Letters to the Editor
Letters To The Editor
May 8, 2005 - 6:11:00 PM


Subject: RE: Illegal Immigrants, the Minutemen and the NAACPDear Editor: Very good article by William McGowan on illegal immigration. Yes, indeed. The Minuteman Project has succeeded in bringing our wide open borders to public attention as well as proving that the borders can be secured. It also succeeded in embarrassing President Bush for not doing the job he is being paid to do. I am Hispanic and fluent in Spanish. Recently, I have been speaking with some illegal aliens who told me they wish the flow of illegals would stop. These folks have been living and working in California for the past 10 years, and they are being displaced from jobs by new arrivals who are willing to work even cheaper! Illegal immigration has to stop. It's not good for American workers, taxpayers or legal immigrants. It only benefits greedy businesses. 
Haydee Pavia
Laguna Woods, CA 

Dear Editor, This letter is in response to an editorial column in your April 24, 2005 edition, "The Governator At Two," by William P. McGowan, PhD. In that editorial, Dr. McGowan incorrectly states that it takes the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) "almost a full year to issue contractors new licenses AFTER they've passed their exam." This is simply not the case. When an applicant for a CSLB license passes his or her exams, they receive their license an average of 4-6 weeks later. There may be a delay if the applicant has not completed all other requirements for licensure. This includes not having a proper Contractor's Bond or workers' compensation insurance. These delays are solely the result of the applicant, not the CSLB. This licensure time has remained constant, even though the Board is operating with diminished resources and increasing workloads, including exam applications that have increased 60 percent over the past five years.Sincerely, Rick LopesChief, CSLB Public Affairs


LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2005 - Concerned that the Governor has broken his promise to safeguard death and disability benefits for future police officers and firefighters, Bob Baker, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, issued the following statement.
It has been three weeks since Governor Schwarzenegger abandoned his badly conceived pension initiative. On April 7, the Governor admitted what everybody else could see - that his pension initiative eliminated death and disability benefits for police officers and firefighters.

On the day he retreated from his outrageous pension initiative, the Governor made a promise to "fix" the elimination of death and disability benefits. No
fix has been forthcoming. Yet, the Governor continues to bluster his way around the state, announcing to carefully handpicked audiences that he intends to dismantle the pension system.

Analysis of his abandoned pension initiative showed the only cost savings came from eliminating death and disability benefits for police officers and firefighters. Perhaps that is the reason the Governor refuses to elaborate on his fix: there isn't one that doesn't come at the expense of death and disability benefits. Or, could it be Governor Schwarzenegger has no intent on making any fixes and is just hoping that he can score enough out-of-state special interest money to buy the pension plan he wants? Public employees need to feel secure about their retirement and future. Police officers and
firefighters take enough risks as it is; their pension plans should not become another.

About the LAPPL

Formed in 1922, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,000 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at www.LAPD.com


LETTER TO THE EDITOR Senator Robert C. Byrd is a great friend to the people of West Virginia. Recently National Republicans, Conservative Columnists and Radio Talk Show Hosts have been lampooning Senator Byrd about his stint as a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s. In political discourse you would assume that all things in one's past are fair game, but enough is enough I am a 46-year-old African American reared in Southern West Virginia. I have dabbled in business, politics and state government. Having had the opportunity to observe Senator Byrd the whole of my adult life, I would rather deal with a reformed member of the KKK in Senator Byrd than all of the closeted, bigoted hypocrites of the extreme right of this Country. You can keep the likes of Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, etc., as far away as possible. I have no need for my political philosophy to be served to me each day by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy or any other conservative charlatan proclaiming to be the voices of reason on issues they know little or nothing about. On October 20, 2000 before the WV NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner held on the campus of West Virginia State College, Sen. Byrd spoke these words: "I was raised in rural Southern West Virginia. In the teens and '20s, it was a long way away, in more ways than one, from the urban beginnings of the NAACP in New York City in 1909. I grew up in an atmosphere that probably had not changed substantially since Reconstruction. As I look back now, I can see that many of the attitudes and influences that surrounded me in my Aunt and Uncle's boarding house would now be termed racist. But, to me at the time, these attitudes were normal, so common that they went unquestioned and unexamined. I absorbed those lessons in the air that I breathed, even though my own direct dealings with Blacks while growing up were positive. "Without conscious effort, we poor pathetic humans, trapped within our own skulls, can view life only from the prism of our own surroundings. We cannot lift ourselves out of particular biases, we cannot question our prejudices, we cannot loose our bonds of rigid and wrong thinking without letting the light of knowledge cut the darkness. Education is the way to open our minds and our hearts. Understanding and empathy usually follow, and those two qualities nourish the soul as well as the mind. It is largely because of organizations like the NAACP, and your efforts to educate a nation about equality and fairness, that attitudes have so changed." President Lyndon Johnson knew in 1964 after signing the Civil Rights Act, and Richard Nixon began to perfect it in 1968, the continued division of people along racial lines in political elections. Many Republicans pretend to scratch their heads as if they do not understand why upwards of 90 percent of African Americans remain with the Democratic Party in National Elections. These architects of race division coin catch-phrases such as "Real Americans," "Bring back the good old days" and "Win America Back," or they wax eloquent about the original intent of the Founding Fathers. We see it in election ads about Willie Horton (a Black man accused and convicted of raping a White woman) as if Governor Michael Dukakis or other Democrats really espoused such despicable acts. We hear it in the campaign speaking of affirmative action signaling to the poor and ignorant how Republicans are fighting to get your jobs back from the lowdown Blacks, Hispanics and other Immigrants of color who have stolen them with the help of a corrupt Federal Judiciary. I also understand that there are people of color who proclaim to be conservative. Armstrong Williams, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and Clarence Thomas, to name a few. Politics is a free marketplace and while all of us may have been sold, we all cannot be bought! Yes, Robert C. Byrd started out in life in a bad place. Some might say it was in a land of time forgotten. By his own admission in his formative years, race relations in this poor place seemed to conjure up some of the worst actors, with a view of human life in stark contrast to anything decent or civil, but he has grown. I encourage anyone who questions his transformation to spend some time talking to Senator Byrd. Speak with his staff about the Senator's generosity and his statesmanlike qualities, which add definition and purpose to his convictions. Check out his family members to see if any of the vestiges of the Old South taint the Senator's judgment. To you conservative and sanctimonious detractors that profess to sit at the right hand of God, have you ever heard the term forgiveness, or does it just apply only to Republican fallen majority leaders or a 100-year-old senator unable to own up to a mixed race child of his youth. Senator Byrd is not in this battle because of the sins of his youth, but rather because of his credibility and his stellar debating skills concerning the wrong-headed policy shifts of this Republican Administration. Senator Byrd was correct on the policy decision of Preemption. He was correct on the lack of evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He was correct on a pre-election rush to war in Iraq. He has been right time after time. The extreme right has a need to silence this stalwart of historical knowledge and intelligent truth. In my conclusion, I would like to speak to the People of Color of this Country about Senator Byrd. He has not always voted the way I would wish, but his voting record of the last 40+ years has gone a long way to help us realize the American Dream. To those of you on the right masquerading as purveyors of freedom and justice, Ive known some racists here in my state, Ive lived with some racists, and yes, Ive had confrontations with racists in my life, but I say to you, Senator Byrd is no racist. That dog wont hunt. Rather than attack him on sins of the past, why not join him in the ring of public opinion on the facts and take him on de hombre a hombre. Arley R. JohnsonFormer DelegateWest Virginia Legislature

The Passion of the Chris With NBC running a story about "Revelations," and with last year's Jesus blockbuster from Mel Gibson, I wanted to garner a little equal time for the nonbelievers among us. Hi. Chris here. Chris Volkay. Chris being short for Christopher. Christopher from the Greek meaning "Christ carrier." Yes, I was named Chris to be in the same ballpark as Christ. Perhaps if I had been some Hispanic derivation I would have wound up a Jesus, but alas, I wasn't and didn't. It improves. My middle name is John, which I got because John was one of Jesus' favorite disciples. Volkay I'm not sure about really, but I do know that "Volk" is from the German "Volkish," which means "for the people." So, loosely translated I'm a disciple carrying the Christ "for the people." So how did a nice guy like me end up being a member of, what people like Bill O'Reilly might call, the secularist cabal? Just lucky I guess. And in the light of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," and the resultant controversy it has spawned, I wanted to proffer a few words on the subject from one who was born and raised in religious faith, but now finds himself on the other side of the great American Religionist/Secularist divide. We "secularist cabalists" are your brothers, your cousins, your bosses, your neighbors, your friends; we are, in fact, you. Whenever I hear terms like secular cabal tossed around, I wonder what and who they are talking about. It sounds like some group of dissidents, maybe some kind of terrorists that were bussed in to cause trouble for the good folk of the town. Maybe the bus driver is some jack-booted fiend who is wearing red arm bands and carries a picture of Joseph Stalin in his wallet. No, no, no. We are people just like you who sat next to you in Sunday school and listened to the sermons well. We went to the dances in high school and maybe even did a few science projects along the way. We played football, cruised on Friday and Saturday nights and lied about all the girls or boys that were smitten with us. We took jobs right here in the USA and some of us have fought to defend our country. We are not part of any grand conspiracy, any cabal, any terrorist group; in fact, just the antithesis, we actively oppose terrorist groups and their religiously based brands of hatred and mayhem. One of the hardest things in life to give up is one's religious faith. I know from personal experience. It becomes an old trusty friend that is always there for us. Our faith can become our shield, our protector against a seemingly steely, uncaring world. It is our secret place, our own garden of Eden, that no man can plunder, no hatred can penetrate, no pain can withstand. The rest of the world can crumble, but this secret place sustains and lifts our spirits and maintains us through the worst of times. Within the walls of this fortress, this Jericho, no arrows or slings can harm us. We are safe, we are serene, we are atpeace. And then here I come, saying the things that secularists say, and you want to hit me with a frying pan. I know. It was tough for me too. Very tough. But when I finally began to realize that there was an alternate theory of life and an alternate worldview (a naturalistic, not a supernatural one), it was like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was liberating, it was invigorating, I felt passionate about life again. No longer did I feel small, weak, always sinning, always wrong. I felt strong, took the reins of my own life, never leaving it up to anybody or anything else again. Instead of dreaming of other lives to come in the future, I began focusing on this life here and now, the one I had always been told was just a dress rehearsal for other better lives. I began to look around me and see the terrible harm and hurt these religious beliefs were causing throughout the human race. What I had once seen as a soothing balm to my troubles, I now saw as the principal causation of many of people'stroubles and pains. So I set about writing and becoming passionate in the movement to, in my opinion, begin giving and bestowing real peace and serenity to humanity, empowering and emboldening people to live here and now, think for themselves and honor this life that we have here in front of us. Passion for this life. It beckons us, it's waiting to be reborn within all of us. Our lives are waiting for us here. But they're shy, they need coaxing to come out into the light. Be kind to them. Be passionate with them.
-Chris Volkay

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