Letters for September 15 

Readers sound off on legalization and medical marijuana, the doctors at HempCon, and rape and anonymity.

"Citizens Outspending Cops on Prop 19," Legalization Nation, 8/11

If the Drug Czars are Against It ...

Some people say they are for legalization, but opposed to Prop 19. Do you want to know if Prop 19 is a good idea? Every drug czar that ever was, is strongly against it. That might tell you something. 

There has never been a better opportunity than Prop 19 to set things straight. Please vote for it. The day after the election, after Prop 19 is approved by voters, get up and call a friend on how to make it even better. Until then, we need every, single, total vote we can get. Then the drug czars will just fade into history. VOTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Yeah.

Carmen Brown, San Diego


"Stoners Against Legalization," Features, 8/11

The Morality of Taxing Medicine

You seemed to have missed one of Dragonfly's most critical concerns — that Prop 19 will amend and supersede Prop 215.

Further, there is nothing about a $50 an ounce tax in Prop 19. It authorizes government, at every level, to tax and license "without limitation." However, at current production in Oakland, when you factor in the just-enacted fees, patients will be paying just under $50 in tax on their $300 ounce of MEDICINE.

Indeed, your article is full of errors. The Herer initiative does not propose to release "all drug offenders" from jail, just those whose only conviction is for marijuana.You completely ignore the morality of taxing medicine.

J. Craig Canada, Santa Cruz


"HempCon Blasted for Cheap Medical Pot Doctoring," Full Disclosure, 9/1

We Vet Our Doctors

Matthew Fox with Mega Productions here. I'm going to weigh in on this once and only once. First of all, we are a professional trade show company. We are not a bunch of stoners trying to put on a trade show. We are a professional trade show company, bringing a high-quality event to one of the only remaining growth industries in America. I would like to point out a few tidbits of information right now. First of all, by evaluating at our events you are guaranteed to have some level of vetting for the doctors involved in our event. We take the time to screen each and every physician writing recommendations at our event. We do this to ensure they are valid and not currently suspended for any malpractice/etc.

Secondly we DID have an issue on our first Hempcon LA. We had a physician's assistant writing out recommendations. For this reason we require all physicians to pre-register for the event. If an unregistered physician appears and starts writting recs, we pull the booth. Plain and simple. Now there is only so much we can do to enforce proper examination and documentation. If a physician wishes to leave themselves open to lawsuits due to their own negligence, it is their practice not ours. We do everything we can as a promoter to ensure patients are given a fair shake, and can select from more than a single clinic at our event. Sometimes this leads to a price war.

We have made some adjustments for Hempcon LA, and hope it works to the benefit of all. The show, the patients, and the doctors. Hopefully this clears up the confusion people are spitting around here. If anyone wishes to contact me directly for a more expanded explanation of our events please give our office a call. 626-961-6522. Ask to speak with me, Matthew.

Matthew Fox, Hacienda Heights


"A Troubled Rape Case Becomes Even More Troubling," News, 9/1

Rape and Anonymity

The name and professional identity of this "Jane Doe" is widely known. She alleges that she was raped. Mr. Gressett says that their sexual activity was consensual. Neither he nor she denies that there was sexual activity. It is improper by any reasonable standard use of the English language or per basic journalistic ethics to term this woman "a rape victim" which the Express has done throughout its several reports on this case. It is equally an offense against journalistic ethics for the Express [and every other newspaper], in sheepish and defensive political correctness, to permit this woman to make this accusation anonymously while dragging the accused's name all over hell. Does this policy help women? If so, how?

Sherman Kassof, Oakland


"Roots Revisited," Eco Watch, 9/1

Urbanites Lack Appreciation

I'm also a fresh transplant in the East Bay and I'm so impressed at the array of public land and parks available for recreational exploring.For the most part, I have also noticed some urbanites here lack the appreciation of their proximity and access to the vast East Bay coastline, where in some parts of the country, there are those in the inner cities who do not have such privileges and opportunities.

What most people don't realize, recreating outdoors supports a healthy lifestyle and enhances quality of life. The Children and Nature Network Movement posits that children should be taught to appreciate nature early on understanding how mental and emotional growth is deeply connected to their relationship with nature

Sara Foster, Oakland


"Because Grant Was Black," Letters, 8/11

Everyone Should Demand Justice

As I read Mr. Clark's letter regarding the murder of Oscar Grant, I initially believed that this writer was going to expose the grief, outcry and outrage of African Americans who for decades have called for the cessation of violence in our streets and for public policies that would reduce access to firearms and increase access to mental healthcare and education — both proven strategies that reduce violent crimes. But this was not the case. Mr. Clark's own racist attitudes — as reflected in his rants against affirmative desegregation, the verdict rendered in the People vs. O.J. Simpson, and programs adopted to eliminate the racial disparities upheld and imposed upon the people by the government — cause him to miss the quintessential purpose of these protests: government abuse should not be tolerated in life or in death. Clark's opinion lacks both truth and context and ignores the quest for justice for black victims of violent crime — regardless of who is the perpetrator.

Blacks have vociferously protested the senseless loss of life resulting in black-on-black crime (the term originated by black sociologists nearly thirty years ago), and for the government to investigate violent crimes against blacks and the poor with the same vigor as applied when investigating and prosecuting crimes against whites — to have the murder of black men be treated with the same importance as that of whites.

There is long-documented evidence that there is a lowered rate of investigation and prosecution where the victim of violent crime is black (e.g., fewer arrests, those who murder blacks have shorter sentences than those who murder whites). Far from any notion of "blame whitey," the public protests for justice for murders of Oscar Grant and Chauncey Bailey reveal a public that has tired of the government's slow response and seeming indifference to the deaths of black men. Had it not been for the protests, we are certain that there might not have been arrests in either case.

Protests for justice in both of these cases were not exclusively blacks protesting the action of whites, like Mehserle. The protests were supported by a broad, multi-racial coalition of citizens who decried the government's slow response and poor handling of the investigations and arrests. In the case of the murder of Chauncey Bailey, these protests were aimed at District Attorney's Office and against high ranking officials — many of whom are African American — within every area of government. But it appears that Mr. Clark does not pay attention to protests that don't include a white man as its focus. [By the way, these protests led to the arrest and conviction of the murderer (a black man) and finally the elimination of the llack-owned bakery associated with numerous crimes perpetrated against black victims — which had been largely ignored by government officials because its victims were poor and black.]

I was offended by Mr. Clark's assertion that the protests against the abuse of police power was all about Oscar being black and Mehserle being white.

By examining the protests against the murder of Oscar Grant through a racialised lens, Rich Clark misses the underlying truth about government abuse of power AND the systemic devaluation of black lives. There was enormous outrage at the death of our beloved Chauncey Bailey — not broadly covered in the media even though the protests were supported and attended by people of all races and faiths. Oh, but this outcry and protest was initiated by black journalists and included strong accusations of misconduct against black police officers as well as black officials at every level of government. And, how did Mr. Clark miss the million mom march, led by coalitions of black mothers who were crying out for police to take seriously the murders of their sons. And, how dare he confuse affirmative action (the government's feeble attempt to stop affirmative discrimination against its citizens) to the demand for accountability among the government for the privilege of protecting, not murdering, its citizens.

The outcry against the senseless murders of Oscar Grant and Chauncey Bailey reveal that the citizens here have tired of a DA's office that fails to vigorously prosecute perpetrators of crimes against blacks. In both cases, the outcry from the community — not exclusively blacks in the community — had nothing to do with blame whitey. But rather, the focus has been on the abuse of government powers and the need for all lives — including black lives — to matter equally under the law.

Let's not stoop so low as to minimize the real issues raised by this case that are a threat to our democracy. Police are to protect and serve; not murder unarmed citizens, who are face down, pleading for their lives. The officer in this case did not faithfully execute his duties. He killed a young man. By mistake or with intent, it does not matter. He killed a young man. He killed a man who is both son and father. And, he fled from the state. It is an unacceptable death, regardless of the race of perpetrator. A citizen is dead at the abuse of the state. We should all mourn and every one of us should demand justice.

Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Oakland

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