A-4 Forum THE UKIAH DAILY JOUf iSIMediaNews Group Ukiah Daily tusre 844-wo) Dennis Wilson, Publisher K.C. Meadows-Edlor Dean AbboM - Advertising Director Vic Martinez -Production Manager Wonne Bel • Office Manager ; OTHER OPINIONS . from around the nation The (Ventura County) Star A second chance to do what's right Gambling interests set a record in 1998 by • Spending $92 million fighting over Proposition 5 ; on the November statewide ballot. The initiative would have granted California's native tribes , authority to offer wagering on reservation land, and was viewed as a serious threat by Nevada casinos and California's card rooms, off-track betting par- Jors and race tracks. Together, they spent $25.7 million trying to defeat it. • The tribes, for whom the stakes were no less ' Jrigh, spent even more: $66.3 million. Unlike the • .casinos, the tribes got what they paid for,.as 63 per\ -cfent of voters approved the initiative. * ' I Ultimately, however, the casinos won the battle. • ^Ehey sued, and in August the California Supreme I -Court issued a deeply flawed ruling overturning the • [initiative.... • ' • Although the court majority was wrong, there's '. no appealing the ruling. That's why California vot- ; lers will face another Indian gaming initiative this '. -year. Proposition 1A on the March 7 ballot will ; -make a minor change in the constitution, specifical- . ;ly allowing the kind of Indian-run games voters ; -Bought they were authorizing in 1998. The funda- • "mental arguments of fairness and economic equity ! -have not changed in the intervening 15 months, and ; !the Star recommends a Yes vote. ; T - Under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory '. ;Act of 1988, tribal gambling operations must con; Iform with the laws of the state in which the reser- ; vation is located.... Tribes were unhappy with lim- ; its in the compacts offered by the administration of Gov. Pete Wilson and sponsored Proposition 5 as a >way around them. v ;• • This administration is different. In September, Gov. Gray Davis signed agreements with 57 tribes Allowing a broader range of games, including lucrative slot machines. Those agreements, supported by the majority of the state's tribes, will take effect only if voters approve Proposition 1A. The safeguards in the initiative are adequate — limits on the number of machines, a requirement that revenues be shared with state and local governments, appropriate environmental and land-use regulations — and the benefits of Indian gaming are undeniable.... Gambling operations have reduced unemployment and welfare dependency on reservations, and contributed to a developing sense of self-sufficiency and pride. These accomplishments should be allowed to continue. Proposition 1A offers Californians a chance to do the right thing — again — for the state's native tribes. The San Diego Union-Tribune Growth of Indian gaming casinos Be a responsible pet owner To the Editor: Companion animal overpopulation in the United States results in the euthanization of six to eight million dogs and cats each year. Although many of these animals are healthy and adoptable, the sheer number of them outweighs the availability of good homes. America's taxpayers bear the cost of picking up, housing and ultimately killing these homeless animals - as much as $100 for each one in some jurisdictions. Millions more cats and dogs never even make it to shelters. They are abandoned by their guardians and ultimately die after suffering from starvation, exposure or disease. Now for some good news! An innovative program called Spay Day USA has made great strides in overcoming this tragedy. Spay Day USA celebrates its sixth anniversary on Feb. 29, and has a simple objective: encourage every humane American to take responsibility for having one cat or dog spayed or neutered. The Humane Society would like to suggest that people try to go one step further. If your own animals are already spayed or neutered, why not try to encourage a friend or loved one to do the same? Offering to help with time or money can really make a big difference to someone who only needs a gentle nudge,in the right direction from a friend setting a good example. Altering our pets prevents the births of unwanted puppies and kittens and, by extension, needless suffering and deaths. At the Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County, we plan to spend the entire month of February encouraging our community to participate in helping to reduce pet overpopulation. We will be offering dog and cat Spay/Neuter Vouchers to people who might otherwise be unable to have their animals spayed or neutered. By helping share the cost, we hope to help people become more responsible for their animal companions. Vouchers are limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis, so we ask if people can afford to pay the cost of their pet's operation, please do so. Donations to our Spay/Neuter Voucher Program will also be greatly appreciated and will help with ourgoals. The motto of Spay/Neuter Day 2000 is "Every Spay/Neuter Counts!" with these simple words of encouragement in mind, lets work together to help reduce Mendocino County's pet overpopulation. For more information about our Spay/Neuter Voucher Program, please call the Humane Society at 485-0123, and thank you for being responsible for your pets. Katie Winkler The Board of Directors of The Humane Society for Inland Mendocino "• " '••' - County Redwood Valley Disability nobody's business To the Editor: I would like to express my frustration to the older population of Ukiah. First of all, I have on many occasions visited my local Albertson's and banks - almost every time, or at least in my opinion, ail too often have been approached by both men and women who assume that because I park in the handicap parking and display my plaque, that I am not entitled to park there. I do understand there are people in this county that illegally park there that should not be. However, just because I am young in age does not afford you the right to assume I am not entitled to park there. I have many times asked you to mind your own business and will continue to do so. If you have a problem with my parking in those handicap slots, then I encourage you to phone the authorities and let them check me and my plaque out. Secondly, because you do not visually see me on if ME" ROJSiM Lose we/&Hr TVBe A\Jf£ FOOD! THEft«'j PLhfJZ ELS£ Tb fa ALL you CAM EAT BecAfff IT Q£ SWCe.-5/CKtJESI Do Mo OF COST, AT OUR RATE OF ONLY 4>«foA1|U.|6M/ crutches, or a cane, or bald, does not give you the right to determine whether I am handicapped or not. Furthermore, I would appreciate you all not asking me why I park there. This is very offensive. My disability is none of your business. Perhaps a suggestion to you from me is to occupy your time in a more appropriate manner - put forth that energy you spend on me toward our community and volunteer your services somewhere. I hope when I reach my golden years, I am not as unhappy as so many of you that have approached me about this. It is a total waste of your energy and of my time. G.Hernandez Ukiah More about teaching To the Editor: I have one question for Janice Lombardi and for all the other teachers in public education: Did you join the teaching profession for financial gain or for the desire to teach? If financial gain and security were your goals, it certainly doesn't take a college degree to realize from past knowledge that the profession of teaching has seldom provided such rewards. The rewards lie in.knowing.that as a teacher, you have inspired a child and provided him or her with a solid foundation for learning. If the true dedication is there, the lack of money, the lack of supplies, the lack of classrooms, and the lack of any/all other associated factors in the profession of teaching are incidental. Perhaps you should seek employment in the administration sector of education. That seems to be where the big bucks are now-a-days. Linda Plate Redwood Valley Sees attack on property rights To the Editor: This letter is regarding the Jan. 21 article on the county Planning Commission meeting discussing the Ukiah Valley Area Plan. I attended the meeting, along with more than 100 others. I doubt anyone at this meeting wants to see the quality of life or beauty of this wonderful valley diminished. What we are concerned with is our property rights and the financial impact of this plan, and is this impact being borne fairly by all residents of the valley. Are the property rights of a few being usurped for the good of the many, with no regard for the few? For instance, the new plan calls for minimum parcel sizes of 80 acres, (changed from 20 acres) or public hiking trails, where none presently exist, through private property. There is no concern for the plans individual owners may have for their property or the financial loss we will experience. To make this clearer, let's look at a hypothetical example. Say Ukiah City Council was entertaining a plan to beautify the streets of the city. Part of this plan would involve 75 houses at strategic locations that they wanted to look "just right." So these 75 houses would have to be painted a certain color, no cars could be parked in front of them or in the driveway, and they could never be remodeled or added on to. These mandates would certainly effect the values of these properties and the owners' future plans. And if one of them was yours, how would you feel? Friday's article quoted Eric Larson of the city Planning Commission, who said "As a planning commissioner, I listen to a lot of people with individual concerns but I have to go with the collective needs." He also stated the needs of the community ultimately outweigh "personal financial agendas." Well, getting back to the above scenario: If you owned one of the 75 houses affected, do you feel the problem has to dp with your "personal financial agenda" or is the city government passing policy that diminishes your property rights and personal assets? Your assets have been made worth less for the good of the community. Now call me crazy, but shouldn't the whole community bear the costs of community improvement, not just a few unfortunate folks who happen to live in the path of the Planning Commission's dreams? And now that I've mentioned costs, the county does not have the one-quarter to one-half million dollars needed to implement this plan. This partial estimate only included immediate costs such as creek and river repair, road improvement, park See LETTERS, Page A-5 ; '. My, what a difference a couple of years can make. In 1998, Nevada casinos were pitching into California's Indian tribes like Custer at the Little Bighorn, with pretty much the same results, pespite the casinos spending $60 million to defeat Proposition 5, the measure approving Indian gaming passed overwhelmingly. ; Today, the Nevada casino money again is cascading into California. But, this time, it's in support of Indian gaming. Last week's announcement of a tentative agreement between North County's Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and Harrah's Entertainment to build a $100 million casino and hotel... could usher in a new era, not only for California and the Indians, but for San Diego County in particular. Indian gaming has brought prosperity to the Barona, Sycuan and Viejas tribes while also helping fuel the county's economy. The sparkling outlet mall next to the Viejas casino and the Baronas' plans for a new resort built around a championship golf course indicate that the swell of prosperity will continue. The addition of Harrah's to the county gaming mix — the deal is contingent only on the passage of Proposition 1A, a state constitutional amendment that would legalize Las Vegas-style casino gambling on reservations — could turn that swell into a tsunami. Harrah's is an international giant, and whatever kind of hotel/casino it builds along the San Luis Rey River on state Route 6 will have an impact on the entire county. ... And there is the possibility of five other county tribes closing gambling deals soon.... (San Diego County) is well on the way to becoming the gambling mecca of the most populous state in the union. The Ukiah Daily Journal's email address is: email@example.com. A happy ending to a trashy tale I am sure that all of you are as tired of reading about garbage, as I am writing about it. Well, I have some good news for you. Come Feb. 8, the final chapter of the decade-long serial epic, "The Garbage Chronicles," may be written. Finis. No Mas. The End. Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish. You might say the Board of Supervisors has a date with destiny on that second Tuesday in February. As the authors of this county's solid waste policy, the Supes can ink the last installment of a narrative replete with more plot twists, dead-ends, red herrings, and false leads than an Agatha Christie mystery. Scheduled for action Feb. 8 are decisions on a pair of solid waste transfer stations planned for Ukiah and Willits. If the Supes give the nod to both projects, two large pegs will be driven into two large holes in long-term solid waste policy. Evolving since 1990, that two-fold policy entails closing all local landfills and then shipping all garbage to out-of-county dumps. The means which justify the end are transfer stations, the mid-point in the waste stream flow, where garbage is amalgamated from the county's four corners for shipment outtahere. Trash hauler Jerry Ward, owner of Solid Waste of Willits, already has in hand permitting approvals to build a long-haul transfer facility in Willits. In the past two weeks, the BOS and the cities of Fort Bragg and Willits OK'd draft or conceptual agreements to send north county trash to a Solano County landfill via Ward's way stop. On Feb. 8, those separate contracts will be consolidated into a joint powers agreement, with the three entities in accord to direct almost one-half Jim Shields is the publisher of the Mendocino County Observer in Laytonville. JIM SHIELDS Political type of the county's overall 51,000 tons of annual garbage to the Willits transfer facility. If the Supes, as expected, approve the final agreement, north county trash problems are solved for the next 15 years, with ratepayers benefiting from a 4 percent to 10 percent reduction in trash bills. The other half of the solid waste equation presently calls for Ukiah-based Solid Wastes Systems to construct a transfer station on its Taylor Drive property. I'm not gping to re-plow old ground here by reciting a litany of well-publicized particulars. It's enough to say that the Taylor Drive project was denied a use permit by the county Planning Commission. On Feb. 8, the Supes will determine Taylor Drive's fate when they hear the SWS appeal. There's a lot riding on the outcome. One way to look at it, especially from the perspective of a solid waste pacifist, is the Garbage Wars end if the Supes reverse the Planning Commission by issuing Taylor Drive's use permit. If that occurs, everything falls into place: Ukiah closes its landfill on schedule next November, and the remainder of the county's waste stream is processed through Taylor Drive to its final resting place puttahere. If the Taylor Drive project is deep-sixed, it's back to the drawing board, along with a 2-year to 3-year timeline for any new project. At this Tuesday's meeting, even though the topic under discussion was a proposed commercial recycling program, the trash monster raised its ugly head. As the Supes argued over recycling fees, incentives, transfer station "windfalls,"; and subsidies, Mike Delbar reminded his colleagues that, "We're so close in this next month on wrapping up such a big portion of the solid waste issue in this county with the transfer stations." ' With the board mired down in a protracted clash about trash, an annoyed David Colfax characterized the debate as just another "involved, convoluted, unique, situation-specific, complicjjt- ed and very boring discussion about garbage.* Addressing Colfax's complaint that unresolved garbage issues once again were being ^re- churned," Tom Lucier likened the trash dialogue to "manure being spread about." [ < In the past, Patti Campbell has pointed her*finger to "the elephant on the table that nobody wants to talk about" whenever garbage policy is discussed. Patti's pachyderm, if you will, is the derailed North State Street transfer station sp<&i- sored by the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority. That failed project will continued cast a long shadow over the solid waste landscape until the Supes determine the fates of the otKer two transfer stations. I > The opportunity to wrap up "a big porti6fix)f the solid waste issue in this county with the trafls- fer stations" presents itself on Feb. 8. I'm richer looking forward to the session. So should y<}u. Just think about it. On that day, the Supes once and for all can: ••-' • Stop "manure from being spread about." • . • • Evict from the premises "the elephant or/the table that nobody wants to talk about." '»••:' » Forever abolish,"involved, convoluted, unique, situation-specific, complicated and ve.ry boring discussions about garbage." ' "• And, as an additional bonus, if the Supes do their part on Feb. 8,1 solemnly swear to never, ever again write about garbage. I mean it, and I ain't just trash-talkin.'
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