Letters for the week of June 26-July 2, 2002 

Cut BMX riders some slack, give it up on God, and please remember male nurses.

Behind America's strategic skatepark deficit
Regarding the BMX article ("Around Here, Kid, BMX Is a Crime," June 5): There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the liability. BMX is on the hazardous list. Cities are protected from lawsuits from bike riders. Skateboarders are only on the hazardous list if they are over fourteen. I have researched the BMX issue for the last two years, and countries that have had public skateparks for twenty-plus years (Europe, Australia, and New Zealand) all allow bikes.

What a US city attorney wants to know is, "Is it an inherent risk for a skateboarder to be hit by a bike while in a skatepark?" Well, it is an inherent risk for skateboarders to be hit by a bike, motorcycle, car, tree, pedestrian, dog, and so on whenever they get on their boards. If the park posted a sign that said BMX was allowed, then it would be an inherent risk. Skateboarders have skated the streets for the last twenty years under the most dangerous conditions and never filed a lawsuit or complained. Most skateboarders are still the same guys. They can skate anything, anywhere, with anyone.

Skatepark is a generic term used to describe a facility that skateboards, inline skates, and bikes use. Many cities are opting to build "skateboard parks." If that is their choice, then they need to build separate BMX parks. Maybe it is time for cities to give some thought as to what constitutes a public skatepark.

Other countries have opted for dual-use public skateparks and after twenty years they have not seen a need to change. They have seen a need for more parks and are building them to keep up with demand. Almost all private parks include bikes and do not have problems. SPAUSA also has insurance coverage for BMX for $38 per year, but riders do NOT need it in unsupervised parks. Please note that inline skaters can ride either park and never complain about anyone or anything.
Heidi Lemmon, SkatePark Association USA, Los Angeles

The Easter Bunny is a lie, too
I'm not really interested in knowing which church is most effectively pursuing its agenda of saving souls for Jesus (Letters, May 29). Don't misunderstand me; I have great respect for the many people who are doing something besides building up their portfolios and bank accounts.

Even so, the fact remains that every religion is a scam. As most intelligent adults are aware, there is no Supreme Being, no Higher Power, no Heaven, no Hell, no Devil, no Witches, no Reincarnation, no Astrological Wisdom, no Santa Claus, and no Great Pumpkin. Millennium after millennium goes by, but nobody anywhere has produced any credible evidence that God exists.

These myths persist because the function of religion is to facilitate the enslavement of the lower classes by propagating a universal code of conduct designed to ensure control by the ruling class. The rulers also have available more brutal means of compulsion, like police, armies, jails, and executioners. But the most efficient form of control is self-discipline. If you can persuade the inferior classes to accept your moral code, the job of maintaining law and order will be much easier.
Marion Syrek, Oakland

Announcing the Yo-Yo Brotherhood
Thank you for publishing Laura Novak's article about nurses in the neonatal intensive care nursery ("Divine Secrets of the Yo-Yo Sisterhood," June 5). As a nursing student, it is encouraging to see an article about a profession that is often overlooked.

Despite her appreciation of the caring and skill of nurses, Laura Novak still "privately refers to him [the surgeon] as the man who saved my boy." But the surgeon did not save her boy. He never would have performed the surgery her son needed if the nurses had not been there with their skill to keep his airway free of secretions until he reached eleven pounds and could withstand surgery. The nurses saved his life until the surgeon could perform the surgery. Despite this, the surgeon is the one she sends the "exquisite bottle of champagne" and thank-you note to. What about the nurses: don't they deserve the same?

Further, the title of the article does not leave room for the essential, too-small male nurse population.
Colleen McEvoy, Oakland

When you're done reading, it's also absorbent
I only decided to pick up the Express because of the large heading: "Divine Secrets of the Yo-Yo Sisterhood." I had loved the book by Rebecca Wells and looked forward to its release in the theaters. To my surprise it was not an article about the movie or the book, but a beautifully written testimony about the intricacies of the neonatal intensive care unit at CHO. It has brought a new perspective on health-care delivery, in particular the importance of maintaining a humanistic approach in medicine. As I begin medical school next year, I will carry your article with me.
Erica Chung, El Cerrito

What was the connection?
Thank you, Express, for continuing to include the East Bay Open Studios map, published by organizer ProArts, in your paper (May 29). This has always been a boon to the event and the artists who participate. This year, however, was different. Not one person who attended my studio opening mentioned having seen the map in the Express. Many people said it had not been included this year. Bad decision, I thought, and indeed attendance was down from previous years. I found it in the middle of your book section titled "Read About Sex." Hmmm. While a few people might eventually get to the book section of your paper, much of the art-going public never saw it. And while I'm on this topic: What was the connection?
Chandra Garsson, Oakland

Editor's note:
The Open Studios section appeared as a pullout in the center of the paper, just as it has in years past.

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