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December 20-27, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

And it's tasty, too!

REGARDING HERBICIDE USE by the logging company in the Los Gatos Creek watershed ("Froggers and Loggers," News&Views, Dec. 13), I certainly support people's right to make informed criticisms regarding pesticide use. Unfortunately most people do not understand the global threat of invasive species. Herbicides are widely used by professional ecologists who are struggling to preserve biodiversity against a plague of non-native plants. The vast majority of studies show that glyphosate (Roundup) is safe to use. Some studies contradict this, but some studies also contradict global warming theory. These are minority opinions that are not necessarily wrong but have failed to convince the majority of scientists. The greatest threats to the red-legged frog are loss of wetlands and the non-native bullfrog, not water pollution. Once people learn to recognize invasive plants and see how fast they are spreading and destroying our natural heritage, their opposition to herbicides fades away.

John Pritchard, Watsonville

Screamingly relevant

AFTER READING THE review of Bobby ("'Bobby' Bland," Film, Nov. 29), I must wonder why you think it sucks. I have been an avid filmgoer for thirty years, over which period of time, I confess the quality of production has decreased substantially. This is why when I saw Bobby, I was impressed with the direction; the melding of actors still cutting their chops with the honed skills of our finest elder actors is not any easy task.

I was impressed with the writing. A tale of real people and real facts interwined with fictional people whose fates are crossed is accomplished seamlessly. To have the message of that time be so screamingly relevant to our lives today is undeniable. To remind us all of just how closely we are connected, disagreement does not have to end in violence. ...

It is to this end I must query the reviewer if they understood the film or simply dismissed it because Emilio Estavez created it? I remain perplexed at your insights on the film, but certainly respect your opinion.

Dina Izzo, Santa Cruz

Stop the killing

THE 1980s was a bloody period. U.S.-supported death squads roamed El Salvador raising fear and repression in the land. During the height of these atrocities, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Bishop of the Poor, cried out from the pulpit, "In the name of God, In the name of the suffering people, I ask you, I beg you--stop the repression, stop the killing." The next day, a sharp shooter's bullet struck him down.

Scroll the dateline to 2006. Stop the killing in Iraq! If our troops left this tragic land after three years of our occupation, our own dead numbers, our "best and our brightest," would not reach 3,000, the numbers of our crippled, and psychologically damaged, military would cease increasing, our bullets would no longer be responsible for the unknown numbers of men, women and children of Iraqi's dead. We must cry out--"Stop the Killing!"

As the bullets fly, the numbers of dead continue to increase in the tragic Mideast. We have opened a Pandora's box there and released a genie, now trapped in a quagmire. In the meantime, a quiet revolution, without a bullet fired, is occurring in South America and Central America. In spite of the attempt by the U.S. State Department to demonize Chavez of Venezuela, he is probably responsible for the shift to the left in many governments.

In Central America, Nicaragua has just elected Sandinista Daniel Ortega; Leftist Obrador of Mexico still maintains that Calderon has not been legitimately elected, but no one has suggested civil war.

Venezuela has captured the hearts and minds of the governments of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and now, Ecuador. Even Chile has a left-leaning president. The emphasis is the reduction of poverty, the improvement in literacy and health, bartering between nations and the rejection of the corporate-led, U.S.-controlled Free Trade Agreements of the Americas (FTAA). A century or more of domination by the North has led to deep pockets of poverty in all of the above countries. They are finally saying "enough," even though most of them are still enmeshed and beholden to the World Bank and the International Monetary Funds for loans when the IMF demanded structural adjustments to their social programs.

South and Central America use dialogue instead of bullets to bring democratic change to their countries. So can we. It takes political will and a lot of integrity to stay the course and abandon military might as we do this. Dialogue with Iran and Syria should cease to indicate that military invasion is still an option. We have a fine model to emulate in the transformation occurring in the Western Hemisphere, and even in our November 2006 election. There is a message from our civil society: Out of Iraq. It behooves our government to listen.

Ruth Hunter, Santa Cruz

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