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Letters to the Editor

Cemetery's No Parking Lot

GILBERT STEIN may speak for Rabbi Cooper ("Pique Over a Parking Lot," Posts, Feb. 17). But surely, despite his authoritative tone and whitewash of history, Stein does not speak for the families of those buried under the "parking lot." And surely Stein does not speak for 60 of the oldest and most prominent Palestinian families from Jerusalem that recently petitioned the U.N. to halt the museum on a cemetery project.

The cemetery Stein describes as a parking lot is over 800 years old. He neglects to mention it was in continuous use until 1948 when that part of Jerusalem was captured in Israel's "War of Independence." Palestinians lost 78 percent of their land west of the Jordan River and 750,000 refugees fled or were forced out of their homes and not allowed to return. It's no wonder the Palestinians call the 1948 war "the catastrophe." Israel's paving a major historic cemetery for a parking lot surely would qualify as one of many continuing aspects of that  disaster.

When Israel's High Court ruled in favor of the museum project in 2008, the Israeli Antiquities Authority withheld its Chief Excavator's conclusion that the site should not be approved for construction on unexcavated layers of Muslim graves dating back to the 11th century. One can only imagine the uproar Stein would raise if Iran or the Palestinian Authority built a museum of "tolerance" on top of a major Jewish cemetery. Yet, according to Stein, those who object to this outrage are the real perpetrators of intolerance—and of anti-Semitism.

These issues aren't going away because of Stein's distorted logic. And Rabbi Cooper doesn't get a free pass when it comes to building a "museum of tolerance" on a Muslim cemetery.

Dick Vittitow,

Santa Cruz

Racy Rubbish

I am responding to your Valentine's Day article "The Cheetah's Spot" (Cover Story, Feb. 10). Why is it that, in the photographs on two separate pages, the man is fully dressed and the women barely have anything on? To me, these are exactly the kinds of sexist images that we need to stop publishing in thoughtful, community-minded journals. "Infidelity" is also just a concept, since it is simply a cultural and religious value. There are many cultures and religions across the globe where having more than one sexual partner is seen as fine and natural, for both male and female.  

But I am much less concerned with your adoption of that cultural value than with the photos you published and the power of very prejudiced communication that they have. As is said, "a photo is worth a thousand words," and these photos are trash!

I hope the whole community can expect much better of you in the future, especially those of us who walk in female bodies and would like to see them treated with honor and respect, especially for the young ones growing into their womanhood.

Sherry Conable,

Santa Cruz

Moony-Suit Madness

REGARDING "Goo Fighters" (Currents, Feb. 10), Santa Cruz needs to face the return of California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) plans to poison the community in a mistaken effort to eradicate a moth that doesn't need eradication.

In 2007, CDFA sprayed chemicals from the air. Now the plan is to have people on the ground in moony suits spray pesticides on your house, yard, pets, anything outdoors. And, yes, they plan to shoot pesticide-laden goo onto trees and power poles in your neighborhood. When they sprayed by airplane, they missed their targets at times. Will they miss with the goo? You have a right not to be sprayed or "gooed." The California constitution says as much, but how do you stop this assault by bureaucrats who ignore scientific truth?

The Santa Cruz City Council can do it for Santa Cruzans by passing the "Chemical Trespass" ordinance prepared by People Against Chemical Trespass (PACT). Write your city council to tell members they need to pass this ordinance to protect you.  Preferably, send letters to council members at 809 Center St., Room 10, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, or email the mayor, mike Rotkin at: [email protected]

Dick André,


People Damage

YES, pesticide "treatments" were only postponed ("Goo Fighters"). California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) lists ground spraying for urban areas and aerial spraying for rural areas. Ground spraying is not very different from aerial spraying. The spray is shot 50 feet in the air, with forced entry into our backyards. You can see a video of this happening last year in Ojai at  Do not doubt that these contain dangerous toxins never approved for application on people. All this is for an insect that, according to CDFA's own report, does no drop damage!

But how about "people damage"? CDFA forcing poisons into our lungs and our children's defies logic, basic morality and fundamental human rights. Santa Cruz residents have crafted the Local Control, Pesticide and Chemical Trespass Ordinance which prohibits forced widespread pesticide applications. Farmers and individuals could still apply pesticides on their private property. In 123 other towns that passed similar ordinances, all  application of toxins stopped, some going on 10 years. 

It is absolutely not acceptable that the state apply poisons on us! Decisions affecting our very safety must be made locally by the people affected. The ordinance will soon be discussed by the City Council. Write letters to the City Council: [email protected] To learn more go to the website above. 

  Ruth Valdez,


Back Off, By Jingo!

HOT MASHED fiddlesticks and thwapping mashed potatoes! I am tired of the fearmongering by the feds, how about you? Yet that is exactly what is going on in Congress right now, as the debate to renew and worsen the FBI-empowering Patriot Act is happening, according to the ACLU. The Act allows FBI and police to seize property and arrest without warrant or probable cause. The Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU, Marjorie Cohn as president of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Rifle Association, Bruce Fein former U.S. Attorney General, and more all agree that its "over-broad" terrorist definition includes activists and is designed to clamp down on free speech. UC Berkeley students against the Iraq war, Food Not Bombs, the Quaker American Friends Service Committee, Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and more are being investigated by the FBI as terrorists ( The gag order-containing National Security Letters portion of the Act has been abused since the warrant requirement was lifted: 183,000 NSLs were issued between 2003 and 2005 alone, and 53 percent of those "terrorists" subpoenaed under gag order by the FBI were Americans, according to the ACLU. Please call Congress and Just Say NO! to renewing the Patriot Act and making the abuses even worse. Typically the FBI and feds have been over-invoking "endangerment to national security" as an excuse for secrecy. Enough already, not on our dime! Thank you!

Drina Brooke,


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