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August 20-27, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

Who Are The Babies Here?

WHILE THERE'S BEEN plenty of less-than-adult-like behavior in the local war over the La Bahia hotel plan, to pin the labels of "pouting frowns,""cranky bickering"and "childlike moments of ego-flexing"on the Santa Cruz Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) is just preposterous ("Raising La Behemoth,"News&Views, Aug. 13).

The Santa Cruz HPC is as dedicated, expert, smart and responsible a public government body as one can find.  I've been to hundreds of local government meetings in the Monterey Bay area, including the HPC about which Metro Santa Cruz complains, and am more impressed with the conduct of the Santa Cruz HPC than any other public body. They are thoroughly committed do the hard work of democracy--and that sometimes means five-hour meetings and more--because they believe in public service.  These aren't the whiners; they're the real adults in the show.

Apparently, your reporter has a more difficult time with five-hour meetings, and perhaps democratic discussions, as he failed to follow the main thread of the HPC's arguments. The debate wasn't about an up-or-down vote on the La Bahia tear-down plan, as Metro Santa Cruz reports, because none of the commissioners favored total demolition (they are, after all, preservationists!). That was abundantly clear from the beginning. The main lengthier issue was what the HPC could do to best keep open the possibility of at least some preservation of the historic landmark.

While Barry Swenson Builder reverses itself on its already approved La Bahia project (a smaller version with some historical preservation), says it can't make a new hotel within Santa Cruz's planning and zoning laws, won't put up a few poles to show the neighborhood the actual-size height of the project, won't make agreements with unions that are common throughout the country, and, of course, says it can't build without knocking down the entire La Bahia historic landmark--after Swenson has essentially thrown all of Santa Cruz's community values aside for its bottom-line alone, after all that, the Santa Cruz HPC are the babies?

I trust this was merely one of your rare "childlike moments of ego-flexing,"and you will return to your higher journalistic standards soon.

 Mark Weller,
UNITEHERE! Local 483


Give Davis A Raise

THANK YOU so much for featuring Paul Davis' recent article ("The Multivaried Vegan,"Feature, Aug. 13). He is such an insightful writer who brings up some very important points in the discussion of violence, activism and media. Excellent.

Elaina Ramer,
Santa Cruz

And the Real Culprit Is ...

LAWRENCE LESSIG makes a solid case of pointing out the corrupting influence of big money on Congress ("Independence 2.0,"Cover Story, Aug. 13). I couldn't agree with him more on that subject, but unfortunately, Mr. Lessig ignores the real elephant (no pun intended) in the room.

Since 1913, our monetary system has been controlled by the Federal Reserve. Not many people know this, but the Federal Reserve is not a government agency. It is a corporation, whose shares are owned by its member banks. It works in partnership with the government holding it in a relationship of dependency. The Fed has never been audited. It holds its meetings in secret and its decisions determine how much money we make and whether or not we will be employed. The Fed enjoys the privilege of printing our money out of nothing and exchanging it for government treasury notes and loan contracts in the marketplace. The Fed provides the mechanism that enables our politicians to borrow endlessly and then uses the tax system for collecting on the debt service. It's the reason why we were able to go to war in the Middle East without raising taxes, while the balance of the debt, no doubt, gets passed on to future generations.

According to Benjamin Franklin, the desire to wrest control of our currency away from Europe's banking establishment and the British Crown was the prime cause of the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, opposed central banking because of its corrupting influence. Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren also opposed the idea.

Perhaps the most patriotic thing we Americans can do for our country would be to abolish the Federal Reserve System and ratify an Constitutional Amendment expressly prohibiting the government from establishing another central bank. Jefferson said it was the people to whom control of the money properly belonged, not corporations. If and when this happens, only then can we realize the independence our Founding Fathers fought for and intended for future generations of Americans.

John Houlgate,
Santa Cruz

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