The Coastal Post - September 1999

Letters By Readers


Hopi Hope

The letter published in the August 1 issue of the Coastal Post with the heading "A Hopi Elder speaks" grabbed my attention. For anyone who has read the Hopi Prophesies, the latest communication is a further glimpse of our times and the future.

I called several of my children and cousins in various California locations to read the letter. Then it occurred to me that I could support the Coastal Post and help my awake and aware family members remain informed by paying for subscriptions for them. I enclose a check for a year's subscription to your most excellent and unique alternative publication for a family member and will continue to pay for a year's subscription until all of my family not brain dead is receiving your paper. Thank you for being there and hanging in and hanging on. I begin my morning prayers with my personal hope by asking that my countrymen will take their heads out of their posteriors, give up Hopeless and Helpless attitudes, embrace personal responsibility for the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in. Substitute hope for cynicism, painful awareness for comfortable numbness, speaking out, writing out, protecting to demonstrate our Truth for cowardice.

We have been in a time of healing our inner illness. Self-help books, groups, therapy, all types of body procedures, alternatives to health, education. Is it not now time to take our healing to a level outside ourselves and speak out, act out and begin to heal our towns, cities and our nation? Let's get out of that comfort zone and speak and act to make a difference.
Shirley Inman
Inverness

Where Go The Profits?

In a recent editorial in the IJ ("Marin General: Turn profits into progress," August 4 '99), it was reported that Marin General Hospital had enjoyed a profit this year, 1998-99. This was reported to be $7.5 million, which was greater than the previous year when the profits were $6.2 million. We, in the community, were advised to feel good about the present management as a result of these numbers.

Before celebrating I would like to have answers to several on-going issues:

Will any of these profits be used to assist the Marin Home Care Agency which is struggling to continue services due to the Medicare reimbursement problems?

Will MGH contribute additional funds to assist the burgeoning patient population needs at the Marin Community Clinic?

Will the benefit package to the CEOs of Sutter be increased before or after salaries and benefits are improved at Marin Home Care? (Over a period of four years Sutter has offered one raise to only some of the staff which consisted of 1.5 percent.)

What percent of the profit earned at MGH will be used to build Novato Hospital? (Should we be using profits from MGH to build Novato Hospital?)

What percent of the profits will be used to improve patient care?

Before Sutter merged with Marin General Corporation, the management services reported on the 990 for Marin Health Care was $88,000. In 1997 the management services was increased to $254,958. What explanation can be offered for this exorbitant excess?

Last March, 1999, a friend of mine reported the death of her developmentally disabled cousin who lived in a group home. The cousin was taken twice to Novato Hospital emergency room because of uncontrolled seizures. Novato Hospital sent her home after each visit. She died after one of these visits. Will Sutter spend money from their profits to offer more equitable treatment of Medi-Cal patients and hospitalize them when indicated?

What is more important than making great profits is the question, how is it spent?
Barbara E. Sykes, OTR
Occupational Therapist
Mill Valley

Marijuana Bad For Crime

In August of 1996, because Dan Lungren and 100 (!) state cops came down too hard and heavy on a sanctuary giving marijuana to the sick and dying in San Francisco, it was easy to understand that there was another motive for the raid: marijuana use was cutting drastically into the out-of-control profits and booming economy of the hard drug sales, the anti-drug war, the tobacco industry and the bankers' Latin American investments. This is one of the reasons Dan Lungren lost his bid to become Governor of California.

The pot lobby advertising campaign blitz in San Francisco, and later in other cities, are welcome steps to the legalization of marijuana. Freedom is a serious matter for all Americans. No group is safe from the attacks of the ultra-right conservatives. We must learn to support each other. If we do not, we are setting ourselves up for trouble.
Ranier Penkert
San Francisco

Bike Race Report

Velo Club Fairfax, in association with Kevin Knobular, was proud to present the Marin All `Terrain Bicycle Race #8 on June 5. Thanks to the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the race was held at Camp Tomarancho in Fairfax for the eighth consecutive year.

This event, also know as the Marin Knobular, had 28 categories of racers and was run on schedule. Over 600 competitors attended, a considerable drop from last year, due to a variety of factors. There was only one ankle injury which required additional medical care and the trails used for the race seemed to be in fine condition afterwards. The shuttle buses brought many spectators to the site and the parking lots have never become too full. There was plenty of food for all, as well as live music and a variety of local bicycle vendors.

Special thanks must go to the people who made the race possible, especially our 50 volunteers, many from the Bicycle Trails Council of Marin, and our local sponsors, including Caesar's Cyclery of Marin, Classcycle in Novato, Dick Catlett (Realtor), Food Villa in Fairfax, Marin Mountain Bikes, Marin Subaru, Mike's Bikes, Ross Valley Brewing Co., Salsa Cycles, Sausalito Cyclery, Sunshine Bicycle Center, Treemasters, Ultraprint in San Rafael, Wilderness Trail Bikes, Wildwood Natural Foods, Zocalo Catering and Village Peddler in Larkspur.

Based on financial consideration, with regret and relief, the event will not be recreated by Velo Club Fairfax. Again, thanks to all the people who made it possible and the Marin IJ for the great coverage from the Sports Department.
Chris Lang
Velo Club Fairfax Event Director

Protecting Innocent Lambs

After Buford, the wacko shooter, shot innocent children in L.A., many politicians intensified their call for "gun control." But others are finally beginning to question the "wisdom" of the All-Powerful State continuing to disarm honest folk. They are beginning to recognize that "gun control" only makes criminals more powerful.

Of course, today's "liberals" usually operate on "feelings," and an obsessive desire to "control." They are convinced of their "moral and intellectual superiority." Factual or historical evidence does not interest them. They would rather "control guns" than control criminals.

Plan "A" is what big government and liberals have been pushing for years: strict gun control laws. With respect to schools and day care centers, plan "A" places all our innocent lambs in a readily identifiable "corral," and puts them in the care of "shepherds" who are strictly and publicly disarmed. The wolves know where the sheep are, and that the shepherds have no weapons.

Plan "B" says, "Let honest citizens have whatever weapons they want, carried openly or concealed. Make laws against criminal activity, with or without guns, NOT against the mere possession of firearms. Plan "B" lets the wolves know that some of the shepherds are armed and dangerous-but the wolves never know who.

Which plan do you prefer for your precious lambs?
Phil Graf
Sebastopol

No Justice

It is too bad a few jumbo jets full of lying, cheating, law-breaking, bribe-taking politicians didn't end up crashing into the ocean instead of John F. Kennedy, Jr. In these times with an unprecedented number of fakes in failure suits infecting our government he could have been a hero the nation so direly needs.
Leonard Dunning
Centinela State Prison

Guns Do More Good Than Harm

A new study reported in the Journal of the America Medical Association estimates the annual cost of treatment of gunshot wounds at $2.3 billion.

The recent University of Chicago Lott-Mustard study found that civilians using guns about 2.5 million times a year to prevent crime save an estimated 400,000 lives, in 98 percent of incidents without the gun being fired. Even if that's a four-fold exaggeration, that's still 100,000 lives saved, nearly triple the number of all gun deaths. Dollar savings accruing to society from crime costs not incurred because the crimes were prevented are estimated by the study at $6 billion a year.

In addition to the lives saved, the dollar net benefit to society from lawful and unlawful use of firearms thus amounts to approximately $3.7 billion a year-powerful arguments in favor of good citizens carrying arms.
Fielding Greaves


* * *

Probably the best arguments in favor of assault weapons are found below, extracted from an article by Washington attorney-author Jeff Snyder in the October 3, 1994 issue of Insight magazine. He wrote, inter alia:

There are important reasons to oppose the assault weapons ban-reasons, moreover, that have nothing to do with guns or whether the ban will work.

Are the rights and liberties that the law permits to the law-abiding dictated or determined by the behavior of the lawless?

To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell law-abiding citizens that their rights and liberties depend upon the conduct of the lawless. By criminalizing an act that is not wrong in itself-the purchase or sale of a firearm-the ban violates the presumption of innocence.

Such a law in no sense fights crime. It is, instead, a capitulation to crime. Society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding.

The fact that the people believe that law-enforcement officers may use these weapons demonstrates, of course, that the people understand that the weapons have obvious and legitimate utility for defense of home, community and nation. This fact shows that the guns are not evil.

Civilian firearms played a key role in maintaining law and order in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew, when police and social services were disrupted and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the natural disaster.

The LA riots demonstrated vividly and unassailably that a semi-automatic weapon with large ammunition and rapid-reload capacity is precisely what shopkeepers (and by extension, homeowners) need to face down an angry mob.

To me, those are powerful and convincing arguments.
Fielding Greaves

To Board of Trustees, Dixie School District

I am instructed to inform you that because you deliberately chose to place your two school bond measures on a December special election ballot, instead of including them in the regularly scheduled November election only 35 days earlier, the board of directors of Marin United Taxpayers Association (MUTT) at its monthly meeting on Monday, August 9, voted unanimously to oppose both bond measures.

It is MUTA's position that local special elections should be used only for bona fide emergency situations, and never employed merely to gain some transitory tactical advantage on a voting issue through expectation of lower voter participation, with key decisions thus being made by the least number of voters.

Declaring a special election in hopes of reducing the number of voters who participate in election decisions, although perhaps marginally legal, is an unseemly manipulating of the electoral process, especially on such important matters as affect the tax liability of all voters. It is also grossly wasteful of taxpayer dollars, its $200,000 cost being four times its cost if scheduled for the November 2 election instead. Your choice of a special election is thus a gratuitous affront, offending both voters and taxpayers. Furthermore, your tactical gamut deliberately intended to limit voter participation, in an era when apathy and low voter turnouts are major problems nationwide, sets a truly unfortunate example for our youth, your students.

If you should reconsider and cancel the special election and reschedule your bond measures in a regularly scheduled election, MUTA is prepared to withdraw its opposition to your school bond measures.
For the Board of Directors
FIELDING GREAVES
Secretary
Marin United Taxpayers Association

Thanks And Do More...

Please find my check of 25 bucks, 24 for the subscription for two years and an extra buck for the cause.

You know you might attract a few more us "shit disturbers" as subscribers if you took off the gloves in your articles and really kicked some butt! Yeah, no more Mr. Nice Guy! Tell it like it really is!

As an example I'm also submitting my letter to the editor. The mealy-mouth mf'en big newspaper in Santa Rosa wouldn't print it. Can't imagine why.

Well now that I'm removing the tongue from my cheek and the foot from my mouth, I'll just wish you continued good success and appreciation for your hard-hitting articles. As Dan Rather used to sign off, "Courage."
Andrew Aguilar
Cloverdale

Student Exchange

I am writing to request, on behalf of The Insurgent, the alternative student voice at the University of Oregon, the permission to reprint the statement by Judy Butterfly which appeared in your July 1999 edition. The reprint would appear in our Summer edition to be published in mid-August. We would, of course, give credit to your paper. We were also hoping to establish some kind of exchange relationship in which we would send a few copies of our paper to you (we also publish every month, except during the summer) in exchange for a few copies of yours which would then be available to the students and activists who frequent our offices. We wait your decision.
Bettina Stockton
University Of Oregon, The Insurgent

Open Letter to Marin County Board of Supervisors

We are writing in support of Environmental Health Services' Dave Mesagno. He is a valuable, longtime employee, whose worth to Marin County is unquestioned. Dave has always been accessible to the public, routinely answering questions, and working with people to solve problems, while upholding County codes and the law. It is unconscionable that he has been arbitrarily removed from his long-term position without justification. This "reassignment" without consulting Department Chief Ed Stewart has the public appearance of the Supervisors engaging in retaliation for Mr. Mesagno's taking a law-abiding stand and attempting to protect the public health. This is exactly what we, the public, demand from our public employees. Anything else would not be acceptable. Why, then, is the County administration punishing employees for actually attempting to do their mandated jobs? Political agendas must never be allowed to compromise the health and welfare of the citizens of Marin County.

We urge you to reinstate Dave Mesagno to his prior position, provide both Mr. Stewart and Mr. Mesagno with a heartfelt letter of apology, and attempt to rebuild the damage done to the Environmental Health Service employees' confidence in their administartors.
Elena Belsky
Gloria Belsky
Dr. Theodore Belsky
San Geronimo Valley

Publish Appellate Decisions

Last fall I received a newspaper clipping related to the arrest of citizen/attorney Kenneth Schmier. Mr. Schmier tried to put forth a question to a panel of judges assembled to promote themselves in what was called, "Meet Your Judges Night." Rather than acknowledge his position as a public servant answering to the public paying his salary Judge Graham refused to respond to Mr. Schmier's question and instead had him arrested. It seems pretty disgusting to me that a judge would rather order a person jailed than answer a question pertaining to what the Marin Human Rights Commission has since publicly referred to as a "serious issue."

There have been a few newspaper pieces written about this matter since it happened last October 28. The Marin County Human Rights Commission declined to investigate a complaint lodged by Mr. Schmier regarding the arrest. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the commission did give input to the public through a "Marin Voices" editorial in the IJ. They mentioned Mr. Schmier's complaint that the law is becoming inaccessible as a result of California Court Rules withholding publication of appellate court decisions and approbation against citing those unpublished decisions.

It seems obvious to me to be a way of keeping secret what goes on at the appellate level. I very strongly suspect that these questionable rules are a means by which the courts can hide a pattern of systematic abuses of the legal system by prosecutors and the courts themselves. If prosecutors and judges at the Superior Court level are in agreement to intentionally violate the rights of defendants, there is one place where a pattern of these violations would emerge and become obvious. That is at the appellate court level. If the California Supreme and Appellate courts agree to continue to allow the same rights violations over and over then it is in their interests to make sure there is less of a record of these cases than is comfortable for them. Answer? Don't publish the opinions and don't allow the cases to be cited as precedent.

I also argue that it is a way for the corrupt judicial system in California to very deviously and illegally circumvent the protection under the Fifth Amendment against double jeopardy. Prosecutors and the lower courts can intentionally and with impunity violate Federal Constitutional rights of defendants knowing that the appellate courts will at most reverse the cases for retrial and not publish the decisions. The state is therefore given two chances to convict a defendant and since it is not their money but funds they see coming from an endless supply (the public), they have an interest in retrying the cases anyway. All government personnel involved get paid for going through the entire process again and the government then has the fundamentally unfair advantage of having seen the defense exposed through the first trial. My argument is that if the violations of constitutional rights at the Superior Court level are so obvious that they support a claim of the trial court judge being a pro-prosecution advocate, facilitating the illegalities rather than being a fair referee, then the higher courts should be obligated to dismiss such cases. This would be particularly appropriate in cases where the defense makes repeated and very clear objections to the State's cheating.

It is my understanding that if a person takes money under the pretense of doing something and then does not do it, the person is a thief. The prosecutors and judges know the rules very well and they have also sworn solemn oaths to go by them. Judges have a particular duty to protect the rights of a defendant. Instead of doing what they get paid for and honoring the oaths they have sworn, many are taking advantage of the fact that their behavior will not be published in appellate decisions. I am saying that the rules Mr. Schiemer questions are a way for the corrupt judicial system to cover up a distinct pattern of systematic rights abuses that would otherwise be more exposed via the publication of appellate decisions. These cases would also be evidence to support a claim that the public is having money extorted out of it to sustain what amounts to a criminal enterprise operated under color of law. The higher courts, by not punishing prosecutors, and the lower courts, for blatant violations of Federal Constitutional rights, are giving them carte blanche to continue. Publication of the appellate decisions would make it difficult for the California judiciary to explain why the lower courts and prosecutors are continuing to disregard the law over and over in many cases. The answer is that the system and higher courts are REFUSING to truly hold them accountable and send a message loud and clear that they, too, representing the law and the public, have to play by the rules. The average citizen needs to know what the cost of returning these cases is also in terms of tax dollars. If there were financial penalties imposed every time a judge and prosecutor had a case overturned, there would be some incentive for them not to cheat, but as it stands they can violate the defendant's right, make the public pay for it coming and going, and then get rewarded for their misdeeds by being allowed to place the defendant back in jeopardy again. This is in stark contrast to any sport in the world where if you cheat you are penalized.

It is no surprise that today's California judiciary is creating ways to keep secret what it is doing as with not publishing appellate decisions. The courts are building themselves up in size as part of the criminal justice machine/monster and maintain an abundance of work for themselves is one way it is being brought about. Rather than keeping things secret, unpublished, hidden behind closed doors with the lights turned out, child molester fashion, one former US Supreme Court Justice (Cardozo) thought, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." That is why the last thing in the world an infection wants is sunlight. SHH. Keep it quiet. In contempt of court
James S. Kor
Centinela State Prison

Americans Favor Roadless Area Protection

A recent nationwide poll conducted by the Melmann Group, Inc. for the Heritage Forest Campaign concluded that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor protecting more National Forest land as wilderness. Sixty-three percent support a proposal to protect roadless areas larger that 1,000 acres, while more than 70 percent favors a ban on oil drilling, logging, and mining in roadless areas. The poll showed that Americans desire to protect roadless areas is transcending party, gender, and region.

The Clinton Administration will be announcing its draft policy regarding road construction and protection of roadless areas on the National Forests in the near future. In addition to the results of this poll, 250,000 postcards and email messages from the public are additional proof that the people want protection for our roadless areas. This is President Clinton's best opportunity to leave future generations a legacy of pristine wildlands by permanently protecting the roadless areas. For additional information on the poll please contact Richard Hoppe, Heritage Forest Campaign at 202/861-2242 or mailto:[email protected]

Public Supports More Parks and Open Spaces: Opinion surveys from both Republican and Democrat pollsters concerning the Land and Water Conservation Fund show that the public supports preserving national parks, wilderness, and other open spaces, reports the Eugene Register-Guard in an article by Larry Swisher. Republican pollster Frank Luntz found that more than 75 percent of Westerners favor protecting wildlife, expanding and creating new national and state lands, and purchasing easements, dispelling the myth that people in the West feel there is "too much public land." Democratic pollster Mark Mellman found that voters feel that government at all levels is not doing a good job of protecting and creating public land.

Bush Calls for More National Forest Logging. Presidential candidate George W. Bush said in a 7/7 speech in Spokane, Washington that he would encourage more logging on the National Forests and criticized President Clinton for the Northwest Forest Plan, says the Spokesman-Review. Bush also said he would oppose breaching Snake River dams to save endangered salmon. When asked to choose between breaching the dam and saving runs of salmon from extinction, Bush responded, "I don't think we need to breach the dams." Critical Habitat Designated for Minnow: Forest Guardians reports that the US Fish and Wildlife Service formally designated 163 miles of the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico as critical habitat for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Normally, farmers in the Middle Rio Grande Valley divert up to 90% of surface flows to flood-irrigate farmlands causing the river to go dry. The designation of critical habitat will ensure a minimum instream flow for the silvery minnow and other fish.
Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator
American Lands
Washington, D.C. 20003
[email protected]
http://www.americanlands.org

It's Over

The Wild West is over and done with, gun slingers.
Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA

Where's the Moral Outrage

I thought that the Republican Party was the party that stood for moral values and believed that character counts. But after the Iowa Straw Poll, I'm left confused. The winner was Texas Governor and the son of the former president George W. Bush, who was the only candidate who refused to answer the question about whether or not he had used cocaine.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but from what the Republicans were saying about the morals and character of President Clinton during the impeachment I would have thought that a cocaine user wouldn't have a chance in the Republican party. In a race against squeaky clean yet boring Al Gore, will the Republican voter put party loyalty over moral convictions? Does character really count, or is that just so much bull? I'm betting the 2000 election will be a very interesting race indeed.
Marc Perkel
Springfield Missouri

Iowa Caucus Results

In light of his mega-lead Bush did very poorly in the Iowa Caucus. Steve Forbes did extremely well for an outsider and pundits are concentrating on Forbes' money rather than the red meat in his proposals. Consider Forbes' platform.

Forbes has the only health system proposal that could potentially provide all Americans with comprehensive and inclusive care - Medical Savings Accounts and government provided coupons so Medicare and Medicaid recipients can buy the insurance. If these coupons are extended to include those who have inadequate or non-existent Medical Savings Accounts then we have universal care with freedom to choose.

If that coupon concept is extended to guarantee loans for all educational expenses (k-graduate school) then we have equal educational opportunity for all to be the very best they can be. Anyone could go to any school they choose that they could qualify for.

Forbes has the best retirement plan of any candidate - save social security and provide investment retirement accounts. Anyone who pays the maximum into social security for his or her entire working life can, at best, expect to get back less than a poverty level income. The Forbes proposal would allow people to retire with a comfortable, rather than inadequate, retirement and that makes good sense.

He owns the tax issue with his simple and honest flat tax proposal that eliminates onerous taxes and gives us a truly functional and fair system where everyone pays the same percentage of their income. He is tough on crime, is for a strong military, has a solid foreign policy approach, has vowed to protect the environment, etc. These answers to the issues are the red meat that makes political victories not the money.

Too many working people, particularly families, can not afford health care, education, retirement, etc. but do not qualify for aid. These are the working wounded and we need to look beyond the political rhetoric and media hype for real world systems that can help them and the impoverished. Forbes' proposals can help all Americans and that is why he does well and will be our next president if he can get his message out.
R Johnson
Brookline NH

On Millers Libya Sanctions

I am a Jew. I do not, however, base my political opinions on my religious beliefs. I began to read Mr. Miller's article, hoping to enlighten myself (really), and instead ended up reading a religious "scorecard" of some sort-with only the "Jews" side filled in (Indyk, Emerson). More annoying than the anti-Semitic overtones of this selective ethnic identification is the time I wasted reading words written in anger, instead of with objectivity. When you hate people, Mr. Miller, you are in their control. A good writer shouldn't be in anyone's control.
Phil Stein
New York

Opposes Mormon Campaign Against Gay Marriage

Though I'm a straight and active Mormon, I strongly disagree with the Church's policy of encouraging California Mormons to help outlaw gay marriage. Homosexuality is against the Bible, but so is denying people their SECULAR / CIVIL freedoms (1 Cor. 10:29) by imposing our moral concepts on them. The Church's prophets have stated that Mormons must not vote to deny others their rights and that laws which do so abridge peoples' Free Agency (ability to choose right or wrong). 110 years ago, Congress outlawed the Mormon practice of polygamy.

Congress imposed it's own morality on the Church regarding what constitutes a proper marriage. Congress was vehemently denounced by Church leaders for this imposition. Hypocritically, the Church is now trying to impose its own opinions on others regarding what constitutes a proper marriage. What's changed? Both are wrong! The current policy rejects the prophets, the scriptures, and the Church's own experience.
Chris Bolton
Boise, ID 83713

Plans And Intentions For Nick's Cove

To Tomales Bay Residents,

Thank for your inquiries regarding the pending purchase of Nick's Cove. I'm surprised that word got out so quickly, since we're still just in planning stages! I really appreciate your correspondence and concerns, and want to assure you that I have the same concerns.

Like most of you, and contrary to rumor, I am a longtime resident of Marin County. I own a houseboat in Sausalito where I've lived and worked for 35 years and have been intimately involved with Marin County and Tomales Bay for many years. I've been a fisherman all my life and have a deep love for the waterfront in Tomales Bay.

I am very aware of the rich history of Nick's Cove, and this is the exact reason I am so attracted to it. I love it for the same reasons you do. I feel it' a classic, historical property with great character, and our intent, simply put, is to restore Nick's and to basically, keep it from falling into the bay.

My hope is to operate the restaurant exactly as it has been run for almost 100 years and to be able to enhance the food, with the help of my partner Mark Franz. Mark is a lifelong fisherman and an excellent cook. We have no intention of changing it to a fancy gourmet restaurant. We want it to be fresh and good and keep it family operated. My brother Dan will help us with the operations and live at Nick's Cove. We plan to restore the cottages and rent them as a bed and breakfast, rebuild the pier as it exists, and improve the landscaping, while preserving the environment and that "lost world" feeling. We are very sensitive to Tomales Bay's unique condition and will carefully study and adhere to the Tomales Bay Use Management Plan.

As soon as we've made a final decision to purchase the property (or in the very near future), my hope is to invite all of the interested Tomales Bay residents and neighbors over to Nick's for a casual meeting, where we can exchange thoughts and ideas, and share more of the community's history.

In the meantime, I welcome your feedback - please feel free to contact my San Francisco office directly, whether by mail (900 North Point, Suite A201, San Francisco, CA. 94109), telephone (415) 474-9669 or email (my assistant's email is [email protected]). I believe we can be a positive asset to West Marin and, working together, we can all enjoy the beauty and history of Nick's Cove.
Warmest regards,
Pat Kuleto
Sausalito

Send A Cent

Dear Readers;

I am a 41 year old housewife with a husband and 1 child. Together, we are loving and responsible parents with our eyes focused directly on our child's' future.

My husband, a press operator for a local printshop, works 12-14 hour days and I stay home to care for our child. The decision for me to stay home was the result of our common belief that children should be raised by their parents, and not a child care facility. I suppose one could say we have "old fashioned values" and wish to instill them into our child.

Much to my dismay, I have come to the conclusion that in order to secure our child's' future as well as have any hope of caring for our mothers (both are nearing retirement age) if needed, we MUST find a way to earn more than our meager $25,000 per year.

After several weeks of reading numerous texts designed to assist others in securing their futures a common term, INVESTMENT PROPERTY, tied them together. Without help, we cannot purchase even our first investment property as our income simply does not allow us to save for a down payment.

For this reason, I am asking newspaper readers nationwide for assistance. All I am asking for is 1 CENT from each of you. If one half million people send me 1 PENNY each, I will have the $5,000.00 down payment I need for my husband and I to be on our way to realizing our dreams for the future. What will be done with excess moines received? I have done my research there also and have learned I can establish a local fund, to be used for the same purpose, right here in our community.

So, if you have 1 Penny you can live without, please send it to me at the following address:
Sally Blatchford
29 W Wooster Street
Navarre OH 44662
Thanking you in advance for your generosity.

Prop. 218 And Our Fire Department

On the fifth of August 1999, the First Appellate District, Division Three ruled in favor of Paul Stutrud in an appeal regarding the application of Proposition 218 (popularly known as the Right to Vote on Taxes Act) versus a local (City of Rohnert Park) Measure to impose a special "Fire Suppression Assessment" on property owners in Rohnert Park.

The essence of this lawsuit is the strong underlining of the move to take control of local taxation out of the hands of city councils and county boards of supervisors and let the voters control the purse strings.

In the case of Rohnert Park, the city council majority passed this assessment in an attempt to throw more money at a serious problem with Rohnert Park's unique "Public Safety Department" which utilizes police officers as "part-time" fire fighters. Rohnert Park does not hire professional firefighters (except the fairly newly hired Fire Commander). Over the past several years a number of home fires brought forth public clamor for changes in the public safety scheme for Rohnert Park.

The public clamor also revealed that the City did not have any of its four fire stations with 24 hour personnel. It has only been in the last couple of years that first one and then a second fire station were finally provided with 24 hour personnel.

This seems strange for a city with a population of almost 40,000 residents. But is was a carryover from the days when Rohnert Park was a brand new community, with brand new buildings and a good volunteer fire department.

Over the years things changed. The city grew, the construction materials became for volatile and it seems that a pervasive level of shoddy workmanship increased the odds for serious fires. For example, a ten unit apartment complex was destroyed because the required firewalls between units was omitted in the attic space creating a large draft tunnel that allowed the fire to go the length of the building. Inadequate sheetrock taping and other Fire Code requirements (which was the subject of a Grand Jury investigation) are attributed to the total destruction of several homes. And on top of all this was a poor fire response time by Public Safety. The Grand Jury criticized the Public Safety Department for a number of issues including police officers wearing the firearms while fighting fires or not taking good care of the equipment (fire hoses).

Throwing money at the problem was and is not the solution.

There is more to the Proposition 218 issue and this has to do with its effects on other municipal fund raising such as water, sewer and garbage rate increases. Proposition 218 is quite clear in stating how the justifications are to be arrived at and what the criteria are for allowing any increases. The main point being a required two-thirds vote by the property owners (not just the registered voters in the community).

The loss of this lawsuit by the City of Rohnert Park should be a wakeup call.

One last interesting point. The City of Rohnert Park initiated the lawsuit against its own citizens. It could have simply held an election in March of 1997 like several other cities in Sonoma County did and they just might have gotten their way.

If anyone is interested in the details, let me know. They can call me at (707) 585-2421
Paul D. Stutrud
Rohnert Park

Formation Of American Federalist Party Announced

Austin, TX - A new political party has been formed with the goal of recreating the federal government envisioned by our Founding Fathers: simple, small, and focused. Their platform is based on a few simple ideas.

SPACE: Congress has announced plans to cut back funding of NASA, to the point where Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers may have to be closed. NASA, on the other hand, says we can put a six person crew on Mars in seven years, in their current budget. They plan to use extensive corporate participation, which the blue chip firms are anxious to provide. A manned mission to Mars will inspire young Americans, motivate our major corporations and return the U.S. to technological supremacy.

CONGRESS: Use the $800 billion budget surplus to pay down the national debt. Any rational homeowner would get ahead on the mortgage if he or she came into a little extra money. Congress is undeserving of our support if they believe dozens of weak tax cuts will have any discernible impact on the quality of life in the United States. Reducing the huge national debt, however, will benefit Americans for generations to come.

ECONOMY: Interest rate controls by the Federal Reserve are becoming less effective in the modern global economy, and new ways must be found to manage industrial production. Implementation of stricter energy conservation standards will slow the economy, boost the important high tech industries, increase profitability, and also make American industry more competitive with the other major economic powers - Japan and Europe - which pay four times what we do for fuel.

The American Federalist Party website at http://embark.to/future/ contains details on other major issues, including formal positions on reducing school violence, separation of Church and State, security at the National Laboratories, proper use of the military, and protection of the environment. [email protected]
Austin, Texas

Where's Betty Machado

Although I am British and I live in the UK, I was fortunate enough to spend a fabulous year (in 1987) working for Firemans Fund and living in Novato. My family and I yearn to return (some day, maybe). I recently discovered your web site and was very interested to read Betty Machado's news from Novato. Although I don't know the people she mentions in the articles, the news has given me an insight into what has been, and what is, going on in the town.

I notice that, since the May edition, there does not appear to be any articles posted, and I was wondering why? I do hope it's not due to illness (if it is, please pass on my best wishes for a speedy recovery). Perhaps you could let me know what the situation is.
John Johnstone
UK
Editor's Note: Betty Machado chose to not continue her column in the Coastal Post after a dispute with the editor over content.

Clinton Saves Bush

The political pundits are crediting Bill Clinton for having indirectly saved the campaign of George W. Bush. Prior to our Clinton experience, the turbulence, i.e., allegations of recreational drug use, that recently hit the Bush bid might have put his campaign into a graveyard spin. Fortunately Clinton has successfully extricated our country from the niggling morass of moral expectation. Clinton has uniformly lowered, indeed buried, the ethical bar, across the entire political landscape: draft dodging, pot smoking, philandering, looting Savings and Loans, land scams, nepotism, obstructing justice, perjury, sodomy, sexual harassment and nuclear weapons espionage have been reduced to mere peccadilloes, tabloid grist and media fodder. Such minor faux pas not only fail to rouse the interest of the Attorney General, they have become an accepted-indeed an expected-part of post-modern political architecture, whatever that means.

Fortunately the Clinton years have coincided with a booming economy; nothing anesthetizes political outrage and suppresses moral expectation more effectively than a skyrocketing stock portfolio, a wad of disposable income in your pocket and oceans of low-interest consumer credit.

Although our society may have lost Washington, DC as its moral beacon, it is a small price to pay for liberating our highest offices from the monopoly, indeed the stultifying, suffocating death grip, of the virtuous namby pambies who confuse public office with community service.

Additionally, the moral and ethical trickle down from the White House is nearly torrential: in my own domestic life, the precedents established by Clinton have rescued me from charges of infidelity and perjury. Imagine the possibilities when societal mores, judicial standards and business ethics fully reflect the wide margins of moral ambiguity created by our receding moral legacy.

As a secular society, we can derive comfort knowing we still have two remaining pillars from our former moral triad: We can still look to Hollywood and professional sports for our role models. Soon back issues of People magazine and Sports Illustrated will be in every hotel room.

The Clinton years have challenged us; they have dropped a fetid piece of philosophical political road kill at our feet. Like the Kevin Spacey movie, Swimming with Sharks, the Clinton years have asked us, "What do you want?" Do we want moral leadership or an effective government? Do we want a fretting federal system hobbled by high-flung principles or a religion of auctioneers licensed with the power and courage to sell of succulent slices of the American Pie and great gobs of political grease? Do we want a contentious, fractious democratic system of government or an efficient political machine that fairly delivers a dollar's worth of political clout and influence in exchange for a dollar's worth of special interest money?

Honestly speaking, except at parties and on airplanes, I avoid political polemics and religious issues altogether. I have carefully picked the pop icons and celebrities I choose to venerate from the Mass Media Mount Olympus and I leave it to you to pick your own. All I ask for is a simple life: a home on a quiet cul-de-sac in a gated community, big screen and cable, cheap energy, an SUV, my piece of the ozone layer, foraging rights at a trendy mall and a line of credit to make it all happen.
Jeffrey Smith

Buenos Aires-Not That Big

You people do such a lot of good stuff, much appreciated.

But that still does not make the province of Buenos Aires "as big as all of Western Europe." (CP, December '98). It is almost as big as France.

Such enormities abound. I am not surprised, only shocked-an order of magnitude off, not a tiddle. You should call on the Force Opposed to Geographical Ignorance or old FOGI (me) who think this sort of thing altogether too far off.
Roland Eves

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