Letters to the Editor: June 20, 2012

Methane Myopia?

These people are terribly ignorant about how much methane is being produced and how much damage this incredibly powerful greenhouse gas is doing to the environment (“Fixing the Footprint,” June 13). Cows are the problem, ranches (that replaced forests) are the problem. Read (or google) Livestock’s Long Shadow for a full report. And shame on you for pushing animal production facilities as being “green.”


TRUST Appeal

On behalf of Redwood Forest Friends Meeting (Quakers), I write in strong support of the TRUST Act (AB 1081-Ammiano), which will reform California’s participation in the fundamentally flawed “Secure” Communities, or S-Comm, deportation program. This bill will advance public safety by rebuilding the trust that S-Comm has undermined between immigrant communities and local police. The TRUST Act will also ease the unfair burden that the program has saddled upon local governments.

S-Comm is a controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program which has devastated community policing strategies, hurt public safety and caused significant pain for immigrant victims of crime. Since its implementation, S-Comm has led to the deportation of over 63,000 residents of California—more than any other state. Contrary to this program’s stated goal of prioritizing serious felony offenses, the vast majority of those deported, about 69 percent, are categorized by ICE as either “noncriminals” or lower level offenders. Even U.S. citizens, survivors of domestic violence and immigrants arrested only for selling street food without a permit have been unfairly detained due to S-Comm.

Despite changes announced to the program last year, a new report from University of California Irvine’s Immigrant Rights Clinic found that “ICE’s failure to adhere to its own stated priorities is a feature rather than a reparable flaw” of S-Comm. Thus, immigrant victims and witnesses of crime are afraid to come forward to cooperate with the police for fear that they may be automatically reported to ICE and detained for deportation under S-Comm.

The TRUST Act will set reasonable limits for local responses to ICE’s burdensome “detainer” requests, the linchpin of the failed S-Comm program. Currently, local jails bear the brunt of the costs of responding to these holds. This includes the cost of tracking and responding to ICE detainers, and the additional time community members are held beyond the point they would normally be released.

We believe California can do better. Thus, we respectfully urge passage of AB 1081. Passage of this bill would go a long way toward restoring trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities.

Santa Rosa

Up, Up and Away

I used to sit on my porch in the morning and watch the hot air balloons lift off every year until they forced the closure of Windsorland Mobile Home Park (“Floating on Air,” June 15), but that’s another story for another day. This is an amazing spectacle to see, and I suggest that you get up before the sun does, drive to Windsor and watch, then eat breakfast at the Downtown Grill or get a cuppa at Cafe Noto.


Camp History

The Marin History Museum’s award-winning podcast series has just released an episode highlighting the extensive history of China Camp State Park. Located four miles northeast of San Rafael, China Camp is one of 70 state parks slated for closure on July 1. The audio documentary was produced and narrated by museum media volunteer George Thelen, in association with the nonprofit group Friends of China Camp, an organization fighting to keep the historic park open.

The audio podcast episode is available for free at iTunes by searching Marin History Museum.


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Sonoma County Library