Thursday, February 23, 2006
VERY INTERESTING, BUT STUPID
The cover story about autism by Raul Vasquez was interesting, and almost well done. I was even beginning to think that the writer had done a proper job of researching the issue, and wasn’t going to waste ink on the tired and discredited thimerasol nonsense.
But then it happened, in a couple of short paragraphs that were written deliberately to make it seem as if there were a real controversy, and that the question hadn’t already been settled beyond the shadow of a doubt.
This anti-vaccine baloney just won’t die, no matter how much actual scientific fact you throw at it, because of articles like this that count a couple of quotes as sufficient research.
The Rolling Stone piece isn’t worth the paper its printed on. It wasn’t until after I read this article that I noticed the slogan on the boy’s shirt on the cover blaming vaccines for autism.
Please review the facts (such as the one about autism rates not decreasing, despite vaccines being thimerasol-free for many years) at Autism Watch, a part of Quackwatch.org. —John Mount | Monterey
THE OLD GENERAL PLAN LIVES
Unlike milk, the county general plan doesn’t have an expiration date. In your Feb. 16 issue, Eric Johnson writes, “Monterey County has been in limbo since 2000, when the county’s General Plan expired.” His comment confirms an alarming lack of knowledge about this process.
General plans look at 20-year windows, and it’s generally (so to speak) expected that a county will review and update its plan after 20 years. Meanwhile, if the existing plan no longer fits changing conditions, local government is allowed to amendment it, as has been done. There’s no obligation to rewrite or replace the plan. The time that Monterey has used to revise its plan is fairly typical of general plan updates around the state.
The problem with Monterey’s update process has been that instead of updating the existing plan, the County attempted to bring forward a new plan. Last summer the process got back on track when supervisors told staff to go back to the 1982 plan and update it, while considering all input received throughout the past years. That has happened in an open and public process. Interim Planning Director Alana Knaster announced on Feb. 16 that the draft of this update would be released in two weeks.
Until this update is reviewed and adopted, the current general plan remains in effect, unexpired. —Bob Perkins | Carmel
While this piece by Jane Smiley (Forum, Feb. 16) is beautifully constructed, it is nothing more than an hysterical screed. It is replete with childish vitriol and innuendo. Factual support for her conclusions is nonexistent and passing on thirdhand non-verifiable comments (ex. President Bush’s supposed quote regarding the Constitution) should be beneath her accomplished level of writing!
By not issuing a disclaimer are we to assume you support her conclusions? —Charles L. Pifer | Carmel
Note: The opinions of contributors in the Forum section are their own. As it happens, in this case we agree.
LET BUSH'S FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS PAY FOR THE WAR
Our soldiers should come home! It would happen quickly if the wealthy would be asked to cover the cost of the war instead of getting tax cuts. Why should the sons and daughters of the poor risk their lives, their limbs, and their physical and mental health while the wealthy share no burden? —Marjorie Atkinson | Salinas
DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION
President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales have been working hard to obscure the issues around the secret wiretapping of American citizens. Their latest gambit is to claim a connection between this activity and the foiling of an al Qaeda attack in 2002.
Even if true, this does not change the fact that the wiretapping was done in direct contradiction of law and the Constitution. Tellingly, they have made no attempt to justify the decision to ignore available legal channels, but have preferred to pretend that terrorists are too stupid to assume they are being wiretapped without reading about it in the New York Times.
Bush and his team are intent on setting a precedent that will put the presidency above the law and negate the Bill of Rights. If they get away with it, Congress will have abdicated its duty to hold the executive accountable, and abandoned its obligation to represent citizens under the Constitution. We must demand that Congress stop this grab at unlawful power. —Elizabeth Skinner | Monterey