Thursday, August 16, 2007
DON’T FORGET HISTORY
Thank you for Kera Abraham’s article “History Burns” [July 26-Aug. 1], which outlines the history of discrimination against the Chinese in the Monterey area, and also mentions the Chinese Exclusion Act, which many people are ignorant of. The article also recognizes the contributions of the Chinese to the area and questions the authenticity of Pacific Grove’s Feast of Lanterns, rightly so.
The Monterey community needs to revisit traditions from time to time, and now is a good time to review the Feast of Lanterns. Though well-organized, well-intended, and well-attended, the festival does not genuinely reflect Chinese heritage in Monterey and by omission does not take ownership for blatant hostility toward the Chinese in the past.
Where are the authentic voices and stories of the early Chinese? Reenactments of this history would be more meaningful than a colorful parade of red lanterns and fireworks (which were invented by the Chinese). We need to hear the histories of the families of that time period and to reach out to the local Chinese communities. A good begining would be to read Sandy Lydon’s Chinese Gold.
The young women honored as princesses deserve to be recognized. However, Chinese princesses did not create this country; poor, hard-working immigrants did. I hope that the schools teach the history of Monterey to include contributions of all immigrants. I am a second generation Chinese-American who grew up in San Benito County and I remember only two sentences in our social studies textbooks that mentioned the Chinese in the early history of California.
I look forward to coming back to California, hopefully to retire in the Monterey Bay area, where my parents live. To not acknowledge Pacific Grove’s racist past is an omission that will be passed on to newer generations. — Alice Lum | New Jersey
DON’T %$#@&* APOLOGIZE
I was somewhat irritated that Eric Johnson felt compelled to offer any rationale at all for his editorial direction at the Weekly [Local Spin, Aug. 2-8]. One thing that pisses me off is how most of the media defines “freedom of the press” to mean freedom for them but not for the rest of us to have unbridled access to expression in the public forum. This is certainly true for 99 percent of all newspapers, TV and radio. But except for a few rare times, the Monterey County Weekly allows a very uncommon access to the public forum.
Just look at how the Weekly allows its readers to submit letters with words like “fuck” and “piss” and “fart” without the childish and insulting censorship we can expect from most other newspapers. America touts itself as the bastion for freedom and liberty in the world yet the media here persists in treating its citizens as if we are little kids. But the Weekly does not treat us in this way, and for that I applaud its editorial staff and ownership.
I recall several years ago when the paper was known as the Coast Weekly and it ran a front-page story about nudism. On the cover was a bare-bottomed person. Nothing censored. As a lifelong nudist myself (“naturist,” as my European friends call it) I was impressed to see a newspaper on this geriatric Monterey Peninsula do such an honest report. Keep it up, MCW! And don’t apologize, Eric. — Jeffrey Van Middlebrook | Pacific Grove
DON’T ABANDON MOBILE-HOME OWNERS
Two-thirds of affordable homes in the US are manufactured housing. A rent stabilization ordinance for mobile homes would preserve Marina’s affordable housing stock, demonstrate a commitment to the elder population, and prevent excessive rent increases while providing park owners a reasonable return on their investments.
The Marina City Council has again turned its back on elder citizens in favor of out-of-town park owners. Without a rent stabilization ordinance, mobile-home owners, who must rent the land on which their homes sit, fall victim to the volatility of rent increases. The expense and difficulty in moving most manufactured homes creates a captive market of mobile-home owners, a significant portion of whom survive on Social Security, a fixed income tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Under rent stabilization, annual increases would be similarly based on the local CPI.
Without an ordinance, our most vulnerable citizens are at the mercy of profiteers. Why does the council continue to act in the interest of large businesses over the interest of its own citizens? — Ruth S. Weaver | Marina