violators, even pedestrians
I read with interest the letter (Letters to the Editor, July 14-15, 2001) from Martin Lane who complained about getting ticketed for walking against a wait signal in Berkeley. He recommended the Berkeley police leave him alone in his violations and go after those nasty people who drive cars recklessly and those who commit violent crimes. May I suggest a more constructive action. The streets and sidewalks in Berkeley are a limited resource shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, car drivers, bus drivers, delivery people and others. What each does affects the others. With courtesy and respect for each other the system works as well as can be expected. In each group there are too many who disregard the rights of others by ignoring traffic signals and committing other violations. It is both discourteous and dangerous. If Mr. Lane wants to do something constructive he will take care to respect those walk and wait signs as a pedestrian and to obey the traffic signals when riding a bicycle or driving a car. His individual action will not have much of an effect on the overall situation, but, at least, he will have the satisfaction of knowing he is part of the solution rather than the problem. In the mean time, I am all in favor of our Berkeley police ticketing violators of our traffic regulations whether they are drivers or pedestrians.
For Reddy, eight years is not nearly enough
Steve Geller (Planet, 7/11/01) appears to share the view of many others that Lakireddy Bali Reddy is “going to jail for along time.” Eight years is a pittance of time for a pedophile who has trafficked young girls to the United States for 15 years, who repeatedly raped them at will, enslaved them, forced them to work for him, deprived them of education, and finally may have been responsible for the death of one of them! And $2 million amounts to 2 months of Reddy's income from his apartment rentals. He’s gotten away with murder, in my opinion.
Just 10 days before Reddy received his outrageously minimal sentence on June 19, child molester Graham DeLuis Conti was sentenced to 131 years in prison for “sexual molestation charges involving five young girls, including a 10-year-old” (Napa Valley Register, 6/9/01). What could possibly justify this flagrant disparity in the punishments received by these two men!
Geller criticizes the continuing boycott of the Pasand Restaurant on the grounds that the people who work there are innocent. Some of them certainly are, but many are not. Reddy’s sons Vijay and Presad have been charged with beating and raping some of the same young girls that Reddy enslaved, as well as other crimes. Several other relatives of Reddy work at the Pasand Restaurant. Having proclaimed his innocence right from the start, they continue to support him now. Some of them assisted Reddy in his criminal efforts to leave the scene of the crime in his truck with one dead girl, one unconscious girl, and one resisting 20-year-old young woman as the cargo. They may be accessories to a murder conspiracy which neither the police nor John Kennedy (the U.S. prosecuting attorney who acted as if he represented Reddy) chose to investigate.
Geller’s observation that people haven’t been boycotting Reddy’s apartments proves nothing beyond the critical housing shortage in Berkeley.
In contrast to Geller, I urge all members of the Berkeley community to continue boycotting Pasand Restaurant.
Diana E. H. Russell
Physicians must be leaders in the community
On July 14, 2001 I spoke with Philip Leveque, PhD at length comparing notes on his experiences regarding his compliance with Oregon state law andexperiences with the Oregon Medical Board. Dr. Leveque, in addition to being a physician is also a PhD in pharmacology and has taught for years.
We share the same ethical and moral convictions about cannabis. We have independently studied the drug and its effects at length. We are both offended and disappointed in the high levels of ignorance and fear in our colleagues. We both appreciate the beneficial effects of removing criminal stigmata from our patients in the management of chronic conditions.
The fact that we are singled out for negative recognition instead of civic and medical accolades is proof of the continuing strength and pervasiveness of opposition to compliance with state law. More attention needs to be paid to the initiators of this opposition and demonization. What is the vesting and motivation of the opponents? Protecting the public or their hegemony?
When can we expect the media to do feature articles on this endemic condition of subversion and efforts to suborn the law? Don’t hold your breath. He who pays the piper calls the tune — and silences others.
In the competition for market share advertisers of non drugs like alcohol and tobacco, pharmaceutical industry dictate editorial policy. The Oregon media cannot be accused of biting the hands that feed them. The Eugene Register Guard story makes him sound as if he is doing something wrong as if they have exposed a fringe doctor feel good rather than a hero and advocate for patient justice and appropriate treatment of chronic pain.
However, we are right. They are wrong. Cannabis has not changed in composition in the 60 years when it was taken from physicians and the public. Neither have human pharmacology or physiologic responses changed but the medical intelligence has been driven out by mind poisoning dogma and ignorance.
The struggle may be protracted and lengthy but our consciences are clear as we do the right thing. We show our colleagues the way and restore confidence in the physician as a social leader.
Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.
It is OK to a be disabled student
Thank-you for your article on July 10, 2001 on the Special Education Department of Berkeley Unified School District. As a parent of a student who has been in Special Education for seven years, I know from experience how difficult the process can be.
The process of getting a “free and appropriated education” for a disabled child has become difficult, contentious and sometimes outright hostile and adversarial.
Being a parent and raising a disabled child can be hard, but it is magnified many times when facing a district and even sometimes teachers, who are pitted against your desire to get your child their lawful “free and appropriate education.”
I believe a good education is an investment in a child, which each and everyone of them deserves. The other option is everyone sitting on their hands, obviously not a productive solution.
Each of our children deserve what is their right under the law, “a free and appropriate education” and for these children to feel that it is OK to be a disabled student in the Berkeley schools.