Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for June 8, 2019 – Marin Independent Journal

Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for June 8, 2019 – Marin Independent Journal
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It’s time to point out racist, coded language

The country is polarized by nonstop race talk in our society by those who refer to themselves as conservatives. What these people aim to conserve remains a mystery.

Some self-identified conservatives never talk about race explicitly; they use what is known as dog whistles, which are coded messages or phrases that are commonly understood by the general population but have a different or more specific meaning for a targeted subgroup.

Here’s how it is done: Think about terms such as entitlements, freeloaders, takers, welfare queens, people who only want free stuff, inner-city crime, drug tests for welfare recipients, unwed mothers, illegal immigrants or bad hombres. What ethnicities do you associate with those terms?

Now, think about terms such as the heartland, the silent majority, hardworking taxpayers, real Americans, taking our country back, birthers, law and order, founding fathers, tough on crime or war on terror and a return to “the way things were.” What ethnicities do you associate with those terms?

Racism is being used as a divide-and-conquer weapon against all of us. It seems imperative to me that race must be discussed with friends, neighbors, relatives and children again and again if we expect the country to ever be united. The solution to fixing economic inequality isn’t just economic policy it’s also tackling white supremacy and racism.

— Dennis Kostecki, Sausalito

Border statue: Make it Iwo Jima, not Lady Liberty

As to Eleanor Sluis’ letter on building Statue of Liberties on the border (June 4): It is fine to be a romantic about an old statue given to us by the French government in 1885 and dedicated to our mutual liberty. The notorious poetic plaque was added in 1903.

At some point reality disrupts sentimental foolishness, and no amount of liberty statues, nonprofits and Kumbaya music over loudspeakers is going to change or do anything.

The population of America in 1885 was 56 million, today it is more than 330 million. The population of California is more than 40 million. The number of immigrants in Central America that want to come to the USA is 6 million. Worldwide over 300 million have stated they would immigrate to the USA if they could. The number of illegal immigrants in the USA is around 20 million.

Just to be fair, I am positive that Sluis’ Novato could handle, say, 90,000 new arrivals.

The statue that needs to be built is a new version of the flag raising at Iwo Jima. It will take that kind of battle, that kind of will, to defend our Statue of Liberty, our culture and language.

— Tim Peterson, San Anselmo

US military base plan is ruining Japanese bay

I am an environmental educator, filmmaker, activist and athlete working to raise awareness of an issue that has enormous impact in Okinawa, part of my home country. I am from Tokyo, Japan. Currently, there is an urgent call to action from people in Okinawa and Japan. The United States’ military bases have already taken up so much of Okinawa’s land and now there is a plan to build another base in a beautiful subtropical bay. The area is called Henoko.

Henoko is a treasured place of biodiversity, and yet the government is continuing with the construction. Doing so will destroy the coral reefs, which are sacred and essential to Okinawan people. It will also destroy the ocean ecosystem and limit the habitat of the extremely endangered dugong. The plan to build the new base has already destroyed the traditional way of living for the local fishing community. It saddens me to see how the US-Japan governments together have targeted and marginalized this small and beautiful community. And yet, Okinawan people are resilient. I see elders in their 80s and 90s who survived the Battle of Okinawa participating in sit-in protests in front of the construction gate every single day.

I am frustrated that there is almost no coverage of the issue. I ask for your help to spread awareness on this heartbreaking and urgent matter. We ask people to stand in solidarity by posting a picture of them holding a sign with the hashtag #StandWithOkinawa. There is also a petition to sign.

— Miho Aida, Sausalito

Bernie Sanders’ moves make him a little slippery

Although he has built his reputation on a “tell-it-like-it-is” frankness, Sen. Bernie Sanders can sometimes seem a little slippery.

For example, he’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination when he’s not a Democrat. He does caucus with the Senate Democrats, but as an independent. However, he does seem more often to call himself a socialist than an independent.

Is he an independent socialist? Why doesn’t he simply run as one? Would he think that inexpedient given the track record of third-party presidential candidacies under our system of government? I wonder if such a concern for expediency dilutes his integrity?

Why didn’t he do more to get his supporters behind the successful Democratic nominee in 2016? Of course, it wasn’t his political party, but I wonder whether he had an intimation that the election of the candidate from the other party in 2016 might give him a better chance in 2020.

It is distasteful when he goes after this cycle’s Democratic hopefuls, especially since he’s not even in their party. Given his isolation, shouldn’t he try to show that he works and plays well with others?

His is no doubt a bracing, activist voice in the Senate, but his only executive experience was as mayor of a small, homogenous city — with far less population and diversity than either San Rafael or Novato. Does he have the depth to lead 330 million people who are all over the map? Would he have the generous character needed for healing our nation?

— Jim Linford, Marinwood

San Geronimo mess can be traced back to Rodoni

It saddens me to read Jasper Thelin’s Marin Voice “Just image everything San Geronimo Golf Course could be,” (June 4) as if what it has been for 60-plus years matters for naught. Perhaps more importantly, how it was taken from its cherished position by a scheming county supervisor, abetted by the other supervisors, without public notice and approval. I don’t like back-door deals by public officials, and I’m sure that the majority of Marin taxpayers that know the details feel as I do.

For those not familiar with L’Affaire Rodoni, West Marin Supervisor Dennis Rodoni conspiring with the “noble” non-profit SPAWN, arranged for the county to buy the golf course, which the Valley Community Plan seemed to protect its use as a golf course. Put aside for the moment that the supervisors agreed to pay $8.85 million, 2.5-3 times market value entitled as a golf course. After all, it’s not their money. The Trust for Public Land agreed to loan the county some $4 million of the purchase price to cement the deal. When the public found out, there was a bit of an uproar. After all, it is our money.

The county, chastened by its taxpayers and a court ruling that they did not meet state requirements for such a purchase, defaulted on the loan to TPL, which now has somewhat questionable title. Of course TPL can never admit fault for being a part of the original sin, so they have launched a PR effort to show what good guys they are, aided by the likes of Thelin. Never mind that some 12,000 Marin taxpayers signed a petition to put the fate of San Geronimo Golf Course on the ballot.

San Geronimo Golf Course has been a Marin treasure for decades. There is no reason why the needs of spawning salmon and environmental best practices cannot be accommodated with the golf course’s operations as an important county treasure, for golf as a well unique setting for weddings, events and dining.

If we want good government in Marin, this travesty cannot stand.

— Len Silverfine, Strawberry

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