Garry South and Newsom; GOP Budget Cuts; Rachel Corrie; Housing as a State Issue; Lotsa Henry Louis Gates …

by on July 30, 2009

To the Editor:

Paul Hogarth’s excellent article, “Could South Lead to Newsom’s Downfall?” detailing Gavin Newsom’s ever-slippery relationships with people who have given him their trust, brought back to mind a quote Newsom once made. In an interview a few years back in, I believe, the Nob Hill Gazette, Newsom said something to the effect that “You have no friends in politics.”

This attitude explains not only his actions to cause Eric Jaye to leave the fold, as well as his betrayal of Alex Tourk, but also explains the hiring, as Paul so well describes, of the type of consultant Garry South is — a slash and burn, progressive-hating maniac.

The attitude also explains Newsom’s consistent style, a style that is unconcerned with fairness or loyalty, but rather is exclusively concerned with self-promotion and power aggrandizement for their own sake. While a certain amount of ambition in politics is a necessity for success, an over-weaning focus on winning at all costs makes a mockery of a political system that needs to move toward greater inclusiveness. Newsom’s record as Mayor has proven he has no friends and is no friend of inclusiveness.

Alan Collins

To the Editor:

Thank You, Mark Leno. I think we’re bleeding enough thanks to REVENGE POLITICS now being waged by the Republicans against everyone and everything that took their keys to the playhouse away and started moving back toward DEMOCRACY! I think it’s unconscionable that the GOP at ALL LEVELS of government in the United States is taking and holding hostages, we the citizens of this once great nation, to hurt ALL WHO DISAGREE OR OPPOSE THEIR SELF RIGHTEOUS positions that are ALL aimed ONLY at increasing the wealth of less than 5% of the whole nation. Stop these bastards before the streets are awash in blood.

Stu Smith
San Francisco

To the Editor:

I have no intent to see the movie “Rachel”, and realize we do not live in a perfect world. It seems no one wants to talk about the 19 years that the Western (wailing) wall was in Jordanian hands … and Jews were not allowed to pray at their Holy sites, nor did I hear any outcry by the Vatican to help in that time. Or was there anyone who spoke out when Jewish buildings, temples and synagogues were destroyed during wars with the Arabs.

I keep hearing that Jerusalem should be made into an Open City … and I agree, providing on the same day that it happens, both Mecca and the Vatican are declared OPEN Cities, too! Has the same documentary maker take issue how America, took the lands from the Indians? It’s not a perfect world … but I seldom hear about the Jews, who were kicked out or left Arab countries, and not allowed to take their possessions with them, or killed as spies for Israel.

Can you imagine what we would do if Canada or Mexico lobbed missiles into America? As to the debate about the movie “Rachel”, how about the many Arabs citizens, that were killed for seeking peace or talking with the Israels, by their own governments?

There’s an old saying … you get out of a marriage, what you put into it … and the same goes for peace. A few short years ago … suicide bombers were killing Jews, so Israel built a fence … and the world complained. But since the fence … there has been no suicide bombers. The fences will come down when the Arabs stop hating the Jews … just for being Jews.

Jerry Pritikin

To the Editor:

To fully understand our current conflict(s) you have to start at the fall of the Ottoman empire. The land in question had a very small Jewish minority when it fell under British occupation. Shortly after that, Lord Balfour signed the Balfour declaration, promising the mandate of Palestine to the leaders of the world Zionist organization. From there, under British occupation, waves of new Jewish immigrants began to arrive with maps of the “Jewish state” inviting them to settle a land without people, for a people without land. The Zionist intent was to establish a Jewish majority to govern a new Democracy. All they needed was to establish a majority.

The Arabs didn’t like the idea at all. But what can you do when your land is occupied by a foreign military who allows it? The settlements continued, but there was just too many Arabs and not enough Jews. Zion needed a smaller target in order to achieve a majority and the mandate was divided. But why wasn’t Jordan called Palestine, and the rest given to Israel? The answer to that question is simple. If Jordan was called Palestine, it would have been absolutely clear that Britain had given the beach front property to the Jews, and pushed the Arabs into the desert. Got a map to look at?

With Jordan out of the picture, this prime little sliver of the Mediterranean coastline called Palestine is about to be partitioned and the occupation handed over. This is where the story usually begins.

James Hovland

To the Editor:

Affordable housing is a statewide issue, and national issue. The need to address affordable rental housing, essential housing, and the concern that business entities are driving the “for-profit” housing model over sound equal development of rental housing at base levels of affordability is driving people out of cities, and into homeless, or suburban sprawl. The need to address directly the lack of housing being built in low-mid income levels in all communities in this state is critical to address the equality, and equity density levels needed in all neighborhoods.

Never has there been a more pressing time in this period of predatory equity lending, that communities need the government to act decisively on the issue of rental housing provisions, and mandates for affordable housing and its protection state-wide.

Aaron Goodman

To the Editor:

Wow! I have read dozens of reports about this incident, and yours is by far the most extreme – portraying Professor Henry Louis Gates as an innocent victim, and Office Crowley as the villain. Your representation does all of us an injustice. The truth seems to be closer to:

1. Gates overreacted to the presence of the Police Officer, refusing to produce identification, and accusing him of racial behavior right away. In fact, Gates was being racial with his “Your Mother …” language.

2. Crowley acted unprofessionally by not handling the situation well, and overreacting by arresting Gates.

Two adults acting like children. Shame on both of them. And shame on you for your EXTREMELY Biased reporting.

Carl Ahlers

To the Editor:

I have six sons and two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I am a Negro, an African-American and a black man. Born in North Carolina in 1922, my son Aaron is the same age as Professor Gates. One of my sons is a policeman. I have never been handcuffed. It would piss me off. And it would not be safe to enter my home without a warrant.

Benjamin Hassel

To the Editor:

Why are both men being portrayed by their respective camps as victims?

Henry Louis Gates escalated the situation by copping an attitude and bringing racism into the conversation — exactly the type of behavior people resent when it comes from the police. The officer was dumb and punitive in arresting Gates on his own front porch for the “crime” of being condescending and obnoxious at home.

This incident was about power, class, and attitude. Ultimately the officer is at fault, because it is his job to keep his cool. But Gates was the first to be rude and prejudiced, in the sense that he prejudged incorrectly the officer’s motive. Everyone wants to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for their role.

Fortunately, the incident has started a very excellent national conversation on the relationship between the police, race, rights, community relations, and racial healing.

Paul King
San Francisco
(currently traveling in Iceland, and a Harvard alumn)

To the Editor:

Poor black man living in America, can’t catch a break from the police. The police are not there to be your friend, they are there to put criminals in jail. As far as they knew, these men were attempting to break into this home. If a policeman ask you to do something, whether you agree or not, you do it. The moral of this story is not to call the police on your neighbor when he is trying to unlock his own front door.

Mr. White

To the Editor:

Why don’t you tell more lies? First of all, the officer who arrested Gates is highly decorated and respected and teaches race relations at the police academy. He is the same officer who gave mouth to mouth to a dying Celtic player Reggie Lewis.

There have been EIGHT burglaries in the professors neighborhood in the past few weeks, so the cops were trying to do their job and catch the bad guys. Upon arriving, the Professor IMMEDIATELY started with the race card. He was calling the officer a racist among many other negative comments. He was OUT OF CONTROL.

Are cops supposed to just turn and run at this point, or are they supposed to do their jobs? Is it ever possible for you left wing liberals that a black man could actually be a racist himself?

Stephen Flynn

To the Editor:

It’s too bad … It’s too bad our history includes racism … but its also too bad Mr. Gates thought he was a victim of it. It’s also too bad that Mr. Gates thinks he should get special treatment because of who he is. DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM … YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO YOU’RE MESSIN WITH does not work in the middle of a 911 investigation.

Nice article … I think I will have a beer.

Kurt Podlogar

Hey Rochelle:

Ask Obama if me and my friends, co-workers, or neighbors get in an argument. Is the White House providing the free beer? If so, let me tell you that I really like Miller Lite the best.

Thomas Sowell

To the Editor:

I’ve thought that it’s in vino veritas, not in bier veritas. The gesture is “feel good” folksiness, but doesn’t really get at the heart of race in America. W.E. B. DuBois was right: the problem of the 20th century was the color line; it’s also the problem of the 21st century.

As a non-white Chicano, I’ve had my rite(s) of passage with Anglos in “New Spain” (U.S. Hispanic Southwest equivalent of “New England.”) In 1968, I described the North-South and East-West boundaries of the Hispanic Southwest as the “Mexican Dixon Line” in a piece published by El Grito (first journal of Mexican American thought in the country). Those boundaries are still there just as the boundaries of “the Mason Dixon Line” are still there — except that those boundaries are “virtually”
everywhere in the country nowadays.

Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

To the Editor:

Professor Gates did not physically threaten Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley. Gates’ “crime” at the time was simply speaking out. As the officer wrote in his report on the incident, by way of explaining his reason for arresting Gates: “Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him.” Too many commentators seem to accept that if a citizen “mouths off” to a policeman, or criticizes a policeman, or threatens legal action against a policeman, it’s okay for that policeman to cuff the person and charge him with “disorderly conduct.” Worse yet, if a policeman makes such a bogus arrest, and the person gets upset, he is liable to get an added charge of “resisting arrest” – or worse.

Insulting an officer of the law is not a crime. Telling an officer he or she is breaking the law is not a crime. Demanding that an officer identify him or herself is not a crime. And saying you are going to file a complaint against the officer is not a crime. That is what the First Amendment says, very clearly. Americans have freedom of speech.

In a free country, we should not allow the police, who after all are supposed to be public servants to behave in this manner. When we do, we do not have a free society. We have a police state.

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

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