Thursday, July 27, 2006
NÚÑEZ’S BILL IS NOT GOOD FOR CONSUMERS OR
In response to Assembly Speaker Núñez’s recent letter to the editor [Letters, July 13-19] I would like to clarify a few points. Yes, we all agree that the means by which we govern emerging technologies in the telecommunications industry must be updated. The question is: How do we protect valuable community assets and ensure equitable access in the process?
Núñez’s claim that his bill—AB 2987—would not result in a loss of funding for our communities is inaccurate. Under AB 2987 Monterey stands to loose its INET—the connection between K-12 schools, the Defense Language Institute, the Aquarium and numerous other public facilities—which would result in significantly higher costs to taxpayers for high speed Internet access.
AMP (public access TV) would face an annual loss of $160,000. The proposed funding formula doesn’t take into account the facilities needs of small communities and requires all of the resources be spent on capital with nothing allocated to operations—the people at AMP who make it work.
And while current fees may go to local communities, Sacramento would control them in the future, making them subject to the political tides that govern the legislature and the drastic fluctuations that plague the state budget. Suggestions have already been made to siphon off a portion of these revenues to fund the new state bureaucracy that will need to be created to administer these state franchises.
The potential threats to our community, however, are not merely monetary. Telephone companies would be able to “cherry pick” wealthy neighborhoods and bypass low-income or rural communities as they roll out their products. The bill is so flawed that it does not even require a system for preempting cable programs for emergency broadcast messages.
That why the Monterey County Mayors Association and nearly every city in the tri-county area have opposed this bill, along with the California Library Association, AARP, the League of Women Voters and numerous others.
Yes, let’s bring the next wave of telecommunication to California, but let’s do it right. Visit www.telecom-ca.org to learn more. —Deanna Sessums | Santa Cruz
The letter-writer is the Monterey Bay regional public affairs manager of the League of California Cities.
DEMOCRATS ARE NOT LEFTISTS
Your recent article on MoveOn.org [Opinion, July 13-19] helped to promulgate what is perhaps the biggest lie in American politics today: the idea that the Democratic Party represents the “left.”
A genuine left advocates for the interests of the working class, the approximately 98 percent of the population that lives off the sale of its labor. Both major political parties in the US represent the millionaires and billionaires whose wealth comes from that labor. Both parties are committed to defending the interests of this wealthy minority against the interests of the rest of the citizenry.
On issue after issue, the Democratic Party has prostrated itself before Mr. Bush, refusing to present any serious challenge to his disastrous and wildly unpopular policies. By focusing its efforts on helping to elect Democrats, organizations like MoveOn.org serve to channel rising popular discontent into an avenue where it cannot threaten the profit margins of the wealthy and powerful. Thus, MoveOn.org does not help promote a left-wing agenda, but actually helps to stop one from advancing. —Phillip Crawford | Monterey
BISON ARE NOT NATIVE
For thousands of years my father’s ancestors the Playano Salinan People have lived in an area of Central California from Guadalupe to Big Sur along the coast and east along the Temblor and Diablo Ranges from California Valley north to Salinas. San Antonio Mission records speak of one of these ancestors who was born in 1672 (Near Islay) who had told the padres at the mission what her grandfather had told her, about what his grandfather had told him. She said he talked about strangers as far back as the 1500s coming to this land—people wanting our resources and telling us how we should live, act, and pray.
I’m telling you this why? Because recently I have been seeing on the news and reading about a small group of people calling themselves the Chumash Bison Company, who purchased buffalo and were bringing them to rest near lakes Nacimento and San Antonio, buffalo which had escaped during transporting. Like the Chumash and Lakota, the bison are strangers to this area. So it was to my surprise when I came face to face with about eight of them near Mission San Antonio (no, not the Chumash or Lakota, but the bison).
I was leaving after putting up a display about this exact same Playano Salinan ancestor at the mission when I first saw the buffalo. My mom and I sat in awe of these beautiful creatures. We knew right away that these were the buffalo that we had heard about. And then I felt sad for them—they seemed so out of place. They had followed the tule elk here. I thought, what a great gift someone has given us. Buffalo Spirit has come to visit. But what message does he bring?
After this I was reading an article that was brought to my attention by a tribal council member. It seems members of this Chumash Bison Company who had brought the bison from South Dakota were explaining how the native people should again eat bison. I kind of doubt that bison was part of my ancestors’ regular diet. However they had and still eat deer, elk, game birds, shellfish and fish. And by the way, we didn’t live in tipis.
The buffalo and the tipi are part of the Great Plains culture, for which I have a great respect. That’s why I would never enter their or any other cultural group’s traditional lands and try to impose my beliefs on them. But here we go again—strangers telling me how I’m suppose to be to be Indian.
The day that I was born I was Indian. It doesn’t matter how I dress, or what I eat. I am still Indian. Indian is who you are, not what you should be trying to be. I hope all works out for the bison. —Patti Dunton | Atascadero
The letter writer is a decendent of the Playano Salinans.
LOCAL HEROES HAVE SECRET ADMIRERS
I wonder who puts the fresh flowers every day in the hands of the Doc Ricketts bronze bust alongside the bike trail and at his tomb in the Monterey cemetery. An old lover from his time? A young admirer?
I’d also like to know who puts dimes on the gravestone of Richard Farina in the Monterey cemetery. I go to his gravesite occasionally to write poetry or write in my journal or even just to catch a peaceful nap on the lawn under the sun. It’s my special spot. But someone puts dimes on his bronze headstone. At first I thought it was just a coincidence, a dime accidentally dropped. So I picked it up and took it. The next time I went there—weeks later—there was another dime. So then I replaced it with a penny just as a test. When I went again sometime later there the penny was gone and there was another dime.
Today I rode my mountain bike there after my long morning workout ride and there was another dime. What does a dime have to do with the late poet husband of Joan Baez’s late sister, Mimi? And who is putting the dimes there?
Fun local mysteries. —Jeffrey Van Middlebrook | Pacific Grove