire-breathing, chest-thumping, heel-kicking zionist lobby in Washington (AIPAC), and the enormous Jewish control or influence on our print and electronic media. When Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdock bought a major New York newspaper, he proclaimed that its editors were to consider themselves "circumcised," that is, criticism of Israel would cease.

Shame on those zionists who alibi for Israel's outlaw behavior. The phrase "anti-Semitic" used to apply to those who did not like Jews just because they are Jews. Zionists now regard as anti-Semitic anyone that they do not like, especially those like Miller who criticize their misconduct, no matter how appropriate their criticism might be. I urge the Post not to buckle in to zionist pressure by censoring Edward Miller, or to allow itself to be "circumcised."



Misuse Of Influence

Speaking Of Overstatement...Rabbi Barenbaum's criticism of Edward Miller's writings is the best example of it I've come across in a long time. His heart-felt reference to belief in the sanctity of the First Amendment's protection of free speech has the ring of the response often made to anti-Semitic slurs: "Hey, don't get me wrongĐsome of my best friends are Jews."

To characterize Miller's writings as "obsessed with a passion for fermenting anti-Israeli and by extension anti-Semitic feelings," betrays a lack of understanding that is at best naive and at worst reckless. I personally have found much of value in Miller's analysis of current events and in particular his speculation and factual reporting of Israeli politics. I would unhesitatingly affirm its superiority to most mainstream reporting on the subject.

I am not happy with what Miller has to report (I would venture a guess that he himself might not be as well). But contrary to Rabbi Barenbaum, I prefer facing up to the truth of the matter than accepting the usual pap handed out by spin doctors and government spokesmen.

And I definitely prefer Miller's style to Barenbaum's. Miller deals with issues which he straight-forwardly presents to the best of his abilityĐBarenbaum's ad hominem ranting proves nothing whatsoever. If he wants to address a particular issue raised by Miller or invite him to debate in front of his congregation, it might serve the purpose of increasing understanding.

Incidentally, Miller makes no claim for speaking for anyone but Miller. Barenbaum has signed his little diatribe on behalf of Congregation Rodef Shalom. I wonder if they all agree to his representation of their views on this matter. "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"Đhe has got to be kidding. He should be made to offer proof of serious statements like that comparison. Indeed, if comparisons are in order, the small sampling of Barenbaum's is reminiscent of Mein Kampf's exhortations to burn all books offering contradictory ideas.

Preventing the publication of ideas that oppose your own is certainly not what anyone with a true understanding of what constitutes a "strong democracy" would advocate. Clearly what the rabbi wants is that the Coastal Post stop publishing Miller's opinions because they conflict with his own or that of his congregation.

Barenbaum would be much better off leaving the unearthing and combatting of anti-Semitism to the Anti-defamation League. They have a much better understanding of the elements involved.

He should also go back to the First Amendment, which he claims to value so highly, and look at the establishment clause and other language that clearly signifies the intent of the Constitution to separate church and state.

Or maybe he should address the problem of the zealots in Israel whose role has steadily grown over the 50 years of the state's existence to a point where they have become the mirror image of Moslem fundamentalists and a force all out of proportion to their actual numbers.

There are lots of things the rabbi can do that would bring everyone a little closer to the truthĐbut attempting to intimidate the Coastal Post and silence Edward Miller is a dangerous use of his influence.


Muir Beach

Lookout's Negative Impacts

In 1938 Fred and Katherine Dickson deeded one acre of land on Mt. Barnabe to Marin County on the condition that it be used only for fire lookout purposes. Since then the Supervisors have quietly leased the lookout to 18 different agencies, the last of which is Bay Area Cellular Telephone Company (BACTC). A temporary use permit has been granted for transmission of microwave radiation to Cellular One. An antenna tower has been installed and a Negative Declaration of Environmental Impact has been prepared for their proposed project.

Rather than protect fire tower personnel by other means, the Supervisors chose to quickly erect a 32-foot tower, claiming it was for protection of the tower occupants (creating the potential for a major telecommunications site).

Negative aspects of the project include: Violation of CEQA guidelines; violation of the County of Marin Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan; private property rights and title violations; no objective, unbiased health and safety tests have been conducted; adverse visual impact to the ridgeline; no assurance of limits on future expansion or additional transmitters.



More History

How about more of Joan Reutinger's Marin history articles? They're the best part of your publication.


Not A Hard Question

I had an eye-opening conversation with incumbent Lynn Woolsey last summer about taxes.

She told me that Republicans wanted to take money from the poor and give tax breaks to the rich. I told her I wasn't rich and that I was tired of working until lunch time every day just to pay the IRS. So I asked her point blank, "Don't you think Americans are taxed too much?"

Ms. Woolsey paused as if in deep thought and said, "No, I don't think so."

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, in 1995, total taxes as a share of GNP were the highest in U.S. history, higher than during WWII. And, Lynn Woolsey wants to spend even more of our money? We can't afford it.


Small business owner


Golden Years Tarnished

I live here in Marin, sandwiched between a speed freak manager and her boyfriend who beats her and has not worked a steady job since I've known them.

After I accidently came upon several packets of white powder at their apartment one day, my manager backstabbed me to the owner, who tried to evict me on an absurd premise.

On the other side of me is a woman who, as they say, is "two fries short of a happy meal." The larger her pot plants become, the more she barricades herself and the more paranoid she becomes. She keeps a loaded gun.

Since the owner has full knowledge of the drug and pot situation, if I go to Housing Authority with the problem, I stand the chance of having to move, as he would be dropped from the subsidy list. An expensive and time-consuming thing. If I go to the police, I stand to be known as a snitch by every druggy in the area and risk getting shot by the crazy with the gun.

This is the sick social system I am forced to tolerate in my golden years.

And in Washington state yesterday, yet another Black church was torched.


Mountain View

Turn Down The Volume

I strongly urge Marin parents not to allow their children to attend the Pacific Theater at Rowland Plaza, Novato. The ultra-high decibel levels of the Dolby Surround Sound in that theater are intolerable and can permanently damage the hearing of both children and adults.

The sound level of Independence Day during the 3:15 p.m. showing on July 12, both for the coming attractions for violent shoot-'em-up films, and for the main feature, were physically painful to the eardrums of both my wife and myself. Numerous children in the audience, whether they realized it or not, were undoubtedly subjected by the theater to some degree of permanent hearing loss.

It's clear that employees and management don't give a damn about viewer comfort. Twice I complained to employees to ask that the volume be turned down, to no avail. A third time, I sought out the manager to repeat the complaint. Employees and manager alike did absolutely nothing to tone down the volume, and the outrageous physical assault on audience eardrums was allowed to continue.

It's well known that over-loud noise damages hearing. I personally know it to be so because of my own World War II "artillery ear." It's my fond hope that angry parents may launch a class-action lawsuit against Pacific Theaters, Dolby Surround Sound, and the management and operators of the Rowland Plaza theater for the undoubted damage to their children's hearing by those agents of deafening noise pollution.


San Rafael

Little League Has Big Problems

Problems continue in red-neck run West Marin Little League. Word has it that West Marin Little League has already secretly selected next year's major league teams and sold a place on one of the teams to an unqualified player (one Jake Bourne) for $1000.

Theoretically, major league players are supposed to be drafted after Spring tryouts open on a level playing field basis according to ability. Actually, selections are made on a political and "old-buddy" basis. If you are a friend of the major league coach, your kid can play in the majors, ability notwithstanding. For example, it's said Trent Lennart, another unqualified player, will be drafted as a result of personal friendship between coaches.

This past season was marked by open warfare between coaches and parentsĐcoaches driven by favoritism for their own sons and neurotic need to win games. Abuse and mistreatment of players is so common as to be treated as just your normal macho baseball coaching. Safety factors relating to the ball used (standard ball vs. Incrediball), and other safety issues are pooh-poohed as being for sissies and "the kids have got to be prepared for the majors."

Note recent articles in the IJ and Chronicle (June 5) re. Little League safety issues, as well as Wall Street Journal re. Little League right-wingers. One coach (Butch) is said to make a deliberate practice of abusing selected players on his team.

Armed warfare broke out on Dennis Irish's team when the parents rebelled at having their kids relegated to the bench and outfield while his kid and the coaches' kids played the skilled positions.

These things appear to be true. Investigate for yourself. Someone needs to come in and take the lid off this can of worms. Parents who do it will find their kids permanently benched.



Right To Vote

Bear this in mind. When our country started up in '76, only male white property owners were allowed to vote. Women and working people did not have the right to vote. It wasn't that the gracious property owners changed their minds and allowed women and propertyless people to vote. It was the ability of the leaders of the right to vote to organize the rest of the people to participate in the fight.

As you know, they finally won by amending the Constitution. When public officials, or the "I got mine and the hell with you" people, or the big money interests, try to attack us, we must be prepared to stand our ground and resist any and all of these attacks.

Not only by voting, but by working with, or forming groups and organizations to demand your rights and resist any and all attempts to take away your rights or to hurt you economically. Remember! Our corporations are in business to make as much profit as they can, and their chief executive officers are paid to do just that. If the people are not organized to resist unjustified financial attacks, this country will go to the dogs. So, get involved!


San Rafael

Managed Care Damaging To Patient Welfare

In a rambling essay published July 1 covering many hospital topics, Stone Coxhead defended the Marin General Hospital lease which runs until 2015.

In 1985, the five elected board members of the Marin Hospital District "leased" Marin General for 30 years to its administrator, Henry J. Buhrmann. I have read the lessee-friendly lease which was written by Quentin Cook, who then was the hospital district lawyer. Cook switched sides after hospital privatization, becoming the lawyer for the privatized hospital.

The lease was a detour around democratic processes as the hospital district residents were not consulted. They simply awakened late 1985 to the fact that they no longer had control of their hospital.

Coxhead told IJ readers what is palatable about the lease. In his sanitized description he did not mention that the lessees can siphon patient revenue out of MGH. Those funds need not be returned and may be used for any purpose. Needless to say, siphoning has taken place of funds that I believe should have been used only to benefit patients.

Coxhead told IJ readers: "There have been no 'give aways' and the certified public accountants who audit the district's books can verify it." The truth is that there has been no accountability to the public of this closed-door operation since privatization in 1985.

An example of patient revenue siphoning is the millions of dollars given the California Healthcare System, San Francisco, since 1986. CHS is a consortium of Mills-Peninsula, Alta Bates, California Pacific and Marin General hospitals. The MGH administrator tells us that the group acting jointly saved millions by group purchasing, etc. However, group purchasing should not require investment of millions in order to do so.

I do not know what went on behind CHS closed doors. However, a certain amount of information became public. As an example, for a five-month stint as CHS CEO Rodney Wolford was paid $430,000. The CEO of CHS at the time of merger with Sutter was Quentin Cook, by the way.

CHS merged with Sutter of Sacramento late 1995. Patient revenue can now be siphoned to Sutter/CHS. A recent Marin Health Care District board approved this with a quorum of three: Dr. Larry Bedard, Valerie Bergmann and Suzanna Coxhead, Stone's wife.

I have been a MGH medical staff member for exactly half of my life. The quality of patient care is at nadir now. It never has been worse. Part of the blame can be placed upon managed care. Until managed care, as it exists today, is eradicated, we will have patient care problems.

This is part of the problem at MGH. The pressing problem at MGH is ensuring that patient revenues do not continue to wander off campus, never to return.


San Rafael

Screen Criminals, Not Immigrants

I just read in the Coastal Post May issue a letter regarding the screening of immigrants. I was totally shocked by the accusations and xenophobia regarding immigrants in general.

As an immigrant from Viet Nam, I know that this is a country made up of immigrants from all over the world, including Mexico. I know that immigrants are job makers and not job takers, that we pay far more than our fair share in taxes, and that we are far more human than criminals who deserve to be screened. And just for the record, California originally belonged to Mexico; therefore, calling Mexicans immigrants is historically inappropriate in the first place.

I do not understand how this woman can blame immigrants for her misfortunes and perhaps mismanagement of money. Going from having a small inheritance to open her own business to being homeless is more of a mismanagement of funds to me than anything to do with the immigrants.

As a counselor working with victims of domestic violence and rape, I totally empathize with her feelings and emotion when approached by the men mentioned in the article. It is the problem that women face nationally and globally, and to single out immigrant men as the cause of sexism and violence toward women is very short-sighted. The solution for this, I am afraid, is not to screen everyone whom we think is an immigrant, but to screen every single man that we ever encounter.

I would suggest this woman channel her energy and courage to speak up against the toxic waste industry that gives her health problems, rather than scapegoating immigrants for her illnesses, Because frankly, as an immigrant, I am sick and tired of being blamed for every single thing that could go wrong with anyone who claims to be a native of this land.


Political Ecology Group

San Francisco

Buck And Giacomini

Interesting, and even possibly very significant, juxtaposition of two unsigned editorials in the Marin daily, that appeared side-by-side across the top of the page on July 12. The one on the left is on the Buck Center on Aging and the usurping of the Board of Supervisor's ability to choose two members of the governing board of that Center on Aging's total complement of 14. The story on the right extolls the virtues of Supervisor Giacomini, complete with a picture of young Gary of 25 years ago. Intention, or prophetic?

There are many in Marin, including the writer, who feel that Supervisor Giacomini only resigned from his political career of 24 years in anticipation of the assumption of the new job opening at year's end as director of the Buck Center on Aging as present Director Mary McEchron resigns. At nearly $200,000 per year, too.

Many of your readers are asking, "Would Gary Giacomini resign from his political grasp over the Buck Center for any less than the equivalent of the salary of the President of the United States?" And right here in Marin, too! The Buck legacy of Marin, by Marin, and for (certain) Marinites? The needy need not apply. My opinion, folks.


San Anselmo

Medical Marijuana, Black Point Forest

I would like to let all my friends and supporters know that I have returned from Los Angeles to help co-ordinate Northern California for the Voter Registration Drive for Medical Marijuana coming up with the Medical Marijuana imitative on the ballot. All we have to do now is get everyone's valid vote. This is a big job, considering that only 50% of all Californians are registered, even here in politically-correct Marin.

The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana has opened a campaign headquarters at 210 School Street Plaza in Fairfax, and we need volunteers and community service workers immediately. We are associated with Northern Californians for Compassionate Use and Californians for Medical Rights. We will have buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts soon. Orientation and training sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays as soon as we have people signed up. Weekends are prime time for voter registration, and when college starts. We are organizing for fundraising locally, and appreciate any donations of money, equipment or office supplies. Drivers with vans to haul volunteers around (through the registration cutoff on October 7) are especially wanted. Contact us at 893-1811.

I will be a featured Medical Marijuana speaker at all the Bay Area "Zero" shows through October. We're going to make sure everyone exercises their right to vote "Yes on Prop. 215"!

On the other battlefront, I am thrilled that the Black Point Forest Rescue Project has done so well lately. I salute Phil Petersen, who took the helm in my absence, along with all the hard-working tree lovers, neighbors, environmental organizations and team of attorneys (Brian Gaffney, Doty LeMieux, Clem Shute, Reed Super) in yet another victory for our beloved forest and wetlands. I have faith that we will continue to raise the funds needed to defend our environment and that we shall win in the end and preserve our forest forever.

A recent poll shows that Marin is #1 in the state for support of Medical Marijuana (81%)!

I am happy to be finally returning to my singing career with "The Redeemers," original reggae/rock brewing in Fairfax.


Marin County

Trouble in San Francisco?

From Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, 1873:

"Protagonist Phileas Fogg and his party have arrived in San Francisco and while passing time they come upon an agitated, large crowd on Montgomery Street. The assembly turns riotous and Fogg exchanges blows with a large man.

Later that day as Fogg and his party board a New York-bound train, Fogg calls to a porter: "My friend, was there not some trouble today in San Francisco?"

"It was a political meeting, sir," replied the porter.

"But I thought there was a great deal of disturbance in the streets."

"It was only a meeting assembled for an election."

"The election of a general-in-chief, no doubt?" asked Mr. Fogg.

"No, sir, of a justice of the peace."


San Rafael

Meeting Postponed

There is an important correction for a previous Letter to the Editor which appeared in the June issue of the Coastal Post.

The July 16 Board of Supervisor's meeting to vote on approval of a Negative Declaration of Environmental Impact for the Mount Barnabe microwave transmitter has been postponed until August 20.

Please call the Board of Supervisors before the week of August 20 to determine if this matter will appear on the agenda as scheduled.



Novato's Growth Policy

Anyone living in Novato or its environs with visions of Novato sustaining its relative crime-free, uncongested, small-town qualities can toss that vision out the window.

A rewriting of Novato's General Plan, the mass dismissal of environmentally-sensitive members of the city's Planning Commission coupled with profuse developer-funded elections clearly highlights the direction the newly-elected City Council has taken. Novato's "environmental balance" is simply euphemistic double-speak masking anticipated urban construction sprawl; there are a multitude of proposed projects awaiting approval. The concern is that the city's spiraling sprawl affects the adjacent unincorporated communities as well as the incorporated area and threatens to overwhelm county roadways that were never designed to accommodate urban traffic. It's the traffic, stupid.

Case in point, the impending build-out of the Bahia community with its single ingress/egress will require an alternate roadway (Novato Advance, June 12, "Emergency Road Needed"). An existing supposedly "limited emergency access" to Crest and School (county) Roads could, fearfully, become that alternate. This is just one of the many regional adverse impacts as a result of Novato's pro-development mentality.




Bilingual Education Programs Fail