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Letters to the Editor March 28, 2011

Beach cleanup shows strength and character of people here

I wish to send my appreciation to all the people who assisted with the Crescent City beach cleanup.

On the afternoon of March 19, many people, including myself, assisted in removing a lot of debris.

It was windy and rained for several minutes including a bit of hail, but a lot of people stayed despite the weather. That demonstrates real strength and character of the many people who live here.

I climbed up onto the rocks to gather and remove large wooden parts and removed many lead fishing weights including many other items that filled three large garbage bags. Some debris was so big it could not be put in a bag, so we pulled it up to the side of the road for easy collection at removal.

There were many more people working behind the scenes, including city and county staff, and I wish to thank all of them as well.

Joseph Aliotti

Crescent City

U.S. military action in Libya shows lack of good judgment

The Libya conflict and now a full-blown civil war is the business of the Libyan people. If this is indeed a humanitarian effort, the world’s richest region in oil can surely support this effort with the immense resources and wealth of neighboring Arab states and countries. If this is an attempt at regime change, to throw Gadhafi out, it is a rather ill-conceived, untimely and clumsy attempt that clearly relies on a chance hit by a bomb or missile sent by a non-Arab, non-Muslim source. If this is an attempt at nation-building, who will be doing the building?

No, what we have here is knee-jerk reaction in slow motion. Obama originally did not explain what he would do but did say what he wouldn’t do. He told the world that he would not put boots on the ground; he would offer the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to establish a no-fly zone and hand over the operations to a coalition within days, not weeks.

Obama implied that the United States, and he as the commander in chief, would not lead once operations were handed over to a coalition. What he didn’t say is that the United States is a major part of that coalition. Apparently the only thing he was handing over was his responsibilities as commander in chief.

He wouldn’t lead, but our military forces would remain fully engaged and committed in Libya for the foreseeable future. In fact, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke on March 27, 2011, and was asked if he thought U.S. military operations might be over by year’s end, he said, “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that.”

Asked if the Libyan conflict posed a threat to the United States, Gates said it was “not a vital national interest” but he insisted that the situation nevertheless demanded U.S. involvement.

So now we have Arab coalition partners that are enforcing a no-fly zone without any targets, no record of any planes they have either engaged or shot down and a refusal to support any ground support missions.

I guess Obama should have actually presented his plan to Congress first before brokering a deal with an unfriendly U.N. Security Council to put Americans in harm’s way. I guess he should have had a better exit strategy other than his own.

I for one won’t forget during the 2012 elections.

Paul Crandall



Students’ reasons to keep their programs don’t add up


I attended a Del Norte County Unified School District meeting on March 24. What I have to say about it may not be well received by some people, including some whom I consider to be my friends and whose opinions I respect. Nevertheless, I have my opinion, as they have theirs, and the same right to express it.

The meeting was well attended. Perhaps half were standing. For approximately 11⁄2 half hours I listened to members of the audience speak in three-minute increments with pretty much the same message.

What I heard was a preponderance of young people begging for the continuance of public money to support extracurricular programs, which most claimed were necessary as an incentive to keep them in school.

As I listened to these people speak, I thought, “What is wrong with this picture?” They believe they have a legitimate right to be paid for their interest in getting an education. Without full funding of these programs, the board has warned, they risk losing students to drugs, charter schools and home schooling.

What, I wondered, has happened to self-reliance, to individual responsibility, to acting on one’s own incentive, to seeking answers out of curiosity and to wanting an education for one’s own betterment?

I probably shouldn’t be too harsh on the kids. They are just doing as they were taught by our public school system. As with any socialistic system, it works fine until it runs out of OPM (other people’s money), which it appears we are about to do.

It occurs to me that losing students to charter schools and home schooling might be a good thing.

Clif Shepard

Crescent City


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