Letters to the Editor
Where Is Council?
Re "Outlawed Love" (Metro News, Nov. 19): If the mayor of a major American city in a state not affected directly by Prop. 8 can take a clear stand against discrimination, why can't our City Council? Witness this statement from KOMO News: "Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels ... called Proposition 8 'a hateful measure which should never have been on the ballot.'"
Where is our elected officials' outrage? Is San Jose not the largest city in Northern California, and home to thousands of gays and lesbians, and their families? In particular, why has the San Jose City Council been completely silent about this unconscionable discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens? Does it not care about our rights, rights which our own county has acknowledged are so important that it joined the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco in a petition to overturn Prop. 8?
A few years back, our council would have vehemently decried the unconstitutional stripping of rights from citizens. But something in our city government has changed recently. A dark and sinister element seems to have infiltrated the city at the highest levels. Metro recently featured Larry Pegram, an avowed foe of the GLBT community, in a seven-page article that hinted at his connections and influence with the mayor and the council. In addition, San Jose's new police chief, Rob Davis, is a member of the Mormon Church, which contributed tremendous resources to codifying discrimination into law in California. (It is noteworthy, too, that the Latino community is angry at the Police Department's allegedly overbearing activities in downtown San Jose on weekends.)
My attempts to contact the council directly about their stance on Prop. 8 have been met with rude indifference. Is that how they care about their constituents? Or are they simply afraid that Mr. Pegram will incite a recall campaign against them if they speak out in the name of justice? Are they afraid of the Mormon Church? Certainly, they have witnessed first-hand the power of the church to push through its agenda.
The council's silence has been deafening. Who will speak out for the residents of San Jose? Now, more than ever, is the time for each one of us to break the silence and demand answers from our council. As Elie Wiesel eloquently stated, "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim; silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
Dean M. Harpster
Re Morning in Obamaland (MetroNews, Nov. 26): Thank you for giving such great coverage to this great movement that is taking place not only throughout our area, but throughout the world. People of all countries, religions and races have stepped forward in support of our president-elect. He has not only united us, but he has begun to unite the world. I also wanted to mention that many Gilroy and South County residents also became part of the Silicon Valley Obama team. It consisted not only of Democrats but of many Republicans. It showed us that despite our different parties we could come together to work as one. Phenomenal.
Re "Morning in Obamaland": I was a volunteer at the Obama campaign office in San Jose for four weekends prior to the election. The first time I walked in the door, I was impressed. I told friends that if Obama ran the country half as well as his campaign organization, we'd be in good shape in no time. The high energy level from all the volunteers was contagious. Just being there was exhilarating. I hope there's a way all that energy can be bottled and put to good use once President-elect Obama finally takes office.
Re "Biking's Olds Mobile" (Sports, Nov. 19): A big thanks for recently featuring the Shelly Olds bicycle track racing story. In a sport like bicycle racing where (unfortunately) there is little big-dollar sponsorship, it is no small task to raise local awareness and money so that a talented cyclist can have a shot in the big-time world events. Contrary to the article's assertion though, bicycle racing most often emphatically is a team sport. Like in football, where the team's offensive line helps protect, block and lead out a running back, the cycling team does much the same to assist the team leader to overcome the defensive moves of the other teams and be first at the finish line. Further, team members constantly train together. They discuss tactics and how to train, eat and live right in order to maximize both the individual's capabilities and to work as a team to be ultimately be successful at winning. Thanks again for the article.