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October 21-28, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Student Tantrums

IN A RECENT LETTER to Santa Cruz Weekly (Oct. 14), Kathy Cheer bemoaned the fact that the recent takeover of the commons building at UCSC was non-eventful. Her hope was for a greater "show of force" and that the "UC agitators [would] seriously put forth demands and boycott with vigor." She likened the serious money problems facing the UC system as a class war similar to the "civil war." She ended her letter suggesting an "Up against the wall" mentality toward the college and to "stare down the administration daily; make them queasy."

My reaction to this letter is probably the same as most who read it: Ms. Cheer, UCSC is not a jail. The UC system is a gift from the citizens of California by the already overtaxed payers, primarily the rich taxpayers. The purpose of the UC system is to provide the citizenry of California with the opportunity to receive a high-quality subsidized college education for which it is the envy of most states. However, as I stated before, the tax base of California is reliant on the taxes paid by the rich. In a recession, the rich make less money and therefore pay less taxes. The state has reduced the UC system budget, resulting in cuts based on priorities. While there might be vigorous debate on these priorities, one cannot blame the lack of funding on the Regents. The current UC agitators may well be protesting money diverted from the UC system to pay for programs that subsidize medical care for indigent families or that pay for the housing of convicts in state prison. Either way, encouraging a hostile environment on UC campuses is not going to increase the money in the state coffers.

During the Vietnam era violent protests and demonstrations resulted in a U.S. president not running for re-election and an expedited end to an unpopular war. These protests got their start on college campuses, and were quickly joined by Marxist revolutionaries who not only wanted an end to the war, but used the antiwar sentiments to try and forward their agenda of a violent overthrow of the United States. However it was the antiwar, minus the revolutionary, agenda that won out. It would seem, however, that the some of the students who are now college professors have never gotten over their 10 minutes of fame and try and fall back on protests and demonstrations to right all the perceived wrongs they see in today's society. This of course is a right rooted in our country's history and guaranteed in our Constitution. The problem is, when viewed through Vietnam era glasses, you end up with radical idealism espousing escalated intimidation and violence.

Right or wrong, UCSC students are often looked upon as adults by statute only, with limited life experience and only a summer or two older then their high school graduation. In essence, knee-jerk protests with escalating violence is the functional equivalent to a child throwing a tantrum when they don't get their way. What's missing here, of course, is having a dialogue. A radical sees no other view but their own and attempts to silence any dissenting view. I'm thinking while boycotts and escalating violence has had some limited success in a jail setting, that hopefully success in higher education can be achieved through dialogue and intelligence; it is, after all, a place of higher learning.

Brad Goodwin,
Santa Cruz

Misguided Ideas

DID ANYONE else have that sense of déjà vu? I refer to this editorial section of the last few weeks. A hysterical letter from a cyclist starts it, then come the responses to it, then comes a patronizing, politicizing, "bad car" last-word response from Micah Posner of People Power (Posts, Oct. 14). It seems this happened a few months ago.

I resent his implying my evading responsibility as a motorist (I'm a cyclist as well). I resent his likening the situation to blaming and further victimizing the victim. Of course, any sane and reasonable person would say that throwing something at a cyclist is wrong and dangerous. However, Erin Copp's letter (Posts, Sept. 30) smacked of "crying wolf" so much as to reduce the credence of most of it. It was obvious she had no idea what those dotted lines in the bike lane mean or her place as a vehicle on the road. Responsible cyclists take care of their safety by learning what is expected of them as a vehicle on the road and behave accordingly and act as if their life is at stake, for it is.

As for the reconsideration of the bike boulevard on King Street by the city council, the only Westsiders that are for it are those living on or close to because it will increase their property values. People living on streets where traffic would be diverted are not in favor of this idea. I had strongly favored a bike lane built with the new construction on Mission Street. Unfortunately, this did not happen. But the ideas of the bike boulevard and taking the right hand lane on Mission Street are just plain wrong and misguided. Please vote out those members of the council who favor these maneuvers--Don Lane, Mike Rotkin, Katherine Beiers--and vote in those who will not tolerate such radical fringe antics.

Bikes can be harmful as well. I was mauled by a bike while walking in a crosswalk and a cyclist, traveling about 40 mph down Bay Street, totaled my car and walked away shaken but with just scratches and a usable bike. Mr. Posner, you do not speak for all cyclists. I feel that you are damaging our image in Santa Cruz. Please move to Berkeley, or better yet, Japan.

Mike Speviak,
Santa Cruz

Problem Bigger Than Vick

VICK'S HANDS holding dog's head underwater ("Vick Besmirches the Game," Posts, Oct. 14)? I think this is a little extreme. Vick owned the houses that the dog fights were taking place at and should be held responsible for the actions committed there, but he personally was not killing these dogs.I'm not defending the guy, I think what he did was wrong, but when you compare his punishment to other legal problems that NFL players have gone through recently you will notice Vick's punishment was extreme.

Donte Stallworth killed a man in March while driving drunk after a night of partying. He received a two-year jail sentence. If DUI manslaughter and running an organization involving animal cruelty carry the same penalties, we seriously need to take another look at the legal system.

Human life and animal life, although both precious, should not be mentioned in the same sentence. Instead of focusing our wrath on a celebrity whose wrongdoings have been magnified by the media, we should take a look at the bigger picture and realize it is bigger than Michael Vick.

Ryan Josephson,
Santa Cruz

Last week in the introduction to 'Earthquake Collage' by Robert Sward we stated that an excerpt of the piece ran in Pathways to the Past, the journal of the Museum of Art and History. In fact the original version ran in its entirety in Pathways. We regret the error.

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