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Letters (Feb. 8, 2017)

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For months and months I prayed Donald J. Trump would become our President, and what I sent over to you I explained what I thought needed to happen, and now it's happening! He straightening out the economy, he's straightening out the teacher's union and overall doing exactly what I prayed for. All these protesters, all these so-called celebrities, they should load them all into C-4 Transport planes and land them in Syria and let them out. Everything that Trump is fixing has been going wrong for the last eight years, and if these people don't like it they should leave.

They have a right to protest, but at some point, when they interfere with our security, something should be done about it. They can't accept the fact that they lost.

Putin came over and stayed for a couple of weeks at Bush's ranch in Texas, but Mr. Trump talks to him on the phone once and everyone goes crazy. I like Trump talking to Putin, making friends with Russia. It's a good thing. Putin's a hardcore S.O.B. but his people like him, and he does a good job for them.

One more thing: that guy who opened fire on the people at the Florida airport? That guy should be executed at half-time at the Super Bowl by the relatives of the people whose lives he ruined!

Jerry Philbrick


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University of California, Berkeley Statement on Free Speech was violated by the University of California 2/1/17

UC Berkeley granted Milo Yiannopoulos the right to speak at MLK Student Union at 5pm on February 1, 2017.

Milo is an editor for Breitbart which is an anti-Semitic, racist, white supremacist website. Milo has voiced disdain for human rights. He has supported vicious nationalism, xenophobia and misogyny.

His invitation was a direct violation of UC Berkeley Statement of Free Speech, Code of Conduct 102.09: Sexual, Racial and other forms of Harassment.

The students were correct to demonstrate and we must support them.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon


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I was a maintenance supervisor as part of a low income property management team. And I can tell you from experience that low income housing has become a de facto psychiatric ward, rehab center, retirement home and hospice all rolled into one. I was raised to judge a society based on how they treat the least among them, and Palms Inn serves as further evidence of barbarism. It simply bridges the gap between official policy and grim reality. Poverty does indeed have an odor: it smells like sulfur and putrescine.

Jason Hayes

Santa Rosa

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Hello readers,

The following is a true story currently developing in San Quentin, the prison where your sons, boyfriends, husbands get sent to for reception and processing.

First, may I relate the worst fear the prisoner has: it's to come to prison and while confined catch some deadly disease that turns a "hiccup" into a "crash landing"!

That's what Orson Welles would call this alien experience.

One day all is well, a normal day in the kennel: Tiers number 1-5, 50 cells each.

The next thing we know there are medical personnel circulating, going from cell to cell asking if we feel this or are experiencing that. To make matters worse they are wearing masks and gloves. And we are not.

Supervising officials arrived in a very new supervisory location accompanied by "big brass" corrections officer officials. People were running left and right. It sounded like a flight landing zone for helicopters outside (which may be the San Francisco Bay, but at this point hysteria has set in.) Then people start disappearing. Deadlocks are being applied to certain cells. One of those is mine!

I have a wife and family (children) to look forward to seeing — hopefully — in a matter of hours. That sentence has now turned into a question. Medical staff start appearing at our cell — now my cell because my cellmate has "disappeared" — asking if I've been coughing, or feeling sick. Taking my pulse with a handheld device, checking my temperature with a laser. "No contact."

I ask what's going on, "What do I have?" They merely walk away whispering something about "the flu."

I'm over 50 years old and sad to say I've been here and done this several times and I've never seen such a look of fear in the guard's eyes — that is, the level of concern I thought was being demonstrated by medical personnel.

All over people were sneezing and coughing as days went by. Someone mentioned that the prison is quarantined. It's slammed shut!

Meanwhile life goes on in. My cellmate returned from the hole. I guess that's the new hospital here! And now we are slammed, padlocked in our cells, meals being served with absolutely no contact with a single other person besides our tier officer who is sympathetic, but most follow the rules.

We still have no idea what we were (are?) suspected of having, or whether we have it. But we are nonetheless locked down with no yard time, no medical appointments, no nothing. Worst of all, no explanation! I wonder if they will shoot us at dawn or smuggle our carcasses to the incinerators just next door?

James “Goonie” Williams

San Quentin

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Many people have sent me the writings by Coach Espinoza. Some from the AVA, some from MSP. I don’t read the AVA online, or Facebook, and many including Paul have asked me to respond.

Seeing both of you take such pride in accuracy, I thought I’d clarify:

A game should never be ended by an official with any time left on the clock. I suggested that to AV Athletic Director Pinoli and Coach E. after the game. Pinoli told me he would speak to the refs about it.

As far as the rest of Coach E’s coverage, I agree with most of it and add the following:

Not just AV players but both teams, in my opinion, played well, played hard, and were good sports.

In any one-point decided game, it is easy to say a foul should or shouldn’t have been called or the clock should have run out sooner.

Many foul shots and layups were missed and made by both teams. It always seems like more when you lose by 1.

In the end, or to be accurate after 59 mins. and 59.8 seconds, Mendocino was ahead by one point. As close to a tie as you can get. The Mendocino crowd was as Coach E. suggested 'jubilantly' expressing their team’s win. I have seen many AV crowds doing just the same over the years after a close victory, and never took it as a bad thing. The crowds, I believe, were equally loud which is rare when a team is on the road. When I looked around the gym I saw as many Mendo as AV people. (Paul McCarthy may have pictures.) That was rare in that gym.

Lastly, the suggestion (challenge) by Coach E. to play the game over seemed silly to me. We play them twice a year in league and sometimes in tournaments. Over the last 3 years since Coach E. has been there, we have played them 8 times. They have won four and we have won four. This year we have played them twice. Mendo won the first by 13 points, and the second by one point. Many of the games have been very close over the 3 years. If we played all the close ones over, it would never end.

It’s fun and it will continue.

He writes in his article: “Let's do it again and see what happens. What do you have to lose?” The only thing I would have to lose is another basketball game. If that bothered me I would have quit the sport 51 years ago when I was 12. We will play AV again next year (maybe in playoffs this year). I look forward to playing against Coach E. and the AV boys next year. It has been fun for me the last 3 years with Coach E, just as it has been with the 4 coaches (maybe 5) I have I’ve had the honor to play against at AV before him.

Jim Young


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Rebecca Solnit’s vivid portrait of Donald Trump as ‘patriarchy unbuttoned’ is horrifyingly accurate (in the January 19 London Review of Books). Her suggestion that Clinton’s policies and positions ‘were often close to Sanders’ is rather less persuasive: the truth is that they were often — perhaps just as often — not close at all. Clinton’s platform should have mattered more to the media than her political career, Solnit believes, but doesn’t spell out the particulars of that platform in her piece. I write this as someone who was a volunteer and canvasser for Sanders in Philadelphia during the Pennsylvania primary, and who canvassed for Clinton during the last week of the general election. I was familiar with the policies of both candidates, and the differences between the two were notable.

Clinton did not support immediately raising the federal minimum wage to $15; Sanders did. Clinton did not support eliminating tuition fees for higher education at public universities; Sanders did. Clinton did not support breaking up ‘too-big-to-fail’ financial institutions; Sanders did. Clinton did not support a single-payer healthcare plan; Sanders did. Both Clinton and Sanders supported 12 weeks of paid family leave, but only Sanders outlined a plan — indeed, co-authored a bill — to pay for it; Clinton was against Sanders’s bill. Clinton supported a ‘no-fly’ zone over Syria, which might have brought the US into a war with Russia; Sanders did not. Clinton supported the expansion of NATO; Sanders did not. Clinton considered Henry Kissinger a friend and adviser; Sanders pointedly did not. Clinton waffled on her position regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership; Sanders did not. Beyond the platforms, the difference in the two candidates’ manner of fundraising was profound. Sanders did not rely on Super PACs and wealthy donors; Clinton did.

Solnit thinks the ‘Manichean hatred of Clinton as the anti-Bernie’ is mysterious, but — internet vitriol aside — it ought not to be. Hillary Clinton was both progenitor of the Democratic Party’s shift to the right in the 1990s and 2000s, and heir to it: her political record as first lady, senator and Secretary Of State as well as her 2016 platform and messaging all confirm this. Sanders ran as a self-described ‘democratic socialist’ and heir to the New Deal and the 1960s anti-war movement. It was against this form of politics that Hillary Clinton built her political career in the last twenty years. In other words, Sanders in some sense was the anti-Clinton, and Clinton was the anti-Bernie. That most Sanders voters appear to have managed to get over this fact and vote for Clinton — and even campaign for her — suggests that, in pragmatic terms, the opposition was not nearly as Manichean as Solnit makes out.

Nikil Saval


One Comment

  1. michael turner February 13, 2017

    Reading his letter, it came to me that Jerry Philbrick was a guy who played a lot of football, likely in the era of poor helmet design. So I googled him – and I was right!

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