Thursday, January 7, 1999
As a writer who has sold over hundreds of stories and essays over 50 years, I've been a bit depressed by accounts of growing illiteracy among young people; but your collection of 98-word stories (Dec. 17) raised my spirits, and now I feel there is an awesome amount of fresh talent out there! The entries from school children are especially heartening; they show great imagination and a real understanding of how well English can be used, to convey real subtleties about the world and people. Congratulations to Coast Weekly and the writers, and special kudos to whoever on your staff thought of the clever 98-word story idea!
RE: Hughey's Forum
I want to thank Brian L. Burleson of Seaside (Letters, Dec. 24) for reminding us of what happens when you use Rush Limbaugh as an information source and not as entertainment. That someone can be so ill-informed, yet live so close to the Peninsula's NAACP office, is a shock to me. Mr. Burleson entirely misses the point of Yolanda Hughey's Dec. 3 Public Forum on African-Americans in the workforce. She said: "This is a pivotal time in the history of African-Americans. The only way to secure our present and future existence here in the United States is by obtaining education and becoming politically aware."
The rest of her excellent article reflects this sentiment of self-reliance and activism from beginning to end. She also points out the need for coalition-building between immigrants and African-Americans. Mr. Burleson must have been thrown off by the single mention of affirmative action, since he has chosen to rant about quotas, which are not mentioned at all by Ms. Hughey. I encourage him to take two aspirins, then go to the Coast Weekly's Website or to the library and re-read her article.
Ms. Hughey also mentions the very real political conflict within the GOP, between seeking Hispanic votes and supporting Props. 187 and 227. While neither proposition states "Hispanics go home" (they are home, if you check California history), each sends a message about the state's approach to immigration and education. She has the audacity to point this out, and good for her.
Ms. Hughey's call for immigrants and African-Americans to work together is not new. As Mr. Burleson's letter reminds us, the common problem of intolerance, also not new, is only a stone's throw away. We'd better pay attention to both messages.
Squid Pro Quo
Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that I am not Squid ("Squid Fry," Dec. 24). Imagine Bradley Zeve's chagrin when his paper doesn't receive the credit for Squid's muckraking. Imagine Bill "Any-Business-is-Good-Business" Wojtkowski's chagrin at being mentioned in the same column as Morgan "Enough-Chain-Stores!" Christopher.
But I suppose that all of this is certainly more honorable than being mistaken for the dreaded Black Knight of Ridder. Now there's a paper that no self-respecting fish would be caught dead in.
So relax, Bradley...CW's only real concern should be that by the end of January, when the Website www.themorgan house.com is up and operational, the spotlight (microscope?) on local events might be a bit more intense. Squid is better-looking? True enough, for now. However, as youthful appearances turn saggy and snaggle-toothed, we shall remain much wittier and infinitely more debonair. And our "house" might be the place where the muck really gets raked.
Take that, Sir Squid! And have a good new year.
Dining Room Wanted
The Salinas Optimist Club (P.O. Box 1385, Salinas, CA 93901), which I have now headed for over one term as president, is seeking a hall or dining room for our annual dinner, large enough so we can invite the youngsters that we have been working with through such efforts as The Williams Road Salvation Army Kids Cafe and 'Just Say No' Fishing Derby. A church, bank, union building, etc. would be ideal. If the facility does not come with a kitchen, we will consider a catered meal or even a lasagna and pizza fund-raiser. New members will be inducted, awards to local youth presented and a surprise guest acknowledged. Groups to be recognized include Junior Statesmen of America and Model United Nations. The featured program will include a debate on a national issue by York School high school students.
If you wish more information about these efforts or have ideas for the dinner (donations welcomed and acknowledged), please call Helen Ford or me at 449-0601.
BRUCE ARTHUR PERRY
We the People can dispense with self-serving commissions that set salary levels of the public officials who work for us. Once and for all, let's define a salary structure and put it in place by use of a citizen initiative--not to be changed except by another initiative which passes with a two-thirds majority (like some of the bond issues needed to build or repair our infrastructure).
The fairest and easiest way will be to define the remuneration for each class of job as a multiple of the minimum wage. Then, all they will have to do to get a raise for themselves is to see that the minimum wage is raised.