News, music, movies & restaurants from the editors of the Silicon Valley's #1 weekly newspaper.
Serving San Jose, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Fremont & nearby cities.

August 9-15, 2006

home | metro silicon valley index | letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor

Men Deserve What They Get

Leave it to Metro to trumpet a men's cause that isn't ("Who's Your Daddy?," MetroNews, July 19). By any measure, the overwhelming problem in child support is lack of it. Yet Metro finds a few hapless men who couldn't be bothered even to show up in court on their own behalf. This is not a child support problem, not even a paternity problem. This is a delinquency problem. Their problems would be the same if they had failed to show up in traffic court or small claims court. What the public does need to know is that "men's rights" groups are often tied to religious groups. The "right" that men's groups are protecting is the "right" to have sex whenever they please with whomever, the right to parent if and when they feel like doing so and the right to "move on" if and when it suits them. This is the assertion of biblical domination of women. Any attempt to hold them accountable is assailed as flawed and unfair. (Heaven forbid life be unfair to a man.) If a man is so indiscriminate that he doesn't even know if he has fathered a child, that man is not so innocent after all. These men are reckless, just as reckless as the men who show up months or years later to claim babies they didn't even know they had (i.e., Baby Jessica, Baby Richard ...). The "right" being protected for these men is the right to be reckless and carefree—a rare luxury for women on this globe. Women have been dealing for centuries with the fall-out of men's reckless sexual behavior and all women ever got was advice to be more chaste. Yet when a few not-so "innocent" men are caught in the undertow, they squeal like drowning pigs and their meager cries drown out the wails of women going down shit's creek by the millions. Given the magnitude of paternal delinquency, the gerrymandering of support guidelines and the disparate impact of women, why does Metro trumpet the cause of these few hapless delinquents?

Theresa Vander Horn, Foster City

Men R Not Always Pigs

I have been working on a documentary for three years about the Child Support System and have found that of the approximately 10,000 known paternity fraud victims in California, less than 10 percent even know about A.B. 252.

I interviewed Phillip Browning of the Los Angeles Dept. of Child Support Services last year, and he said that his department sent notices in every bill, put billboards up around Los Angeles, aired PSAs on cable channels and made every effort. When I spoke to a number of area victims, none of them had seen a single announcement.

One thing that is hard to overcome is that for most victims who have fallen behind and continue to be harassed by the system, they might not open the bill every month. It might cause them more distress to see the bill jump from $98,000 to $130,000 when the do an audit and find more arrears, all for a child you didn't father and never met. That kind of stress must be taken into consideration.

What we need is more mainstream media articles, like this one, that spread the word that time is running out, and pretty soon, even if you can prove you aren't the father, you'll be stuck again. I've heard from many on the other side that there will be no mercy for those who are holding out for restitution and who refuse to accept A.B. 252s waiver of damages against the state. Because, although the bill does end the suffering, it does nothing to repair the damage done to the men who have fallen victim to the system.

On last note, what wasn't highlighted in the article was that the default rate was so high because the County of Los Angeles hired a process serving company that is known in the industry for less than professional service. So while a default may have been taken against a man, that in no way means that he actually got served. That really depends on who said he got served. Process servers are like roofers, you have some excellent ones and some shabby ones who will do anything to earn the fee, even signing that they served a man in an apartment complex that burned down the month before. Or in Taron James' case, served him at the corner two-story blue house, when he lives in the middle of the block in a one-story white house. And in court, I have seen that evidence not make a bit of difference to the judge.

Adryenn Ashley, Petaluma

Lay Off Brazil

Well, first of all, if you're going to write a paper criticizing everything the Brazilians do, you should probably learn how to spell "Verde e Amarela." It's three words not one. Second of all, soccer as a whole has been losing the artistic beauty that it once possessed during the '50s, '60s, '70s and even the '80s. However, this has been occurring in all sports because athletes concentrate on physical stature and conditioning more than skills. Also, in the end of your paper you said to watch Spain and Argentina. Argentina could barely get past Mexico and lucked out when playing an "exciting team" known as the Ivory Coast. As for Spain, they were placed in the weakest division, and they still struggled at times. While I agree with you that Nike is overdoing its ad campaigns supporting Brazil's Jogo Bonito, the only other player in the world that has the same elusive running and dribbling skills as the incredibly talented Brazilian players is Christiano Ronaldo. I'm not saying I think he's the greatest player outside of Brazil and I'm also not trying to defend Brazil's dismal efforts in the France game. I simply believe you should keep your comments on the DL because everyone just wants to win, and it just so happens that the only team that has been able to do it successfully and consistently in five separate World Cups is Brazil. So consider waiting until one of your "exciting" teams actually wins something before you say that they're better teams to watch. Also how can you possibly say Brazil has done all of these "awful" things in order to win and you are defending Argentina, whose idol, Maradona, scored with "the hand of God" against England in order to qualify Argentina to the finals of the World Cup, which they later won. As for their other WC win, it is a well known fact that they paid the Peruvian players to lose by a sizable margin of 6-0, so that they could qualify themselves into a later stage of the World Cup.

Jon C., via email

We Slayer Him

Re "In the Wehrmacht Now" (MetroMusic, July 12): Loved the article. It's about time someone picked up on Slayer's "unconventional reaction" to all the hatred in this society. I've been a fan for over 20 years; they will always be the be-all, end-all band for me.

Ali Vreugdenhil (Brother of Tom Araya of Slayer), Whittier

Aw, that's sweet, Ali. But c'mon now, whatever happened to sibling rivalry? Our suggestion: start a band called Slayerer.—Editor

Send letters to the editor here.