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Letters to the Editor May 06, 2011

AAU coach: Under-14 kids taught more than winning

I would like to humbly respond to and answer the question that Bob Fisher asked in his April 30 letter concerning the AAU basketball program in Del Norte County. He asked, “Do we not want to put the best players out there to represent our community?”

As an AAU coach in this county, I would like to assure Mr. Fisher that we do have some of the finest young men representing our community. I feel it a privilege to be able to work with these young men, take them to competitions and let everyone know we are from Del Norte County.

However, I would like to caution Mr. Fisher on the narrow-minded focus of measuring success with championship titles, especially with the under-14 age group, which I currently work with. As their coach, I structure our practices to focus not only on basketball court awareness, but also classroom awareness, community awareness and family awareness.

 

We work tirelessly on becoming team players both on and off the court. The athletes I currently work with have really responded on the court by going undefeated in the CR League and taking second in a highly competitive tournament in Sacramento. With that being said, the thing that brightens my spirit the most is watching them grow and become polished as young men and respond successfully off the court.

Basketball is a great tool to teach character, respect, hard work, fair play and good citizenship. Qualities that will benefit an individual for life.

On a side note, I would like to inform you that the Del Norte High School boys basketball team did have a highly successful year winning a share of the HDN title. The high school has been fortunate enough through the years to have coaches of both genders who care not only about titles but shaping these young people’s minds.

Remember, we are only athletes for a short period of our lives so we as coaches need to be careful how we define success to the individuals we teach. I know Del Norte County has tremendous young people who would benefit from my program. However, space, resources, time, and effort are limited.

I encourage you, Mr. Fisher, to dust off your sneakers, take your whistle out and help in the effort of shaping the young people of this county.

Terry Vance

Del Norte Hoopsters coach

Crescent City

Inmate: Justice system unfairly easy on Garcia

 

I am a state prisoner sentenced to 25 years to life under California’s Three Strikes Law found guilty solely on a smudged fingerprint and not identified by the eyewitness.

I have observed over the past 16 years of incarceration the unequal applications of the law and justice. More so when it comes to politicians, police and the well-to-do. I just read the April 16 article, “Prosecutor: Garcia deal was proper.” I could not believe the clear disparity of treatment he received. That is at the heart of the dysfunctional justice and class systems in this country where all are not treated equally as human beings under an alleged democracy.

The Garcia case is a prime example where, according to your article, he at one point was charged with embezzlement, first-degree burglary, two counts of grand theft of a firearm, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics for sale, theft from an elder and two counts of misdemeanor theft, among others for a grand total of 14 felony counts.

A search of his home found him with three guns (not his), over 400 prescription pills and seven police uniforms reported missing from the Sheriff’s Office. Wow, that is over twice as many charges as I have in my entire history, which consists of a drug-induced robbery at 18 years old, burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, receiving stolen property two TVs and burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. All of which have a significantly lesser impact and harm to the public, youth (see Triplicate story of kids and prescription medications) and the livelihood of elders.

The only conclusion that can be reached for this profound unequal application of the law is that I come from a lower class of society to which the harshest penalties of the law are reserved. The only things the police found when they came to my residence was me enjoying a day with my wife, daughters, mom, nieces and nephews.

I have now spent 16 years in prison with at least another nine years to go before I am even eligible for parole. I will be 55 years old and will have lost my wife to divorce, seen my daughters grow from little girls to adults, lost both my fathers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and dear friends to death, most of my social contacts and much, much more. While Mr. Garcia will have spent less than a year in county jail and probation.

There are many such cases as Mr. Garcia’s and law enforcement and politicians who receive special treatment, as well as members of the well to do. What has become of justice for all?

How about the prosecution of Dr. Murray, accused in the death of Michael Jackson? Why? Because the affluent are treated better? The justice system will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting that case when here in the California Department of Corrections it has been recorded that one inmate dies a week due to poor medical treatment and not one doctor is charged for a crime!

The United States claims to be the most civilized country in the world. However, the measure of a civilization is tested by how that civilization treats its lowest and poorest citizens. Under that test, we fail; even more so when the word justice means “just us.”

We shall be judged in the end and it’s good to remember that we will all be in the same room! Hopefully society and the government can do better.

Gabriel Reyes, inmate

Pelican Bay State Prison

Obama hurts economy by not letting us drill for oil

This is what I see that went wrong with our country, and it’s a mess in my estimation. The trillions in debt started during the Bush administration with the cost of the 9/11 disaster and the shutting down of travel, airlines, etc. Then the starting of the war in Iraq that Congress voted for that was disputed for various reasons. I really believe getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a must. The war in Afghanistan, another large expense to add to more unbelievable debt.

Then came another disaster, Katrina, which the mayor of New Orleans and the governor had no idea what to do. One thing was hundreds of buses that could have taken people out of the city, but were left to go underwater. People were left to get on their house roofs. The mayor and governor blamed President Bush. The two should have been put in jail.

The housing collapse, rising unemployment, bank failures, etc., all added to more troubles. The big trouble now with our country is our president, Obama, the famous community organizer. He has added trillions of dollars to our debt with no results to help our unemployment or housing, etc.

If anybody can tell me what he said he was going to do as president and what he is doing and what he has done, they are two different things. If anybody talks to Obama tell him it might be smart to start drilling for oil and forget the windmills made in China. Another fact, electric cars that are charged take power from coal and oil power plants in most cases to make the power to charge the battery in cars.

The big mistake the U.S. is making is that we have all this oil and Obama and the people that won’t let us drill for oil should be happy with $4 a gallon for gasoline. Obama said in his latest speech that there’s no silver bullet for cheaper gasoline He’s insulting people’s intelligence. He just doesn’t want any drilling. You would think drilling and having our own oil would keep all this money, billions of dollars, here.

Tell Obama that the Arabs got the silver bullet and trillions of our dollars. Obama should travel in a small battery car and park Air Force One and the helicopter. Let’s get our country back next year at the election, get a real change you can believe in. You know what I mean. Support our great country and our troops.

George Pantell

Crescent City

McArthur spot on about raw deal for education

 

Kudos to Donald McArthur for his insightful Coastal Voices piece (“If we treat kids like crops, then we’ll pay for schools,” May 3)!

His analogy could not have rung more true to me, as a second-grade teacher at Mary Peacock Elementary School and trained horticulturist. I went on triplicate.com to see if his article was posted yet so that I could share it on Facebook, because I believe that it is compelling enough to share. Alas it wasn’t there yet.

In addition, in a lunch discussion of his article at school, I recalled that in the past (and perhaps still), some farmers actually have gotten paid not to grow certain crops. As a teacher, we are not allowed to do that. We have to teach everybody. It is the law.

Kathleen M. Williams

Crescent City

 

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