Thursday, September 16, 1999
Blame GameIn response to Mr. Hoopes' letter to the editor ("Theaters on Notice," 9/9), I feel he is willing to lay the blame on everyone but the real people responsible for the actions taken by the teenagers buying tickets to the R-rated movie. The children and the parents of the children are the only ones to blame for their actions.
If, by the time a child reaches 13, he or she hasn't grasped right from wrong, then the parents should reflect on what they have or have not taught their child. Instead, Mr. Hoopes claims he will sue everyone involved in the sale of the ticket to his innocent son. I believe that instead of litigation, Mr. Hoopes should discipline his child if this situation ever happens.
A few years ago, this scenario occurred with my then-13-year-old son. My son chose to leave his friends at the movie theater and come home. His friends talked an adult into buying the tickets to an R-rated movie. They had a choice and so did he. He made the correct choice for himself. I would rather put the responsibility for my children's actions in their own hands and teach them that there are consequences for their actions. It is more difficult to hold oneself accountable than it is to lay the blame on everyone but ourselves.
Ballots Not BulletsI would like to add my two cents' worth to the ongoing dialogue on gun control versus unrestricted gun ownership. The pro-gun people nearly always fall back on the Second Amendment, which states: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The argument goes that to preserve our freedom from government control, we should be free to stockpile all the assault weapons our closets can hold.
Maybe when the Second Amendment was drafted, and we were still in danger of being taken over by the British or French, it made some sense. But now? In our society we defend democracy at the voting booth, not through the barrel of a gun. The quickest way for an individual (or a paramilitary militia warrior) to lose his freedom is to start taking pot-shots at soldiers or police officers.
Now let's imagine an unlikely scenario in which a popular uprising, say over excessive taxation, causes our government to be overthrown. What then? The next scenario would be a free-for-all shooting match between gangs, militias, drug dealers, organized crime, and racist hate groups of all varieties. When the dust settles, the outcome might be as democratic as the African country of Somalia, where there is no army, no police force, no taxes, no government services, no government at all. Political power is in the hands of the warlords of different villages and towns, and those that have the most weapons wield the most power. There are weapons a-plenty, thanks to the arming of anti-communist militias during the Cold War. Fighting goes on all the time. No one is safe anywhere.
The arguments supporting the gun lobby's position are preposterous, and a little bit scary.
Bon VoyageMaybe it is time to rearrange the deck chairs on the Good Ship Seaside by: Increasing the number of City Council seats to six, with three up for election every two years; having district instead of at-large elections for City Council (with one district for the residents in the former Fort Ord); and changing to a "Charter City" from the present "General Law City" while retaining the present council/manager government.
Of course, the naysayers and Chicken Littles will go into hysterics over any change, and the political cliques will find it more difficult to control City Hall. But it might be worthwhile to run these ideas up the flagpole to see if anyone cares enough about the city to salute them.
Road To DisasterI am deeply concerned about a proposed road in Marina known as the California Avenue Extension. I believe it will have a significant negative effect on the environment of hundreds of residents, not to mention the flora and fauna. I believe the city is about to make a big mistake if it goes forward with its plan for this road.
The extension is planned for the open space between Liberty Court, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and Westwood and Concord courts. That area is a popular walking trail and is the only true open space we have in this part of Marina. The road will be seven feet west of my back fence, and for some residents it will be closer. The air and noise pollution will make our homes and backyards unhealthy and unbearable. The city has said there is not enough money to mitigate the noise problem with sound walls. The results of the air, noise and visual pollution will surely lower property values.
The plan also upsets me because many large, beautiful cypress trees will be chopped down so the road will straddle the utility poles that run down the trail. The city says it doesn't have the funds to place the utility lines underground, so they will surround them with a 14-foot-wide meridian. In other words, they are chopping down oxygen-producing trees to accommodate utility poles and polluting vehicles. This is truly ironic.
I also believe that the California Avenue Extension may lead to the further decline of businesses on Del Monte Avenue. I have heard time and again the city councilmembers claiming they want to revitalize that area, but with this poor planning I don't see that in the future. It seems to me the city would want to encourage its residents to shop on Del Monte and support the businesses there.
The estimated cost of the California Avenue Extension is more than $5 million. I believe this money would be better spent on the Del Monte Boulevard frontage road or improving the 12th Street on- and off-ramps.
Our city officials do not listen to our concerns. We believe this road will be a disaster to this area of Marina and Del Monte Avenue. Why is Marina choosing the more costly of the plans? Is it the economic development funds?
Fitting TributeI wish to compliment Sue Fishkoff for the outstanding article she wrote about [artist] Bill Stone, ("Cut in Stone," 9/2). Her article described him with perfection and painted a vivid picture of his art style and his work. Having known Bill for several years, I felt it caught the essence of the man and was a fitting tribute.
Saving Flanders MansionA most beautiful, historic public property is in immediate danger of being lost forever. This best-kept-secret in Carmel-by-the-Sea is the Flanders Mansion, with the Lester Rountree Native Plant Garden, trails and incredible views.
Soon, the Carmel City Council may decide to sell this property. The main trail to this special place is in Mission Trails Park on Rio Road across from Carmel Mission. We urge you to explore the trails, grounds, and native plant garden and to get involved in the important cause to save this property.
For more information on how you can help keep this valuable property part of the community, phone Flanders Foundation at 626-3826.
RICHARD AND RAMONA ANDRE
Eat An Activist TodayThe silly saps are out in force again: Animal rights activists! A loonier group of looney tunes does not exist!
First, no decent person mistreats animals. That's a given. A person who gets some kick out of harming anyone, human animal or lower down the evolutionary scale, is a mentally sick person. Having said this, taking the appreciation for the life force to the level of "animal rights" is inane.
Life is brutal, period! All life must eat life to live, that's an irrefutable fact of universal existence! Fish eat fish, cows kill grasses for food, spiders eat flies, viruses eat cells, and so it goes for every living thing. To blanketly say you respect all life is a very poorly thought-out thing to say, for to claim this is to suggest you respect the AIDS virus, the polio virus, and all other life forms that kill and torture humans and other animals.
Animal rights activists are guilty of the Disney-ization of nature, one of the greatest cruelties ever waged against animals. They continue to anthropomorphize creatures that would just as soon eat them as to look at them if they could do so.
These people are losers! Their thinly veiled misanthropy is quite telling in its contempt for the richness that we humans have singularly brought to life on earth.
Methinks these animal rights activists would do the world a lot better if they'd focus on the cruelties visited upon their own species and work as diligently to save human children from starvation, war, disease, and abuse.
As long as human children are kept in low priority, the human race will never evolve to a place where kindness is the norm. How dare these animal rights activists spew their garbage rhetoric while children around the world suffer all manner of atrocities!
Hey, maybe animal rights activists would be a reasonable food source alternative to fish? Worth a try!
JEFFREY VAN MIDDLEBROOK