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
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
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
Del Norte Hoopsters coach
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
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
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
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
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.
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