Letters: Revisionist history Thanksgiving column a real ‘piece of work’

I would like to address the column written by Martin Cheek. Mr.
Cheek needs to research history in more detail before calling the
Thanksgiving holiday with the Pilgrims a myth.
Dear Editor,

I would like to address the column written by Martin Cheek. Mr. Cheek needs to research history in more detail before calling the Thanksgiving holiday with the Pilgrims a myth. Good history is taken from primary sources. What we know about the Pilgrims we know from a book “Of Plymouth Plantation”, written by William Bradford, who was governor of the Plymouth colony for more than 30 years. Bradford gave day-to-day details of their experience.

The Pilgrims did not did not die of agricultural incompetence. The Pilgrims for the most part were yeomen farmers and knew how to grow crops. They died of scurvy from the three-month journey crossing the Atlantic. They also did not know the ways of the wilderness, which is a different issue than agriculture.

Mr. Cheek is not wrong in stating that the survival of the colony was due to the compassion of the native residents. However, the native primarily responsible for teaching the Pilgrims survival skills was Squanto. Squanto had spent time in England, knew of their persecuted plight, knew their language and had a heart for them because of this knowledge. Squanto was a close friend to Bradford.

Also, the treaty established by the Pilgrims and Wampanoags was kept for 50 years. When it was broken, Prince Philip’s War broke it. Settlers moved farther west, but that does not justify that fact that settlers were mercilessly tortured and killed by disgruntled natives.

Primary documentation cites the experience of several survivors like Mary Rowlandson whose husband and children were both killed. Both Europeans and natives have a basic sin nature and neither side was innocent.

Concerning the issue of disease and germ warfare, no one at this time even knew about germs. Louis Pasture discovered the germ theory in 1861. No one passed germs intentionally. They did not understand how germs were passed. Calling this germ warfare is absurd.

The original Thanksgiving was not a myth. It was a documented historical event and one we should be proud of as Americans. The event lasted two days and was a time of shared cultures and thanks to God and the natives for their survival.

Mr. Cheek’s point about the issue of today’s Mexican population is taken. However, to throw stones at our early settlers is inappropriate and not a fair comparison. The sin we as Americans need to face is that we have forgotten our God. What we need in this nation is a return to the God who helped these original settlers survive. If this were to happen, many of these social ills would be eradicated.

Sue Carnes, Gilroy (B.S. in American history from SJSU)

Ambulance service switch story hardly did the process justice

Dear Editor,

Recently, The Dispatch reported the contents – as though they are facts – of official protest letters from American Medical Response, the company that did not win the contract to provide ambulance service for Santa Clara County. We are concerned that the article lacked balance and failed to place the letters in context.

AMR exercised its right to protest the bidding results. In fact, at AMR’s request, the county granted additional time to allow the company to supplement its protest. That is why there were two letters, dated a few days apart.

While I will not repeat the litany of inaccurate and false statements in those letters, we are concerned that they were offered to readers without any balance or counterpoint. The letter alleges that Rural Metro promised additional payments to the county, after the fact. This is a mischaracterization of the process.

Once a proposed service provider is selected, negotiations commence. In these negotiations, the county has requested that Rural Metro cover certain staffing costs to administer the franchise agreement. The article makes it sound as if there is impropriety and that is not the case.

The $108,000 is the direct cost of the county’s Emergency Medical Services agency hiring up to three staff members to begin work outlined in the request for proposal. Had AMR been the successful bidder, during negotiations they would have received the same county request.

Further, reporting AMR’s contention that the RFP review process was flawed overlooks the fact that the panel was broad-based and the requirements outlined in the RFP were transparent.

The eight-member RFP review committee consisted of local and non-Santa Clara County officials, including: representatives from these county offices: county executive, finance, emergency medical services (EMS) agency staff, EMS medical director, and Health Advisory Commission member who is also on the EMS Committee. Other panel members were an EMS agency director from a different county, a fire service representative nominated by the California Fire Chiefs Association, and a city managers’ representative.

Because AMR stands to lose millions of dollars in business, it is attempting to discredit the process, not only in Santa Clara County but in other areas as well. The company is free to pursue these tactics; however, as a news reporting organization, The Dispatch has a responsibility to provide accurate facts and context for readers.

Gwendolyn Mitchell, director, public affairs,

County of Santa Clara

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