Thursday, May 11, 2000
I disagree with your dismissal of the Elián Gonzales case as a mere soap opera ("Street Talk," 5/4-10). On the contrary, this case illustrates what's wrong with a.) U.S. policy toward Cuba, and b.) the preferential treatment enjoyed by Cuban immigrants in this country. Both policies are long overdue for change.
The Cuban-American lobby has dominated U.S.-Cuban relations for years, imposing a crippling trade embargo that only hurts the Cuban people while providing Fidel Castro with endless propaganda material. No matter that Castro, lacking support from the now-defunct Soviet Union, no longer poses any military threat to the United States: Hard-line anti-Castroites like the Cuban-American National Federation are so warped by decades of hatred that they're willing to cut off any number of noses, including their own, to spite Castro's face. Moreover, 40 years of coddling by the U.S. government have turned the ant-Castroites into spoiled brats who are used to having their own way, and who consider themselves to be above the law.
It's time to kick the brats out of the nest, terminate their status as a preferred immigrant group, break their stranglehold on the body politic, and normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. Lift the embargo, and conditions in Cuba can only improve, thereby decreasing the flow of refugees to Miami. And if compassion for an exploited little boy and his tormented father is what it takes to get this ball rolling, so be it.
Mommy Spoken Here
I read your column about "...Mary Poppins" ("Squid Fry," 5/4-10) and I am appalled at the inflexibility of the Monterey Recreation Department's policy. They are clearly missing the point. If there is anyone who would've been disrupted by the class, it would've been your sleeping baby. I have passed your column to my friends, who are mothers and teachers and child-advocates. I plan to write a letter to Ms. Crisante as well. I am ashamed to be part of a community that is not baby---nor mommy--friendly and hope that public outcry will bring about some positive changes.
Enjoying the Good Life
Finally, a decent article on the Santa Lucia Preserve project in Carmel Valley ("Squid Fry," 5/4-10). At first I thought it should have been placed in the humor section of your weekly, but then I realized what a wonderful advertisement it was for everyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle (and tourists) of Monterey County and other areas. I hope there are more people like Wheatley-Triolo who are capable of enjoying the good life, that decide to purchase a lot in the project. After all this is America, with many fountains, streams, koi ponds, etc. that we all enjoy, with plenty of water to boot!!
Elections Just the Beginning
I must comment on Belinda McBurney's letter "Offended in Seaside" ("Your Letters," 4/27-5/3). After all the accusations thrown around prior to the Seaside mayoral election, it's a wonder anyone who even wished Tim Brown a "Good Morning" didn't feel uncomfortable enough to resign their positions. At what point do we quit blaming any previous administration and get on with it? One year? Five? Ten? Campaign promises are such golden, shiny things. It is so easy to take command of the helm. The problem then becomes whether or not you can do anything with it once you have it.
DIANE R. JONES
If You Build It...
Don't hate me because I'm from L.A.
Instead, read what experience has taught me: If you build to accommodate more cars ("Safer Passage," 4/13-19), MORE CARS WILL COME!
Can the people count on a viable rail transport system as an option? Or does District 5 Supervisor Dave Potter only see more "extremely expensive" lanes, or less expensive bypasses and faux lanes as part of the "big solution"? Either way, they would be painful in their installment, inadequate, and bad for the future of our environment (so says a 33-year L.A. native).
Let the people ride clean rails and leave the cars to gather dust instead of spreading it... and harmful ozone... and carbon monoxide... and CO2... and oil... and petroleum waste...
Stop the Pandering
It has become clear: The regional strategy of pandering to a tourist-based local economy works no longer. This region needs a complete turnaround in planning and development. First, we desperately need to become a "backyard of Silicon Valley." People are suffering because of our planners' reluctance to face reality. We worry about trivial luxuries, like not being able to speed across the land at 70mph because of "the others causing congestion." This NIMBY attitude hurts the economy, and that hurts the people most vulnerable to loss and deprivation: the soon-to-be extinct middle class, and the working-class poor.
Monterey has almost no high-tech jobs, little affordable housing, no money for schools, no service-area jobs that provide a living wage, little hope for the working-class poor, and a brain drain has resulted from educated adults moving away for work in the Bay Area. One way that the governments of the Monterey Peninsula maintain the façade of a beautiful and peaceful region is to manipulate residential zoning in an effort to force workers to "store themselves" in a nearby city, where living is not that much easier, less clean, more crowded, and where the despair of each others' lives is shared visibly, manifest as crime and alcoholism, and other substance-abuse behaviors, which aid the individual in dealing with despair. So, if you see a worker driving a beat-up, old, used car toward Monterey, honk your horn and wave to him or her and smile in appreciation of their sacrifice for the tourist industry of the Monterey Peninsula.
Power to the People
Do your elected representatives listen when you plead for attention and action? What they are conducting can rightly be termed Mendicant Democracy. Are you satisfied with it?
The antidote is Direct Democracy. Direct democracy will exist when we, the people, exercise our sovereign right to really control the manner in which we are governed. When we specify the policies within which our elected representatives must operate, and write laws when necessary. It calls upon the "First Principles" of political life, enunciated by James Madison as our Constitution was being written, which was the basis for the way our Constitution was created and ratified OUTSIDE the existing government. If the people can create, change, or dissolve the government as stated in our Declaration of Independence, we explicitly have the right to engage in any legislative activity.
Some of you may remember the Philadelphia II movement that started in Monterey in 1992. It holds the promise for achieving real Direct Democracy. It isn't gone, merely submerged for awhile due to lack of resources. We are coming back. You will soon see a vitalized Internet-oriented movement you can join. In anticipation, you can check http://olywa. net/ocad/p2 or www.vote.org.