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Letters to the Editor – April 2014

Valley Air Inhumane

I drove from Oakland to L.A. through the San Joaquin Valley in late June 2013 and on a recent weekend. I was shocked by the severe air pollution. I remember a trip over 10 years ago when the air was clean enough to see the snow-covered mountains. The last two times I found myself under a brown cloak of smog all the way from Highway 580 to the Grapevine.

I usually don’t have any issues with anxiety or claustrophobia. But after a couple of hours, I experienced a feeling of being trapped and had to focus on keeping my breathing calm and my mind relaxed. I felt a slight burning in my throat and upper chest.

Then we drove into the stench of a cow farming area, noticed too late to shut off the incoming air flow in time. It was horrendous. I also noticed that there are hardly any trees besides the orchards, most of them bare at this time of year. I cannot believe that people have to live with this. The situation is truly inhumane.

This winter, of course, the air quality is very bad in the Bay Area as well, but nothing compared to the Valley. Thank you for your action and belief in change and for your well-reflected plan to cut emissions. I agree that drifting pollution from China should not be an excuse to ignore local pollution and the necessity to manage and drastically reduce it.

Clean air and clean water are the essence of life. If we don’t have that, we do not need economic growth either, because we will be sick or dead and thus economic growth becomes totally irrelevant.

If people truly understood the consequences of their actions, I believe they would also choose to consume less meat, less dairy, plan better and prioritize activities to reduce driving, heat their living spaces less and instead wear warm clothes, abstain from taking daily hot showers, and purchasing one-time use products. Now this behavior might be interpreted as anti-economic growth, but it is pro-life.

I wish that your action will lead to the desired change. I signed petitions to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) through the American Lung Association. Let me know if there is anything I can do to support your efforts.

Gabriele Lorf-Allen

Police Abuse?

After almost three years of waiting for a civil trial to present my case with witnesses and evidence, somehow the City of Fresno and their law enforcement agencies found a way to dodge the whole trial. My name is Angelo Fernandez, and I was shot in the back (unarmed) in May 2011. It was at the R-N Market at Belmont and Peach. Officers who were in plain clothes and civilian vehicles followed me and my brother in our vehicle to the shopping center.

They said I was a suspect in a carjacking/shooting, and they had information that I was a three-striker who wasn’t going out without the “blaze of glory.” The officers who followed us watched us enter the 98 cent store, waited while we shopped, then, when we got back into the vehicle, used a technique called the “pinch” where four cars slammed into our vehicle, pinching the doors closed so I would be trapped. They never gave an opportunity for surrender or other options of arrest. When the officers slammed into our vehicle, I was so scared that I was able to find a way to exit and flee.

They were in plain vehicles and clothes, so at the time their identity was unknown and I ran for my life. I ran through the parking lot toward an empty field away from the market. The officers shot one 40-caliber bullet into my left kidney where it exploded in my stomach, damaging my small and large intestines. I fell to the ground, and when the officers caught up to me they began kicking and punching me in front of numerous witnesses and said I was resisting.

It took EMS 17 minutes to arrive because the officers told them the scene wasn’t secure. I was left to bleed out but somehow managed to hold onto my life. I was transported to the Trauma Center, where I was given two blood transfusions and operations on my kidney and stomach.

There was no gun on my person or in the vehicle. After my recovery, I was transferred to the Fresno County Jail and no charges of the alleged carjacking existed. I was only on a parole violation. I served 10 months in Wasco State Prison and upon release, I filed a civil lawsuit against the officers.

Two months later, the District Attorney decided to bring up the carjacking/shooting charges and I fought two trials and wasn’t found guilty. I had a civil trial date of Dec. 3, 2013, but that was pushed pack to March 11, 2014, and the judge I had was changed.

Suddenly, the city put in a motion for dismissal and it was granted by the new judge. The judge only listened to what the officer who shot me had to say. I’ve been beaten and cheated. The same officers patrol the streets, while I’m sitting in a state facility. All I wanted was a fair trial to present my facts and evidence, along with the numerous witnesses. Fresno officers and [Fresno Police Chief] Jerry Dyer get away with it again, using their badges to deflect true justice.

Angelo Fernandez
Pleasant Valley State Prison

Focus on a Sustainable Population

Thank you, Community Alliance, for your in-depth journalism. Now here is one you have not covered.

Symptom, symptom, symptom: I am tired of the media’s diversionary tactics and strategies regarding global warming/climate change. The cause of carbon atmospheric pollution is too many people.

Global overpopulation is favored by economic growth advocates, chambers of commerce and billionaires, but is not for our benefit. Unless we mass-distribute all forms of contraception and return the earth to a sustainable 4.7 billion population, which is the best sustainable population, we will terminate the human race and millions of other species.

Will you help and focus on the cause of our drought and every other climate change problem so voters can think about how to fix the problem? To be in league with the worst journalism that has an agenda (like many papers we know) may be one thing, but hopeless objectivity may be just as bad.

Mike Starry
Fresno

Drinkers Celebrate Fulton Mall Removal

Patrons of Fulton Mall watering hole Peeve’s are celebrating the Fresno City Council’s recent vote to rip out the downtown pedestrian park and replace it with streets and parking spaces, including a row of spots only yards from their favorite belly-rest. An hour before the vote at City Hall, dozens of drink-and-drivers got their buzz on at the bar and then staggered en masse to the Council chamber for their special brew of alcohol-enhanced advocacy.

Peeve’s patrons plan to aid the selection of colors for new poles. “They need to be really bright,” said one anonymous chugger. “Glow in the dark would be really good.” He pulled up his pants leg to show off some colorful bruises caused by collisions with mall benches.

Downtown Revitalization Manager Elliot Balch promised full inclusion in the planning process for those who like to drink and drive. “We’d like to get their input on the new street design, too,” he said. “Nearly all of these folks will head north out of here, and it will be important to make the drive as simple as possible.”

Norm Peterson
On a Bar Stool Somewhere
And yes, we at the Community Alliance know this is a joke. “Cheers!”

  • Mike Rhodes is the executive director of theCommunity Alliance newspaper and author of the book Dispatches from the War Zone, about homelessness in Fresno. www.mikerhodes.us is his website. Contact him at mikerhodes@comcast.net.

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