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Killing Them Softly

When former shelter workers and local residents DIANE LEIGH and MARILEE GEYER co-authored a book about an animal shelter, they weren't planning to self-publish it. That decision came later, after interested agents told the pair, who insisted on including photos of animals that had been euthanized, that such material was too graphic and would make the project unmarketable. Convinced that the images were crucial, the pair decided to form a nonprofit and put One at a Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelter out themselves.

Seems like they made the right choice. Using soulful photos and poignant tales, they manage to tastefully put faces on a supersized problem, namely that unwanted/lost animals are euthanized at a rate of one every 6.5 seconds in the United States.

"We were expecting flak, but it hasn't been treated that way," says Leigh of the reaction to the book, which apparently is now being used by shelters nationwide. Leigh says they've already heard about how the book has had a real impact from readers, including a woman who gave up a high-paying job to work at a spay/neuter clinic, students who organized a food drive in Florida for a local humane society and a reporter who adopted an old dog from a shelter instead of buying one from a breeder.

"People should make sure they understand, and are ready for, the commitment of bringing an animal into their life," says Geyer, when asked how to stop the killing. "They should take the time to educate themselves to make a wise choice of an animal who will be compatible with them. A critical next action to help end this tragedy is that they can save a life by adopting a homeless animal from a shelter, a rescue group or the street."

Leigh and Geyer will read from their book at the Capitola Book Cafe at 7:30pm on Thursday, Aug. 12.

Marker Shame

News that Arnie wants to put a discriminatory mark on driver's licenses for immigrants got Nüz speculating what form that mark might take. A holograph of PETE WILSON's face? A stamp saying, "Second Class Citizen?" Perhaps a magnetic strip that when scanned shouts, "Please harass me!"

Whatever the plan, Sen. GIL CEDILLO, (D-Los Angeles), who has authored both past and present pieces of driver's license legislation, calls the marker idea "repugnant and unacceptable."

In a recent press release, Cedillo wrote that when he spoke with SCHWARZENEGGER last year, shortly before the repeal of SB 60, "The governor looked me in the eye, shook my hand and told me that this year's driver's license bill will not have a marker or identifier."

What Arnie promised, says Cedillo, was to support a bill if it better addressed national security issues, which Cedillo claims SB 1160 does by requiring background checks, fingerprinting and a hefty $146 processing fee.

Critics claim the bill would make life easier for terrorists, but Cedillo notes that state sponsors of terrorism are Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. In other words, not Mexico.

A letter from JOHN MILLER, the Los Angeles Police Department's's Commanding Officer of Critical Incident Management (dated June 15, 2005, making Nüz wonder if the LAPD is now funding Minority Report-style psychic projection through time), notes that terrorists don't need drivers' licenses to accomplish their mission, that most major terrorists weren't "illegal aliens" and that while suspected terrorists might qualify for licenses, under SB 1160, investigators would be able to access photos and fingerprints, which they currently can't.

"As for the terrorist who is going to drive a truck bomb, it does not appear that terrorist groups are concerned over whether their 'martyrs' are driving the truck legally," Miller writes.

With only three weeks left for legislators to get SB 1160 on the governor's desk before the end of the state legislative session, Cedillo's communications director EDWARD HEADINGTON says Arnie has been renamed Wilsonnegger, following rumors that Pete Wilson's camp advised him not to honor his marker-free promise.

"Arnie's still sitting on the version we gave him, saying, 'It's not what we asked for,' and floating out the idea of a marker, which maybe is just a red herring to slow matters down," speculates Headington.

All of which has Nüz urging Arnie, who started off as an immigrant himself, not to be a girlie man. Sign SB 1160!

Unmellow Mello-Roes

News that Cal-American has requested to see copies of Mello-Roes district formation petitions that 77 percent of Felton residents recently signed has county Supe MARK STONE all worked up.

"It's frightening to petitioners. What would prevent PG&E and Oracle from getting their names, too?" fumes Stone, noting that the petitions are the first step in forming a community facilities district that would finance the acquisition of Felton's water system that Cal-American currently owns.

"And what does Cal-Am want with them anyway?" Stone muses.

Cal-American's EVAN JACOBS, who describes himself as the "community relations manager and darn proud of it," says Cal-Am asked to see the petitions "because they started to be circulated in late May and the county did not pass its guidelines and procedures for creating the district until mid-June. And frankly, we'd like to see what this petition says," says Evans, admitting that he did see a copy in May, but didn't get much chance to study it. "We're not accusing them of anything. We'd just like to see for ourselves. Perhaps there is a good legal reason to keep them confidential--and we expect to get a legal reason why we can't see them."

Meanwhile, county elections officer GAIL PELLERIN says that only the signatures on nomination ballots--"That's the 20 people who support someone running for public office," she explains--are made public and that all other petitions are held under lock and key.

"That's part of the democratic process of being able to sign something without the possibility of repercussions for taking that position," says Pellerin, adding that if the county counsel were to take the unlikely position of ordering petitions to be released, she would personally refuse to help.

"I'd tell them, 'Then you give them out,'" she says.

Nüz just loves juicy tips: Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at , or call our hotline at 457.9000, ext 214.

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From the August 11-18, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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