June 22, 2001

The Puublic Forum ... El Foro Publico

Impressed with tenBerge

I am writing to let you know how impressed I have been with Yvette tenBerge's articles reporting on the issues of the San Diego Unified School District. I have been an education reform activist for many years and rarely have come upon anyone (particularly a journalist) who was able to grasp the issues and dynamics involved as quickly and astutely as Ms. tenBerge! Many kudos to your organization for having such a competent and effective reporter on your staff. She has made me a regular reader of La Prensa as well as heightened my interest in the issues that impact your community.

I, along with many of my colleagues, appreciate your publication and are spreading the word to read and support it. Thank you for Ms. tenBerge's timely and accurate articles. Keep up the good work!!

Corday Iribe
San Diego

Gabriel García Márquez Bids Farewell to Public Life

Dear friends,

The famous Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez has just retired from public life

and has been diagnosed with lymph node cancer. The following is an excerpt from a farewell letter to his friends. I found it touching.

Mark Day

"....Always say what you feel and do what you think. If I knew that today was the last time I would see you asleep, I would give you a tight hug and pray to the Lord that I could be the guardian of your soul. If I knew that this was the last time I would see you pass through the door, I would give you a hug, a kiss, and I would call you back to give you more. If I knew this was the last time that I would hear your voice, I would record your words to hear them again and again, endlessly. If I knew that these were the last minutes I saw you I would say `I love you' and would not assume, stupidly, that you knew it.

"There is always a tomorrow and life gives us an opportunity to do things well, but If I am wrong, and today is all that is left, I would like to say that I love you, that I will never forget you.

"Tomorrow is never a sure thing for anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time that you see someone you love. This is why you can't wait any longer. Do it today, so that if tomorrow never arrives you won't regret the day you didn't take time for a smile, a hug, a kiss. Do it so that you won't regret being too busy to grant someone one last wish. Keep those you love close to you, whisper into their ear that you need them, love them. Treat them well. Take time to say `I'm sorry' or `forgive me' or `please' and `thank you' and all the loving words you know.

"Nobody will ever remember your secret thoughts. Ask the Lord for the strength and wisdom to express them. Show your friends how important they are to you.

"Send this to those you love. If you don't do it today, tomorrow will be just as good. And if you don't do it, that's okay. Put your dreams to action. This is the right moment."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Biased Reporting On Police Shootings

As we look to the tragic killing of Larry Turner by an officer of the San Diego Police Department, one has to wonder if there is a code of abuse by law enforcement to administer justice the old fashion way of being judge, jury and executioner. Clearly, there was no reason to fire three shots at Mr. Turner (June 9, 2001), an unarmed individual, and then turn around to justify the shooting as some perceived threat to the officer.

Also, the portrayal of Mr. Turner by the majority media was nothing short of a character assassination, assisted by the propaganda of the police to paint a picture of an individual out of control. A menace to society. Again, this individual was tried, convicted, and executed by the white media without ever being given the opportunity to exercise due process.

Violation after violation of the use of force policy exists in this tragic shooting, but the media chooses instead to vilify Mr. Turner. Black people continue to be judged by the color of their skin, by both the police and the white media. They are subjected to harsher punishment than that of white people in similar circumstances.

Biased reporting by the white media only serves to promote an aura of hostility by the general public to see justice done at any cost, regardless of the circumstance surrounding the situation. The police have desensitized the public about Mr. Turner because the media has condemned him in an effort to demonstrate that his killing was justifiable.

To trivialize Mr. Turner's death as a casualty in the war on crime is a manifestation of open genocide against all people of color by the police. The media would serve better to allow all of the facts to be released prior to subjecting someone to scrutiny without having the ability to redress their criticisms.

Therefore, we condemn the white media, especially the San Diego Union-Tribune, in their efforts to paint a slanted portrayal of Mr. Turner as one not worthy of due justice in the court of law, or subject to the loss of life at the hands of a vigilante police officer who may not have the common decency of respecting diversity and humanity, and qualifying the shooting as justifiable.

This was simply a case of biased reporting by the media and reckless abandonment by the police in the proper use of force. Mr Turner deserved better. His life did not have to end in tragedy.

Lés Pierres Streater
Journalist/Community Activist

Inzunza launches tirade at citizen

On May 22, 2001, I addressed the city council on my concerns and opposition to the ordinance reducing city council meetings from four to two times a month.

At the conclusion of my presentation, I was asked by Councilman Inzunza to retun to the podium whereby Councilman Inzunza launched into a tirade and attacked me personally and professionally by suggesting that I am harrassing him and his family. Councilman Inzunza further proceeded to publicly accuse me with the following charges: Calling his home, calling his personal cell phone, driving by his home. Stalking and harrassing him. Stating that he had a family and that I knew where he lived. That I show him some "public decency." Leaving a message on his cell phone in a threatening manner, and claiming that he still had the threat on his cell phone. Threatening to play the message on his cell phone for the chief of police. Threatening to get a seize and desist or restraining order against me.

Councilman Inzunza raised unfounded and slanderous charges against me. It seems that this all stems from me questioning of city officials and why the taxpayers of National City are paying Councilman Inzunza's cellular phone bill for $2,400 a year, which is above and beyond any reasonable government official's cellular phone plan, including Mayor George Waters.

I am requesting that the mayor go on record and censor Councilman Inzunza, and inform him that this type of political cohersion will not be tolerated. National City residents, taxpayers and voters will not be subjected to, or have fear unfounded, slanderous and threatening attacks from elected officials for voicing their opinions on public issues or exposing wrong doing by elected officials.

Further, if Mr. Inzunza has any proof of the above tortious allegations that he immediately proceed and file charges with the proper authorities.

Mark Baca
National City Resident

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