Letters for August 5, 2004

Doolittle about immigration

Re “Boss Doolittle” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, July 22):

Jeff Kearns’ story about Representative John Doolittle was very polite but very telling. Doolittle represents the old “political machine” style of government, which we do not need at all.

Doolittle’s constant pushing for more real-estate development is based on the idea that “people have to live somewhere, don’t they?” This depends on the come-one-come-all philosophy of most politicians, from local to national, who mistakenly think they will get more votes by bringing in an unlimited flood of legal immigrants and legalizing the illegal immigrants who are already here.

California grows at the rate of 600,000 people per year, while our environment, our living standards and our state finances go down the tubes. Isn’t it about time that you assign an SN&R writer to research the damage done by our ongoing flood of immigration, which accounts for almost all of California’s disastrous increase?

The situation can be changed if citizens demand it!

Allen Jamieson

Crybabies running the show

Re “Demos graphically split” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, July 22):

I enjoyed Stewart’s analysis of the breakdown in the Capitol Democrats between moderates and the spendaholic extremists of that party. The current budget fiasco was dragged out primarily because of promises Arnold Schwarzenegger made to local governments.

In 1992, then-Governor Pete Wilson balanced the budget and raided school funding to pull this off. However, he shifted property-tax dollars (allowed under Proposition 13) from local governments to schools (ERAF, the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund) to fulfill mandated school-funding requirements. This worked so well, it’s been used ever since.

Local government is again targeted for $1.3 billion this year and next, in exchange for Arnold’s support behind a ballot measure this November that would constitutionally restrict state legislators from raiding local government beyond these next two years.

Democrats would have nothing of this, and they fought hard to preserve their piggy bank to raid in perpetuity for extra spending programs!

At our local level, we’re faced by angry constituents who are tired of hearing the same drumbeat of “ERAF and state budget balancing” to the detriment of their parks, recreation programs, bike trails and open-space allocations.

People understand that the state is overspending and that the Democrats are in power. And people are fed up with taking it in the shorts. I’m doing my part to point the finger at those who are really chewing our budget up, and letting the people know of the benefits of the open primaries in stopping the gerrymandering of districts. Maybe we can even start a groundswell to put this Legislature into a part-time position.

I’m afraid that the most pressing point the Democrats have on their plate right now is the protection of their jobs with closed primaries, maintaining their ability to raid local coffers and their hurt feelings at being called “girlie men.”

For crying out loud! Do a decent job, put away the credit card and pull up your skirts, ladies! You’re acting like my 6-year-old, crying about name-calling and wanting to spend money on bubblegum and candy and soda.

Justin Masters
El Dorado Hills

Poking holes in Stewart

Re “Demos graphically split” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, July 22):

Jill Stewart asks, “Was poverty reduced by throwing vast new sums of money at Medi-Cal in order to provide medical perks like acupuncture treatment while millions went without medical insurance?” Medi-Cal also pays for dental care, chiropractic and home health-care aids, which are no more “perks” than acupuncture.

In the first place, Stewart is operating from an irrational premise that medical care reduces poverty. All forms of medical treatment are meant to cure or alleviate disease, reduce pain and enhance the physical wellbeing of the patient. Neither acupuncture nor Western medicine eliminates poverty. So, exactly what is her point?

In 1992, the American Medical Association formally acknowledged that more than 500 clinically diagnosed medical conditions can be cured by acupuncture. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine have 5,000 years of history and are globally accepted as a valid healing modality. This is the reason why even mainstream corporate health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) have agreed to pay for acupuncture treatment for the last 14 years. There is overwhelming evidence that acupuncture is considerably more cost-effective as a treatment modality than invasive surgery, expensive high-tech intervention and hospitalization.

Acupuncture Medi-Cal benefits are not the reason why millions of people have no health insurance. Prior to the date that Medi-Cal agreed to pay for acupuncture treatment, there were still millions of people who had no health insurance. The reason has more to do with HMO corporate greed and the government’s abject resistance to providing universal health care.

The “going rate” for an acupuncture treatment with a licensed acupuncturist is $60 an hour as the baseline “low end” price, and it runs up to $75. Medi-Cal pays only a dinky $16 to clinicians for acupuncture treatment. This means that California acupuncturists accept Medi-Cal patients solely for humanitarian reasons—they lose huge sums of money by accepting Medi-Cal patients, often not even breaking even on overhead.

Stewart seems to have an inherent bias against acupuncture and no knowledge of the benefits of holistic treatment modalities. I have a clinically diagnosed disability. I tried over 60 kinds of prescription medication and 12 years of medical treatment from Western medical doctors. The medication side effects were horrendous, and Western medicine did nothing to alleviate the symptoms of my neurological disease. I have been using acupuncture for a long time and experience significant improvement in my ability to manage my neurological disability.

Colleen Whalen

Disgraceful presidents …

Re “Paying off a bad check” (SN&R Guest comment, July 22):

I really enjoyed the article by Tom Durkin. I completely agree with the fact that this nation is built on lies, slavery and the genocide of the African-American slaves and the American Indians.

Not only was former President Andrew Jackson a disgrace, but so were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both slave owners in their time. I remember when I was a little girl being taught in school that these men were like gods who did no wrong. Then, during the civil-rights movement, I, like Mr. Durkin, became an activist for human rights. I found out the truth of who these fathers of our country really were: racists and owners of human beings.

Not only do I believe that the $20 bill should have Martin Luther King Jr.’s image on it, but I also believe that Thanksgiving and Columbus Day should be changed to First Americans’ Day. This country will always be divided by racism because of the lies and injustice that were inflicted upon our African-American and American Indian brothers and sisters.

Vera Farris
Citrus Heights

… and equally disgraceful tribalism

Re “Paying off a bad check” (SN&R Guest comment, July 22):

The most dishonorable aspect of Tom Durkin’s article is his historical illiteracy with respect to race. American Indians as well as Africans have committed every crime against humanity, from genocide to infanticide, in their respective histories, long before the first Europeans arrived. They were racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialistic warmongers. They raped, pillaged, slaughtered, tortured, enslaved and trafficked in slaves. How do you think King’s ancestors got here? They were sold into slavery by other African tribes. In other words, tribalism is racism.

The truly shameful thing about Durkin’s analysis is that slavery, ethnic cleansing and genocide are taking place right now in the Sudan without a word of outrage from him: 1.2 million black Sudanese Africans are about to perish at the hands of Arab Muslims in Khartoum, Sudan, because of the color of their skin. If he truly wants to honor King, he should do something about this massive human tragedy.

Carole Hafstrom
Nevada City

Go with hot Streetalk

Re “What are you afraid of?” (SN&R Streetalk, July 22):

I just wanted to say I would find it refreshing if the questions you asked for the Streetalk section were more in-depth and required more introspection.

I really am not interested in reading that section, because many of the questions are so mundane, such as “What are you afraid of?”

I feel that we are living in times where so much is occurring that is causing so much debate and talk. It would be nice to see some questions asked that would reflect attitudes and opinions toward these “hot” political and external issues. Thanks!

Dorena Goding

Neither food nor bombs

Re “Anarchists get fed up” by Dale Nelson (SN&R News, July 29):

The article says Food Not Bombs (FNB) began as an anarchist collective. The dictionary defines anarchism as the “absence of any form of political authority; a utopian society made up of individuals who have no government and who enjoy complete freedom.” The frequently-asked-questions page at FNB’s Web site, at www.fnb.org, states FNB’s purpose: “to create sustainable institutions that prefigure the kind of society we want to live in.”

Human society began with government by God. Theirs was a sustainable system with everything they could ever have wanted or needed here or producible, and all was recyclable and reusable. Having boundless health and endless life, they were to extend the boundaries of the garden God had planted as their perfect start around the Earth, creating a global paradise of peace and joy.

Though having only one law, the first human pair declared independence from God, choosing to make their own decisions as to good and bad. History testifies abundantly as to the result of independence from God. For thousands of years, man has experimented with every conceivable form of government, political philosophy, and economic and social system. None has been successful in creating desirable “sustainable institutions” for the benefit of all humankind.

The Bible explains why efforts such as those of FNB will never succeed. It has nothing to do with their earnest and conscientious activity, but it has to do with our imperfect human system. An ancient king wrote: “That which is made crooked cannot be made straight” (Ecclesiastes 1:15).

When God created this planet as the home for his human family, he reserved to himself the right to set standards of right and wrong. Human rule was “made crooked” from the start, as it was based on lies about our ability of self-government and cannot be “made straight.” However, God has revealed that he will replace all present government with his own. His kingdom “will crush and put an end” to human government of Earth, and then “the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Daniel 2:44; Romans 8:21).

Diane Church