The Coastal Post - December, 1998

Letters To The Editor

By Readers

Pesky Particulates

Just a bit more on those pesky particulates that, as slight as they appear, manage to affect our immediate reality. From the Himalayan mountains to the North and South Poles, these ubiquitous particulates are found. Here in the US, in parts of the country, roads are salted in winter to thaw the ice and snow, while in parts of Europe, coal dust is used for that purpose. Similarly, the particulates emitted by industrial works and internal combustion engines are wafted about our planet, settling everywhere. This effect has been noted as an ominous condition, for the snow and ice melts and continues to melt beneath these particles of matter. Coal-burning industries emit carbon as soot and ash, which become wet with sulfuric acid.

Take note that rainfall acidity levels are no longer given by way of the popular press. The absence of this data is significant, for it has been censored. We do not read the acidity of rainfall about the country as we once did more than a decade ago. This absence is not an oversight.

Returning to the effect of particulates on the frozen parts of the planet: beneath each particle of opaque matter the frozen water defrosts and sinks while the particle continues to become warmer than the material beneath it. This has been occurring within the 20th century with increasing effect. Layers of industrial, domestic and natural contaminants are bringing about additional cause for the melting of ice at the poles.

So, dear readers, what I am saying is that the oceans have nowhere to go but up. Even though we now produce automobiles that are cleaner when burning fuel, we continue to build new autos. The production of these cleaner-burning autos fouls the air as drastically as ever. Our technology needs to be applied to making existing autos less environmentally damaging. "Economy" as a word has come to represent how many people are employed and the state of the GNP, when in fact, it refers to thrift and management of available resources. Add time to your thinking, it is the third force.

Skye LePanto

Bolinas The "Hotelling" Of Stinson Beach

This is not strictly speaking a "Letter to the Editor," but more of a social commentary on what is happening in West Marin and Stinson Beach in particular. We-the long time residents that do not own-are unable to find housing because of the constant pressures applied to the area. In is inevitable, but Oceanic Reality, has pushed the envelope beyond the pale, w/o regard to the long term effects to the area. So w/o further comment I would appreciate it if you would print this:

An open letter to Chris Harrington:

Dear Chris,

You win.

We lose.

Good by.

Rocky & Pema

Stinson Beach

Just Skip The Social Security Benefits

I would like to inquire as to your knowledge of the possibility of forfeiting Social Security Benefits? I looked through the laws concerning SS, and found some info for "excemption", yet, what if I don't WANT the benefits when I'm older? Can I forfeit, and draw the money out that I have put in?

If I don't pay my property taxes, I don't get to keep my property, yet, do I not have a choice with Social Security? Is it some kind of seamless line that is attached to my funds from birth? What's the deal?

Do I just by magic have to pay SS?

David C.

Net Letter

Anti-Semitism? Interesting

My son called me from San Francisco and read me portions of Stephen Simac's article on anti-Semitism. As a Sephardic Jew, I found it interesting. I'm not as knowledgeable as he is so I can't debate his facts on ethnicity and race, though I did wonder what his sources were so I could read up a bit. It was a provocative, well-written piece. I wondered what triggered that reader's ire?

Sam Negri

Tucson, Arizona

For a taste of Arizona, visit my home page:

http://www.azstarnet.com/~snegri/

Poor Bus Service

Sixty-three percent of Marinites voted for Measure A, which includes improving local bus service.

Let me tell your readers about my experience with Golden Gate Transit local service on the Route 23 eastbound line between Fairfax and San Anselmo from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Over the last three years the local 23 bus between the stated hours on several occasions has either not showed up, been more than 10 minutes late, or the driver has been in such a hurry that he stops the bus 50 feet down the street from the bus stop.

Tonight I was sitting at that same bus stop waiting for the 23 east at 8 p.m., which according to the schedule was the time the bus was supposed to arrive on its way east to San Rafael.

A bus in the far lane moving rapidly came toward the bus stop, but overshot it by 50 feet. The sign on the bus said route 24, so after catching up to the bus, I asked the driver if he was going to San Rafael. He proceeded to chide me for walking so "slowly" from the bus stop which he overshot by 50 feet. I reminded him it was part of his job to be on the alert for passengers who are physically at bus stops.

Readers, Golden Gate Transit charges $1.50 for a local bus ride. My written complaints to the bus transit manager over the last three years about my problems with the local 23 service have accomplished nothing. So I feel it necessary to share with the general public what they may encounter on a local GG transit bus ride which will cost them 150 pretty pennies.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

Rebuttal On Bike Issue

The front page "article" of your November issue regarding the Marin County Board of Supervisors and the bicycle community is unsigned. I can only surmise that T. Alvillar is the misguided person once again attacking us. To set the record straight, I would like to respond to each point of the "article" that I consider incorrect, and just ignore the sarcastic slurs and scare tactics used throughout the opinion piece. The trip to the Netherlands was not a vacation, but a bicycle transit technical exchange trip. I know it is hard for a distrusting person to believe, but the bicycle industry is actually interested in bicycle transit, and is willing to support the idea financially. I assume the point about subversion of planning guidelines refers to us, but I don't see the county government doing anything that we special interests want done! Where is our funding, our plans, our new paths, etc.? We are still waiting. The only special interest group we see being catered to is the anti-mountain bike complainers who have sparked the $50,000 study of the Cascade Open Space area. It would be nice to believe that private meetings have resulted in any policy or funding changes, but it just hasn't happened. Can your writer document any of these changes? Is there one specific instance of any of these things being true? I would appreciate a response to my questions, as I don't like being lied about in a public forum with no accountability by the person making the charges.

The biggest lie, let us not mince words, is the claim that public funds are being spent on a comprehensive mountain biking map. Where is the money and what do we have to do to get it? Has the county paid anybody to show public streets or legal off-road routes? Is it wrong to publicize our ideas using existing government maps? Don't the streets and fire roads belong to all of us? The writers' arguments about outsiders coming in ring hollow in a county with world-famous federal parks and tourists constantly driving everywhere. Why not ask us that access points will be shown on the map? Why does the writer attack, but never ask us for information? We are not a mountain bike advocacy group and are investing our own money, not the publics'. This is the basic concept the writer cannot or will not grasp. The writer's logic is very suspect with the final conclusion of the supervisors' "flawed" priorities and "deficient" concern for the average taxpayer. This whole "article" is the product of an unbalanced mind that looks for bad things without trying to find out what is really going on, by asking the people who volunteer to do the work. I'm still looking for the policy changes and funding shifts that are supposed to favor bicycling. I am also wondering what is so bad about that, and who is against bicycling? Velo Club Fairfax, Bicycle Trails Council of Marin and the Marin cyclists are helping to fund the map that Joe Breeze is working on for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

Chris Lang

Fairfax * * *

Bike Map Will Impact Marin

How will your neighborhood be impacted by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition's (MCBC) comprehensive off-road/on-road map, scheduled to be distributed soon? Under the guise of providing improved bicycle transit information to the public, Supervisor Steve Kinsey asked the Board of Supervisors to approve a $5,000 payment (reimbursable from Transportation Development Act funds) specifically to facilitate production of this map. Attempt to avoid liability (due to a prior lawsuit), county officials have consulted with the county counsel's office to make it appear as if they have no control over which routes appear on the map. Consequently, requests of public review have been ignored.

Sources within the bicycle lobbying community and public records show that Supervisors Kress, Kinsey and Brown have all reviewed the map, as well as Ron Miska and Steve Petterle of the Open Space District, and Rick Carlson of the County Public Works Department. While most inquiries to county officials have been met with silence or evasion, public documents and public meetings have exposed their involvement in this project. On the other hand, the MCBC is proudly vocal about its special relationship with County officials (no doubt still feeling warm and fuzzy after their recent Holland vacation together).

In his letter to Marin Cyclists soliciting contributions for the map project, MCBC Chairman Pro Tem, Chris Lang (a mountain bike race promoter) stated: "The MCBC is working with the county of Marin to initiate the creation of a Bicycle Master Plan. Once this document (like Marin County Bicycle Route Map) is in place, Marin county will be eligible for millions of dollars of grant money." He also states that since April, 1998, "We have met with and received commitments from officials about long-term strategies for increasing bicycle improvements." Reportedly, the sponsor of the Holland trip, Patrick Seidler (Transportation Alternatives for Marin), a bicycle lobbyist and bike component manufacturer, recently was privileged to sit on a county staff-only meeting with Supervisor Kress regarding transportation funding.

I'm sure anyone who rides a bicycle in Marin would like to see more bike paths, accommodation for bikes on public transit, and a greater (and perhaps flatter) selection of safe bicycle transit routes. The "million of dollars" potentially available from TEA-21 funds (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, signed by President Clinton in June, 1998) provides for bicycle/pedestrian facilities which are part of an intermodal transportation plan. The question is: Who is influencing decisions about transportation spending in Marin and where is public money actually going?

Who is behind the MCBC map and how will this alliance between county officials and the bicycle lobby affect our neighborhoods? At the May 19, 1998 Board of Supervisors meeting when the $5,000 payment to facilitate the maps' production was approved, "The President of the Bicycle Trails Council (BTC) expressed gratitude to the Board members and reported that the Council would publish the map as a public service and that the map would be offered at a nominal charge." (Minutes) The BTC is a mountain bike activist group whose foremost goal is to cover Marin County with an unending network of single-track trails. The MCBC's October 6 letter confirms the Board's minutes when it lists map sponsors: MCBC, Bicycle Trails Council and Velo Club Fairfax. Surprisingly, the letter even outlines how the BTC will launder contributions for the map, saying, "The Bicycle Trails Council of Marin, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has offered to serve as the fiscal agent for the grant." Hello, Internal Revenue Service.

The MCBC map's primary designer is mountain bike pioneer and bicycle manufacturer Joe Breeze, and the MCBC's Advisory Board reads as the "Who's Who" of mountain biking. The MCBC's map states "Compilation, editing and undying ardor by Joe Breeze. Coordinating and spiritual guidance by Michael Jones." Michael Jones was the beneficiary of the $5,000 of public funds and claims to have "no affiliation whatsoever" with the MCBC. Most of the data submitted by Jones to the County under his contract are stamped MCBC or were actually the work product of Patrick Seidler (Holland trip sponsor). At this moment, Mr. Jones is campaigning with the MCBC to set up bicycle advisory committees in every Marin town and city for the purpose of further influencing public spending. I'm sure Mr. Jones sees more contracts with the county on the horizon.

The need for public review of the MCBC map was demonstrated recently at a county Bikeways Committee (one member of which happens to be on the MCBC Advisory Board) meeting when a member of the public spotted within seconds a private property trail listed on the map as an off-road bike route. How many more routes will be discovered once the map is distributed? When the burgeoning numbers of cars and trucks which carry mountain cyclists to Marin cause even more traffic, pollution and parking congestion on our streets, and even greater numbers of off-road cyclists loudly converge on our neighborhoods, eroding our fire roads and hiking trails, colliding with pedestrians and pets, all the while basking in the permissive environment of the Open Space District, it will be too late for a public review.

In a September 21 letter from California State Senator Quentin L. Kopp, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, he commented, "I don't believe the State Highway Fund, revenue from state-owned toll bridges or federal transportation funds are intended for recreational bicycling facilities. "What we have developing in Marin County is an exclusive alliance between county officials and the mountain bike lobby. Far from discovering a "public benefit" motivated anywhere in this map project, we find mountain bike manufacturers, mountain bike race promoters and mountain bike activists bent on turning Marin into an even larger off-road obstacle course to enhance their personal fame and fortunes with county officials as the catalysts.

Distribution of the MCBC map would produce the opposite effect intended by the current county statements of purpose and state and federal funding guidelines for bicycle facilities. Bicycle trips which would have normally been made in a motor vehicle are the ones to be funded. Mountain biking brings more traffic to Marin, as our recreational areas are advertised globally on the internet. County and local officials have a duty to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhood and protect us from higher taxes as expenses from increased enforcement, road and trail signage, construction of parking facilities, etc. accrue as a result of intensified recreational biking advertisement.

In the November 1 Coastal Post, the MCBC stated its refusal to allow public review of the Marin County Bicycle Route Map. On November 2, I wrote to the Board of Supervisors (with copies to all Marin mayors and their town/city councils) asking for a public review. The map could be posted in each town/city hall for a reasonable period of 30 to 60 days, for interested parties to examine. If you are concerned about which paved and unpaved roads and trails will appear on this map, I encourage you to write to your local officials, requesting their assistance in making this document available to the public.

Terri Alvillar

Fairfax

No More War

To President Clinton:

This is Veteran's Day, so cool it re. Iraq. Spent three and a half years in the US Navy, '43-'46 South Pacific earning/using eight years GI Bill for college and grad school. Feel obligated to write you. No more useless slaughter. Even making threats results in accidental losses.

Allow for time to clarify situations. You don't need to make war to win elections, to promote armament contracts to boost economy. Our oil companies can still make a big profit.

Stop threats for bombing Iraq and way overstating danger of weapons of mass destruction as your excuse. Inspectors have found none. A better alternative: jointly make more detailed agreements, both short and long term, like being on probation, earning your credits allowing for positive graduation. You should recommend setting up a time table for future oil sales, with necessary income for domestic supplies and infrastructure improvements when final inspections are completed (so close, almost done now), cleared, with established procedures for regular follow-up.

Their national planning policies and programs compare well with some in Eastern Europe countries following World War II, and even our US National Planning Resources Board in the 1930s.

Please try to understand and meet their requests as a mutual benefit. So obvious, like paying debts to improve credit ratings. They know clearly in advance what to expect. We all need hopeful lights at the end of the tunnel, to keep on track. You, too. Warships and planes with bombs only clog clear thinking for peaceful negotiations. Peace and justice please. As a veteran, no more Korea and Vietnam with duplicitous presidents.

A Hard Reign

I joined a thousand people in San Francisco to protest the planned execution of an innocent man, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Who is Mumia? He is an award-winning radio journalist who exposed the establishment media and corrupt judicial system and especially the notorious Philadelphia police department. He has been wrongly convicted of killing a police officer. He has been on death row for 16 years. He has written about it eloquently in Live from Death Row. He has been trying to get a fair trial in a racist system.

Every day we are fed news stories that orchestrate fear while detailing chilling scenes of politicians campaigning for death. Rampant fear and deeply ingrained racism are a toxic combination that inspire the most gross injustice, a rush to judgment and the thirst for death demanded by human sacrifice. At the current rate of incarceration, by 2010, the majority of all African-American men between the ages 18-40 will be in prison.

If I were a foreign tourist, I'd skip this country with the most people behind bars, for who would want to come to such a place? But I dwell in the land of the imprisoned, and cannot say the Pledge of Allegiance because it sticks in my throat. I can't stomach the managed reality of the media. I can't wait for justice which never comes. I saw police beat Rodney King. I know it's wrong. Unbelievably the court acquitted them. Was there insufficient evidence? I heard the cries of the pepper-swabbed. I was doubly horrified when the judge said, "It's quite all right." And in a terrible miscarriage of justice, the murder of David "Gypsy" Chain is not even investigated, while my heroes in Earth First! are persecuted. Remember back when Progressives Moscone and Milk were murdered with premeditation and White got off?

As the guilty go free, the innocent who stand up for humanity are locked away, banned, fired, framed, silenced, murdered. Someone said law is simply politics by other means. I have lost all respect for the judicial system. I know I'm not alone. The situation reminds me of this state in the summer, when everything gets tinder dry and the winds blow strong and the fire danger needle gets fixed securely in the red zone.

I'm here in my red zone and I'm making my own flag, because the stars seem so military and the stripes look like prison bars. My flag is like the ones in your boring American history book (filled with lies) about the time the colonists said, "We feel oppressed!" It's crimson with a black rattler coiled and ready to strike with these words in gold: "Don't tread on me."

Come what may, I refuse to sit quietly while another black leader is murdered by the state. Nationwide mobilization, Dec. 12.

www.Mumia.org

e-mail: [email protected]

Charlotte Bertram

Sausalito

People Change

I am not the man I was 30 (10, five, two) years ago. Not only have many of the material cells of my body been replaced, but my perceptions and attitudes toward life have undergone some change.

How many of us cannot look back and say, "If I had to do this over again, I would do things quite differently." Personally, I can look back at various things I have done (or failed to do) that make today's "me" embarrassed-even deeply ashamed. None of us is entirely the same person we were years ago.

A young man is doomed to be killed shortly after the writing of this letter. Governor Wilson has turned thumbs down on his appeal for mercy. Yet the Jaturun Siripongs of today is quite a different person from the Siripongs of 16 years ago when he was convicted of murder. From all reports, Siripongs is today a socially valuable and innocent man.

Siripongs' execution is literally an act of homicide. One person has the power to prevent this from happening. One person bears full responsibility for taking this human life, or saving it. What do we term one who is responsible for taking a human life?

Earlier this year Governor George Bush of Texas took similar responsibility for the deliberate, pre-meditated killing of a young woman, a woman quite different from the one who was convicted of murder many years previously.

Unwilling to show mercy to now innocent humans, will Bush and Wilson be remembered as merciless killers? At the very least their deaf responses for pleas for mercy put them in the same moral category with the notorious student at U.C. Berkeley who made no attempt to stop his friend from murdering a child.

Guy W. Meyer

Inverness

On Hamilton

Our Marin County Supervisors should put these items on their agenda:

1. Do the Supervisors endorse spending an estimated $40 to $70 million to carry out Novato's Flood and Mud Reuse Proposal for Hamilton's runway?

2. Do the Supervisors consider the 1980 vote to keep the county airport at Gnoss (rather than move it to Hamilton) a vote to affirm Novato's Reuse Proposal to Flood and Mud Hamilton? If not, should not the Mud and Flood be placed on a countywide ballot?

3. Will the Supervisors resolve "that the decision on how Hamilton's runway will be reused impacts the North Bay region and should therefore be subject to regional controls and jurisdiction"?

4. Will the Supervisors resolve that plans for the destruction of Hamilton's runway be postponed until a regional transportation plan has been voted on by the voters of Marin County?

If you feel the County Board of Supervisors should take an active part in the disposition of Hamilton's runway, please take a moment to add your comments to these suggestions and mail them to your supervisor, Civic Center, San Rafael, 94903.

Jeffory Morshead

Kentfield

Thanks To The Post

Thank you for your courage and willingness to print old truths. You are needed.

Gloria Dunn

* * *

Your paper is great! Please subscribe us for one year. Enclosed is a check for $24. Thank you.

Stanley & Elvira Schriebman

Fairfax

Attacks Vanni

We are all aware of the many total reversals pulled by Mayor Wimp, Steven Vanni, during the Measure C fiasco; as a matter of fact, there was almost nothing in his early campaign on behalf of Felson's Development Company that he didn't later categorically deny! And of course, we discussed at length, at Nave's and elsewhere, his attempt to hide the extreme destruction of his own integrity and character through the multitude of letters and verbal slurs and outright jeers, as well as the totality of the vote, his faked concern at the "rough treatment" of fellow fraud, Ghiringelli. What backbone, right?

So in a sophomoric attempt to crawl away from the continued slime trail, to development interests, as evidenced by his leadership of the $8,000 giveaway of public funds for a phony "survey of Marin Town and Country Club flood problems," what follows? Mr. Macho has his wife sign a letter in which he states that almost no trees will be cut down, and if any, a few throwaway valley oaks, on the proposed Head Trauma Center in West Fairfax. Certainly no cowardice there! Essentially, this wuss couldn't lead a platoon of drunken sailors into a five-floor cathouse on a 2-for-1 bargain day!

M. Levy

Fairfax

A Spiral Of Corruption

In reacting to his serial scandals, Clinton defenders fall into three categories: the congenitally gullible who believe and trust him; the pseudo gullible who pretend to themselves they believe and trust him; the phonies who pretend to others they believe and trust him. Really all but the most stupid, self-deluded or Machiavellian are some ratio of all three.

Mendacity toward oneself and others may be the mother's milk of politics and life, but it's usually at least somewhat mitigated by the principle of honesty. Principles right or wrong for their own sake, not their expediency in serving a "greater" good, are self-relating, personal. The Left, however, doesn't believe in personal character; its focus, the justice it cares about, is collective, not individual. This means supporting the right social policies, which often requires the opposite of personal character-all sorts of nasty means to serve the ends-or anyway they're not about to let a lack of personal character get in the way: individual honor can go to hell as long as the agenda gets advanced.

Clinton, however, doesn't believe in any character because he has none. His sole interest is himself, the thwarting of which is the only pain he feels. Concerning which his defenders-the third category, that is-couldn't care less; their interest is whether he can be useful, which he better than anyone knows, so he is, or convincingly pretends to be. And the more useful or apparently useful that he is, the more personal character is irrelevant, which it was more or less anyway, or the more it becomes perhaps an even greater inconvenience. As long as he continues to grease his constituents with grants, programs, pay raises, appointments, and poll-tested ploys of every description, the quid pro quo remains intact, and no one dare impugn its Grand Poobah. A spiral of corruption, though all in a good cause.

Clinton's ethos- what's in it for me and mine-has increasingly dominated the nation's. The more people play along, the more they're sucked in, the more Clinton gets his cut, the more they get theirs, whatever that might be-political power, government goodies, the avoidance of admitting they were wrong about him, or of just rocking the boat. To protect him, thus themselves, they ignore, deny or rationalize away tons of evidence of this administration's methodical deceit, abuse of power, thugery, foreign policy shambles, even a possible undermining of national security. Watergate, Cattle Futuregate, Travelgate, Filegate, Campaign Financegate, Chinagate, missing witnesses and subpoenaed documents, character assassination/private eye investigation/IRS audit of anyone who criticizes the pres, a steady ooze of sleaze and lies-it's all smoke and mirrors, traps contrived by the Clinton's enemies-one believes and pretends to oneself and to others to believe-in some combination.

But the spiral won't hit bottom until the first Godfather is too discredited to work his racket, that is, when the malfeasance no longer admits of "plausible denial," so many semen stains uncovered, the DNA evidence inescapable, that no regenerate person will stand by him. Which granted, leaves out rank and file Clinonoids, deranged beyond repair from perennial contorted apologizing, who would remain under the Great Satan's spell, mouthing their White House talking points-right-wing conspiracy, Boogieman Starr, all about sex, put it behind us. Republicans unfair and partisan (Democrats not), etc.-'til doomsday. But leaders in Congress and the press will be forced to piously rail at Bill for betraying his place in history through his recklessness, that is, by getting caught, what they will be most sorry for. The tide of opinion will turn, there will be some upheavals, as Clinton is purged, the sickness vomited, then we'll all feel a lot better. Either that or there are no regenerate Democratic leaders. And in fact relying on this has been a keystone in the Clinton strategy through all his scandals. Which strategy is to mold public opinion by gulling the first category of supporters, providing cover for the second, while offering stratagems for the third, then to expect their representatives to lack the political courage to buck that opinion-for, as has been said, courage is the one virtue hypocrisy can't simulate. So far the plan has worked perfectly. Democrats have signed on to the slime train wholeheartedly, or at least without a peep of protest. A few, like Feinstein, Lieberman and Moynihan, have expressed moral indignation, then continued to support their leader-they can appear noble without paying a price. And their indignation is reserved for what has been proven beyond a doubt-all the other clouds are completely ignored, while the Republicans, too, cower before the press and polls.

Nor were they brave or virtuous when it came to Watergate: they didn't turn against Nixon until public opinion did. Republicans can be slightly more hampered by considerations of personal honor, which for the Democrats are virtually irrelevant, but the Clinton strategy is really the strategy of all democratic politics, since that is what democracy is-government by public relations.

Dennis Tully

Forest Knolls

Inaccurate Name-Calling

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) regional director Barbara H. Bergen's intimidating assault on Ed Miller's critical views of Zionist wrongdoing in American politics is insidious and reprehensible. This is a perfect example of my insistence that the muzzling phrase "anti-Semitic" now applies to those whom the Zionists dislike, and not so much to those that do not like Jews. The former is not appropriate while the latter is. For anyone to condemn this paper for printing Ed Miller's well-supported articles and to call him an anti-Semite, or to describe his views that expose Zionist wrongdoing as "twisted," "bigoted," or "outrageous," is to maliciously malign his good character, deny the truth that he puts forth, and to attempt to destroy the very freedom of speech, expression, and press upon which this grand nation was founded.

Bergen might already know that Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who is Jewish, claimed in an interview that the United States had no idea that the US-bombed al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan that caused the needless loss of human lives produced medicines. Was that a Jewish lie or a political lie? Cohen also admitted that the financial association between Osama Bin Laden and the factory was "indirect."

Also, the White House ignored precautions from US Attorney General Janet Reno, FBI honcho Louis Freeh, and military advisors prior to the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan. And the one member of the joint chiefs that took part in the planning of the strike was directed to not brief the other members, yet Sandy Berger, the Jewish national security advisor, claimed that he thought the US had "overwhelming grounds," not evidence, to bomb the plant.

Would Bergen accuse me of espousing a Jewish Connection in Washington? Consider that a large and disproportionate number of Jews have been appointed to positions in Washington in the Clinton Administration since 1992, and they range from the highest key positions of Secretaries, Directors, Counselors, and Advisors to their assistants and deputies in the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Labor and Agriculture, as well as the FBI, US Trade, National Security, Chiefs of Staff, Senior Counselors and Policy Advisors, especially the Middle East. Special Envoys, Schedule and Programs Managers, Chief and Assistant Coordinators for Political Affairs and for the Middle East Dispute also are Jews.

Little wonder why Arabs and Muslims never get equal consideration on Middle East issues. Perhaps we have yet to learn the fine art of political buy-off, manipulation, and deceit, and we have not yet ingrained into the mindset of the American populace a fearful and muzzling phrase that equates with "anti-Semitic." In truth, I hope that whatever influence we ever will achieve in Washington will be more moral and ethical, but a member of Congress once asked me in despair, "Where are you people? Why are you so silent? The other side (the Zionists) has no challenge in Washington. You people need to meet that challenge." It sounded like a cry for help.

Zionists deny the authenticity of the book titled The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, claiming that it is a fabrication. I urge Coastal Post readers who are familiar with Jewish influence in the West to read it and make your own decision. You will have to ask your bookstore to order it for you for obvious reasons. For those not able to discern who the real terrorists and culprits are in the Middle East, I also urge you to subscribe to the revealing magazine The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, published by former US Ambassador Andrew Kilgore (800-368-5788). You will discover that the "wool" that the Barbara H. Bergens hope to pull over your eyes is 80% polyester. And finally, three cheers for publisher Don Deane for refusing to be intimidated.

YOUSEF SALEM

Three Strikes Not Just

I wrote to you last year about my court case. It's now time to update you.

I was found guilty of PC 476a, Insufficient Funds, that is, bouncing a check. For this heinous crime, I was sentenced under the Three Strikes law to 25 years to life.

To be sure, I was a vile man long ago. That's behind me now. I had three misdemeanors for sex offenses, and in 1986 I committed crimes on four separate occasions that resulted in four felony counts of child molesting, these happening in August of '86. In October, '86 I began therapy in an effort to keep from offending again. At this time, the crimes of August had not come to light (it would take three years for them to do so).

The next three years were spent keeping my nose clean. I went to my voluntary therapy with a psychologist, I worked and went to school, and I did not re-offend. In August, '89, the incidents of '86 came out. I went to court and pleaded guilty (which I have done in all cases where I was guilty of the crime. There is only one time when I did not commit the crime that I pleaded guilty, because my record would have made it hard to defend me.)

I was sentenced to six years, and I had to seek out treatment, since none was mandated by the court, nor was the Department of Corrections willing to classify me in such a way that I would receive continuing therapy. I was paroled and spent 18 months out. I was sent back to prison for a parole violation because my neighbor's son moved in with her and she decided that she didn't want me around. So much for friendship. I paroled again.

This time I started my own business, though I am disabled with AIDS and am eligible for SSDI and SSI. Cash flow crashed. I got a big contract. On the strength of that contract (my accounts receivable) I went to a computer supply store and bought parts. My client didn't pay and my check bounced.

I got sick and couldn't work for six weeks. I was in the hospital. I maintained my address, and my home and business phone numbers. I kept in touch with the merchant. When I was well enough to venture outside again, the Christmas season was in full gear. Of the two things you can buy, goods and services, I was a service business, and everyone was buying goods. More cash flow problems. Why didn't I return the parts? Because I desperately needed them to be competitive. Besides, they were now used, not new.

The merchant, an immigrant who believed that he needed to do so for tax purposes, took my check to the police. An investigation ensued and I was returned to prison for another parole violation-being involved in a police investigation.

The day I was arrested was December 20th. Since I had no use for the funds I was saving to pay my rent and utilities, I had my family pool that with other cash that I had on hand (not deposited in the bank for fear of loss to numerous late fees) and pay the merchant. The merchant was happy and went to the police to have the charges dropped.

Six months later I was taken from prison to the Marin County jail. It seems that six months after I paid the check, six months after the merchant dropped the charges, the DA filed. Why? Because he had a Three Strikes eligible case, and that's powerful politics.

Judge Graham heard my case. This is the man whose reputation is one of giving out the maximum sentence to Three Strikes defendants, only I didn't know this. The DA moved, and Graham concurred, to exclude evidence that I had paid the check. They also succeeded in excluding from evidence the fact that the merchant didn't want to prosecute me. I was found guilty and sentenced because the jury didn't believe that I had a reasonable expectation that my check would clear, even though I expected payment for over twice the amount of the check, and because they believe that I just stole from the merchant without ever paying him back.

What was the rationale for excluding evidence that the check was paid? The DA and Judge Graham said that since it took me 81 days to repay the check, that fact had no bearing on my state of mind at the time I wrote the check. Using that logic, the court should have thrown out the case, since, because it took the DA six months to file after receiving all the details of the case (in other words, there was no case to build, it was complete), the act of filing had no bearing on the DA's state of mind when the case was submitted. They also stated that the merchant's desire not to prosecute was of no consequence.

The case is now in front of the State Appeals Court. My attorney says that reversals are rare in Three Strikes cases, and that when the issues turn on the credibility of the appellant, they are even more rare.

Please bear in mind that I have not re-offended. I have been under constant therapy, paid for by me, not the State. My psychologist wrote to the court that as proof of my rehabilitation, I had not offended even though my financial situation was severe. She said that this was a major stressor for people like me to re-offend, yet I did not. I offer to you that I have rehabilitated myself.

So here I am, a victim of the State's right-wing, lock-'em-up equals tough-on-crime, vote-for-me politics. Marin County voted against Three Strikes when it came out on the ballot. They voted in favor of Prop 215. Yet County and Municipal administrators have repeatedly thwarted the express wishes of their constituencies. This insanity of not being represented by our elected officials has got to end before more people get hurt. It's probably too late for me; I'll die before I get a reversal. But there are others out there who could certainly benefit from having the lid torn off this can of worms and exposing the self-serving corruption in our government to the light of day.

The only thing that's at stake here is our very freedom. Who knows, maybe they'll start making felonies out of traffic tickets, just so they can say that they're tough on crime. Or put a fence around the state: California State Prison, California. The trend our government is showing should be the most frightening thing that we know of. I'm scared. Are you?

NAME WITHHELD ON REQUEST

Vacaville

Affordable Housing Factors

I read recent articles and letters in the Coastal Post and the IJ on the proposed housing at Point Reyes Station and the references to conflict between advocates for low-cost housing and environmentalists are more complex than they were described. There has been a somewhat uneasy relationship between advocates for the environment, namely open space environmentalists, and the proponents of affordable housing. Most people enjoy and recognize the great benefit Marin has from years of purchasing open space. Yet the situation has resulted in an anomaly in the Bay Area, where we have preserved a beautiful and majestic segment of the county for agriculture and recreation and limited development. However, some advocates for affordable housing oppose further expenditures; this attitude was recently expressed in the comments of Mr. Richard Rosenberg of the Ecumenical Association for Housing in the IJ in June. Mr. Rosenberg seemed to lament the environmental picture we have today, questioning his own efforts in the 1960s to preserve open space.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Rosenberg has placed the preservation of open space at odds with low-cost housing. This is a false opposition. The B of A study he cites in the interview does not find preservation of open space a cause of sprawl and economic problems in California as he asserts, rather it does find that poor planning, lack of alternative housing in city centers and poor transportation alternatives, especially in our urban centers, are to blame. Also, Proposition 13 can be shown to be a factor, as Peter Schrag's recent book has documented.

One problem with low-cost and affordable housing is its transient nature in a market economy and the economic forces which prevent the most economical kinds of housing from being built. Much of the housing built in the 1940s to 1960s was low-cost and affordable, but much of that housing was replaced by less affordable housing in the '70s and '80s due to redevelopment. Also, a great percentage of the low-cost housing built in the '60s and '70s has reverted to market rate due to the end of subsidies in the Reagan years. This resulted in severe reductions in programs like Section 8 housing. Thus we often must reassess the results of our intentions, and in the case of low-cost housing, these efforts and expenses have often benefited the construction industry more than those who needed the housing. But affordable housing today is not the same as affordable housing of the 1950s, the housing industry is simply building much bigger houses and this is driven by the investment bankers. A greater return can be realized, and this affects the life history of an affordable housing unit. I have sat on a housing corporation board and I realize the limitations to building units that can be affordable. Even once built and sold at a low cost, the new owner can resell at market rate and much of the low-cost housing of the past decade is no longer affordable to the people it was intended to serve. This is also true of rental units, single-room occupancy (SRO) buildings with shared facilities are nearly impossible to acquire financing for today, and yet they are the most efficient means of providing low-cost housing in urban settings. Deed restricted housing, where a unit is bought at one price and can only be sold for equity later, is one means of retaining low-cost homeownership opportunities, but this method is unpopular with financing agencies. However, entities like the Marin Community Foundation in partnership with other local agencies could finance such housing for first-time homeowners in combination with low interest and low down payment programs sponsored by the State of California. Young families could thus own their first home and build equity for the purchase of a market rate house later. When they did the unit could only be sold for the initial price and a new first-time buyer family would get their chance. The process could be an opportunity to generate a new generation of homeowners. A case in point is the newly-proposed housing at Point Reyes Station. If there are not deed restrictions on the homes, the overall effect will be nil in only a few years, in terms of affordable housing.

It is unfortunate that advocates of the poor, like Mr. Rosenberg, has found it necessary to attack the environmental movement, when the real causes of the problem of housing lie elsewhere. Building more housing and covering over the last wild spaces on earth, and agricultural lands, will only prove the fatal step in our failure to find sustainable answer to our population problem. Hopefully, we can all work together to find answers using as little rhetoric as possible along the way.

Nicoolo Caldararo

Fairfax

Charade Or Crisis?

After more than seven years of nodding or winking with Saddam Hussein, one would suspect that Uncle Sam by now would have come up with a more credible game plan than this corny charade that is going on. It is obvious that this "Modern Hitler" would have been taken care of a long time ago if he were for real. It is putting the US government and the United Nations in a bad light, the way Saddam is thumbing his nose on us with impunity and getting away with it. This repeated saber rattling, issuing of endless ultimatums, 11th hour blinking by Saddam and numerous other brinksmanship games is costing the US taxpayers a fortune. One wonders whether we are getting anything out of it except for the fact that the world seems to depend on us to call the shots on what appears to be a threat to mankind. If it is a threat to mankind, why are we alone in combating it? The other powers are either against us or expecting us to do it by ourselves. Even the Arabs who are directly threatened by Saddam's supposed aggression are wondering why the world powers are helpless in putting an end to Saddam's regime. Why is Saddam Hussein a US problem? When Mummar Khadaffi was a US problem, President Reagan was not inhibited by the alleged prohibition of taking out troublesome dictators as a national policy. He ordered Mummar Khadaffi rubbed out by sending warplanes to bomb his residential palace. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on one's point of view, Allah was not ready for Mummar Khadaffi's recall, so instead, Mummar's innocent baby daughter took the hit for her dad. If Saddam Hussein is indeed threatening mankind with possible chemical and biological annihilation, why dilly-dally on a futile attempt to thwart his sinister plans with ineffective weapons inspections. Why not take him out altogether and get it over with, once and for all? Without Saddam Hussein we will have no need for weapons inspections as there will be no weapons manufacturing facilities to inspect.

President Bush then, as well as President Clinton now, can get rid of Saddam Hussein if they really wanted to. Why they have hesitated to do so is something that only our national security planners and historians in the future can talk about. Saddam Hussein for all we know may not really be all that bad. It is possible that he is serving us a purpose. Until that purpose is fully served and he outlives his usefulness to us, the nodding and winking will continue to go on. Let us have faith in our national leaders. There are a lot of things that we are better off not knowing about. You see, they are looking at the entire forest, while all we can see are only the trees immediately around us. The way I see it, if it is a problem that appears to be beyond immediate solution, it is because the problem may be a form of a solution to other problems that we do not know about. It is a matter of faith and a matter of getting used to leaving the imponderables to the experts.

Antonio Serna

San Rafael

Original Cosmic Car Show Reunion

We're organizing a "Cosmic Car Show 30 Year Reunion" concert for spring/summer 1999. We'd like to find any of the original artists who performed at the original concert at Muir Beach. We'd also like to find any memorabilia that we can use on our website at

http://www.jps.net/personality/ccs30/ccs30.html

Martin Schaaf

[email protected]

Lungren Defends Sexual Harassers

We have heard all about Monicagate over and over again from the national press. However the press in California has been strangely silent about the peccadilloes of some of Governor Pete Wilson's top aides in the California Health and Welfare Agency

Three secretaries who worked for the California Department of Health Services were subjected to a gross violation of their human rights.(One of these women was pregnant and encouraged to get an abortion by DDS management)(Steve Kessler). The women were Sue Ann Gage, Rochelle Strasser, and Karen D. Gilson who were harassed over a three period, they threatened with termination of employment and given negative references when they tried to escape this hostile environment. I have read the court documents concerning this case and this was not a simple case of boss having an affair with his secretary, these women where passed around among Department of Health Services management for the purposes of providing sexual favors that coerced out of them. The major offenders were John Rodriguez who was Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Health Services and Joe Munso who was Deputy Director of Administration for the Department of Health Services.

Joe Munso had one former secretary give him blow jobs while he stood with his back to the door so nobody would walk in on them.

The three women sued these creeps in Sacramento Superior Court No. 96-Aso 1521, November 8, 1996, Department 53. I have the court documents which are public record. Kim Belshe' Director of the Department of Health Services did everything in here power to cover this up. The victims were paid hush money complaints of the taxpayers of the State of California.

Jan Howard who helped preside over $230,000,000 lost Medi-Cal funds was promoted to Section Chief through Johnny The Stud's help she knew how to use her head, but not for thinking.

John Rodriguez was given a new position as Deputy Director, Hospitals, of the Department of Mental Health. Joe Munso was promoted to Chief Deputy Director of Health Services. We all know how vulnerable mental patients are from sexual predators, please join me in protesting this appointment by writing to Governor Wilson and the State Legislature.

John G. Bessler

Sacramento

[email protected]

The Y2K Problem: Social Chaos or Social Transformation?

Thanks to Kirby Ferris and Elizabeth Whitney for opening the local discussion in the Coastal Post of Y2K, also known as the Year 2000 Computing Problem, or the Millennium Bug. It will undoubtedly be known by a few other names before we 're through with it, or it's through with us.

This unparalleled, mind-boggling crisis requires of us a spirit of cooperation that will see us through dark times far more than an individualist, survivalist, dash for the hills. But practical, down-to-earth survival skills are needed as well. And there are many other aspects of Y2K, and each of us can contribute to helping cope with it.

Groups are forming in communities to help both to get information and get it out to others. The Marin Y2K Action group meets on Tuesday nights at the Isabel Cook Community Center, 1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., #18. The meetings start at 7:30 (with videos shown at 7:00 for newcomers) Info: 415-924-5200.

My favorite websites are:

www.co-intelligence.org

www.berkana.org

Best book about it: Awakening: The Upside of Y2K. Best introduction and analysis: Year 2000: Social Chaos or Social Transformation, by Margaret Wheatley, John L. Petersen, and Myron Kellner-Rogers. Available on the www.berkana.org website or through Marin Y2K Action.

We will survive!

Stephen Leiper

Marin County

Let That Be A Warning

An Open Letter to the Republican Congressional leadership from an average American citizen.

Dear Remaining Republican Representatives:

As you move forward with your eyes and ears suddenly wide open, please note that improving schools and fixing health care are not radical left wing notions. They are what we, the American majority, demands of you now. We demand that you support our existing schools financially, not "reform" them to fit some unproved elitist model. In healthcare, we want you to reconsider the patient bill of rights. We want you shore up Social Security. And we insist that you waste no time letting the President get back to his job.

Many of your colleagues were fired recently for insubordination and derelict of duty.

If you wish to retain gainful employment, some concessions on your part will be necessary. First, you must give up that raunchy, putrid tobacco money, and you must help us protect our children from tobacco interests. As a matter of fact, you must begin work to protect us in every way we tell you to. You are to place our needs before those of big corporations, before private interest groups, before even your own interests.

The mainstream media and most politicians don't get it yet, but the American people have revolted, and have begun to take back control of the U.S. government. Our 1998 Citizens Coup was a success. We did it on the backs of the Internet and in the aisles of churches and grocery stores, since our mainstream media is unable to see the forest while they sit so high up in the trees.

We angry Americans met in virtual sychronicity, inside e-mails by the hundreds of thousands, every day, every night. It began just two weeks out from election day. Our numbers grew until we were ultimately joined by millions who marched with us out to vote last Tuesday. Although we knew we had reached a critical mass ( the night I received hundreds of supporting e-mails) never did we dare to even dream that we might actually get to see the whites of Newt's dewy cryin' eyes.

A special thanks to our unofficial guru, filmmaker Michael Moore; our much harassed Internet facilitators, the Campaign for a New Congress; and for all the support from Censure and Move On and TruthinAmerica. Sometimes it matters to me hugely that no one in power knows what really went on during the past few weeks, but only until I realize that, if they do not know, they are really not in power after all.

Pat Ravasio

Marin County

(Pat Ravasio, of Marin County, California, was national chairperson of the Internet-based "Campaign for a New Congress" a non-organization of grassroots vigilante moderates.)

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