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Letters to the Editor

Knights of Nimby

While I sympathize with north Willow Glen residents who fear that they will lose their houses to high-speed rail, what I hear when I hear them rant about HSR is local, parochial Nimby-ism disguised as "greater good" altruism ("High Speed Derail," MetroNews, March 11).

They say that the HSR Altamont Pass route will be better for the people of the state of California, and better serve a larger percentage of the population in the Bay Area, but what they—and their brothers-and-sisters-in-spirit in Menlo Park and Atherton—really mean is that the Altamont Pass route will make HSR somebody else's headache.

Nineteen years ago, when I bought my house in Willow Glen, I could have bought a house bordering the Caltrain tracks—I looked at one—and saved about $30,000 over what I eventually paid for a house of similar size, on a smaller lot, that didn't back up to the RR tracks. The North WG residents who are concerned about HSR have been enjoying smaller mortgage payments than they would otherwise, at the cost of a bit of noise—less than we all experience when the wind shifts into the south and the air traffic at S.J. international reverses its takeoff direction. They'll be compensated—quite well, I am sure—if they do have to give up their existing homes, or just a bit of their yard, to HSR; and in this market—and economy—that's not a bad deal.

Jerry Grimes
Willow Glen

Not Advisable

Enough with the fat jokes leveled at women by the Insult—er, that is, the Advice Goddess! (Advice Goddess, March 18.) Of late she ridicules women who are fat, or even who just weigh more than they had. In particular, in the March 18 column, it would seem [that] being fat and female is a kind of crime against mankind, yes, man-kind. The stereotypes and the low blows are immature and demoralizing to lots of Alkon's readers. These bits scraped from the bottom-of-the-humor barrel have become boring. She should take a look at her hostility.

Kirsty MacKay
San Jose

Defining Drunk

There seems to be a little apples/oranges discussion here ("Task Force Forces the Issue," The Fly, March 25). Alcoholism and binge drinking are different aspects of the same issue. There is a considerable difference between being liquored up and obnoxious and fitting the legal definition of drunk in public, which is that you must be so drunk that you present an immediate danger to yourself or others.

It might be more appropriate to arrest the drunken revelers for disturbing the peace or for simple assault than for being drunk in public. But those arrests probably require a full report so the D.A. can evaluate whether to charge or not. Or the cops may just be taking the easy way out.

But this task force needs to evaluate this issue on the facts, not on whether the number of arrests coincides with a particular group's representation in the population. If there are a lot of drunk folks downtown, that could explain why a lot of people get arrested. Unless someone has hard evidence ... that drunk Mexicans are being arrested and drunk white boys are not being arrested, then all this racial profiling hoopla is nonsense.

As to attitude arrests, I'd bet there are some. Some idiots just don't realize that you may be able to sass back your parents, teachers, etc., but it ain't too bright to sass back a cop with a gun. There are a lot of folks partying at night carrying way too much attitude, which is often why they get stopped in the first place. You get in the cop's face, and you pretty much deserve what you get as a response.

John Michael O'Connor
San Jose

Outside the Box

[Recently] Attorney General Jerry Brown suggested violent prone parollees/probationers be fitted with GPS devices.

I agree with this proposal but suggest a device to be fitted to violent prone perpetrators that would protect citizens and law enforcement to the nth degree.

A bracelet with a GPS tracking device, a radio beacon that would identify a potential violent [person] subject to law enforcement, and a Taser capability to incapacitate a subject before citizens or law enforcement may come to harm is possible.

Let's think out of the box to protecting our society from these proven violent individuals. Of couse, the ACLU will have a field day with this proposal.

Lee Tolbert

Vegan Prop

Last November, Californians enacted Prop 2 requiring that animals raised for food be provided sufficient space to turn around and stretch their limbs. Unfortunately, the new law does not prevent deprivation, mutilation, suffocation and other atrocities perpetrated in factory farms and slaughterhouses.

This is why I have joined Operation Prop 2 Follow-Through, which advocates a vegan (animal-free) diet ( The campaign has placed billboards and bus cards and co-ordinated massive leafleting and tabling in California's metropolitan areas. Its slogan is "You favored Prop 2—Now Go Vegan Too!"

This week, the campaign is getting a boost from the global observance of the Great American Meatout ( Now in its 25th year, Meatout has grown into the world's largest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Thousands of grassroots participants ask their friends and neighbors to welcome spring by kicking the meat habit and exploring a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Steven Alderson
Santa Rosa

High IQ

I'm writing in response to Patricia Gasant's ignorant rant about the IQ of marijuana users ("Joint Responsibility," Letters, March 4). I am a professional with a master's degree. I am a marijuana smoker. My smoke cypher includes lawyers and Ph.D.s. We are all over 30. We usually get together for an organic/vegetarian dinner with good wine and good cannabis. We discuss the economy, politics, family, who's finishing or defending a dissertation, and who's studying for the bar. I have found that marijuana smokers, whether for medical reasons or pleasure, are more intelligent and responsible than users of other substances.

It's ignorant people like Ms. Gasant who stereotype smokers from Hollywood movies and bad anti-drug campaigns. Maybe Ms. Gasant should join our cypher and become educated. Who knows, maybe she'll get a contact high IQ.

Nicole, San Jose