Letters for May 24, 2001

SOA should be DOA

Re “A Prisoner of Conscience” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Cover, May 10):

I want to thank Melinda Welsh for her insightful article about Charlie Liteky, a prisoner of conscience for his stand against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, (formerly the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia). I continue to be amazed that those graduates of the school indicted for human rights violations and brutal crimes against humanity are breathing the fresh air of freedom while Charlie, who has been honored for saving lives, is in prison!

Thanks also to Tom Walsh for covering Father Roy Bourgeois’ talk at Trinity Cathedral. Father Roy is a tireless and outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and his speaking engagements here in Sacramento were well attended.

The School of the Americas may have changed its name but it still wears the dark shroud of shame. The people of Latin America will suffer the effects of the SOA’s training for generations.

On May 10 a new bill, HR 1810, to close the SOA was introduced. It is co-sponsored by three Democrats and three Republicans. Please urge our local representatives to co-sponsor this bill along with McGovern, D-Mass.; Scarborough, R-Fla.; Moakley D-Mass.; Morella, R-Md.; Shays, R-Conn. and Evans, D-Ill.

Janice Freeman

Stop pushing the boundaries!

Re “Failure to Breathe” (SN&R Editorial, May 10):

I am writing today to ask the LAFCO Board not to allow the city of Folsom to expand its sphere of influence south of Highway 50. The county of Sacramento created an Urban Services Boundary in order to protect open space and also apply a regional approach to growth.

If Folsom is allowed to expand its sphere of influence, this regional approach will be lost and cities will again compete to see who can annex and urbanize our county the fastest. Whether it is Elk Grove in the south, Folsom in the east or the city of Sacramento in the north, the Urban Services Boundary must be protected.

Sacramento is a beautiful place to live and provides a high quality of life to its citizens, but continued growth will jeopardize what we all enjoy. The Sacramento Region should not become the Bay Area or Los Angeles. LAFCO is the key to the future of our region and I ask you to please act to protect our region and not destroy it.

I conclude with one final point: Sphere of Influence Expansion = Annexation = Urbanization = Lower Quality of Life, i.e. dirtier air and water, traffic congestion, and crowded schools. This is the reality, and this board has the best opportunity to protect the future of Sacramento.

Sean South
via e-mail

It’s no movie, it’s her life

Re “Mary-Alice Doesn’t Work Here Anymore” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, April 12):

Can we trust the state of California? The reason why I asked is because I am outraged with our state government.

Last year, California was victimized by Quackenbush’s insurance scandal. Now, Mary-Alice Coleman is victimized by the state of California’s corruption. I really enjoyed reading the article about her.

The article seems to be taken out of a Hollywood script. A respectable lady in charge over some state department realized there were scandals and corruptions within the system along with a death threat on an individual. Knowing of the wrongdoings and the death threat, Mary-Alice gets blackballed by the state causing her to be passed up for job promotions and finally gets ousted from her current employment for doing the right thing, notifying who she thought were the proper authorities.

Please stay on top of this court case and other state scandals so we the citizens of California can see firsthand how corrupt our state government is. God bless Mary-Alice and God bless our golden state of California.

Rodney C. Ramos

Keeping the pot boiling

Re “Woody Flies the Flag” (SN&R Capital Bites, May 10):

Three cheers to Woody Harrelson for having the courage to stand up for what he believes. I was so sorry that I wasn’t able to make it to his demonstration in front of the [courthouse].

Woody has the self-determination and the righteousness of someone from the ’60s generation. I have always been an activist for human rights and a believer in making my voice heard for the issues that I believe in. Woody is unique in that he is using his celebrity to help create a healthier environment and to stand up for medical marijuana in others’ lives. It is absurd that our government is arresting people for medical marijuana use. I am tired of having to pay outrageous prices for synthetic prescriptions that the HMO’s and physicians get a kick-back from if they prescribe. They turn their backs on cancer, glaucoma and AIDS’ patients knowing full-well that medical marijuana could help their conditions and lessen their pain. And I truly believe that hemp products could create a safer environment and be less costly than the synthetic products we are forced to use.

I fully support Woody Harrelson’s beliefs and hope that there will be more protests and support for hemp products and the use of medical marijuana.

Vera Farris
Citrus Heights

Thou shalt not reject religion

Re “True Nonbelievers” by Ching Lee (SN&R News, May 3):

It never ceases to amaze me that atheists, Darwinists, agnostics and such cannot tell me what type of society we would have without religion. I can already see the results of not teaching children some concept of religious values. More people are self-centered, greedy and rude. Darwinism in itself is a racist concept, preaching survival of the fittest and that some races are more evolved then others. Hitler infused this belief with occultism in his teachings more then brotherly love and we can see what happened.

They never answer the questions about what would you teach your children about murder, stealing, lying and other things that go against God and humanity. If you believe in just yourself, then wouldn’t more and more people believe you could do anything to anyone as long as you wouldn’t get caught. You could also screw society and people just as long as you could get away with it. More people could steal with reckless abandon, lie and even kill someone if they got in their way. Most serial killers, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, who stated that he felt he wasn’t doing anything wrong, do not believe in God until they go to prison and find religion.

Some of our greatest activists were men of God or believed in some higher power that they gave their lives for justice and humanity. Remember, Dr. Martin Luther King was a minister, Mother Teresa, Ghandi and Cesar Chavez used the concepts of religious peaceful resistance to change wrongs. Some will say that religion has enslaved, killed and disenfranchised a lot of people. It was not God who did this, but man. Men who were more interested in their own selfish, egocentric, hedonistic greed hid behind religion or used religion for political and social advancement. Selfish, egocentric, hedonistic—sounds more like parts of atheism and agnostic teaching when you think about.

Sergio Perez
via e-mail