Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 14, 2004 · Page 6
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 6

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Ukiah, California
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Sunday, March 14, 2004
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Page 6
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A-6 - SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 2004 FORUM Letters from our readers In our opinion VIEWPOINTS Little League needs an assist To the Editor: A burglary occurred at the South Ukiah Little League complex on Wednesday night. Stolen was over $2,000 worth of field equipment including a pitching machine valued at $1,500. These machines are used by the players for both practices and games. The league is now left with only one pitching machine for over 20 teams and 350 players to use to get ready for the upcoming season. The board is devastated to know that there are people out there that would do this type of thing to such a worthy and well respected organization such as Little League. We are attempting to replace this equipment as fast as possible. Unfortunately we find ourselves short of the available funds to purchase a pitching machine. We would be very grateful for any donations from businesses and individuals in the area to assist in this effort. If you would like to donate, checks can be made out to South Ukiah Little League or SULL. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 1197 in Ukiah. If you would like to contact a board member please phone 4688800. Finally, if anyone in the community has any information about this crime please contact the Ukiah Police Department at 463-6242. Now, more than ever, we will continue to instill the principles of Little League baseball in all of our boys and girls: Character, Courage and Loyalty. David Head and the Board of Directors South Ukiah Little League Don't blame the cleanup To the Editor: For a dozen years Rebecca Kress has organized cleanups and tried to educate the public about the need to show some respect for the Russian River, which provides an abundance of natural beauty, recreational opportunities and water for our community. How ironic that the person most responsible for these cleanups should come under attack for writing a letter of thanks to the volunteers and organizations which participated in the latest cleanup. Thaddeus P. Now says he had "a couple of dozen" homeless people in his neighborhood before the cleanup and now has "about 50" although he later refers to "an extra 30-40," presumably in addition to the original two dozen. Mr. Now tosses out numbers as freely as criticism, but none of it adds up. Before the cleanup, about six people lived at the river and some may have joined the half dozen or so who already lived along the tracks between Ford and Brush streets. Larger numbers gather during the day. But why should any landowner or neighborhood have to put up with people who are unable or unwilling to practice the most basic levels of personal responsibility? The people living at the river were not boy scouts on a camporee. Hypodermic needles were found at almost every campsite. Garbage, including plastic and other toxic materials, was being burned, discarded in the underbrush or thrown in the river. Trees were cut down, vegetation was cleared for campsites, new trails were made and steps to the river were cut into the bank. Few people displayed the common sense ability to dig a hole to dispose of their human waste. Is it a success to stop this from happening at the river and cleanup the mess? Of course it is. The week after the cleanup, most of the tent sites were swept by flood waters, so the volunteers prevented a large volume of trash from going down the river and may See LETTERS, Page A-7 LETTER POLICY The Daily Journal welcomes letters to the editor. All letters must include a clear name, signature, return address and phone number. Letters are generally published in the order they are received, but shorter, concise letters are given preference, Because of the volume of letters coming in, letters of more than 400 words in length may take longer to be printed. Names will not be withheld for any reason. If we are aware that you are connected to a local organization or are an elected official writing about the organization or body on which you serve, thai will be included in your signature. If you want to make it clear you are not speaking for that organization, you should do so in your letter.All letters are subject to editing without notice. Editing is generally limited to removing statements that are potentially libelous or are not suitable for a family newspaper. Form letters that are clearly part of a write-in campaign will not be published. You may drop letters off at our office at 590 S. School St., or fax letters to 468-3544, mail to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 749, Ukiah, 95482 or e- tnail them to udj@pacific.net. E-mail letters should also include hometown and a phone number. ON EDITORIALS Daily Journal editorials are written by Editor K.C. Meadows with the concurrence of Publisher Kevin McConnell. New homeless policy needed? In today's letters is a response to a reader who wrote that the cleanup at the Russian River had driven too many homeless people into a residential neighborhood near him. The first letter also took Rebecca Kress (known to many as The River Lady for her years of effort to keep the Russian River clean) to task and insisted that she should take on cleaning up the residential neighborhood where the homeless now reside. We agree with today's letter writer that Rebecca Kress is not at fault for whatever number of homeless people have congregated in that residential neighborhood. We also agree that the Ford and Brush street areas along the railroad tracks have long been a hangout for the homeless. It has become apparent that no matter what facilities are offered the homeless, some simply do not want shelter. They want to live outdoors in what seems to them comfort - and, as today's letter writer noted, able to continue to abuse whatever substance has become their habit. The Ukiah Valley will soon have a permanent homeless shelter. When that becomes available we know it will be a won- derful thing for the many homeless individuals and families who do want to get back on track. But for a good number of drunk, drugged or mentally ill homeless, the river and the railroad tracks will still be the preferred choice. With a permanent homeless shelter in sight, perhaps it is time for our city and county officials to begin planning what can and should be done to discourage the homeless from making camp in the outdoors. We have spent a good deal of money and time getting a permanent shelter in place. It may now be time to give thought to creating a no-camping outdoors policy in this area and giving the homeless a choice: use the shelter or move on. What do you think? When our permanent homeless shelter is open should we make a concerted effort to move homeless people off of our streets and out of our neighborhoods? Should they agree to go to the shelter or be sent to jail for vagrancy? How could this be enforced, given the overstretched police and sheriff's departments? Let's hear your ideas. to 1U6 <36CR&T CHAMBER. What's your value? Carleen Haygood was recently sentenced to six years in prison for causing the death of her mother, in a casej)that has been controversial from the very beginning. The question asked regarding this case; is this justice or injustice? Whether or not justice was served, a valuable life was lost. How valuable? That depends, because society and our legal system have been allowed to determine that value based on several things. Are you a working member of society or are you unemployed? Are you homeless or otherwise a burden to society? If you work, what do you do? Are you a secretary, firefighter, laborer, teacher? All have different values, you know. Are you young or old or somewhere in between? Age does matter, as well as condition. Take a moment to consider: would our reactions have been different if a young child had been run over instead of an old woman? Another voice BYRANDYjOHN80N As a society, we have long recognized the need to protect our children, but what about our elders? Like children, many of our elders have the same need to be protected. As life takes its toll, caring for some elders may seem like a burden. Society and our legal system reinforce that perception, and therefore, the "value" of our elders changes with the level of burden they cause, as well as their attitude. If they are grumpy, nasty, rude or otherwise unpleasant, their "value" is further diminished. Americans are always in a hurry, and when elders are in our way, we often get angry and impatient. However, if we are slowed to same level by a child we are likely to consider that an investment in the future! There are many people who give great amounts of their time for youth sports and activities, but how many people donate their time to do anything for the seniors? Seniors are a wealth of information and can give very vivid details to some of the most horrific and spectacular events of the past. This is a "value" that a younger person can't provide. We have lost a great deal of our compassion for others and we have moved into the arena of only being concerned if it affects us. Each of us may have a different personal feeling or "value" that we place on people, but understand that every human life is valuable regardless of their age, race, income or any other "classification" that we may use to describe them. Randy Johnson is a Ukiah resident. 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 Felnstein: 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 is 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. Mendoclno 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 Eaters, not servers responsible for fat The House of Representatives this week passed legislation shielding the restaurant industry from suits by obese people attempting to blame the food industry for their weight problem. Democrats will say this is unnecessary but the legal community is gearing up as I write to begin suing the fast food industry for making people fat and unhealthy. How do I know that? Well, for one thing, a family member in law school was assigned to do a brief on it and I suspect budding attorneys across the nation are being led to the conclusion that the best way to protect us from ourselves is to protect us from all the poor decisions we make in life. When companies like McDonald's got going in the 1950s and became hugely successfully through the 1970s, we were just beginning to talk about being fat, about heart disease, exercise and other health issues we now take for granted. Let's face it, up until 20 or so years ago, eggs and bacon for breakfast every day was still considered a healthy breakfast. Red meat and potatoes was the staple for dinner. Remember the advent of salad bars in the mid 1970s? It was considered a novel thing to have salad as a main meal. Since then we have learned more. And the fast food industry has been required to give consumers the information - damning as it is - about the high fat content of its food. The industry has also made it a point to offer salads and other menu items to give consumers a choice and keep its market share among people who don't want to eat cheeseburger and fries anymore. Now I don't advocate a lot of fast food in the diet. It is bad for you and way too many people eat it regularly because it is cheap and, well, fast. But while these attorneys are looking to blame the fast food industry for the obesity that is rampant in our nation today, what are they doing about what I consider one of the root causes of the obesity, which is the the fact that millions of Americans can't afford to eat well? Try feeding a family of five or six on fresh veggies and fruit. When you are on a budget - and I've been there in my time -1 know that if I go to the Grocery Outlet I can get five boxes of quick macaroni and cheese for a dollar. Or I can walk into a supermarket and spend $1.69 on one head of lettuce. Which am I likely to buy? I can take my family of five to McDonald's for dinner and spend $20. That amount would barely buy snacks for that family in the grocery stores. '(Are middle class and wealthy people in America suffering from widespread obesity? No.) The legislation passed by the Hojuse is already being lumped with GOP attempts to shield the tobacco and gun industries which in my mind are very different things. For one thing, the tobacco industry deliberately tired to hide the lethal effects of its product and the gun industry also denies that it knowingly manufactures guns that are targeted for the criminal market. But no one can say that there was no way of knowing that eating a supersized cheeseburger and fries with a high-sugar soda four or five times a week isn't good for you. There have been numerous news reports about it for couple of decades now and it is even in the mainstream culture. Comedians make jokes abut it, movies refer to it all the time. Remember "City Slickers,"when the tough cowboy is found dead of a heart attack and one character says something like, "Well, he ate bacon every morning for breakfast and you can" do that." Everybody knows this stuff is bad for you as a regular diet. I know this cause will be taken up by the "all corporations are bad and need to be shut down" folks because that" a lot easier than admitting that as individuals we are not doing enough (while we accumulate computer toys, eat our expensive organic foods and work to stop rainforest demolition) to actually get more good food to the people who are eating regularly at McDonald's. You think they wouldn't rather wander a farmer's market with enough money to actually feed their families? When the folks who want to insist on shutting down fast food companies come up with a way to distribute good fresh healthy foods that taste good, by the billions of pounds, at hugely discounted prices, make it appealing and make it fast, and advertise it everywhere, obesity will begin to subside. Of course then we'd have to shut down those greedy corporations top. K.C. Meadows is the editor of the Daily Journal. The Ukiah DAILY JOURNAL Publisher: Kevin McConnell Editor: K.C. Meadows Advertising director: Cindy Delk Office manager: Yvonne Bell Circulation director: Daniel Miller Group systems director: Sue Whitman M»mb«r Audit Bureau 01 Circulations MarrUwr California Nawtpapar Publlahar* At*ocl«tlon

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