Thursday, December 6, 2001
Let''s get a few things straight. Local produce companies, supplying product to the food service industry, sell mainly to distributors, which then distribute the items to operators. The produce company rarely knows if a particular carton of lettuce they pack is headed to a school, a hospital, or your local Denny''s. Perhaps Du Verrier should talk to her distributor about helping her cut costs; the same distributor that is constantly squeezing price contracts from the shipper and, even more frustrating, charging them "marketing allowances" to help cover costs (marketing allowances are called slotting fees in the retail side of the business). In a vast majority of cases, the distributor is making money on the school district''s produce purchases, not local produce companies.
Even more unsettling is the fact that your story failed to mention the enormous amounts of nutrition-based education that is done by local produce companies to elementary school children free of charge. My first produce marketing job was sending out education kits on fresh broccoli to schools throughout the country. That was twenty years ago and the company that paid me to do it is still doing it today--for FREE. That same company even built and maintains an entire Web site for educators and kids on fresh broccoli and good nutrition.
Shame on the Weekly and shame on Du Verrier for misrepresenting how our food distribution system really works and for ignoring the enormous nutrition education efforts made by the local produce industry.
I''d also like to add that I am third generation agriculture and my grandfather, my father, and myself are not multimillionaires. If there are "multimillionaires" all around, so what. They made their money the hard way, they earned it, and they certainly give enough of it away. If you had done your homework, you''d know that.
LORRI A. KOSTER, SALINAS
Worried About Tribunal
The contents of the President''s Executive Order setting up military tribunals scare me to no end, even though I fly the flag and wear a red-white-and-blue pin. If America needs to abrogate its freedom in the name of protecting its freedom, the terrorists have won. I have more faith in America than those in the administration who argues that Sept. 11 changed American concepts of fairness and due process.
The executive order appeals to the xenophobia in America by applying its provisions only to non-citizens. I have my problems with anyone who would destroy our constitution. The Constitution is the Law of the Land and must be defended from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is reported that an American Taliban fighter is in U.S. custody. Should he be treated better than other Taliban fighters because he happened to be an American citizen bearing arms against his country? The new executive order requires only one third of the tribunal to convict and execute (that is, "two-thirds of the members of the commission present at the time of the vote, a majority being present") In simple terms, a tribunal of 11 requires only four members to convict and execute. Who is eligible to be tried by such a tribunal? Any non-citizen whom the President and delegated subordinates designate as a terrorist.
The history of this nation in the use of military tribunals is not a pretty one. Shortly after World War II ended, a kangaroo court hastily convicted and executed General Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malay." Most jurists and historians believe that Yamashita''s real crime was that of being the only general to have defeated General Douglas MacArthur.
The executive order eliminates all rights of appeal. Military tribunals never make mistakes? The administration would have us believe that their intentions are good and therefore there would not be inequities and mistakes in the execution of the executive order. I side with the framers of the Constitution, especially John Adams, who believed in a government of Laws, not men. I believe in the Constitution of the United States and its provisions for due process. Americans should not abandon it simply because we are scared.
XAVIER K. MARUYAMA, MONTEREY