Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 10, 2004 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

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Ukiah, California
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Wednesday, March 10, 2004
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-WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2004 FORUM letters from our readers Enact clean money laws ; To the Editor: Besides the fact that President Bush lies every time he opens his mouth, it is ironic !that President Bush has decided to challenge the special interest fund raising of Sen. John Kerry, since he himself is taking in record amounts of contributions from Icorpprate and special interests. ; The Bush-Cheney campaign's elite fund raisers, including at least 53 federal registered lobbyists, have brought in more !than $142 million so far, for a primary in Iwhich President Bush is running unopposed. The president has accepted at least $6.5 million in funds bundled by Washington influence peddlers last year alone, 10 times what Sen. Kerry has accepted from lobbyists over 15 years. ! The only way to eliminate special inter- iest influence in the White House is to reform the Presidential funding system, <and move toward clean money elections. < Larry Kellogg i Laytonville Cuts sometimes cost more • To the Editor: I The Schwarzenegger budget proposal includes 10 percent cuts to MediCal and caps enrollment for Healthy Families. This proposal appears to be illegal under a railing made by a federal judge in December ;pf 2003. This judge granted a preliminary injunction stopping the 5 percent cuts Ifrom going into effect Jan. 1, 2004. The judge ruled: "The decision to cut fee-for;service rates across the board without analyzing die affect on services to beneficiaries is arbitrary and violates federal Jaw.'The law the judge refers to is the jSocial Security Act. This Act states that a state plan for medical assistance •(MediCal, in California) must assure that payments are "consistent with economy ;and quality of care" and are sufficient to enlist enough providers so that services are available at a level equal to those available to the general public. ;•' The California Medical Association, acting in its role as health care advocates, filed the lawsuit. The suit pointed out the fact that the number of primary care physicians, per capita, for MediCal patients was one-third less than for the general population, according to 2001 figures. Specialists accepting MediCal batients is 50 percent less than the availability to the general public. \ In addition to the physician availability issue, the proposed cuts would actually pring less money into the California economy. It turns out that for every MediCal dollar cut from the General Fund, California loses more than one federal patching dollar. From every dollar cut from Healthy Families, the state loses $2 in federal funding. i| In the Ukiah Valley, physicians accepting MediCal patients do so out of a sense ^f service to the community. It is not a financial benefit to their small businesses. A 2002 California Medical Association {Survey indicated 75 percent of physicians statewide would limit the number of llrtediCal patients they could see if further (juts were imposed. Sixty-eight percent ^aid they would stop seeing new MediCal patients. It is important to understand that this is not because there would be less profit in MediCal, it would be because the <jost of seeing MediCal patients could bankrupt their practices altogether. ! Finally, it is well-known that cuts in eligibility don't save money. This approach reduces access to care and increases the more than 6.5 million in our state who are without healthcare. People who are uninjured delay seeking medical care and end »}p sicker than they would have under better circumstances. Many patients resort to already overcrowded emergency rooms where the cost of delivering care is much Higher. Dr. Philip G. Smith President, Mendocino and Lake County Medical Society Ukiah LETTER POLICY i JThe Daily Journal welcomes letters to the editor. All letters must include a clear name, signature, return address and phone number. betters are generally published in the order ttey are received, but shorter, concise letters sfre given preference. Because of the volume of letters coming in, letters of more than 400 \$ords in length may take longer to be printed. Names will not be withheld for any rea- sfrn. If we are aware that you are connected tt> a local organization or are an elected official writing about the organization or body 4» which you serve, that will be included in your signature. If you want to make it clear ypu are not speaking for that organization, ybu should do so in your letter.All letters are subject to editing without notice. Editing i generally limited to removing statements I at are potentially libelous or are not suit- c >le for a family newspaper. Form letters t At are clearly part of a write-in campaign v ill not be published. You may drop letters off at our office at 590 S. School St., or fax Utters to 468-3544, mail to Letters to the i ditor, P.O. Box 749, Ukiah, 95482 or en ail them to udj@pacific.net. E-mail letters s lould also include hometown and a phone r imber. Other opinions From around the nation The (Vacaville) Reporter Bills will help let sun shine in on an agency out of control In the wake of recent Senate hearings into the appalling conditions at California's state prisons, two important bills have been introduced that deserve passage. Both Senate Bill 1164 and Assembly Bill 1866 would allow more media access to state prison inmates, reversing California's strict rules that currently limit journalists' ability to interview prisoners. Previous efforts to restore the power of the press in overseeing prisons were thwarted with vetoes by Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and Democrat Gov. Gray Davis. We hope Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will stand by his word that he intends to provide more openness and access to government operations and would approve any measure that might land on his desk. Few government agencies need the oversight as much as the California's troubled Department of Corrections. The Senate proposal comes from Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, who presided over the two weeks of shocking Senate hearings in which testimony from prison workers and their bosses revealed abuses, threats and an erie "code of silence," that still prevails.... Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored the Assembly bill, said his proposal would be "a cheap way to allow the public and policy-makers more insight into what goes on behind prison walls." Both measures would provide more flexibility in the timing of interviews and allow notebooks and recorders or video cameras. The point is that when a system becomes as corrupt and as unscrupulous as the Department of Corrections, more public scrutiny is not just a good idea, it's critical. We urge our lawmakers and the governor to approve either measure to allow the public to hold our prison system accountable. San Diego Union-Tribune States' issue Between a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to a man and a woman and the collapse of the traditional concept of marriage lie gay civil unions. That status should be offered, as marriage has been, by individual states, conferring on those unions the legal rights granted to married heterosexual couples. Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, passed with bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate in 1996, states would retain their right to define what marriages or unions are lawful, and what marriages or unions made in other states they wish to recognize. Moving this way toward gay civil unions nationally remains our preferred outcome. But the debate is moving too fast and too far in polarized, and polarizing, directions at both state and federal levels. ... Court decisions that conflict with a solid national majority that disapproves of gay marriage, or an amendment to the U.S. Constitution on an issue that was heretofore left and should be left to individual states: Neither approach fully corresponds to national sentiment now. ... A 2-to-l majority in the nation disapproves of gay marriage, with a slim majority approving a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit it. ... State and federal courts, however, can move more quickly to impose their interpretation of the law and how they move will greatly influence the public perception of the need for a constitutional amendment, at the federal or the state level, or both. At the moment, then, restraint is best in every venue. Compelling reasons exist to reserve marriage for a union between a man and a woman. Compelling reasons exist as well to allow gay civil unions. And not just in California is a consensus favorable to affording gays and lesbians legal rights equal to marriage evolving. Peremptory court rulings requiring gay marriage could not only stall it but reverse it into a backlash of support for an ill-advised constitutional amendment. The will of the people cannot be ignored, or coerced. It can be persuaded, and the states are the place to begin that process. WHERE TO WRITE President George Bush: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500; (202) 456-1111, FAX (202)456-2461. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: State Capitol, Sacramento, 95814. (916) 445-2841; FAX (916)445-4633 Sen. Barbara Boxer: 112 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510; (202)224-3553; San Francisco, (415) 4030100 FAX (415) 956-6701 Sen. Dianne Felnsteln: 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202)224-3841 FAX (202) 228-3954; San Francisco (415) 393-0707; senator@fein- stein.senate.gov Congressman Mike Thompson: 1st District, 119 Cannon Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-3311; FAX (202)225-4335. Fort Bragg district representative, Kendall Smith, 430 N. Franklin St., PO Box 2208, Fort Bragg 95437; 962- 0933.FAX 962-0934; www.house.gov/write rep Assemblywoman Patty Berg: State Assembly District 1, Capitol, Rm. 2137, Sacramento, 95814. (916) 319-2001; Santa Rosa, 576-2526; FAX, Santa Rosa, 5762297. Berg's field representative in Ukiah and Lake County is Kathy Kelley, located at 104 W. Church St, Ukiah, 95482, 463-5770. The office's fax number ?s 463-5773. E-mail to: assemblymember.berg@assembly.ca.gov Senator Wes Chesbro: State Senate District 2, Capitol Building, Room 5100, Sacramento, 95814. (916) 445-3375; FAX (916) 323-6958. Field Rep. in Ukiah is Jennifer Puser, P.O. Box 785, Ukiah, 95482, 468-8914, FAX 468-8931. District offices at 1040 Main St., Suite 205, Napa, 94559,2241990, 50 D St., Suite 120A, Santa Rosa, 95404, 576-2771, and 317 3rd St., Suite 6, Eureka, 95501,445-6508. Mendocino County Supervisors: Michael Delbar, 1st District; Richard Shoemaker, 2nd District; Hal Wagenet, 3rd District; Patricia Campbell, 4th District; David Colfax, 5th District. All can be reached by writing to 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1090, Ukiah, 95482, 463-4221, FAX 463-4245. bos@co.mendocino.ca.us NAT HENTOFF How Mel Gibson can clarify his intentions On Feb. 21, as the fiery debate over Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" swirled around the country, New York Board of Rabbis President Joseph Potasnik told members of his synagogue in Brooklyn that "we don't have to come to agreement on this film. We can ... walk away as friends." But then the rabbi asked why Gibson has not addressed his father's widely circulated comments some have called anti-Semitic. "The sins of the father should not be visited upon the cinema of the son," said the rabbi, as reported in the New York Post. "But love of a-parent doesn't mean you have to look the other way when a father indulges in anti-Semitism." Indeed, it's a superb opportunity for Mel Gibson — who has strenuously denied that he or his film are anti- Semitic — to speak unequivocally about comments his father, Hutton Gibson, made during a Feb. 16 radio telephone interview on "Speak your Piece!" — a program syndicated by Talkline, a major syndicator of Jewish programming in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. I emphasize I am not commenting on Mel Gibson's film until I see it. But what I am reporting and commenting on is a prototype of anti-Semitism at a time when it has been flourishing in Arab nations, increasing in Europe, and measurably existent in the United States, long before anyone heard of Gibson's movie. As Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says, "these remarks (by Hutton Gibson) should be resoundingly condemned by Christian leaders everywhere." What follows is from the transcript of Steven Feuerstein's interview with Hutton Gibson: "(The Holocaust) may not (be) all fiction, but most of it is ... there were work camps." Asked why Jews construct Holocaust museums, the elder Gibson answered: "they have to go where the money is ... they are the superior people and therefore they are entitled to the top jobs, supervisory stuff and so on, because they hire each other. They have so much influence in the banks, for instance. "I don't know what their (the Jews') agenda is except that it's all about control. They're after one world religion and one world government." At one point, Hutton Gibson, speaking of the Vatican, said that "the ones we have there are all involved in the (Jewish) plot." Asked what plot he was referring to, Hutton Gibson said the "Jewish conspiracy," the Jewish "drive for control," goes back to the time of Jesus. The Sanhedrin (the highest court of the Jews then), had a good thing going in the temple, he added. They were selling the victims to be sacrificed. And he (Jesus) went in and overturned their tables. "They knew what he was after," Hutton Gibson continued, "and they were killing him just for that. They (the Jews) cannot admit that they were wrong. They have been at it for all of history. They are the people with an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. Is the Jew still actively anti-Christian? He is, for by being a Jew, he is anti-everyone else." This almost endless construction of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy has been familiar to me since I was a boy, listening to the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin on national radio, and reading the pamphlets and magazines of the other fervent anti-Semites of the time. My children, now grown, have had practically no direct experience of this virulent anti-Semitism until recently, when they learned of swastikas being scrawled on synagogues in Jewish neighborhoods in New York, and outside Jewish centers on college campuses. On Feb. 19, at a conference in Brussels on what Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has called "a European disease," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said, according to a New York Times report, that the debate between "old anti-Semitism and new anti-Semitism" is unimportant. "It boils down to the same thing," he said, "hatred and exclusion of the Jewish people." And Gobi Benatoff, president of the European Jewish Congress said that "the monster is here with us again." Unlike many Jews in France, who have suffered what many consider the worst onslaught of anti- Semitism since World War II, American Jews have no intention of leaving the country, lest the monster emerges here. «, But it's useful for all Americans to recognize that the "European disease" has never been entirely cured in this nation, either. And if Mel Gibson is actually concerned about that, he should speak firmly to what his father — fully utilizing his First Amendment rights — is saying. And where — as Rabbi Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center asks — are the condemnations of Hutton Gibson's comments from the Christian leaders? Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. Visit our web site at ukiahdailyjournal.com email us at udj@pacific.net The Ukiah DAILY JOURNAL Publisher: Kevin McConnell Editor: R.C. Meadows Advertising director: Cindy Delk Office manager: YVonne Bell Circulation director: Daniel Miller Qroup systems director: Sue Whitman Mtmbcr Audit Bureau Of Circulation* M*mtwr(

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