By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Contact us via voice mail at (714) 825-8432, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or write to Letters to the Editor, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Or fax: (714) 708-8410. Visit our Web site at www.ocweekly.com. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. All correspondence must include your home city or service provider and a daytime phone number.UNJUST SENTENCEThe harsh prison sentence handed down to Marvin Chavez should alert us to the degree that our freedom has been usurped by the government (Nick Schou's "Criminal Prosecution," Feb. 5). Whether Chavez had technically violated the wording of the voter-passed Proposition 215 should be irrelevant. In prosecuting, convicting and sentencing Chavez, the government has nullified the law's intent and at the same time let its citizens know just who is in control.Chavez's conviction as well as the recent arrest of former Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby and his wife (Victor Infante's "Dope Show!" Jan. 29) and the government shutdown of all California cannabis clubs serve as high-profile warnings by the state and federal governments that-like a communist society -the people are mere children, incapable of governing themselves.In denying Chavez probation, Orange County Judge Thomas Borris ignored the pleas of concerned citizens. Instead, he chose to mete out the harshest punishment possible to set an example to others who might consider breaking our nation's drug laws. I am also certain that he chose to imprison Chavez because, once freed, he would not end his crusade in educating the public. We must consider the real victims caught in the middle of this political test of wills: the poor patients who are suffering from cancer, AIDS and other terminally debilitating illnesses. Medical research has proved that marijuana helps alleviate the pain suffered by terminally ill patients and makes the horrible reaction to chemotherapy and AIDS medication more tolerable. In effect, the government is telling suffering people to just grit their teeth and bear it.Chavez's attorney said he will appeal the conviction. Anyone who values his freedom should not only donate to Chavez's defense fund but also write to the judge, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Governor Gray Davis and demand Chavez's immediate release. Furthermore, the people must demand of its elected leaders that they listen to the will of the people and find a way to make Prop. 215 work.-Steve Watanabe, IrvineI am writing this letter on behalf of my friend Gilbert Lindsay, who died of cancer in August 1997. He was only 51. He lived with his 87-year-old mother, who did not approve of Gil's use of cannabis because her younger son, who also lived with her, had alcohol- and drug-abuse problems. She wasn't about to go on the street and buy it for Gil. I had met Marvin Chavez previously and took Gil to one of the weekly Orange County Patient-Doctor-Nurse Support Group meetings. After receiving a letter of recommendation from his oncologist, Gil became a member and designated Marvin as his "primary caregiver."I was a witness to the assistance that Marvin provided to Gil. The meetings brought him out of the house, and the friendship and sense of belonging helped lessen the depression he experienced. He no longer had to worry about where or how he was going to acquire the cannabis he needed to ease the debilitating side effects of his painful chemotherapy treatments.I met Marvin three years ago; in the time since, he has earned my deepest respect. He is a good and kind person who cares about people who are suffering. Most people choose to ignore the sick and disabled or just push them into an overburdened health-care system. Marvin made the decision to try to help these people in the only way he could. While he may have made mistakes in interpreting the law, I know he believed he was acting within the spirit of Prop. 215. In the time I have known him, I have never seen Marvin profit from helping others. I have seen him give himself and all that he has to his efforts to help ease the pain so many are forced to endure.I don't know what my friend Gil would have done without Marvin's help. Actually, I do. He would have had to suffer a lot more, falling deeper into depression and pain-possibly hastening his already early death. The number of suffering people who need help is increasing and those willing to volunteer their time and efforts are few. It does the state little good to imprison one of these few.
-William J. Britt, patient advocate, Long BeachHUG YOUR REACTORThe San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station piece was not very interesting (Nick Schou's "Prescription for Disaster," Jan. 29). The standard anti-nuclear article contains three things: the phrase "too cheap to meter," a declaration that "plutonium is the most dangerous substance on earth," and the claim that nuclear waste can never be stored. The real story is that when a nuclear-power plant shuts down, it is replaced by one that burns coal or natural gas, which treats the air like a sewer, and the Physicians for Social Responsibility will share the blame for the health effects.
-John Hughes, San ClementeNick Schou responds: We considered running a fairy tale about how the plant is really a top-secret compound run by aliens but opted for the less-interesting article you read. If you had read that story, you would have discovered I made none of the three claims you attributed to "standard anti-nuclear articles." I reported on the controversy of the federal government's interest in distributing potassium iodide to residents within 10 miles of San Onofre. AS THE ROAD TOLLSCongratulations for publishing Anthony Pignataro's story "Road Rage," which described the efforts of the Transportation Corridor Agencies to obtain public funds to extend the 241 Toll Road south from Rancho Santa Margarita to Camp Pendleton (The County, Jan. 29). This proposed extension would do irreparable damage to the environment and needs to be stopped. Traffic projections can't justify its construction. This is yet another attempt by developers to open pristine lands for their own profit, at the expense of habitat and the natural environment. The attempt to use public funds for this purpose just adds insult to injury.
-Sue Nelson, Rancho Santa MargaritaHYPOCRITICAL OATHI don't understand. Did any of these "hypocrites" that Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt exposed lie under oath or perjure themselves because of their hypocrisy (R. Scott Moxley's "Hustled," Jan. 22). I seem to remember Bill Clinton toting a big black Bible with him every time he left church services. Doesn't that qualify as hypocrisy? I also seem to remember Clinton saying that he was repentant and then almost immediately going on the attack to protect himself. Repentant people do not behave that way. It was an act of hypocrisy.I see the Democratic Party, which claims to be for family values, enjoying-perhaps even enlisting-the help of one of the worst pornographers around. I see that as gross hypocrisy.
-Bob McCoy, via e-mailR. Scott Moxley responds: Some conservatives argued strenuously that Bill Clinton was unfit for public office because he cheated on his wife with Gennifer Flowers. Now-as one conservative after another is exposed for committing adultery-people like McCoy demand a different standard: that the public should be concerned only with adulterers who commit perjury. Well, fine. According to court records, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr-one of the Republican House Impeachment managers and a self-described anti-abortion "traditional family values" enthusiast-committed adultery, lied repeatedly in a legal proceeding, and secretly helped one of his wives get an abortion. Before the standard is changed again (perhaps to adulterers who committed perjury and used a cigar in sex play and speak with a Southern drawl), why can't we all agree that no political party has a monopoly on hypocrisy and that sanctimonious politicians should stop lecturing us about sex?RALLYING FOR RAILI think it is time I weigh in on the More Roads vs. Public Transit issue (Jon Hall's "The Warm Fuzzies," Dec. 11; Matt Coker's "1998: The Year of Living Undangerously," Jan. 1; Letters, Dec. 18, Dec. 25 and Jan. 15). As the head of a local organization that promotes less car-dependent living, we fully support the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in building a commuter-rail system along OC's business corridor, which runs from Irvine to Fullerton.The OCTA is also involved in Transit Oriented Development, such as building condos at the Metrolink stations. My organization's newsletter, services, incentives and positive imaging help people realize the health, social, environmental and financial benefits of using cars less.With the work we have been doing since 1996, together with the OCTA's rapidly developing mass-transit infrastructure, it will soon be impossible for anyone to say, "You can't live without a car in Orange County."
-Jay Laessi, Auto-Free Orange County, Laguna BeachThe editors respond: Our original article lobbed criticism not so much at light rail but at the manner in which the proposed trolley was presented to the public and its proposed route. With stops at Disneyland, Edison International Field, the Block at Orange, MainPlace Mall, South Coast Plaza and Irvine Spectrum, the trolley seems designed more for tourists and shoppers than people who already live without a car in Orange County (because, in most instances, they can't afford one) and desperately need expanded ground transportation to get to work, markets and doctors' offices. As we reported, when those most affected by the route tried to express their frustrations at a public forum, an OCTA representative "called on those who raised their hands, parried their questions with gracious thanks rather than answers, and moved officiously to the next raised hand." Perhaps this public-policy dodgeball fits your definition of "positive imaging." SUGAR SUGARRe: Michael Alarcon's "Sugar Ray Fights Back" (Feature, Aug. 14, 1998): It was the worst article I've ever read! It was so opinionated. The interviewer implied "you guys are assholes" so many times. Any city lucky enough to get a band to get that far in the world should definitely get recognized-IN A GOOD MANNER! Alarcon should be fired. But, then again, the editor let it be published. What kind of a newspaper are you writing? What is this world coming to? A bunch of critical sons of bitches who can't see a good band when it is right in front of their faces? You need to give some support. "It takes a whole village to raise a child." No wonder the band members moved-you're the assholes!
-Erin Taylor, via e-mailThe editors respond: When we were first hired, no one told us we'd have to remember what we wrote six months earlier, let alone piece together an intelligent response to it. So we'll assume Erin's right. For the record, Sugar Ray-with another annoying hit now clogging up the airwaves-is the best band to come down the pike since Kajagoogoo! Please move back, guys. We're sorry. We're assholes. We'll fire Alarcon if you want (writing something opinionated? In the Weekly? The nerve!). Our editor will chug a glass of Mark McGrath's urine. The entire staff will line up to give the band full Lewinskys-even the DJ! Whatever it takes to get you back. Please?OOPSWe mistakenly killed R&B singer Pops Staples last week. He was in the hospital a lot in 1998, but is, in fact, very much alive and planning a new album. We're glad to be wrong.