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Letters to the Editor

Right to Farm

Re "Smells Like the End" (MetroNews, July 2): I was disappointed that the other mushroom farms in the area were not interviewed. I don't think that South Valley Mushrooms represents all mushrooms farms grown in the area—there is Monterey Mushrooms and Royal Oaks Mushrooms. Instead a tree fruit grower and garlic grower were interviewed. Monterey Mushrooms is one of California's leading growers. I'm sure they would have had some interesting things to add to this story.

One point that was missing, which would have helped many of the urban residences around the local farms, is that Santa Clara County has a "Right to Farm" ordinance. So any time a person purchases a home within so many miles from an agricultural operation, they have to sign this ordinance—knowing that there is farming in their neighborhood.

Unfortunately, sometimes farming doesn't smell very good, but I'd rather buy my mushrooms/fruit/veggies locally than from out of the country.

Emily Bettencourt

Morgan Hill

For the record, our reporter repeatedly attempted to reach both Monterey Mushrooms and Royal Oaks Mushrooms for comment.—Editor

Fighting Tickets

Re "More Fun With Bike Tickets" (Letters, June 11): Jean S. writes about her husband, who was ticketed by a nasty, possibly racist CHP officer. Basically there are only two solutions that I know of. The first solution is to find out who the officer's superior is and write a complaint letter regarding his discourteous behavior. Usually the officer's station address is on the ticket and the officer in charge of that station can be identified by a phone call to that station. I would also send a copy of that complaint to the CHP Commissioner whose name and business address could be found on line.

The second solution is to force the CHP officer into court by contesting the ticket. The ticket system works because so few of the defendants (around 5 percent) contest their tickets. Yes, the defendant spends as much time in court as the cop, but the three or so hours that the cop spends in court on one ticket takes away 7 percent of his time for the week, during which he could write five or six tickets. Since police are well paid in California, that three hours will cost his employer somewhere around $150-$200. To improve the defense's chance of success, I would strongly recommend the use of David Brown's Fight Your Ticket book that is available from Nolo Press. One of the most useful parts of that book is the Informal Discovery Request form in the back, which can be removed and photocopied. This forces the cop to give you a copy of all of his notes that he may have made on his copy of the ticket. It also tells the cop and his boss that the defendant knows more than 90 percent of the few defendants who do contest their tickets and that the case may not be such a slam-dunk for the prosecution! I have used this Informal Discovery Request requirement in six cases (only one was mine). It was successful in five. The one failure was when the cop told his boss that he had no notes, then produced them in court. That case should have been dismissed, although the Court Commissioner did ask the defendant whether she wanted sanctions (damages) against the cop.

I am not against traffic laws for safety, but I am opposed to them for revenue enhancement, which appears to be the reason for this incident and most tickets which are issued!

Al N.


Class War

In the "Mashup" section of the July 2 Metro, Jack Van Zandt points out that taxpayers are subsidizing the "wealthy elite of the corporate plutocracy." Not one of the people who responded with a comment could tie Jack's example of Corporate Socialism to their wallet.

The comments ridiculed Jack and exclaimed that the report was "left-wing" and implied that it was a first step in a Commie plot to confiscate property.

Warren Buffet said, "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

With the lack of understanding expressed in the comments it is easy to understand why Warren Buffet's class is winning. I have trouble understanding why those at the bottom of the food chain applaud gifts to the rich that come right out of their pocket books.

Phillip P. Pflager