Letters for December 6, 2001

A disjointed process

Re “Reefer Madness” by Charles Seidel (SN&R Cover, November 29):

Thank you for publishing “Reefer Madness.”

Reading this article, I found myself marveling at the disparity that seems to exist between the desire of the American people and the government that is supposed to represent them.

California (along with nine other states and the District of Columbia) has passed medical marijuana laws by voter initiative. Not once has a medical marijuana bill been introduced, and not been approved by the people. So why does our government fight us so hard on this? Shouldn’t they be representing our wishes?

Adam Wiggins
via e-mail

Paramedic Davis stems the flow

Re “Secrets and Lies” (SN&R Capital Bites, November 22):

I’ve read in the News & Review a couple of complaints about Governor Davis.

Everyone should remember that it was Bush Jr.’s biggest contributors—the Texas energy companies who gouged Californians to the tune of $9 billion.

If Bush Jr. would order his friends to repay California $9 billion, then we wouldn’t be having the big budget problems. If a drunk causes a car accident, don’t blame the paramedics who arrive on the scene.

If it wasn’t for Governor Davis standing up to the Texas Energy Junta and Bush Jr., they would still be gouging Californians.

Bob Mulholland
via e-mail

Thanks for bothering

Re “Why Bother?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Sidelines, November 29):

Kudos to SN&R and Cosmo Garvin for keeping the heat turned up on Sacramento’s developmentally challenged City Council. Thanks to the media, they are feeling the heat. I hope your newspaper will continue to criticize those who have broken faith with the North Natomas Community Plan, which affects businesses, land owners, developers as well as the “usual suspects,” community and neighborhood activists.

The plan is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking discussions involving city staff and interests that are usually in conflict. The consensus they so painstakingly built resulted in the North Natomas Community Plan. On November 13, that plan was callously tossed aside by the City Council.

The community’s righteous anger is “overblown” according to Steve Cohn. Not nearly as overblown as Steve’s ego.

Brooks Truitt

The real patriots

Re “Abandoned Dogs or Starving Children?” by Elizabeth McCarthy (SN&R News, November 22):

McCarthy did a superb job covering the efforts of area activists to educate people about the continuing U.S. war and sanctions against Iraq. At a time when George Bush is bellowing about expanding his “war on terrorism” to include eliminating alleged “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, it is essential to feature an alternative view exposing the horrendous impact of economic sanctions and war on Iraqi civilians.

Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness, Patricia Daugherty, Cindy Litman, Elias Rashmawi and other activists are the real patriots in our society today because they question and oppose our government’s brutal and unjust foreign policy that led to the terrorist attacks on September 11.

In the now famous TV interview between Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and reporter Lesley Stahl, the reporter asked Albright, in reference to the sanctions on Iraq: “We have heard that a half-million children have died. That’s more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?”

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it,” replied Albright.

This willingness to sacrifice thousands and thousands of civilians in other countries for U.S. oil and other corporate interests has become the hallmark of our foreign policy. The real patriots are fighting to change our nation’s foreign policy from one that spills innocent blood for oil to one that promotes peace, democracy and social justice.

Dan Bacher

Stop driving, goddamnit

Re “Hooray for the Red, White, Blue and Green” by Arlie Hochschild and David Hochschild (SN&R Essay, November 22):

I wanted to thank you for publishing this essay. The authors conveyed ideas clearly and calmly. I’ve tried to do the same but usually just end up waving my arms wildly and yelling at unappreciative co-workers that they should stop buying SUVs, goddamnit.

I’d like to add something to the plan. If the concept of conservation could be given a jingoistic or super-patriotic feel, it may go over better with conservative audiences. “Heavy Hand” apologists such as Bruce L. Thiessen (Letters: “Sacramento News & Anthrax”) may be convinced of the need to go green with such slurs as “Keep them on Camels! Use Less Oil!”

Imagine a Honda Insight, the 70 mpg hybrid car, with American flags waving off both sides and a sticker on back that says, “Less Gas = Less Oil = Poor Terrorists.”

I’m sure that with enough inflammatory slogans it would soon be considered un-American to not conserve. And there the left and right could meet.

Mario De Govia
via e-mail

Quoting madness

Re “Reefer Madness” by Charles Seidel (SN&R Cover, November 29):

The DEA’s fondness for busting medical marijuana users is a conspiracy against effective treatment for cancer, nausea, glaucoma, asthma, muscle spasms, epilepsy, cholera, arthritis, migraine, tumor suppression and numerous other conditions for which cannabis sativa provides relief.

The DEA crusade against medical marijuana is a plot against the health of the United States because the marijuana laws the DEA enforces with such vigor are based on notions like:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana can cause white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

“The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality and death.”

“[Smoking] one [marijuana] cigarette might develop a homicidal mania, probably to kill his brother.”

From: Sworn 1937 Congressional Testimony To Outlaw Marijuana.

Because of these lies drug warriors feel justified in condemning patients to needless suffering and death.

Redford Givens
San Francisco