Breaking Federal Law
I was interested in reading the article "Seeking TRUST," by Leilani Clark (The Paper, May 4) and shocked at Rick Grant's response in the May 11 collection of "Rhapsodies & Rants."
I would like to point out the hypocrisy that this state seems to display where federal law is concerned. When it is "medical marijuana" at stake, people are only too happy to ignore federal law, but when it comes to migrant workers, it is a different story. I wonder if Mr. Grant is interested in doing anything about Americans who are breaking the federal law in this state every single day. Just curious.
Live Free or Die . . . Parking
One important omission in the recent article "Smart Future" by James Knight (Resident Tourist Guide, April 20) was that, fortunately, no vehicles, employees or patrons were injured or damaged due to the 2012 San Pablo earthquake. Why? Because the Santa Rosa Plaza Mall had been deserted since Summer 2011 when Simon Property Group began charging the public to park there. Wow, talk about foresight on Simon's part!
The fact that Simon Property Group wants to charge mall customers for parking is greedy and insulting. I will gladly take my business elsewhere, in Santa Rosa and other parts of Sonoma County, where I am not charged a fee to park. Better yet, I might just join the masses and begin shopping online. I've heard the parking fees are pretty reasonable there.
A Faire Deal for All
The Much Ado About Sebastopol Renaissance Faire at Ives Park on Sept. 17 is a wonderful public event. Last year, I was disappointed to see that the small fee at the gate kept some of the general public from admittance—the most important ones. Countless teens and young adults hung outside the gate, peering in, unable to attend because of lack of funds. It truly broke my heart.
This year, I am going to "ado" something about it. Is it possible for a public park to be fenced in by a private party? We pay taxes not only for its upkeep, but also for its safety, so that our younger generations might take full advantage of its natural beauty and refuge, not to mention the truly rich and educational experience offered by means of a renaissance faire!
Many low-income families never leave Sonoma County, especially with the way the economy and gas prices are. One solution might be to create a second Renaissance fair that is free. Wrong! I think the whole separate-but-equal thing didn't work out before, so let's not make the same mistake again. Instead, let's build off a great public event and make it better by allowing the whole community to enjoy it. It is our job as a community to make sure the future of the next generation, from every walk of life, is protected and given an opportunity for success.
Grains, Not Veins
Challenges to free press are slowly gaining ground in the form of bills in the Florida, Iowa and Minnesota legislatures to prohibit possession and display of videos of factory farming. For the meat, dairy and egg industries pushing for these bills, the prohibition makes perfect sense.
A year ago, undercover investigators exposed E6 Cattle Company in Castro County, Texas, chaining dairy calves in tiny wood crates and bludgeoning their skulls with pickaxes. Last June, Cal-Cruz Hatcheries in Santa Cruz, California, were found to grind up and suffocate live chicks. In August, Iowa's Hillandale Farms and Wright County Eggs were forced to recall 550 million eggs for salmonella contamination. If I ran one of those operations, I certainly wouldn't want people with cameras anywhere near my facilities.
Filthy conditions and cruel practices are likely to remain legal and commonplace on U.S. factory farms, and their operators will continue to avoid public exposure. As consumers, our only option is to stop subsidizing these conditions and practices at the checkout counter by shifting to wholesome and cruelty-free vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as the grain-and nut-based substitutes for meat and dairy, now available in every supermarket.