Thursday, December 13, 2001
This letter registers my profound grief over the cover story in your Dec. 6 paper ("The Lord''s Player"). As a longtime resident and regular reader of your newspaper, I found the story not worthy of your usual style. As I read the article, I was reminded of the old "Amos and Andy" show and the many caricatures that have been written insulting the African-American Culture. I want you to know that I am not a member of the Bethel Baptist Church, or even a Baptist at all, but the scenes you depicted in your story were quite familiar to me. The manner of the presentation (the cutesy style, the way in which the writer seemed to be making fun of a way of life, and particularly a church scene) was not amusing to me. I hope your writers will learn that there are many different cultures and ways of life in this country. None of them, I am sure, would appreciate you making fun of them. It is very important to me that the media try at least to bring people together, not try to separate them. After this article, I''m not sure I want to read your newspaper anymore. Also, combining the celebration of the church anniversary (which is very important in the African-American church) with the charges that have been made against Rev. Lusk was in very poor taste. Maybe our community could have some dialogue with you and your writers on what is sacred in our community.
Helen B. Rucker, Seaside
Crock of E. coli
I read with some interest and lots of skepticism the information cited in this week''s Weekly regarding the noble volunteer work that the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Citizens'' Water Monitoring Network is doing ("Doo Diligence, " Dec. 6). I have to say that because my wife is one of them. No, really, I support this project''s goals to collect, evaluate, and educate on the subject of polluted storm drains runoff. However, one of my wife''s cohorts--one Bridget Hoover--was quoted as suggesting that the high levels of E. coli found in the Peninsula''s storm drain water might be as much from human feces as animal. I really doubt that.
I''m a plumbing contractor and I''ve seen more exposed sewer mains in the public streets than I care to brag about. Typically these lines are quite deep and rarely come very close to underground storm drain pipes. My suspicion is that 98 percent or more of all storm drain E. coli derives from animals, wild and domestic. This Peninsula is not only home to swarms of "hooved locusts" (aka deer) and diseased raccoons and bazillions of pooping birds, but for some odd reason this is a haven for misanthropic dog and cat lovers.
I think the suggestion made in the article that there be DNA testing to see if the E. coli is human or animal is throwing good money and resources after bad. Now, trying to find solutions to petroleum products (gasoline, oil, etc.) and detergents coming through the storm drains seems a more feasible and reasonable objective, though even here there are major obstacles. It''s really cool to have an intellectual grasp of an issue, but sometimes what''s in the mind cannot translate to reality. Urban runoff will never be pollution-free and every body of water on earth is tainted with E. coli.
Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, Pacific Grove
An American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) meeting I attended recently brought out some very important points--how our civil liberties are being eroded away by the war on terrorism, especially the Patriot Act, and how innocent suspects, or those with only superficial ties to terrorism, may be tried in military tribunals and sentenced to death with no chance to appeal. Also frightening are government intrusions on privacy--wiretapping, reading e-mail, conducting searches without proper warrants, etc.
But the privacy issue raises some burning questions in my mind. The terrorists operate in secrecy, and very successfully. They infiltrate easily in our open society, getting flying lessons, and even, as one terrorist did, joining our American Special Forces. They fund themselves through charities. They recruit with impunity in American mosques. How can our government locate and identify terrorists, and fight such widespread, sinister and secret organizations without resorting to some degree of secrecy? Can we afford to let any of these terrorists slip through the cracks? Should we fight fire with fire? If we do, will we be burning some of our own bridges?
Bruce Cowan, Pacific Grove