Letters: ‘Marijuana and Garlic Festival’ – a match made in heaven for Gilroy

Dear Editor,
I was struck by the juxtaposition of the two lead articles on
the front page of the Gilroy Dispatch on Jan. 15:

Shhh, quiet: dispensaries abound,

and

Stinkin’ Rose Profit.

The second article explains that Gilroy need not worry about
another poor garlic crop this year; apparently, flu worries in
China have curtailed garlic exports, and our local garlic crop may
be bumper this year.
‘Marijuana and Garlic Festival’ – a match made in heaven for Gilroy

Dear Editor,

I was struck by the juxtaposition of the two lead articles on the front page of the Gilroy Dispatch on Jan. 15: “Shhh, quiet: dispensaries abound,” and “Stinkin’ Rose Profit.”

The second article explains that Gilroy need not worry about another poor garlic crop this year; apparently, flu worries in China have curtailed garlic exports, and our local garlic crop may be bumper this year.

The other article attempts by its tone to suggest that Mayor Al Pinheiro and other like-minded “keepers of all that is good and sacred in Gilroy” will do all that is possible to deny marijuana dispensaries licenses to operate in Gilroy.

I believe I have a plan to strengthen Gilroy’s economic future and international reputation: lay off the marijuana dispensaries and combine Garlic and Marijuana and tout the city as the “Garlic and Marijuana Capital of the World.”

Wow! I can picture the summer festival. Not merely a garlic festival, but a Marijuana and Garlic Festival. Attendance records will be shattered. Food sales, of course, will skyrocket. Money to charities will be Midas-like. And, because economic bottom lines drive our city fathers as well as good capitalists everywhere, who can argue with such a plan?

Certainly not those moralists who claim marijuana is somehow evil; it is no more the evil weed than garlic is the evil bulb. Certainly not when the Dispatch in the same Jan. 15 issue, proudly chronicles and hails a prospective new smokers’ club – “Residents rally to save a smoker’s paradise.”

Every conceivable piece of scientific evidence attests to the dangers of tobacco. But a smokers’ paradise is OK in our town, but marijuana to relieve pain and discomfort in sick individuals is not. We need some compassion, not selfishness and narrow-minded morality.

Pretty soon people will be telling other people whom they can and cannot marry. Pretty soon people will be telling other people they cannot choose to avoid painful, agonizing deaths through ending their own lives. Pretty soon people will be emerging from the tragic rubble of Haiti and thanking god for saving their lives. Pretty soon … but alas, such nonsense will never prevail.

Ted Brett, Gilroy

Amah Mutsun Indians didn’t team up with would-be ranch developer

Dear Editor,

Recently, the Gilroy Dispatch published several articles reporting on the bankruptcy of the company owned by Wayne and Marci Pierce, majority owners of Sargent Ranch.

The articles reported that the ranch owners “teamed up with the Amah Mutsun Indians” to convey the property to tribal trust land, circumvent county planning regulations, and develop the property.

A careful review of previous articles in the Gilroy Dispatch shows that the Pierce’s did not “team up” with the legitimate tribal government of the Amah Mutsun. Instead, the Pierce’s “teamed up” with Ms. Irene Zwierlein, the former chairperson of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band who had resigned this position long before she signed an agreement with Mr. Pierce.

Although she purports to be the leader of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band she is not. This paper also reported in 2007, that federal officials confirmed Ms. Zwierlein was the author of several forged documents in which she claimed to be the leader of the legitimate government of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

I must emphasize that the legitimate government of the Historic Amah Mutsun Tribal Band has never been involved with the efforts to develop Sargent Ranch nor did we have any agreement with Wayne Pierce or his investment partners.

Sargent Ranch is one of our most sacred sites and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band opposes any effort to mine or otherwise develop this property. We feel that this culturally and ecologically important and unique property must be preserved in its current state.

Valentin Lopez, Chairman, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

Keep EPA’s authority over carbon pollution – email our two senators

Dear Editor,

On Jan. 20, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on an amendment introduced by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska that will strip the federal Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to limit carbon pollution. The proposal would block action authorized by the Clean Air Act, mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court and recommended by public health experts.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District monitoring stations placed in San Martin and Gilroy, prove our area has the most impaired air quality in the nine-county region. Prevailing southerly winds push Silicon Valley generated smog to the end of the valley over Gilroy where it’s trapped by our mountains.

The Murkowski measure was written with the help of lobbyists from dirty energy companies and weakens efforts to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. A Senate vote for this Dirty Air Act is a vote for backroom deals and polluters.

Studies show an alarming increase in asthma amongst Gilroy children – you probably know or know of a child suffering. Respiratory illness afflicting Gilroy’s elderly has become critical.

It’s unfair for a few to profit by the suffering of those we love. The Senate should spend more time reducing our dependence upon foreign oil while strengthening our national defense. They should fund new domestic sources of clean energy like solar to create a clean tech enterprise zone here wiping out massive unemployment and crime in South County.

Please e-mail Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Diane Feinstein to explain why voting no on the Murkowski amendment is critical to Gilroy.

Chris Cote, Gilroy

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