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April 25-May 1, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

The Ultimate Ultimate Article

Just wanted to say that this was a great article on Ultimate Frisbee ("The Ultimate Controversy," Cover Story, April 11). It was well written and informative. As an Ultimate player myself, it is one of the best articles on Ultimate I have read. My only criticism is that it might be difficult for non-Ulimate players to understand, especially some of the terms and references. If it was meant only for the Ultimate community, then that's fine. But if it was meant for the general public, it might be worthwhile to include some definitions and explanations for some of the words mentioned in the article.

Nonetheless, it was a great article.

Lee Sun, Fremont

Chief Won't Listen

I read your article from "The Fly" section of the Jan. 24 to 30 publication ("Communication Breakdown") with interest. While I appreciate the coverage provided, it would have been well to also interview someone from the San Jose Human Rights Commission and/or the Office of the Independent Police Auditor.

As a community peace and justice advocate, I am blessed to work with interfaith and multicultural groups in Santa Clara County.Consequently I feel like I know what life is really like for many of our communities which causes me to have a very different perspective from what you reflected in your editorial in regard to the recent police practices forum process.

I was a member of the City of SJ Human Rights for 5 1/2 years. I had the opportunity to work with the former Chief Lansdowne as well as Chief Davis. The former Chief was open to whatever the Commissioners shared with him verbally, said he would work on the problem and then followed up to let HRC know what he had done.

Since day one of working with Chief Davis, his response to problems with police practices which were reported by HRC members at their monthly meetings was/is that since there were no written complaints on file in Internal Affairs there was nothing that he could do. In more than one HRC meeting, commissioners have had "heated" discussions in regard to the "disconnect" between the Chief's canned comment and the actual experiences of the African American and Latino communities.

The two forums sponsored by HRC and the Independent Police auditor were held to allow for public testimony to dispel Chief Davis's excuse for having ignored all of the information presented by HRC, the IPA and the Grand Jury. The fact is that the communities that suffer do not dare to submit formal, written complaint due to the ramifications of that action in the past.

Last year, PACT had a forum and community tried to present testimony in regard to having Social Security (SS) numbers requested when calling 911. Having been a PACT member, I understand that the SS issue could not be addressed during the forum. It would have been helpful, though, if the community members sharing that information had not been so afraid that they did not file a formal complaint. On the other hand there is also community experience that when a formal complaint is filed there is repressive reaction on the part of the police department.

The IPA in her annual report reflected that in some cases reviewed the community complaint was dismissed as an "incident" so there was not even a reprimand for the officer involved.The Grand Jury's report reflected that there were cases of harassment and racial profiling. When the City Council and Mayor accepted the Chief's reports in reply to the IPA and Grand Jury, that in effect wiped the slate clean for the police. And by accepting those reports, the City Council and Mayor in affect made the Chief and the department more arrogant and disrespectful of the community. Two forums later (about 250 people at one and 200 at the other), and the Chief is now making comments like "It's important to listen to this and hear the comments."

In my opinion, the forums sponsored by HRC and IPA gave the community an opportunity to provide public testimony without intimidation. Public testimony that they hope will bring about humane changes in police practices.

Socorro Reyes-McCord, San Jose

Discrimination Smokescreen

Re "Feds May Move on Local Mosques" (MetroNews, April 4): Why is it that this article sides with the Muslims and against the government? That is certainly the impression you leave. No one knows anything at this point what is really happening, but all the sudden the Muslims are screaming discrimination. I am really tired of this. If people are guilty, they will be charged and tried. It they are not guilty, the FBI will move on. You can't deal with a terrorist threat if stories automatically assume that the Muslims are victims. Last time I checked, they are the ones that caused 9/11 and have threatened to wipe us off the face of the map.

By the way, my ancestors were Italian. When the Mob was investigated, you didn't hear Italians crying to the media that the government was against Italians. Think is it this way, if they aren't guilty, they have nothing to worry about. If they are guilty they are pulling the wool over your eyes by screaming discrimination, before anything has happened, intending to throw you off the scent because of political correctness.

Mimi Rossi, San Jose

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