Photo by Mariya Chorna via Flickr Creative Commons

Letters to the Editor – November 2012

Destination San Quentin
After a long, arduous, five-day involuntary sojourn on five state prison transportation buses covering hundreds of miles, “layover/stops” at nine prisons (from northern California to parts in the south) and a two-month stint in an administrative segregation isolation cell (the hole), without charges, I was transferred to San Quentin State Prison.

The adverse action leveled against me by prison officials is the latest retaliation in response to the recent publishing of my book, Inside the Broken California Prison System. Due to legal issues surrounding the action taken against me, I have been advised to defer from details at this time by my attorney. A complete and numerated account of what transpired and the collusion employed by prison officials to chastise me, again, for exercising my constitutionally protected right to free speech is forthcoming.

I’ve met with the editor-in-chief and managing editor of the San Quentin News, Arnulfo T. Garcia and Juan Haines. These prisoner/writers coordinate the efforts of several staff writers and design editors. The San Quentin News is administered by several advisers including Steve McNamara, past owner of the Pacific Sun (Marin County).

I’ve also spoken with Sam Robinson, San Quentin’s public information officer, who by all accounts encourages and supports the aspirations of those men at the San Quentin News. I plan on writing an article regarding the rise and fall then reanimation of the San Quentin News for the Community Alliance. There is a long, sometimes tumultuous history associated with the San Quentin News, replete with political overtones, that I believe will be interesting to the Community Alliance readers.

Because of the two months I spent in “the hole,” I was unable to submit stories to Community Alliance Editor Mike Rhodes. I hope to be back on track beginning next month with a series of interesting facts for Mike to consider.

I want to thank those Community Alliance readers who expressed their concern regarding this latest speed bump I’ve had to tolerate. It will not be a deterrence for what I do as a prison writer, but rather an occurrence that only strengthens my resolve to continue writing from behind prison walls.
Boston Woodard
San Quentin State Prison

*****

Overpopulation Is Not a Problem
A while back there was an article concerning “overpopulation” of our planet. Please let me speak simply: There are not too many people on the planet. The problem stems from having too many greedy people. People who, because of their insecurity, have insatiable diets and unconscious behavior.

Human beings realize we live on a fragile blue planet that needs tender loving care and the bipeds don’t.

Community Alliance, keep up your good work.
Paul Morningstar
Bodfish, CA

*****

Help Is Still Needed
I’ve been working with the homeless for more than 10 months. This has not only been rewarding, but in my mind is the right thing to do. Karen Goodman and I go every Thursday, taking toilet paper and other necessities for the people living on the streets in three separate encampments: Santa Clara Street, Monterey Street and H Street. Because of a grant, Mike Rhodes has port-a-potties in place at all three locations.

In the last few weeks, we have been joined by Bette, Don,
Andrew and others. We take water, sometimes bagels (donated by a local bagel shop), clothes, hygiene (soap, toothbrushes, razors, shampoo, antibacterial wipes, etc.) and even bleach to clean the port-a-potties. Some items are donated, some are purchased from our pockets or from cash given by a few generous donors. Others in the community also help to get out toilet paper and food on a regular basis, but the need is far greater than our present numbers.

During the time we have been making our Thursdays trips, we have become familiar to our friends on the street. We have begun to know many people by name, looking for them with a smile or a hug. These are human beings who are living in a very difficult situation. Difficult situations, not by choice, but by circumstances.

We are writing to inform and ask for your support. A donation or grant is needed to continue funding the port-a-potties and bring back the dumpsters for trash. Donations of clothes, shoes, socks, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, tarps and hygiene items (soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors or feminine products) are needed.

If you are interested in going with us on a Thursday, have questions or would like to donate to help us help others, contact either Beverly Fitzpatrick at dfitzpatrick29@comcast.net or 559-355-9717 or Karen Goodman at kalgood@earthlink.net or 559-287-5432.
Beverly Fitzpatrick
Fresno

*****

Bankruptcy in Atwater?
How can Atwater possibly be going broke? They have a federal penitentiary there. It was supposed to bring them all the economic prosperity and happiness of a nuclear reactor. Perhaps it did.
Matthew Schorr
Federal Correctional Institution
Memphis, TN

*****

A Poem for Us
Thank you for my current subscription to the Community Alliance. (Editor’s note: We provide a free subscription to any prisoner who requests one.) I love your musician news and all the political aspects of the paper. I’m also a fan of your monthly prisoners’ insider, Boston Woodard. I look forward to receiving your current issue with all those political insights. I wrote an original poem for you:

Try Community Alliance
not defiance—
but organization
not ignoring—
but improving our nation.
I’m a “political” prisoner,
yet even I can see,
Community Alliance
is the way to make your plea;
A plea A plea
for equality!
Community Alliance
helps us be free
and treated equally.
We learn of community
events right away
Community Alliance
saves the day!
Kari Marie Cole
Chowchilla

  • 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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