ASH patients are treated with respect
Your recent article about the pending U.S. Department of Justice investigation at Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) ("Feds investigate ASH," June 30-July 7) illuminates the Church of Scientology doctrine as one that that strongly opposes psychiatry. However, ASH continues to maintain that the measures utilized for care and treatment are widely recognized as appropriate, and we note that there have been no recommendations of change or citations granted in this regard.
The hospital has maintained full accreditation status with the national Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations, and is regularly reviewed by the California Department of Health Services and maintains compliance with all regulations.
We have policies in place against sexual misconduct and breaches in security and therapeutic patient care. Orientation, training, monitoring, and anonymous reporting venues are provided to staff in order to guard against the very few who lack basic ethical or common sense.
Finally, we note that there are multiple channels available to patients for redress through local, state, and federal regulatory agencies and the judicial system. The article failed to explain this, giving the reader the false impression that once a patient enters ASH, he is stripped of his human rights and has no recourse. Though our critics might wish to paint such a picture, it's simply not true.
ASH Public Relations Officer
I support my foodshed!
I was heartened to see Kathy Marcks Hardesty's most recent Cuisine page featuring local sustainable food sources ("Support your local foodshed," July 14-21). Although I am often dismayed by what seems to be a wine column constantly masquerading as a Cuisine, this one is on the right path! Eating local foods supports local farmers and economies, uses less petroleum involved in transportation of food, and is noticeably of higher quality than that available at almost any store, particularly better than big-box supermarkets' selections.
Recently, my fiancee and I have frequently delighted at how locally sourced our foods are; between the produce available at the farmers' markets, (especially from Ralph Johnson and others who farm sustainably) and our small backyard garden, most of our meals come from within our foodshed. Okay, so I enjoy tea imported from Asia and an occasional banana. But overall, I feel a tremendous sense of pride in where I live, where my food comes from, and who is involved in making that happen; all as a result of my familiarity with local farmers, their produce, and my own garden. When you buy at a supermarket, who knows whether the farmers are getting paid a decent wage, how long ago the produce was picked, or how far it has traveled. I often see Ralph working his field as I travel Los Osos Valley Road, just a few miles from home, which makes the whole area feel like home! Thanks to Kathy for a great column, and to all the people who make local food their livelihoods!
Protect your children's privacy
Alert for parents and their teenage children: Are you aware that your high school is giving personal information about your high school children to the Department of Defense, which goes into the Pentagon's new database, known as the Joint Advertising and Marketing Research Recruiting Database or "JAMRS"? If schools refuse to give out such data they are at risk of losing funding under the No Child Left Behind Act. Military recruiters can then go into that data to contact your children. Information will include birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity, what subjects the students are studying, and more. They have hired a marketing company, "BeNow Inc.," to manage the data.
But parents that don't want their children's information to be given out or for recruiters to be contacting their children there is an "opt out" form that they can fill out. These forms are available to those over the age of 18 also. They may be downloaded from the Internet, or I will mail one to you, if you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone me at 438-3764. It would be best to have this ready to be taken to the high school on the first day of school.
Goodbye, New Times
It appears that we can bid farewell to that formerly dynamic alternative newspaper, New Times. Longtime readers of New Times fondly remember the days when they ran punchy, well-written, informative, and controversial articles and opinion pieces; articles that generated flurries of rabidly pro and con letters to the editor, sometimes for weeks.
All that is gone. Now we are subjected to such drivel as 55 Fiction where the "winning" entries read like the rejects from a grade school remedial English class. And just this past week we were treated to a lead article featuring a cross dresser. Wow, such excitement, almost as much fun as the ever-present Los Osos sewage articles.
Should we start looking for New Times along with sleazy tabloids at the supermarket checkout?
Righting historical wrongs is a slippery slope
Concerning letters about my protest of the Chumash Indians' defiance of California Law (July 7-14):
The fact that historical injustices were done to the Indians is beyond debate; the question is what, if anything, can be done to remedy those terrible acts at this very late date.
History relates an unbroken string of wrongs, injustices, and atrocities. Once we begin trying to undo the past, we traverse a slippery slope. If we let the Chumash ignore state law to make money, do we try to repay the blacks for their slave labor? How about compensating white Georgians for Sherman's March, or the Jews for property lost to the Inquisition? There is no shortage of ethnic groups with historical claims, valid or otherwise. There has to be a statute of limitations on attempts to remedy historical wrongs, however bad the past seems to be.
No one now alive participated in or suffered the highly regrettable actions committed against the Chumash Indians of the early 1800s. Surely the passing of 10 generations should be sufficient to adapt socially and economically to the forced loss of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Our Constitution requires equal legal standing for all. We need the fair application of this key constitutional principle. No race is above the law, however keen or justified their resentment of historical injustice. All Californians, including the Chumash, should be equally subject to federal, state, and local law. Once we began exempting racial groups from laws they find inconvenient, where do we stop?