#parents | #teensvaping | Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for March 21, 2020 – Marin Independent Journal

American companies: Break ties with China

The coronavirus is the last straw for Americans who are sick of what China — where the pandemic began — has done to the industrial base and culture of this country. We cannot fairly trade with countries that do not have a free press, right to organized labor, openly traded currency or even basic human rights.

Yes China’s system works. But that system can always produce enormous wealth for a few. When Joseph Stalin was premier of Russia, he grew the economy 10%. America’s former Antebellum South grow wildly rich, for a few, using slavery.

American oligarchs exploited Chinese labor for their own benefit and now they need to pay the bill that is about to come due. It is the largest bill in modern history. The center cannot hold, systems collapse. What China is doing is morally wrong.

This is America’s chance to break ties with neo-slavery. That includes companies like Apple, Walmart, Nike and many others.

The Antebellum South argued it could not produce cotton without slavery. Today we cannot produce shoes and phones without slavery. We cannot farm without illegal labor. Globalization is primarily a pro-slavery argument.

It is clearly time to return home and build a real sustainable fair economy.

— Tim Peterson, San Anselmo

Marin should consolidate all school districts

Now that a couple of Marin school districts were not successful in passing what are typically automatic parcel taxes, it’s time to reassess all options to move forward financially.

Here’s one obvious option, written with more than 30 years as a Bay Area teacher and administrator including 10 years with San Francisco Unified School District, 13 years with San Domenico School and even two years with Novato Unifed at San Marin High School in the Plus Program. I’m also a Novato homeowner and a senior so I am exempt from certain parcel taxes.

Whether it’s NUSD, the Tam District or any other Marin County school district, financial help and remedies could, if not should, start with consolidation into a single Marin school district. It’s long overdue. The administrative savings would be very significant and, after all, available money should be focused on the students and programs that directly benefit their success.

There are other single Bay Area school districts that have more students than all the districts in Marin combined. I worked for 10 years for one of them, SFUSD. Being a single district does not make you automatically better, but if run well they can do as well or even better than numerous small districts can. Some things can be easier to do and some can be more challenging. It all depends on the quality of the district organization and it’s people. However, spending limited monies on duplicate administrations and staffs does not guarantee better student performance or success. Look at the state statistics.

I know this issue has been brought up before, but given the need for additional monies, Marin districts should focus on what can be controlled and made to happen. Simply expecting a supportive community to take on additional taxes is not the appropriate answer.

— Bob Lewis, Novato

Tiburon needs healthy policy against herbicides

As vice mayor of Tiburon, I want to thank the Marin IJ editorial board for its very balanced coverage of Tiburon’s updating its integrated pest management (IPM) policy.

I strongly believe part of my job is to protect our residents’ health. In February of 2018, when the town was set to spray Roundup in Blackie’s Pasture, I stopped the spraying since that brand of herbicide was labeled a known carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, which violated our IPM policy.

Although we made progress, Tiburon began using a relatively new herbicide called Lifeline, linked with dermal, inhalation, reproductive and organ toxicity.

I believe Tiburon should ban herbicides and pesticides in our town, but at minimum should never spray them in our public parks or where people, children and pets congregate. We have many residents who have volunteered to hand weed, and also the incremental cost of hiring more staff to weed to protect the public health is money well spent. Our budget is a statement of priorities, and ensuring the health of our community is exactly how I believe we should spend our money.

Fairfield, Larkspur, Corte Madera and Marin County parks have proven that weeds can be managed without the use of toxic conventional herbicides and pesticides. I am confident that Tiburon can do the same. We owe it to the public health of our residents, as well as the children, pets and people who come to Tiburon to live, play, dine and experience the amazing beauty here.

For Tiburon to mirror the Marin County policies makes sense. The county has a very well thought out award-winning IPM policy that has been publicly vetted and created with many years of research and community input. Let’s improve our public health by banning herbicides and pesticides and not make families wonder if it is safe to go the park.

— Holli P. Thier, Tiburon

Individual responsibility key near train tracks

In Fred Fielding’s letter to the editor, published on Feb. 6, he wrote that there have been 12 fatalities on the SMART train tracks since 2017.

While acknowledging some of those have been suicides, he then indicates it is SMART’s fault that others have been killed, due to poor fencing along the tracks.

Has he ever seen a train chasing someone down the street? Has he seen people walking on tracks that are specifically for trains?

We all have to exercise responsibility: If you see tracks, think trains.

— Bonnie Page, Greenbrae

Grant for anti-vape push, but canabis is real issue

Let me get this straight. A grant given to San Rafael City School will result in using nearly $1.12 million to hire two resource officers to fight teens from vaping. Will they get $560,000 each? Can I apply for that job?

But the county supports dope on demand and has marijuana distribution centers in Marin. So the public can get dope, but we think vaping is bad for teens? This county has supported dope-on-demand and it will reap the whirlwind. We will have a generation of stoners who will drop out of school and not go to college. Dope will be their life.

But you adult stoners want to feel you are doing something to rein in the dope problem in Marin, so vaping is targeted as the big evil. Marin adults that voted for dope-on-demand are the true evil. Teens aren’t the problem in Marin, it’s their adult parents.

— Robert A. Casper Sr., San Rafael

Characterization of Democrats was not right

I am writing in response to Anna Mae Maly’s letter to the editor published March 12. Yes, Democrats want to end the Electoral College. Republicans should, too. It was corrupt when it was inserted into the Constitution, and it’s corrupt now. Why should some unknown and unelected clown get to usurp my vote so rural states have more influence?

Maly wrote that Democrats assassinated Brett Kavanaugh character during the Supreme Court hearings. Untrue. What happened was that one woman held her heart in her hands and bravely recounted a terrible experience. Republicans made it political.

Maly wrote that Democrats want “open borders,” but no Democrat I know wants that. Yes, I’m unconcerned with illegal immigrants until Sen. Mitch McConnell acts on the Democrats’ immigration package. My ancestors came here in 1741; their only requirement was swearing allegiance to William Penn.

My wife is the only Democrat I know who wants to end Second Amendment rights. Can’t we all accept reasonable limitations on gun ownership?

Democrats aren’t undermining the individual vote, that’s what the Electoral College does. We’ve never had a free and fair national election. With 3,400 counties and 174,000 precincts in the United States, we’ve never had just one voting system. Each county has its own system with its own rules.

Don’t confuse impeachments, indictment and court trials. Donald Trump wasn’t denied one right in his impeachment trail. The senators, though, were denied the right to see documents or hear witnesses.

— Jerry D. Moore, Novato

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