Thursday, July 6, 2000
Now, how about doing something to help out the indigenous peoples in your own congressional district? Like, maybe, a bill to grant federal recognition to us Salinans, Esselens and Ohlones who have long suffered from lack of land, respect and neglect on the part of the government?
I know that it would mean giving up your cherished hope of a national park for part of Fort Hunter Liggett in southern Monterey County. But really, what''s more important--another park, or granting the means for some of your constituents to achieve self-reliance, regain dignity, and finally become equal to our non-Indian peers in Monterey County?
We would care for the land of our ancestors, probably better than the Park Service could; we understand the cycles of our home, the interplay of animal and plant, the ebb and flow of drought and flood, far better than the European settlers who have dwelt here a mere two hundred years or so. Giving us a small portion of our traditional lands wouldn''t cost you a thing, except perhaps the support of some of your well-heeled benefactors on the Monterey Peninsula.
Too many of us Salinans, Esselens and Ohlones have to live far from our ancestral homes, driven out by lack of jobs, affordable housing or educational benefits.
Here in Arizona, where I live out my life in self-imposed exile from the land where I truly belong, Native Americans are accorded some respect. Here, our opinions are sought out, and we have a chance to influence policy for our communities. It''s a nice feeling--one that I''d like to share with my cousins in Monterey County.
Please, Mr. Farr, we in your district need protection for our grave sites, health care for our elders and children, and educational benefits that only recognized Indians get. Won''t you consider helping the indigenous peoples a bit closer to your home?
Debra Utacia Krol,
Build a Strong Foundation
The news brief "Investing in the Future" (6/22-28) states that "The State''s coffers are full this year..." The gist of the article basically implies that investing in the fu-ture means investing in higher education.
Please allow me to argue that point. Investing in higher education does indeed affect the future, but it does not affect the majority of our students'' futures, only those who can afford or otherwise make it to this level of education. We need to spend our money on programs with greater impact. I''m speaking specifically of K-12 public education, which is the solid foundation that is needed prior to "higher education."
Did you know that the state of California spends $1,000 less per student than the national average? We are behind such states as Georgia! For a state whose governor claims to be the "education governor," why are we not first in the nation again?
With the money supposedly in the state''s coffers, why are we not improving our public education for the vast majority of our students so that they may qualify and be able to avail themselves of higher education?
I strongly urge our state officials to look at this surplus of money and truly be mindful of the future of this state and this country.
A letter to the editor from Ms. Susan Houston ("Your Letters," 6/22-28) criticized me for mismanaging the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Specifically, she claimed that the Sanctuary, under my leadership, was not taking action to protect tide pool resources in a designated refuge at Pacific Grove, nor properly controlling the harvest of kelp and nearshore rockfish species.
These views reflect a misunderstanding about the MBNMS. The Sanctuary''s enforcement ability only extends as far as our regulations allow. When the Sanctuary was designated in 1992, regulations and a management plan were crafted that did not give us authority to designate no-harvest areas in tide pools or to manage commercial or recreational fisheries. The current, partial refuge for Pt. Pinos tide pools has been designated by the State of California.
The Sanctuary could regulate kelp harvesting. However, we have been working closely with the State of California, which has primary authority, and in June we released a detailed plan calling for the state to adopt new restrictions on harvesting kelp. The Sanctuary will hold public meetings in the next few weeks to get additional public input.
If Ms. Houston or others want the Sanctuary''s regulations and authorities expanded they will have an opportunity to participate in a review of our management plan beginning early next year.
The MBNMS also has an Advisory Council that meets every two months to field public comments about the Sanctuary. Later this year, residents along the Central California coast will be notified about applications to fill public seats on the Advisory Council.
William J. Douros, Superintendent,
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Save the Raccoons
I have loved animals since I was a little child, and they have loved me in return. For me, they symbolize the natural world, freedom of spirit and unconditional love. I am sick at heart to know of the trapping and killing of raccoons in Pacific Grove, and I feel fear and sorrow as I contemplate the present dangers to the urban wildlife of Carmel.
Anyone can sponsor a bloodbath, causing suffering to many and continuing the imbalance that presently plagues us in our environments. It takes time, tolerance and compassion to create a dialogue and take a chance to re-create the paradise that was given to us.
The Carmel City Council meets on July 11 at 3:30pm to begin to shoulder the great responsibility to preserve what is natural and beautiful in this small community or to begin the work of destruction instead. Please attend the meeting, or call or write the council and support Carmel''s endangered raccoons.
Elizabeth L. Howard,
It''s a Bad Sign for Seaside
Shame on K-Mart, Smart & Final, Staples and McDonalds. Even though the Seaside Planning Commission and the Seaside City Council told them that the residents of Seaside and the Peninsula at large did not want them to put an ugly, urban, gargantuan sign along Highway 1 and our scenic coastline, they went ahead and did it because, legally, they could. Peninsula residents did not need this huge sign to remind us of the location of these stores--we already know they are there. As a matter of fact, we shop there regularly. Or, at least we used to. Now our drive down the coast, and our daily drives to work, are blighted by this hideous, unnecessary monstrosity. Visitors to our area, who, in all likelihood are not desperately searching for where they can buy a ream of paper or bulk industrial cleaners, will get the sense that they are in Gilroy or Sacramento rather than on the Monterey Peninsula. I do not mean to imply that our community is better than those communities, but it is different. Those differences should be respected--even by corporate America.
Dawn and Wade Bryant,