Letters to the Editor – November 2013

Save the Fulton Mall

I keep hearing as an excuse for tearing up the mall “Fresno is a car culture.” Well maybe we need to start weaning off this particular culture and grow up, like other cities in the world. The Fulton Mall /Park is Fresno’s only multicultural attraction to people from across the globe, and we can either enhance this attraction (repairing some fountains, add more artwork, more bike-cabs, trees) or eviscerate it to accomplish three additional blocks of parking spaces.

There are some really productive projects that $16 million could accomplish if it were in the hands of someone who actually gives a hoot about “the people.” Yes, there are actually real people who live downtown and I am one of them. Three times in the last six months the Californian Hotel has been evacuated because of natural gas leaks nearby due to crumbling infrastructure (old, maybe ancient pipelines). Now that would seem to be a priority to me or I dare say anyone with common sense. Anyone whose main consideration was to “all the people,” not just a few “well-off buddies.”

Ian McDonald
Fresno

Responding to Last Month’s Announcement That Editor Mike Rhodes Is Leaving

I would like to say a few words about Mike Rhodes now that he will be stepping down as editor of the Community Alliance. We became acquaintances and later friends when he started calling in to my radio broadcast with reports on the situation for homeless people in Fresno.

Since then, I have had occasion to remark many times that, so far as I know (and on this topic I know plenty) he is the best reporter in the United States on the homeless beat—by far. Mike is the only reporter I know of who is in such frequent contact with the homeless community and knows so many homeless people personally. Beyond that, he writes about poor people like they’re (gasp) actual people with understandable concerns. He has never wavered in emphasizing not hope, pity or charity but rationality, fairness and justice, three things from which homeless people rarely benefit.

I hope the Community Alliance will continue to flourish with its next editor, but on the issue of homelessness, at least, there’s little chance of finding anyone as good as Mike. Mike deserves all the recognition in the world for the good work that he’s done.

Jeremy Weir Alderson
Director, Homelessness Marathon

Comments on Facebook

“Wow—best of luck with all of the new projects you’ll be working on. The Labor/Community Alliance was really my start in progressive activism and journalism. Who knows where life would have taken me without it or Mike’s guidance and leadership.”

Scott Edward Moore

“Hard to believe. Your writing renewed my interest in what progressives were doing in Fresno. Best of luck in writing a history of Fresno with that same perspective.”

Cecile Lusby

“I sincerely believe that much of the positive change and changes in government and other policy in these past several years would not have come to fruition had you not been involved. You are revered for your perseverance in your efforts toward achieving social, environmental and economic justice for all peoples.”

Watc Hdog

“M.R. Rhodes, you’ve enlightened, liberated minds from ignorance and shed light on many dark areas in Fresno’s society. Wish you well!”

AJ Watsittoya

Why People Are Protesting Against Monsanto

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were created by scientists. They shot DNA (genes) into the cells of plants, bacteria and even a few animals. This caused the plants to produce new plants that had many different traits, appearances, characteristics and different amounts of minerals. They grew when some herbicides were applied.

Some contain proteins of bacteria, etc., that people are allergic to. BT corn produced a toxic pesticide in every cell that does not biodegrade (decompose) easily. This pesticide was found to eat holes in the intestines of animals and humans. That explained the recent increase in gastrointestinal disorders observed by healthcare practitioners (from the Institute for Responsible Technology). Dr .McGoogle claimed that the gene for BT toxin penetrated human intestine cells and caused them to produce pesticide.

Monsanto Company got patents on these plants and their offspring, so only their company could sell these types.

In a presentation last month at Woodward Park, Judy Nelson suggested that we write to one of our U.S. representatives, Jim Costa, demanding the labeling of GMOs. Dr. Guy McPherson gave a presentation in which he claimed that the goal of Monsanto was to have all genetically modified life on the planet so they can sell their herbicides.

GMO companies can legally patent GMO seeds and own that crop. GMO companies now can sue farmers for growing their seeds.

Laura Rosenberger
Fresno

Fresno County Public Defenders Are Overworked

I just wrote to Judge [Gregory T.] Fain requesting that he make the people involved in my nephew’s case accountable for the orders he has given them. My nephew has been in jail in Atascadero for 613 days, over two and a half years. He was diagnosed with paranoid-schizophrenia, sent back from Atascadero to stand trial in May, not given his medication and has deteriorated to an unacceptable state of mind. We have spent every pre-preliminary day in the courtroom waiting to see him and have a word with the Public Defender. They are truly overworked. The District Attorney, at least the one on my nephew’s case, certainly doesn’t deserve more money. He still hasn’t talked to the plaintiff in the case and told me in the courtroom that it didn’t matter because the case was suspended. Now it’s suspended because of my nephew’s mental condition, which was all right in June. It seems that the entire judicial system needs more funding to protect everyone’s rights.

Linda Duke

  • 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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