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Letters to the Editor – January 2013

Efforts to Label Genetically Engineered Foods Continue

Although Prop 37 to label genetically engineered foods was narrowly defeated in November, it was a huge success nationally and globally. Thirty-four states have now formed a coalition to move labeling forward nationwide. Washington State is now working on a 2013 labeling initiative. The rest of the world is also excited about our accomplishments. As 61 countries already label or have banned genetically engineered foods, they have been waiting for the US to “wake up” to the issue. The doors for global collaboration regarding the health and environmental perils of genetic engineering are now open.

The bottom line is that the effort to label genetically engineered foods continues. As consumers, we need to let industry know that we want these foods labeled. Currently, a nationwide boycott of the companies that funded the deceptive “No” campaign is under way. To participate, go to www.organicconsumers.org to download a Shopper’s Guide.

Other efforts include GMO Free USA (http://gmofreeusa.org) and GMO Inside (http://gmoinside.org/). Both of these sites are involved in putting pressure on food producers for labeling.

Lastly, the biotech industry continues to sneak amendments/riders into legislation to give themselves protection against litigation and carte blanche regarding genetic engineering. We need to let our legislators know that we will not tolerate this. We also need to ask President Obama to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to label genetically modified foods.

To stay informed in California, go to www.labelgmos.org. To connect locally, contact jnelson522@aol.com.

Judy Nelson
Fresno/Valley Volunteer Leader LabelGMOs

The Campaign Against Right-Wing “Hate Radio”

About three years ago, several of us formed Citizens for Civility and Accountability in Media (CCAM) to protest the 90+ hours of untempered one-sided hate radio aired weekly by KMJ in prime time. We petitioned them (and were later joined by about a thousand co-signers) especially to reduce the hours of national programming (e.g., Limbaugh and Hannity) where no local responses were possible, and to allow a variety of opinions to be heard. We cited the virulent, threatening responses of KMJ listeners to various local events as evidence that KMJ’s programming choices had the potential to incite violence.

KMJ’s official response to us was dismissive (“our business decisions are none of your concern”). They hid behind the cloak of free speech, though we never asked them to censor anyone, just allow time for rebuttal; more duplicitously, they claimed they were just providing “entertainment,” not news. When we answered their response, they didn’t deign to acknowledge us. Because local media (the Community Alliance excepted) and the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] refused to respond to our actions, we felt stymied on this front.

As another part of our campaign, we asked the CSUF administration, “How can you justify having the University—a supposed bastion of the ‘marketplace of idea’—be closely associated with the intolerance of KMJ programming via that station’s broadcasting of Bulldog sport events?” We were told they were bound by a long-term contract and there was nothing to be done, not even a public statement of disavowal. Again, we felt we had hit a stone wall.

Now, 2013 will start with KMJ having announced the end of their association with Limbaugh and Hannity and CSUF announcing a new sports contract with KFIG. We will never know if our work had any direct impact on these changes; we certainly hope so. But in any event, on behalf of the CCAM steering committee, I’d like to thank all of you who signed our petition, sent letters to KMJ and the FCC, and let President [John] Welty’s office know your concerns about the university’s association with KMJ. Your efforts were not in vain.

We are still left to hope that KMJ will see its way clear to embracing a more representative, less contentious kind of programming. I can remember back to a time when KMJ actually gave the Fresno Center for Nonviolence Sunday morning time to air discussions of “peace issues.” Perhaps the pendulum will swing that way again.

Richard Stone
Fresno

Housing the Homeless at the Renaissance at Santa Clara

$159,000 per unit! I watched as these units were being built and they were completed in about three months or so with all the furnishings on the walls, as well as in the bedroom and the kitchen, and free food each month for a year (approximately). These places housed the homeless, but there could [have] been more units built for a bit cheaper. Is it better to house more homeless people with $$ and bells and whistles or to house less people without all the B&W?

Daniel DeVincent
Online comment

Are They Still Torturing Boston Woodard?

I read every issue with great delight and especially articles that Boston Woodard writes but haven’t heard from him lately. What is going on with him? Even though I am no longer at CCC Susanville, I am united with him in spirit. If you have info, please let me know.

Please continue sending the Community Alliance newspaper. I share it with many who can’t afford to subscribe. Thank you.

Richard Schultz
California State Prison
San Diego

(Editor’s response: We receive a lot of letters from prisoners, many of them asking about Boston. We are pleased to report that he is no longer in “The Hole” and is now in San Quentin where he is able to again write regular articles for us. See page 8. Also, if you are in jail or prison, let us know if you would like to receive a free subscription to this paper. We provide a complimentary subscription to any prisoner who requests one.)

  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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