Image by Tash Walker via Flickr Creative Commons

Letters to the Editor: October 2011

I want to first thank Mike Rhodes for taking the time and dedication to allow the community to read about what’s being overlooked everyday. People allow themselves to be blindfolded to the truth. Although I am just a “pathetic gang member” who targets the community, I’d like to take the time to shed some light for the reader.

I try to understand how people look at individuals such as myself. Does being a gang member justify the acts of being shot in the back? Does being in a gang prove that a person is less than human? If so, I’d appreciate if it be defined, what’s considered a gang? Doesn’t the Fresno Police Department wear colors to symbolize their work and who they are? Don’t they give themselves names such as M.A.J.E.C. or H.E.A.T.? I even believe they have nicknames for their partners.

It’s pathetic that they can justify what they stand for and use their authority to blindfold the community. I sit in a cell today and have to be reminded every day by the scars of being shot and reliving the experience in my mind. On May 28, the “media” distorted the facts influenced by Jerry Dyer, also known as “Hairy Liar” and “God’s Minister of Justice,” so he says. It was said I was involved in a carjacking and shooting. But I’m in the county jail for a warrant from last year (2010) for “possession” of narcotics. When I attended court hearings, it’s not even mentioned of the price I paid by being shot unarmed. Where’s the justice?

I don’t ask for sympathy, but at least allow your minds and eyes to look beyond what the media and officers want the community to view. Fresno is a family-oriented city, so understand that it could be your family member being shot in the back or even Tazed to the point where the body may live, but the mind gets fried. Gang members are being monitored but who monitors them? But, again, I’m just a “pathetic gang member,” stated by David Watson in the August issue… What’s amazing is how a person can be “God’s Minister of Justice” and it be overlooked that he was questioned for acts of child molestation, but that’s our community’s chief! Happy retirement, Jerry!

Angelo Fernandez
Fresno County Jail

*****

The Monache High electronic billboard in Porterville provided me with a chuckle each day this summer, first touting the values of character, caring, etc., and then proudly announcing the school’s nickname, the “Marauders.” Doesn’t “marauding” involve raiding, raping and pillaging? At least Porterville High’s “Panthers” are only named after a predatory animal that only occasionally sneaks up and attacks unsuspecting prey.

I did some research into school nicknames and found few innocuous ones like the “Boise Bunnies.” What I found was a preponderance of names like the Pirates, Raiders, Invaders, Demons, Devils, Outlaws, Renegades, Buccaneers, Bulldogs (generally with a spiked collar), Warriors, Gamblers, Renegades, Maniacs, Bandits, Gunslingers, Warriors and even Hookers. My favorite is the “Yuma Criminals.” Choices of animals usually reflect some degree of viciousness and aggressiveness, such as Grizzlies, Diamondbacks, Bulls (but not cows), etc.

Should our high schools be aware of the values reflected in their names? Do we really want to glorify violence, lawlessness and disregard for others? We have elementary schools who call themselves “Bulldogs,” as well as a large criminal gang element inside Corcoran Prison with the same name. Hmmm…something to ponder?

Harold Warner
Porterville

*****

I do not expect my Congressman to agree with all my viewpoints, but I do expect him to meet occasionally with his constituents, including me, and discuss different viewpoints. After all, he is my representative in the democratic process. When he and his office staff make difficult my participation, it strikes at the core of representative democracy. Unfortunately, that is the current situation in the 19th Congressional District.

Congressman Jeff Denham and his local staff have become extremely adept at circumventing constituent input by misdirection as to who is responsible for scheduling and by unnecessary and tedious constraints on citizen input via e-mail, and at “town hall” meetings.

This odious behavior was demonstrated again on August 10, when a small group attempted to schedule a meeting to discuss his position on tax cuts and jobs.

Interestingly, his office had small packets of complimentary almonds available courtesy of the Westlands Water District. Westlands lies outside the 19th District, as does Congressman Denham’s home, but I guess Westlands and other corporate interests have Denham’s ear more than we, mere citizens, who reside within the boundaries of the 19th District. (Note: Congressman Denham, who has been yelling about Westlands needs for more water, ought to read the message on Westlands’ complimentary almond package, which states that Westlands has a reliable water supply.)

Robert Merrill
Fresno

  • 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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