Albion Monitor /Commentary


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Riggs: "It Was Just A Little Pepper Spray In The Face Area"

Is the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department a secret arm of the Gestapo? Surely the uniformed bullies we saw rubbing pepper spray into the eyes of young women are not American citizens, sworn to uphold our Constitution and to protect and serve our people! Evidently, their official role model is patterned in the heroic mold of Hitler's SS. But their sorry, slovenly performance exhibited more the characteristics of brutal, callous and stupid storm troopers than the nattily attired elite of Hitler's gang. If we must become a neofascist society, can't we exhibit at least a smidgeon of class, and dress properly for the role?

As for Frank Riggsā lecture to the press . . . What nonsense! Our eyes do not deceive us! I am sick to death of the lame excuses and rotten rationalizations we hear whenever the guardians of property, prestige and authority run amok and abuse people for whatever "good reason." At 69, Iāve lived too long, and seen too much, to believe any of it.

Maybe, someday, the American public will respond with similar anger to the rampant abuse of power we are treated to almost daily. Meanwhile, we can at least honor the courage of these young protesters, who exhibit more nobility of purpose each day than those uniformed clowns will in a lifetime!

Charles S. Karste

Now that Representative Frank Riggs has emerged long enough from Charles Hurwitz' back pocket to express how he feels about the pepper spraying of young women who are exercising the only rights left to them as citizens to defend the Headwaters Forest, we know all too clearly that he is sick and corrupt.

He must never again hold public office.

Dan Scanlan (Grass Valley, CA)

After I read about Riggs' remarks in the paper the next morning, I went looking on the Internet to see if I could find them. I was delighted to find the Albion Monitor had a complete transcript and also places to find more information and support the protestors. This is the kind of web news I have been looking for.

Mark Ruff (Berkeley, CA)

Dear Frank: Thanks in advance for giving the First District back to the Democratic party.

Thomas Andersen

Thanks for your inclusion of the Frank Riggs commentary on the House floor relative to the notorious pepper-spray incident in his regional office. My students here at Prescott College saw the video clips on the national news and were horrified. They were also surprised that the incident made it on mainstream media. I related to them my experiences in the mid 1980s with North Coast Redwood issues and how this struggle has been going on for decades. My students were surprised to learn that protestors have been persisting that long to conserve remaining remnants of the old growth forest, with virtually no media coverage. Welcome to the world, I replied.

Though I am happy for the coverage of these brutal tactics by the "authorities," I am sad that it takes such extremes of violence (committed by "peace" officers) to garner media attention. Thank the Universe for the Albion Monitor and its balanced and thorough coverage of the ecological and other social justice news that the mainstream media don't find fit to print.

Terril L. Shorb (Arizona)

Lake County Medicinal Marijuana

While not involving pepper spray like the now-notorious arrest of environmentalists by Mendocino County deputies, the arrest of two female students by deputies in neighboring Lake County for cultivating medical marijuana also raises valid issues of police harassment. The two women had documentation from the cannabis buyers' club in Ukiah (UCBC). The plot, just across the Mendocino county line contained all of 51 plants, which were confiscated, thus denying intended medical benefit to local patients.

One of the women is a premedical student whose future is threatened by having a felony arrest on her record. This is just the type of heavy-handed police activity the voters of California were attempting to prevent with the passage of Proposition 215 in November of last year. The only way to prevent these fascist police tactics is to expose them and ask the deputies and the Lake County DA to explain just what vital public interest they are protecting.

We're listening; and we're watching.

Thomas J. O'Connell, MD (San Mateo, CA)

A voice needs to be heard for Yvette Rubio. She is a victim of a most disgusting act on the part of the Lake County Sheriff's Department. The sheriff broke the law established under Proposition 215 last year, allowing those with the medical necessity to grow their own marijuana, by arresting Ms. Rubio and seizing the medicine to be used for the Ukiah Cannabis Buyers Club.

If anyone is to be charged in this matter, it should be the sheriff! Their direct breach of California law can't be tolerated.

I urge you to please help spread word of the atrocity of the sheriff's actions. We cannot let our law enforcement damage the integrity of our legislation or the health of people dependent upon it.

Joel W. Johnson (San Jose, CA )

Charges against Rubio are still pending, and her arraignment is scheduled for November 24.

-- Editor

Santa's Little Sweatshop

I'm trying to form an organization of families involved with children's sports (baseball, soccer, basketball, etc) to boycott those companies which produce equipment, shoes, clothing made by child and/or sweatshop labor in US or foreign countries. We're having a tough time finding a list of the "good guys" (companies which use good labor practices). It's difficult to tell parents "don't buy any sports clothes or equipment since it might be made by child labor!" Can you help? Perhaps you know of other groups in the US which are ahead of us on this issue.

Geoffry White

I am the Mayor of the City of North Olmsted, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) and have been for the past eight years. This past January, I wrote a policy which prohibits North Olmsted from purchasing, renting, leasing and taking on consignment any and all goods manufacture through the use of sweatshop labor. In February, I wrote the policy into ordinance form and my City Council passed it with a unanimous, bi-partisan vote. Because of these actions a half dozen other Cleveland suburbs passed copies of the ordinance within a few weeks.

The U. S. Conference of Mayors asked me to write a similar ordinance for their June 97 convention in San Francisco, which I did. The national and international press I received from this conference allowed me to present the issue and ordinance to other U.S. cities, and now over 30 have passed it -- including Cleveland and San Francisco. It is currently in committee in Pittsburgh and New York.

I have also been on national TV, radio and newspapers regarding sweatshops, spoke at the recent national AFL-CIO meeting in Pittsburgh and more. I am currently creating my own web page ( to address mainly local topics, but also some national and international issues that will impact my city.

Ed Boyle

I am disgusted to hear that the sweatshop labor problem is so ubiquitous. While I am disheartened by companies using sweatshop labor, I am appalled that multinational, multi-billion dollar corporations which obviously are not having financial problems are so blatantly exploiting human beings.

Alissa Pero (San Francisco)

At the close of the "Santa's Little Sweatshop" feature is a link to further reading on sweatshop issues. Revisiting that today, I was dismayed to find several of the links were no longer active, and will update that page as soon as possible. In the meantime, I'd suggest visiting the Unite web pages and those for the Clean Clothes Campaign for up-to-date information.

-- Editor

Alien Invaders

It's too bad you offer only the corporate agricultural viewpoint on the "exotic invader" plant issue. This stance discredits the other good work you do. The myth of exotic invaders destroying natural habitats only distracts from the real issue: corporate colonialization of this land. No invasive plants disturb anywhere near the natural habitat of corporate farming or logging or rural resettlement. Don't be duped by this false issue. The CA Native Plant Society is backed by Ag interests (chiefly at Cal Poly) and is solely a voice for such.

Rick Hepting

Portland's Crucial Urban Growth Boundary Decision

As a home owner and resident in Portland since 1990, I have seen the effects of the Urban Growth Boundary and am able to compare Portland's experience to that of Los Angelos and the Bay Area, places that I have also lived. In Portland the Boundary has not only saved the rural farming communities so close to the metro area, but also Portland's inner city neighborhoods.

Portland, like many cities across the US, experienced explosive suburban growth after WWII. The inner city neighborhoods suffered from population decrease and neglect, resulting in slumming and in some areas "white flight" and "red lining" of racially mixed neighborhoods. Certainly the outlawing of "red lining," the banking practice of refusal to loan money for purchase or improvement of housing in poor, often racially-mixed neighborhoods, improved the neighborhoods somewhat. But it was the urban growth boundary that "turned back" the flow of middle class whites back to the inner city.

My neighborhood, once a crime-ridden slum, is now a prosperous, harmonious, racially-mixed neighborhood with hope for the future. Businesses are moving into once empty storefronts, houses are being restored, new houses are being built, by Habitat For Humanity, the Portland Development Commission, savvy developers, and most importantly, the resident homeowners, who now feel confident that their investment of money and sweat equity will retain its value.

The Urban Growth Boundary, by forcing a limit to growth, insures that property values of the inner city do not decline. Market forces can bring about socially desirable results, with the proper community / government planning. Other cities could benefit from this powerful tool of urban renewal.

Almost everyone benifits from the Urban Growth Boundary, homeowners, shopowners, renters, and even the taxpayer. The only people hurt by is the developers and speculators of the high-end "Street of Dreams" homes that threaten the heavily wooded margins of the City of Portland. A small price to pay.

Kay Murphy (Portland)

River Town

Whilst surfing the North Coast I wondered what 'petaluma+coffee' would net. Read just enough to note that I had stumbled onto some GREAT Petaluma stuff and beseeched my HP 'typewriter' to peck out a copy. It took my wife, Sheila, to ferret out the coffee part and to pronounce that yours was the very best piece she had ever seen on Petaluma! I totally agree. 'Twas most delightful and informative!! And be assured that we are totally possessed by absolute, unadulterated, unabashed, and unbiased judgment regarding this subject, irregardless of the fact that we, along with all our customers and staff, own PETALUMA COFFEE COMPANY!!

Being a confirmed Sonoma County Petaluman, I must confess that I had come to believe that newspapers probably did not exist north of the northern Sonoma County line! Fortunately my eyes have been washed open with with a strong shot of North Coast sea water! I vow to dive back into my browser and become a subscriber!

Gardner Bride (Petaluma Coffee Company)

Neither Simone Wilson nor anyone associated with the Albion Monitor has any connection to the Petaluma Coffee Company. They can change that by supplying our editorial office with a kilo of potent French Roast.

-- Editor

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