February 23, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Saving Darfur

To the editor:

The leaders of the richest countries in the world recently just completed three days of discussion. A large part of their conversation centered on fighting poverty in the developing world. But the elephant in the room, which President Bush and other leaders barely acknowledged, and the press failed to challenge them on, is the ongoing genocide that is occurring in Darfur, Sudan.

Up to 400,000 people have lost their lives in Darfur since the government-sponsored genocide began in 2003. More than 2.5 million people have been displaced; their livelihoods and villages destroyed by government forces and their proxy militias, and many thousands of women and girls have been raped by these forces. Recent reports confirm that the violence continues in Darfur, and that the security situation is still intolerable. The government of Sudan continues to obstruct humanitarian operations, creating famine conditions for millions of vulnerable innocents.

As the death toll in Darfur continues to mount at a rate of 1,500 per month, it is clear that nothing short of a strong international intervention can protect the people of Darfur. The African Union (AU) is doing what it can on the ground in the face of growing insecurity, but desperately needs greater help. According to a May 2005 Zogby poll, more than 80% of Americans support strong American action to stop the killing.

President Bush must assert American leadership to galvanize an international intervention to stop the genocide. A first step would be to call on Congress to pass the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, which calls for increased support of the AU, stopping the Sudanese government from using aircraft to attack civilians, bringing the killers and rapists to justice, and dispatching high-level US diplomats to foster the peace process.

As Americans and as human beings, we have a moral obligation to stop the inhumanity of genocide. After previous genocides, politicians thumped their chests and said “never again.” If we really mean it, now is the time to act to stop the slaughter.

Heather Thomas

Santa Monica

Bush’s alarming plans

To the editor:

I am writing to inform your readers at large of the alarming plans the Bush administration has for our public health. The so called “Clear Skies” bill, which would allow seven times more toxic mercury pollution that the Clean Air Act, is an insult to our society and a prime example of the risks in having Bush in office.

I am a native of Santa Monica. I grew up on tuna steaks and opah from Santa Monica Seafood, and have an extreme affinity for the health and palatial benefits of fish. I feel that part of my childhood and appreciation for beachy Santa Monica has been drained with each and every drop of mercury that enters our oceans. Forty percent of the worlds mercury comes from coal burning power plants, and with less regulations on power plant cleanup, the risks are outragious. Methylmercury causes learning and behavioral problems in children, and is found in most fish, a protein often consumed by pregnant mothers.

In a world of ongoing terror, crumbling democracy and a questionable future, it should be safe for us to consume healthful proteins without compromising the neurological sanctity of our next generation. I care about this so much that I have made a career of fighting for this cause, working with Environemental Action and a strong team of activists in Los Angeles to get the word out on “Unhealthy Skies” and the current administrations tactics to pass it. The activists from our office go out into different areas of Los Angeles, mostly in Santa Monica, and educate the public about our campaign to stop “Unhealthy Skies.”

I love this city of my birth, and I work very hard every day to help protect its residents from poisoned foods by urging people to stand up against “Unhealthy Skies.” I encourage any person interested in stopping “Unhealthy Skies” to join us. You will find our activists all over town in public areas, and you may contact us at any time for volunteer opportunities and any other participation in the campaign. The point of this letter is to join us as a city and team up against something terrible that may affect all of our lives. Having worked in grassroots politics for a while, the most important thing I have learned is the benefit of many people doing a little something as many times as possible. It adds up, and we have a big fight ahead of us. Join us in all capacity to stop the Unhealthy Skies Bill.

Emily Pflaster

Director, Grassroots Voter Outreach

Santa Monica

D is for debacle

Honorable City Council persons:

I can only imagine how hard it must be to try to please everyone all of the time, but in the case of the SMC Bundy Campus, and its current parking situation, I believe the City’s current attempt to do so is a debacle in the making.

For better or worse, the City chose to accept and support an expansion of SMC adjacent to the Santa Monica Airport. Yes, at the time, the City made a deal with the college allowing students only pedestrian access to the campus on a temporary basis. But, truly, did the Council or City staff actually believe that a Community College located in greater Los Angeles would ever be able to survive without “any” parking available for students? I don’t think so. I think the City knew the pedestrian access would be a temporary fix in order to keep residents of the neighborhood (who were concerned about traffic) happy while also allowing a project they supported to go through.

Now, at the moment of reckoning, the City is taking away the parking that SMC shuttle service has used for years in order to build Airport Park (OK…) but the City is still expecting the College to LEAVE EMPTY the parking lot that sits across the street from its old service lot, and directly adjacent to its new campus, and find a completely different place to park their shuttle service This is the height of bureaucratic absurdity — and it reeks of Council and staff acting simply out of fear of being yelled at by neighbors. Neighbors who know — in their heart of hearts — that eventually SMC will get its parking structure, and that there will be a little bit more traffic on Airport Avenue — a street that has been essentially traffic-free for decades. All in the name of an annoying little something we call AFFORDABLE HIGHER EDUCATION.

Ah, the slings and arrows those who live in the most beautiful City in the world must suffer as they drive to and from work… Oh wait, *they* still get to drive?

The City staff’s answer to this is what really blows the mind: extend temporary pedestrian access to the SMC Bundy campus until OCTOBER 15 ONLY, then close off access altogether if SMC hasn’t yet found a new shuttle lot (and we all know how easy it is to find empty real estate in Santa Monica!) This, evidently would be put in place to facilitate “start up” of the fall semester. But what about completion of the fall semester?? What happens to all of the Nursing, Early Childhood Education and Teacher Training students when, halfway through the semester, they are no longer allowed even PEDESTRIAN ACCESS to the college they are paying tuition to attend?

Let’s put it in a way the young charges of SMC’s Early Childhood Education graduates would understand:

D is for Debacle.

Yours Sincerely,

Clara Sturak

Santa Monica

Joggers, beware

To the editor:

All joggers beware. The path along the Santa Monica beach is not safe. I was jogging along the path and was hit from behind and knocked to the ground by a 14-year-old boy on a bicycle.

He was racing along and because there were people in the opposite lane he could not pass by going into the other lane…so instead in a split second he chose to run into me. When he hit me from behind I fell and I became entangled in his bike hitting my head and badly bruising my arms and legs. I’ll be limping, not running for a while.

When I arrived home and called the police to report the incident – in the hopes they keep records of such occurrences. I was criticized by the police for not calling when it first happened from my cell phone ( I don’t carry a cell phone when I run – what an idiot I am! ) and then they wanted to know why I didn’t call from the pay phones along the path ( There are pay phones ? Hmm… and besides I don’t carry my wallet when I run either.) So then I was informed that this wasn’t a police problem. No crime had been committed and it’s civil. When I asked the office if I should’ve just gotten the name of the person and sued. She said “yes.”

What is wrong with all of us? My intention was to put on record a bicycle -pedestrian incident so that if this is a growing problem something could be done, instead the police reprimand me for not calling them on my cell phone when it first happened. I’ve suspected for a while that the police are useless and have lost respect for them. This incident confirms it.

Next time I run…maybe in the next two weeks after I recover from my injuries I’m going to run on the opposite side of the path so I can see the cyclists coming towards me and if a bicyclist gets too near me, I might push them. Will this be a civil incident?

Marie TurnerSanta Monica

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