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January 10-17, 2007

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Letters to the Editor


TOUCH-SCREEN REDISTRICTING

THE JAN. 3 Nūz section ("Let's Make a Deal") discussed ongoing maneuvers to reform the current state redistricting system, including the latest plan that the process be turned over to a "Citizens Group." Unfortunately, any method controlled by a small group of people contains the risk of corruption.

Existing technology creates the possibility of simply removing people from the process by programming a computer to draw lines using objective criteria. In addition to the prime directive that all districts be balanced in population, other controls would be programmed. Those could include avoiding line changes which would remove incumbents from their district, a preference for recognizing and incorporating county and city limit lines, major highways, geographical boundaries like rivers and mountain ranges, plus keeping districts as compact as possible to avoid meandering lines and widely separated constituents. I'm sure many other controls might be suggested, and the computer's results could be reviewed nonpolitically to insure no obvious glitches have occurred.

Such a system might actually be incorruptible. And that fact would probably the greatest source of resistance from those in power.

Steve Bankhead, Watsonville

DYING IN AMERICA

NOTICE HOW a two-year stand-in president who accomplished very little got priority news coverage that dominated all mainstream media.

Whereas James Brown ("I Ain't Talkin' Just to Tease," Arts, Jan. 3)--who was labeled the hardest-working performer for his entire life, who did so much for culture, entertainment in America and for bridging cultures around the world---was usurped in the news by this white man who did so little.

I'm sure that if Ford hadn't passed away and there was no other significant death happening, the big news to usurp Brown might be something like Britney Spears and her trifling antics.

Such is the story of blacks and minorities in America. Our contributions will always be downplayed as much as possible. However, we must always know our truth and legacy. We are a great people living in a racist, arrogant, broken country!

In protest, I am turning off all TV news stations for the remainder of the week, so these propaganda stations will not get credit ratings from me.

Marion Young, California City

MARINE CORE

THANK YOU FOR your recent coverage of issues affecting the marine life off the California coast and the Marine Life Protection Act ("Fishy Business," News&Views, Jan. 3). As noted in the article, this landmark legislation (co-authored by then Assemblymember Fred Keeley) puts California at the forefront of international efforts to protect ocean and coastal resources. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a scientifically proven tool for protecting habitat and ocean life and the proposed MPAs would improve protection of spectacular areas like Ano Nuevo, Natural Bridges and Point Sur.

Of course ocean protection is a complex task and MPAs are just one important piece of the puzzle. Fortunately, many other efforts are also under way to address issues such as pollution, invasive species, and the impacts of coastal development. Central Coast residents benefit from the existence of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and numerous nonprofit and volunteer organizations focused on ocean protection. Our region is leading the way in developing solutions to the full range of ocean conservation problems, and community involvement is key to the success of these efforts.

Kaitilin Gaffney, Santa Cruz

DIAMOND RICHARD

I AM very familiar with the West African crisis called "conflict diamonds." I passed through Santa Cruz and read Richard von Busack's review of Blood Diamond, and I now have a chance to rebut his unfortunate downplaying/slashing of a very accurately depicted movie which addresses a horrific calamity in Sierra Leone. Yes, the film is Hollywoodized with soundtrack and highly refined filmmaking techniques, but the passion and emotion of the entire cast is spot-on in my mind and experience in West Africa. All the events, emotions and atrocities in the film are accurately portrayed and blood diamonds in many African countries have caused similar and worse crisis. Mr. von Busack's attitude toward this film and therefore this issue makes me think he has never left his own neighborhood, hates Africa, owns shares in Debeers diamonds or all of the above. I urge people to go see this disturbing yet important film and trust that it is real and accurate, and most of all, if you must buy diamonds, research there origin to ensure they have not financed human or environmental atrocities anywhere on this marvelous planet. For more on conflict diamonds, check www.onesky.ca.

Miguel Roberts, Vancouver


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