Teamsters v. Mrs. McCaw This is in response to Nick Welsh’s Dec. 21 Angry Poodle Barbecue and other columns and letters The Independent has printed about the Santa Barbara News-Press. The Independent has appointed itself judge and jury as it “tries” the News-Press in its editorial pages. The fact is, it is up to the publisher of each paper to run his/her business as he/she sees fit. When Mrs. McCaw acquired the News-Press, she saved it from the disgrace of insolvency. After years of losing money, the paper was going to be closed or sold off to a national chain with no local input or control. The public should remember that the News-Press is a business and needs to operate as such. How the paper is run is not anyone else’s choice to make; the owner is the only one who has something at stake. Every reporter and editor can choose to leave, but the owner must stay and make the decisions necessary to preserve her investment.
There are many excellent people at the News-Press. I have known some of them for years and respect them. Yet they reacted to Jerry Roberts’s resignation without knowing all the facts. Similarly, the reporters joining the Teamsters union and the so-called Lawyers Alliance are unwittingly aiding a national union with the most sordid history of corruption. The Teamsters printed the signs that defame Mrs. McCaw; the union placed these in the windows of innocent stores in an effort to break Mrs. McCaw’s will. The Teamsters also organized several staged events against Mrs. McCaw and the News-Press. She will not bow to these tactics. She deserves and will receive legal representation.
Teamsters Union v. Wendy McCaw: This is the battle, not the First Amendment issues proclaimed by The Independent and its columnists. The constitutional shawl that reporters and so-called free speech groups have been trying to wrap around this battle is shamefully stained by the conduct of the union’s organizing effort. My firm has tried to represent the right side during the many years we have practiced law. We think the Teamsters are making a mockery of the town by cleverly using The Independent, innocent store owners, and lawyers who have yet to know the facts. The Teamsters union is doing this for its ultimate purpose: to unionize the entire paper. Since the Teamsters have an appetite for newspapers, you folks at The Independent should be careful what you wish for. — A. Barry Cappello
Greedy Gunmen Bravo Nick Welsh! What a superb historical synopsis of U.S. foreign policy [Angry Poodle Barbecue, “Revenge of the Dead Dogs,” Jan. 4]. Instead of supporting democracies abroad, as we claim to do, we overthrow them. The 1953 overthrow of Iran’s Mossadegh came sharply to my attention when three Iranian students at the local City College spoke to my high school American government classes in the ’60s. They were in Iran at the time of the overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister. People were openly caught with fistfuls of American money.
We armed Saddam Hussein and looked the other way when he used chemical weapons on the Iranians and Kurds. The Philippines had a constitution modeled on ours, but in 1972, Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, imprisoned Liberal Party leadership, and became dictator. The U.S. supported him with economic aid and by training military and police.
The overthrow and murder of the popularly elected Allende of Chile was done with U.S. help. Our school had an exchange student from Chile before this happened, but she was highly critical of ITT and Anaconda Copper in her country. I hope she was not one of the victims of Pinochet.
Recently, Bush tried to get rid of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, but the majority of his countrymen voted him back into office. I had not known that Mossadegh wanted to nationalize Iranian oil, as Welsh reported. Our goal worldwide is access to resources we need because per capita we are the world’s greediest consumers. Heaven help Chavez, who has nationalized his country’s oil to lift his people out of poverty. Bush and his evil, conniving cohorts claim they are exporting democracy. They lie. — Dorothy F. McNeil
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Recently, mainly due to the near demise of the News-Press, I have become a fan of The Independent. I enjoy, especially, Nick Welsh’s column. Usually I agree with most of his opinions, but not on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Welsh states that the Warren Commission “sought to soothe the nation with sweet lies — like the lone gunman theory — which not even an 11-year-old could stomach.” I have to blow the whistle. I was not an 11-year-old at the time Kennedy was assassinated; I was the CBS White House correspondent. I heard the shots that killed the young president and covered the tragic aftermath. The Warren Commission may have had a few minor errors, but its conclusions were, in my opinion, correct. The president was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a lone gunman. Most Americans do not want to believe that a president can be killed by one crazed individual acting alone, but even the Secret Service, which is charged with the responsibility of protecting presidents, oncedes that this is possible, if the gunman is prepared to die.
Twenty-five years after the death of John F. Kennedy, we had a reunion of the reporters who covered his assassination. Only about 20 of us were still around, but only one of the 20 thought the assassination was anything other than the act of a lone gunman. He offered no theory about what had happened instead. The rest of us, in a poll taken at the luncheon, thought Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, had done the sad deed. — Robert C. Pierpoint
Movie Mishaps How Roger Durling, a well-respected connoisseur of the film genre, could pass up Borat!, one of the wildest, most insane, most hilarious films of all time in his Top Films of 2006 list, bespeaks a tragic loss of cinematic lunacy. As an old hag in her seventies who has spent her whole life at the movies, I find this omission the most heartbreaking example of nihilistic incompetence I have ever encountered. If you want to know what this world is coming to, consider it a world without Borats and cry all the way into the next millennium. — Bunny Bernhardt
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In last week’s Movie Guide, the review of We Are Marshall mentioned “a Virginia college’s football team.” Marshall is located in Huntington, West — by God — Virginia. As born and bred West Virginians, we are appalled. — Charlie and Patty Walworth
Dogged by Lawlessness No matter what time of day or night I walk at Hendry’s Beach, I am accosted by off-leash dogs in the on-leash area. Although there is a large sign indicating the off-leash section of that beach is to the left facing the ocean, and the on-leash section is to the right, dog owners do not observe the sign and joyfully give the law the finger.
My wife and I love to walk on the beach, and my doctor has insisted that we walk on soft sand that is more forgiving of my disintegrating spine. I am not a dog person. My son was mauled and killed by an off-leash dog in an on-leash area back East, so my family and I are meticulously careful in choosing our walking locations.
Whenever I’ve tried to tactfully explain to a Hendry’s Beach dog owner with an off-leash canine that runs into the ocean, and invariably runs over to drench me as it shakes off the water, that the pet needs to be on a leash, I get hissed, spit, and snarled at, and my car has been keyed three times. How is it I’m the bad guy when they’re breaking the law? Further, whenever I call animal control to cite off-leash dogs in on-leash locations, I’m told the city is short of staff and there is no one to take care of the problem. There’s never anyone on duty on the weekends when the most offenses occur. That is unacceptable. Surely something can be done to cite the violators before another baby is chewed to death by an off-leash dog owned by someone who doesn’t care or understand that beaches are for everybody, laws are laws, and the people who break them are the criminals, not the good citizens who have a right to walk without incident on a beautiful, public beach. — William Guggen
Paying the Mortgage I have four workers. Raise the minimum wage and I will lay off one of them. — Richard Diorio
Egging on Edwards For too long we have had politicians pandering to the rich and those who want to be rich. Finally we have a candidate who is speaking for the working American and also for the poor American. Why should someone who is doing well financially support a candidate who supports those below him on the economic ladder? Because it is the right thing to do. John Edwards is also speaking out about global warming, alternative energy, the need to conserve, and against the war in Iraq. I feel he deserves another look in the next presidential primary. — Bob Faulker
Undeserving Mercy In response to Leslee Goodman’s letter regarding God’s mercy [“All Merciful,” Dec. 14], while it may make us feel better to think that we all deserve God’s mercy, in fact we do not. Deserve is the key word here. The fact that God offers mercy when we do not deserve it is the central point of the Good News of Jesus Christ! While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If we deserved God’s mercy, Christ’s suffering means nothing. Rejoice in the free gift of salvation. That is the reason we celebrate Christmas. — Steve Boothby
Correction ¶ Last week’s news feature “Unlawful Fiction?” reported that the novel Intoxicating Agent was based on rape charges against Massey Haraguchi. We neglected to mention that Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley has consistently claimed her novel was written before the alleged rape occurred.