Uno vs. Cinco

After Santa Rosa’s Cinco de Mayo celebration deteriorated into what’s become an annual debacle pitting young Latinos against local law-enforcement officials, the Bohemian received calls from several irate Roseland residents wondering what remedies city officials have proposed besides merely beefing up police department overtime budgets. Plenty, says Santa Rosa mayor Jane Bender. “There was a huge celebration at the Finley Center the previous Sunday [May 1],” Bender said. “It was quite successful.” Indeed, 4,000 people attended the Finley Center event, according to planning committee member Gail Chavez, who’s worked on the event since its inception three years ago as an alcohol-free, family-orientated alternative to the boozy, occasionally violent and totally unorganized Cinco de Mayo celebrations that have plagued the city since 2001. Chavez said this year’s event at Finley had nearly doubled the attendance of last year’s. So, if Uno de Mayo was so successful, why yet another Cinco de Mayo clash this year? Chavez points the finger at the alcohol industry, and sent the Bohemian a brochure critical of the industry’s effort to market alcohol to Latinos via the holiday. “Linking Cinco de Mayo with alcohol sends a dangerous message to children and youth who learn little about Mexican and Latino heritage in schools,” the brochure states. “Instead, advertisements teach youth that an essential part of Latino culture and identity is to consume and abuse alcohol.”

Killer Notes

The amateur cyber sleuths at ( Bohemian, Dec. 15, 2004) have been hot on the trail of another notorious serial killer, BTK (“bind, torture, kill”). The prime suspect, Dennis Rader, is accused of committing 10 homicides in the Wichita, Kan., area between 1974 and 1991. Webmaster Tom Voigt was already on the case at when Rader was arrested in February; since then, North Bay residents Ed Neil and Angela Avey have been assisting Voigt in the search for clues linking Rader to the crimes. To that end, Avey recently wrote Rader, currently awaiting trial in a Wichita jail cell, in order to acquire a sample of his handwriting. To her surprise, Rader wrote back a four-page letter detailing his day-to-day activities in jail and featuring some creepy poetry reminiscent of the verse the alleged murderer sent to media outlets after each crime. The letter, the first communication to the public from Rader since his arrest, made the nightly news broadcast on Wichita’s KAKE TV-10 last week. “It was freaky, that’s for sure,” says Avey. “I was shaking really bad when I opened it. I didn’t expect him to write back.”

From the May 11-17, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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