The Coastal Post - January, 1997

Letters Jan 97

Coastal Post Support

Enclosed is my $24 for a subscription. Please keep up the good work.

GERRY HALLINAN

Sausalito

* * *

Do you think you could keep the Safeway store rack in Mill Valley stocked every month with the Coastal Post? I would love to see more people reading your excellent little paper.

Here is my check for a two-year subscription.

CHARLOTTE OSBORN

Mill Valley

The Post: Wide-Ranging Debate

Please sign me up for a six-month subscription. The Post truly is the best little newspaper in Marin, and a wonderful holdout in the name of free thought. I don't agree with a number of things I frequently see in the paper-immigrant-bashing and the pro-gun talk-but I think the Post widens the parameters of the debates over current issues. And is great with local news. So thanks for keeping things lively.

MATT JESCHKE

Green Gulch Farm

Sausalito

The Truth, or Cancel

I've escaped proper payment for five years. Enclosed $25. I cancelled the Chronicle; when I asked for the truth on reformulated gas, they said they totally believed the Air Quality Control Board. I said cancel.

Newsweek had a Melissa Ethridge and girl hubby were having a baby cover, and all the articles had a female spin. I said cancel.

I'm now digesting your December issue and loving it.

On Channel 31 has been doing features on coke coming in through an Arkansas airport-that might make our president Slick Willy and his pals and gals the real crack problem.

JACK DONOVAN

Larkspur

Prop 215 Retroactive

I was sorry to read that the Sonoma public defender talked Petaluma resident Bob Schmidt into dropping his claim that Prop. 215 protected his growing marijuana for medical use. Except for high-profile murder cases, public defenders always seem to be primarily concerned with handling their excessive caseloads by dumping each case the quickest, easiest way they can. But they are wrong to say 215 isn't retroactive.

Prop. 215 says nothing about any effective date. It should therefore at least protect Schmidt as to his second bust, which was after the election, since nothing in Prop. 215 could possibly justify delaying its impact. But according to clear precedent, it should also protect him as to his first bust, in September.

It often happens that a legislature or the voters change some penalty without specifying an effective date. As a result, a rule has emerged which higher courts universally recognize. If the change increases (or creates) a penalty, the rule says it can't apply to acts occurring before the law changed because this would violate the ex post facto clause; it would plainly be unfair to impose a new penalty on an act in the past.

But when a penalty is reduced or repealed, applying the change retroactively would not violate defendants' rights, since it would benefit them. In such situations, the courts allow defendants the benefit of the change in all cases still pending (including on appeal) if the new law doesn't specify otherwise, since it's presumed that a decision to reduce or eliminate a penalty was based on the decision that the old penalty was unjustified.

That clearly applies to Prop. 215, which says marijuana is a safe and effective medicine for many conditions and that patients and caregivers therefore are not to be prosecuted for possessing or growing it for verifiable medical needs. If the voters agreed that medical users do not deserve prosecution, it is irrational to think they want authorities to continue to prosecute a medical user for growing just two months earlier.

Democracy is violated by Schimdt's being coerced under threat of prison into a "diversion" program where he has to promise to not use the very medicine Prop. 215 allows him to possess and grow!

And the right to a trial is violated when judges say they'll give you some sort of probation if you accept a plea bargain or other deal-but that if you dare to exercise your so-called "right" to proclaim your innocence to a jury of your peers, you face years in prison.

PEBBLES TRIPPET

San Francisco

No Address, No Vote

D. L. G. Forest's idea of using Ritter House as an address of record for the purpose of voting sounds viable to me, if she actually has been living there. I am going to propose an alternative method, but it will take some politicking from you guys. In California you do have to live at the address you are voting from, and you have to have resided there for a specified time. It is not just time in the county, but time at the address, I believe. That is why it is a bad idea to be moving near the time of an election.

I am no longer among the homeless-I have a nice apartment over here in Richmond, but you know, when you really are homeless, you do live somewhere. The problem is that you can't always say where that is. If you live in a chicken coop or a barn, you take the risk of having the county come and throw you out for unsanitary conditions if you say where you are. So the problem is real even when you get off the street and into a semi-stable position. Certainly you don't want to get your landlady into trouble over it.

I have been homeless in several locations, not just in West Marin, and it is not every church that can provide a place to be either. In 1982 I moved from West Marin up to an island north of Seattle. When I got there I moved first into a camper shell that was on the ground, and shortly after that into a better spot, a sheep shed. The only condition was that I had to promise the landlord I would tell no one where I was living. That made it difficult to get a post office box, but somehow I managed. In Washington that is significant, because in Washington you can vote if you give a viable post office address, according to the rules that were in effect in 1982. California needs a rule like that.

All was not sweetness, though. 1982 was an election year, and I was very active that year politically. I went to my party headquarters and met the right people and soon was working on the senatorial campaign. Not only that, but through new friends in both the party and the church, I managed to obtain seasonal employment at the corn freezing plant in Stanwood. Well, I tried to register to vote through my post office box. Guess what? It didn't happen. No address-no vote. It turns out that the people at the county level in Everette don't have to administer the law as written; in fact, they need you to own the land you live on. They said they could register me if I could provide the number from the tax stamp of the land that I owned. I could not, of course.

Well, I stayed another year. After the corn packing season, I painted a house and lived in it while I painted it, then back to the sheep shed. The next year was not an election year and I tried again, but with the same result. The letter they sent me about it was more polished in 1983 than in 1982, but it said the same thing. In 1984 I came home and voted-I lived in a chicken coop then.

So when you get this into law in California, be sure you get some teeth so it sticks! In the meantime I think it is important to realize that sometimes, if you tell the political hacks at the county where you are living, you will find that some of them can be very helpful and are willing to help you work your way out of the problem of living quarters if you are interested in working your way out of the problem and not just sitting around having a party. I mean by that, that some of the homeless are serious people and some of them are just smoking dope. You can tell the difference.

W. E. J. ISAKSON

Richmond

Scarce Resources

Karen Nakamura's lament (December Post) that there is not enough affordable housing in Marin for low and moderate income people really puzzles me. Karen is right, of course. Housing in Marin is very expensive, and most low- to moderate-income people cannot afford to live here unless they are already established. What puzzles me, however, is that while Karen laments this sad situation, she also cries for large amounts of public and charity dollars to be spent on legal and illegal immigrants.

You can't have it both ways, Karen. Painful as it is, the public and charity dollar does not come from a bottomless pit. Ethel Seiderman (former Director of the Fairfax Child Care Center), who also supports immigration, made the same lament when she complained there was not enough money to provide child care services for all of the children in Marin who need them. Sorry, ladies, harsh as it may be, we have to make a choice. That most people in Marin who support immigration cannot see this hard, harsh fact is distressing.

JENNY HOUSTON

Fairfax

Investing in Marin's Future

Season of Caring and Sharing

Regardless of who choose to claim credit for Measure A garnering only a 57.6% majority of the vote, falling short of the 66.6% hurdle imposed on local special purpose tax measure by Proposition 13, the needs for which the funds were to be raised are real and present, and remain unmet.

Investing in the maintenance of community and county parks, and preserving open space and farming resources can generate as much as a 350% return on investment. Bird-watching alone in California generates at least $27 million annually in the general economy from related consumers and product development, manufacture and sales activity.

Everyone including the Chamber of Commerce and its members, mountain bike access activists (bike firsters?), we all would have benefited by raising the county sales tax a very modest 1/4 cent for the upkeep and preservation of the village values and natural resources which have stood Marin in good stead for over 20 years. A very solid majority of Marin voters agreed. A politician garnering a 57.6 percent majority would consider it a mandate for his or her agenda.

Supporters (ambivalents?), and opponents of Measure A who need or seek a worthy charitable tax deduction or who merely desire to help provide needed public services may wish to consider annual, semi-annual or quarterly monetary gifts to their local and county park departments, the county Open Space District and Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), all of which would have put to good use the funds Measure A would have raised for important public services.

Not including the taxes which tourists would have paid (estimated at 20% of the total revenues), an estimate put average annual individual consumer contributions, had the county sales tax been raised 1/4 cent, at between merely $35 and $50 (pennies a day), depending on personal consumer lifestyles. This is really not much considering the tangible reciprocal benefits such investments return in direct and indirect social and economic dividends.

Adding community service agencies to one's personal or corporate annual charitable gift list will help meet the increasing costs of providing important and mutually beneficial public services in a growing economy and culture at a time of unprecedented public sector downsizing.

It's worth considering. Mark your calendars as a reminder to invest regularly in Marin's future-our priceless cultural and natural infrastructures.

Pay yourself first, Marin.

RAND KNOX

San Rafael

Beyond Bitterness

The re-election of William Jefferson Clinton to a second term as President of the United States has given new impetus to Marin County's liberals and leftists, and to their dreams of implementing a Brave New World Order for the county in the 21st Century. Here are the highlights of their agenda, which I just down-loaded from the Internet:

The Mexican flag will be flown next to the U.S. flag in all public buildings, and under the mi casa es su casa plan, all Marin County residents will be required to take in Mexican boarders.

Multilingual education will be implemented throughout the county, and it will include classes in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Croatian, Mandarin, Swahili, Tagalog, Hebrew, Arabic, and C++ to accommodate every diverse child in the county's school system.

College of Marin will diversify its curricula to include courses in the new left-liberal orthodoxies: Afro-centrism, inter-gender sensitivity, and sexual-preference inclusion. Suggested courses are: Fusion Reactors in Ancient Egypt, Introduction to Menopause for Males, and Calculus for Lesbians and Gays.

The Buck Fund will underwrite UC Berkeley and Stanford undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral scholarships for San Quentin's death row inmates, who should have plenty of time to complete their degrees before they are executed, given the present system of appeals.

All mirrors will be removed from public bathrooms throughout the county as not to offend the beauty-impaired.

Affirmative Action programs will be expanded to include everybody living in Marin County

In this Brave New World Order that liberals and leftists want to inflict on the rest of us, there will be no war, no poverty, no disease, and no discrimination because there will be only two classes: Social Workers and Clients. And everyone will get to feel each other's pain, and share each other's misery, as the roles rotate every six months. God help us all!

* * *

The political debate in Marin has become too bitter, and this is dangerous. Lightening it up a bit with humor may lead to less debate, more dialog and perhaps even to finding some solutions to the social problems that, after all, we all face in this county together.

Pro America.

ART LLEBREZ

San Rafael

Poor And Spoiled?

I just read your uninformed article about how hard it is for workers to live in Marin, and I thought I'd put my two cents in. First of all, there's no God-given right to live in Marin-it's a privilege that is earned. Maybe you think workers that earn $6 an hour should have the right to live in Belvedere?

Unskilled workers who are paid unskilled wages are usually high school dropouts, illegals from third world countries, or the 16-20 age group who still live with their parents. Anyone who was brought up in Marin and got a free high school education should be able to live at home with their parents while attending college to get some sort of a career going.

If all these people can earn is under $10 an hour and they're not living with parents, not living with a mate (who also works and makes $10 an hour), then perhaps they don't need to live in Marin, but can make do with living in less-expensive Sonoma County.

Anyone making that little amount of money per week does not have to live in luxury if they can't afford it. A share rental is available. You can always find a decent share rental here for $350 per month and up. And if that's too much, then you can share a bedroom with someone, which is what I did all the time I lived and worked in Manhattan where the rents are sky high and the wages for 20-year-old women don't afford them their own apartment, and sharing one (even sharing the bedroom with another female) is how we all survived until our wages rose high enough to afford us some luxury, our own places.

Maybe you live in a $400,000 home or a $800 a month apartment, but it is not necessary for everyone to live that way, unless they can earn that right. All those low-wage jobs here can easily be filled by people who live at home, share housing, share bedrooms and otherwise live according to their means. Stop feeling sorry for them. They'll make do with what they have, or they'll be inspired to get a better education in order to move up the ladder. Isn't that what motivates people to work harder? A chance at success and at getting what they want?

Take a good look at the subsidized housing projects or free housing offered to people in San Francisco. They are falling apart, people pee in the elevators, break windows, trash the property. It's free, they don't have to work for it, they don't have to pay for the repairs, they're not responsible, and it's not appreciated either. Not all people, of course, but enough for me to think that giving people things that they don't have to work for makes them unappreciative and lazy.

If you think people making under $10 an hour deserve to live in Marin, you're right. But at what level? Do they deserve a house in Belvedere or a shared apartment in the Canal area? People who make so little per hour did not grow up in luxury. They usually had a small living space, and they shared it with other relatives. It is not a step down for them to share space now and get what they can afford, not what you think they deserve.

MARCIA BLACKMAN

San Rafael

Holiday Strife

As the New Year quickly approaches, we turn our thoughts to new beginnings and hopes for fresh starts for women and their children who have survived violence in their own homes. With your support, Marin Abused Women's Services provides safe places and nurturing services to foster new starts, free from violence.

Sadly, a reality for MAWS is with the onset of the holiday season, the season when love is celebrated, we can expect as in years past the number of women and children needing our direct services will increase.

Our 24-hour crisis lines (English and Spanish) receive calls daily from women who are in abusive and life-threatening relationships. Last year we received 4,448 calls on these two lines. For many women, this is the first time they have told anyone about the abuse. Through the crisis lines women find a safe and confidential place to talk through their options and receive emotional as well as practical support. For women who have to leave their homes, MAWS provides emergency shelter as well as transitional housing. Last fiscal year 166 women and children used these services. Weekly groups located throughout the community gave ongoing support to 308 women. Over 200 men who want to stop their violence are attending reeducation classes for abusive men through our men's program.

We have learned that just providing shelter and support is not enough, and have initiated two exciting new programs, Transforming Communities, located in Novato, which is engaging the community in efforts to bring domestic violence to an end, and Community Policing with the Marin County Sheriffs' Department, utilizing ex-batterers who will follow law enforcement officers to domestic violence calls in order to work directly to support the batterers to take necessary steps to learn how to end their violence.

You can help these life-saving and life-changing services continue by making a contribution or becoming a volunteer. Won't you join us in our effort to end the violence?

Working together for a peaceful New Year,

ANN EICHHORN

Development/Public Relations Director

Marin Abused Women's Services

Use Synthetic Hormones

There are too many women, along with their doctors, who are unaware of the cruel methods used to produce the Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) drug Premarin, manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, from the urine of pregnant mares.

To produce the drugs, mares are impregnated, then catheterized or fitted with a rubber collection cup attached to a hose. To prevent any loss of their urine, the mares are forced to stand on concrete floors in stalls measuring just 8 feet long and 3 1/2 to 5 feet wide for most of their 11-month pregnancy. They are not allowed outside.

For more than half a year, from September to April, the mares are unable to take more than a step in any direction, the narrowness of their stalls preventing even such simple movements a turning around or lying down properly. Farmers who have leased their horses to pregnant mare urine facilities report mares returning crippled and in poor health, and one former farm employee documented several deaths on the Manitoba farm where he worked.

As a "by-product" of the industry, 60,000 foals are born each year. The same number are sold to slaughterhouses.

There are many safe synthetic drugs available that could easily replace Premarin, but many women and their doctors are unaware of Premarin's origins and production methods. If you are on Premarin, switch to a synthetic drug, not one made from the suffering and death of horses.

DEBORAH WAGMAN, R.N.

Stinson Beach

Ross Hospital And Benefits

The November 1 Coastal Post contains an error in the Letters to the Editor. There is a small paragraph that alleges that Ross Hospital does not pay benefits to 70% of its staff, many of whom work 40-hour weeks. This is simply not true.

All full-time employees get full benefits. We also have a pool of per diem employees that are not normally working full time that are not eligible for benefits beyond a 12% pay increase incentive. The 12% pay increase is seen as an off-set because per diem employees are not eligible to receive other benefits. These employees may sometimes work 40 hours in one week, but don't work full time on an on-going basis.

I hope this clarifies any misunderstandings that may have existed regarding Ross' pay practices.

JUDY HOUSE

Chief Executive Officer

Ross Hospital

Psychiatric and Chemical Dependency Services

Kentfield

Oh-Oh, Cheerios

I am writing to you today in regard to my concern with the food we eat. The FDA, which was created to end unsafe and foul food products and working conditions, was brought about by author Upton Sinclair. But big business has the FDA on their side, so it takes wanna-be Upton Sinclairs like us to expose dangerous additives one by one.

Cheerios, a popular breakfast cereal that is supported by the American Heart Association and boasts good health and eating right on their package, also contains a chemical called trisodium phosphate, a hardcore industrial cleaner that is used by painters to clean up sanded walls before priming. It says clearly on the cleaner package that if swallowed, or if in contact with the eyes, immediately call poison control center. My friend who uses it says that if you don't wear gloves, it will eat the skin off your hands. So how does this funky chemical get to be the third-to-last ingredient in Cheerios? I surely don't know, but I guess Cheerios can also be used as an abrasive solvent.

DANIEL FREDERICKSON

Mill Valley

Compassion

Tonight

when you take a hot bath

and get between clean sheets

in your bed

in your room

in your house

Take a moment

to imagine

what it would be like

Not

to have these things,

to sit up all night

in a doorway or on a porch,

afraid to sleep for fear

of being attacked or harassed

And remember

there

but for fortune go you.

LORRINE HALL TROMBITAS

No Time the Mime

Linda Remy Dismisses Suit

Linda Remy announced today that she has withdrawn her lawsuit against the Marin Health Care District and the Marin General Hospital (MGH) entities named in that lawsuit. She made this decision because of her recent election to the District Board.

The purpose of the suit was to prevent District assets from being utilized outside the District when California Health Systems and Sutter Health Systems merged last January. Sutter/CHS, the new entity, is the parent corporation of MGH, which operates the hospital through a lease with the District.

Linda remains strongly committed to pursuing the issues raised in the lawsuit and to promoting better health care in the District. She said, "I have always believed it is more appropriate to fight these battles in the board room and not in the court room. Now I can more directly affect the issues I believe Marin voters elected me to resolve."

Krakow Economist Wants To Correspond

My name is Jerzy Matuszczak . I am an economist, living in Krakow. I am interested in correspondence with people, who like me, are looking for friends all over the world. I want to ask you for help in realizing this idea . I would be very grateful if you would publish in your newspaper a short note with my request and possibly few pieces of information about myself and family.

Shortly I shall present my hobbies: geography, world economy and politics, traveling, modern music, sports, collecting post-cards and stamps .

My family consists of my wife Marta age 36, two children, 10 years old boy Witek, 9 years old girl Diana and me, 40.

I will answer with pleasure all letters in English. Thank you very much for your kindness and help.

JERZY MATUSZCZAK

ul.Pilotow 22/21

31-462 Krakow

POLAND

e-mail [email protected]

A Net Way To check Insurance Rates

Hi. My name's Pem McNerney. I'm the associate editor at Insurance News Network.

We've developed an interactive rate guide that lets people find out how much they would pay for California Earthquake Authority insurance. You just type in your ZIP code and other relevant information-we do the math.

You can find it at http://www.insure.com/states/ca/home/equake/. As you probably know, the earthquake authority opened for business Dec.1. Homeowners in California (including some of your readers, no doubt) are now in the process of trying to find out whether they want to buy earthquake insurance.

We also have a package of stories that explains how the rates were set and what people need to know to go about buying the insurance. If you think this is something that would be useful for your readers, please

feel free to link to our site.

Insurance News Network - at http://www.insure.com - provides factual and unbiased consumer information about auto, home and life insurance, including insurance company ratings from Standard & Poor's and Duff and Phelps. More than 30,000 consumers travel through the site's 2,000+ pages of content each month, using hyperlinks, or a new site search engine, to gather insurance information to better use their time and financial resources.

If you have any other questions, please let me know at [email protected] .

PEM MC NERNEY

[email protected]

860-677-1075

Priorities For the 105th Congress

One of the verbal viruses we constantly hear these days is "who cares?" We're so busy child rearing, paying taxes, mortgage, car, and credit card payments that we don't have time to care about the republic.

Besides, unless we have a zillion dollars and no moral principals we don't have the correct entry permit to the circles of power.

Well, being the contrarian that I am, I care plenty! I care about this democratic republic as being the noblest large scale experiment in self-government to exist in the history of mankind. The reduction over

the last two hundred years in mental, moral, and physical abuse by the Bill of Rights to the citizenry ought to be in the Guinness Book of Records. Never have so many enjoyed the fruits of liberty and security

for such an extended period of time.

But this extended experiment can proceed only as long as citizens are continually involved with their political and economic freedoms.

Now that all the electioneering hoopla is over, hopefully our elected representatives will get down to the serious business of governing.

And that, dear reader, is where you come in. Unless you are willing to extend your care (and time) to contacting your representatives, you relinquish your freedom to the lawmakers and accept their dictates.

Wouldn't it be a cause to celebrate if every reader sent their two U.S. Senators and one member of the House a belated Christmas card? In it would be the suggestion that they be truly useful by: (1) implementing a meaningful Campaign Finance Reform (CFR), (2) passing a Balanced Budget

Amendment to the Constitution with both teeth and consequences, and (3) Passing a Term Limits Amendment to the Constitution? After all, approximately 80% of the population supports the passage of all three.

I'll concentrate on numbers 2 and 3 in future letters only because the allotted space would not do the subject justice.

In the case of CFR the note could be worded with the idea that our representatives would have to spend significantly less time demeaning themselves raising money for their campaigns if it were passed. And they might be able to do away altogether with the perception that they could be bought. Currently our voice is being drowned out by big money and its distorting influence. Contrary to the Supreme Court, money is

not speech. That is repugnant semantics! Speech is the oral or written ability to verbalize ideas. Money is an object used for the purpose of exchange. It is rarely given without expectation of return. In the case of organizations no sentimentality is involved. They are flat out buying access and legislation. To offer filthy lucre without some expectation of return is nonsense. It is a flagrant abuse of power, influence, and is immorality of the lowest order!

I feel in my bones that a constituent without wealth, should have greater access and influence with his representative than the smallest non-constituent donor. I believe that is the spirit encompassed within the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. Pardon my naivet, but I don't remember any document saying or inferring that representation was based on how much wealth is disbursed to Congressmen. If equal access is denied to the poorest citizen the system is inviting a collapse. A couple of examples are the low voter turnout and the outbursts at the CIA/drug hearing held in Congress on November 26th.

Certain Congressmen keep saying that curbing the influence of money is like trying to stop water from flowing down hill. But I understand that is exactly what has happened in the states of New Hampshire and Oklahoma and the country of England. May I suggest that you urge your Representatives to accept the challenge, if for no other reason than it's the moral thing to do. It will enhance their integrity. Urge them

to read (in the House) Rep. Linda Smith's bill (HR 2566) (the companion bill in the Senate, is McCain-Feingold, S-1219) and consider amendments to: (1) add a CPI to nullify inflation, (2) eliminate forced union contributions, and (3) limit all contributions to individuals living within the constituent district.

May I suggest taping two cents to the card, emphasizing not only that you are giving them a piece of your mind, but that buying access is despicable in itself and devalues each constituent's vote. Maybe, after the New Year, each reader could send a follow-up letter with a tea bag, symbolizing the Boston Tea Party and taxation without representation.

Hey -- This is the season of miracles!

ROBERT JAY

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Great Article On MGH

Georgia Sears wrote a fascinating report on the "Filegate" scandal which has apparently, been going on, undetected, at Marin General Hospital year after year.

This is just good old fashioned honest straightforward reporting which gets my vote for the best story by any Marin County reporter in 1997. It certainly is the most revealing piece ever written on the stinking mess at Marin General Hospital Board. I can't wait for the next installment!

JIM SCANLON

San Rafael

7:

Keep Safeway Stocked

Diversion And Coercion Go Hand In Hand For WomenRoss Hospital Has%mr