Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 20, 1998 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Friday, March 20, 1998
Page 4
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Forum THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAJ FRI., MARCH 20-SAT., MARCH 21, 1998 K.C. Meadows, editor. 468-3526 LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER OONREY MEDIA GROUP Donald W. Reynolds, Founder f J \,J Ukiah Dai'ly vurnal (USPS 646-920) Dennis Wilson, Publisher K C Meadows - Editor Vic Martinez • Production Manager Yvonne Bell • Office Manager Ken Bohl - Circulation Manager Member Audit Bureau _ ,„ 1998 Member Of Circulations California Newspaper Publishers Association OTHER OPINIONS from around the nation The Fresno Bee On Corcoran prison indictments Consider this: One of the prison guards that a federal grand jury indicted on charges of setting up inmates for gladiator fights at Corcoran State Prison and then shooting them had recently been promoted to a special unit within the Department of Corrections entrusted with investigating such wrongdoing. That chilling fact adds troubling substance to the allegation by the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Sacramento that "guards and other officials" intentionally sought to "stymie, delay and obstruct" the federal probe into deadly misconduct by prison guards. ... It also lends credence to the charges by whistle-blowing corrections officers, who say their lives were threatened and their careers ended when they "broke the code of silence" and told the truth about crimes and cover- ups. ... The indictments are just one more piece of evidence that Gov. Pete Wilson's administration has not been able to effectively manage the state's growing and troubled prison system.... Serious troubles at Corcoran have already been acknowledged by the department — eight inmates shot to death by guards in eight years, the firing of an associate warden and a captain, large numbers of demotions and other discipline of guards for excessive force. Add those facts to troubling whistle-blower allegations and now these federal indictments, and the picture that emerges is of a prison in serious trouble. It is time for Gov. Wilson to offer a plan to fix California's prison system. He cannot duck that responsibility. The Monitor, McAllen, Texas On Starr County convictions The situation would be comical if it weren't so tragic. Once again a Rio Grande Valley sheriff is guilty of corruption. Stan County Sheriff Gene Falcon pleaded guilty Wednesday to bribery. • The federal charges stemmed from allegations that he took kickbacks in return for steering county jail inmates to one bail bonding agent. Falcon becomes the third longtime sheriff out of the Texas' four southernmost counties to either plead guilty or be convicted of federal crimes.... Add to that the all-too-frequent indictments of area police officers, deputies and jailers, and it's easy to see how South Texas keeps its reputation as a den of corruption. When our law enforcement officials show such little regard for the very laws they are sworn and paid to uphold, drastic change is necessary. That change begins with Valley residents. The fact that so many law enforcement officials commit crimes shows they obviously believe that they can get away with it. We must change that assumption. The only way to end corruption in Valley law enforcement is to stop tolerating it. Voters need to first elect officials with impeccable records, then maintain vigilance over them and all those who serve the community. ... Letters to the Daily Journal Plea bargain insulting To the Editor: I read the UDJ story on the Sharla Driver plea bargain. As a citizen I am flabbergasted and outraged at our justice system. How can the victim's family live in this county knowing their District Attorney will deal away such a case? Julie Warbel, Susan Massini, Henry Nelson, what are you thinking? The suspect conspires to commit with others three armed robberies and a murder. She flees to Italy to avoid prosecution. The county tax dollars bring her back, obtain a confession to these crimes, only to receive probation and perhaps several months in the county jail. Where are the victims rights? Are we safe in Willits? I have spoken to some law enforcement officials in Willits and have learned that Ms. Warble is "dealing out the farm" on numerous such cases. Is Susan Massini so deep into her reelection campaign that she has dropped her leadership? Why have all her good trial attorneys left her office? Does the District Attorney's office have any guts anymore? How do our police and Sheriff work these cases knowing the defendant will get a great "plea bargain!" Is it just me or are there other victims out there in this county that feel the same way? Tony Martin Willits Time to move on To the Editor: Recently Dan Hamburg, former U.S. Representative from Mendocino County and current Green Party candidate for governor wrote a letter to the Ukiah Journal in which he suggested that the use of the word "squaw" was pejorative and outdated and that we should consider changing the name of the rock and the bread which is sold in the bakery across from the courthouse. There have been a number of letters to the editor in response. Some took the opportunity of trashing Mr. Hamburg - accusing him of ignorance and WHERE TO YOtfHE IDKPKE YOU. OOOOOUWUHU President Bill Clinton: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500; (202) 456-1 1 11, FAX (202)456-2461. Sen. Barbara Boxer: U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; (202)224-3553; San Francisco, (415) 403-0100. Sen. Dianne Feinstein: U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510. (202)224-3841; San Francisco (415)249-4777. Congressman Frank Riggs: 1st District, 1714 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-3311; Fax (202)225-3403. Field representative in Napa, Pam Simpson, 1700 Second St., Suite 378, Napa, 94559. Phone 2547308. E-mail Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin: State Assembly District 1, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, 94249-0001. (916) 4458360; Santa Rosa, 576-2526; FAX, Santa Rosa, 576-2297. Strom-Martin's field representative in Ukiah is Jennifer Puser, located at 104 W. Church St, Ukiah, 95482, 463-5770. Lake County's representative, Harry Bistrin, can be reached at 463-5771. The office's fax number is 463-5773. Senator Mike Thompson: State Senate Dis- tikt 2, Room 3056, Sacramento, 95814. (916) -145-3375; FAX (916) 323-6958. Thompson's rep- i --s. •, native, for Mendocino County is Kendall ; ;,.;..,, '•:•(•'• !'•.;;•>, P.O. Box 2208, Fort Bragg, 95437. Regional director is Kathy Hayes, located at 50 1) St. Suite 120-A Santa Rosa, 95404, 5762771. indolence. Some of the letter writers said that the word actually honors native peoples. A letter from Angel Arnold, a local woman of Porno-Wailaki- Concow heritage agreed that the word is offensive and lauded Mr. Hamburg for his community work. Most recently a humorous letter suggested changing the name to Honky Rock as a sign that white people were, after all, the victors in the genocide- colonization effort. He said we could honk at Honky Rock as we sped to our next Blue Light special. I have been following this controversy with ON A DESTRUCTIVE COURSE... interest and have recently found pertinent material in some historical research I have been doing oh Edith Van Allen Murphey who came to Mendocino County in 1903. Percy Marks was an author who was born in Covelo in the 1680s. He went to schdol in Ukiah before going on to U.C. Berkeley and Harvard. Two of his novels, "Martha" and "No Steeper Wall" deal with life in Mendocino County around the turn of the century. Mr. Marks'makes clear the degraded role and position of Native American women at the time. He has his characters use the word "squaw" freely. Jt was the common term for a Native American woman. He also uses "Chink" and "Chinky" for Chinese, "wop" for Italian, and "sheeny" for Jew. There are people who would use these last three terms today, but it is unlikely that they would defend their use for local landmarks or bakery items or suggest that their use honored the group sp named. On September 19, 1996 Gaye LeBaron of life' Santa Rosa Press Democrat had a column about the. use of the word "squaw." She says she is in favoring of changing the name of Squaw Rpck and gpeS on to tell about the origin or me term. Different lir^ guists have varying theories - ranging from one saying the word originally meant simply "woman" to those who claim its use was always pejorative, LeBaron says the term was confused with " qlcj Dutch-gutter-language term for 'vagina.'" '['. As for changing the names of landmarks', LeBaron says "In 1967 the USGS's Board of Gep^ graphic Names changed 143 places with the terrti 'nigger' in the names and 26 places with 'Jap' in the names." .'^ I agree with Angel Arnold and Dan Hamburg that the term "squaw" is a reminder of the prejudice of the past which we are struggling to overcome.;lt is time to move on together. Eliminating our ciir- rent use of the word "squaw" is a step in the riglit direction. Marcia Pratt Willftg ••*.. Media fit of morality a hoot NEW YORK ~ Adventures in Medialand during a feeding frenzy. When, in the course of human events, fate throws you into a book tour while the media are going bonkers about the president's sex life, you realize what it must feel like to be a heretic. There you are, and you're just not saying what everyone else is. To suggest that we might actually have more important political problems than President Clinton's love life is such apostasy that your professional colleagues look at you as though you'd just grown two heads. Try to bring up something you think matters to people - say, Clinton's interesting plan to get enough money to fix up the one-third of our public schools that are falling apart ~ and you might as well try to get a conversation going about the situation in Upper Volta. In truth, it is not All Monica All the Time, or even All Willey All the Time. The news channels occasionally break away to mention something like Clinton's efforts to bring about peace in Northern Ireland before they rush back to tales of groping in the Oval Office. Historical perspective is ruled inadmissible; John Kennedy apparently romped like a bunny rabbit while he was in the White House, but historians have yet to find that it affected his handling of the Cuban missile crisis. It is not titillating enough to point out that of all our 20th-century presidents, those we know had extramarital affairs include Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, while those we are fairly sure did not include Calvin Coolidge and Richard Nixon. (Not that it proves anything anyway — it's just a suggestive factoid.) Back to Monica and Paula and Kathleen. A favorite television format these days is to find women guaranteed to disagree with one another and encourage them to have at it: "Let's watch the Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist. Molly Ivins girls have a cat fight." Try to suggest that in this perfect symphony of people behaving badly, the media themselves are real high on the list and — they go right back to Monica and Paula and Kathleen. Near as I can tell, the only people keeping their heads while all about them are losing theirs are the American variety. This is annoying members of the media no end. According to the polls, Americans are having no trouble at all distinguishing between Clinton's alleged sexual misconduct - they disapprove of it emphatically — and the job he's doing as president, which they think is not bad at all. This sensible distinction is driving our public scolds to bemoan the moral decline of the nation and to announce the coming of a giant asteroid, thus raising the always-timely question, "Is God punishing us?" There are few sights more repellent than the media having a fit of morality. The other day, I was privileged to witness the cast of McLaughlin & Co. taking on the highly ponderable question ol whether Clinton might actually be the devil. Well it's a concept. The 24-hour news channels, of which there are now several, seem particularly prone to hyperventilation. They have given the story its own logo -"Investigating the President," "Crisis at the White House" ~ as though it were the Persian Gulf War- redux. j The daily bearbaiting in the White House brief-; ing room, with presidential press secretary Mike: McCurry as the embattled ursus with the hounds! slashing and snapping at him, is particularly ugly! theater since this particular bear has no claws — the; dogs know he will not slash back. Some of the; questions are not questions; they are open insults. ; An even more gruesome genre is the occasional! half-hour devoted to whether or not the media just' might possibly be overplaying this a wee tiny bit.; Someone like Jeff Greenfield presides over a sick-; ening display of self-righteousness, pomposity,; smugness and arrogance as all hands agree that' they are only "doing their job." Using Con Ed's' old slogan "Dig we must," the media meisters; attempt to convince us of the wildly ludicrous: proposition that they are not enjoying this at all. : This last squirrelly defense, "just doing our! job," is so patently untrue as to be offensive. If we! were doing our job, the allegations made by Kath-; leen Willey, which have been reported and dis-! cussed since August, would not now be front-page! news. If we were doing our job, people might be; hearing almost as much about the banking indus-; try's blatant attempt to buy its way out of lowering; the interest rates on student loans - a potential rip-! off of poor students that comes to $11 billion over! five years - as they are about Willey. • Much as I hate to join the grumpy, puritanical; Pecksniffs who keep harrumphing about other; folks' bad behavior, my colleagues in the media arei making it irresistible. ; The Daily Journal welcomes letters to the editor. Only letters that include 1 a legible signature, return address and phone number will be considered. ! Shorter, concise letters will be given preference and names will not be • withheld for any reason. All letters are subject to editing. • ' Fax to 468-3544, mail to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 749, Ukiah, ' '. 95482 or e-mail them to udj@sabcr.nci. ,

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