4 letters: Spirit week stereotypes; Animal clinic services; Country Estates tyranny; Choking government regulation

The Golden Quill is awarded occasionally for a well-penned letter.

Parent has concerns regarding the stereotyping involved in Spirit Week
Dear Editor,
This week Christopher High School celebrates spirit week. Like most high schools in America, Spirit Week is a fun, festive time to dress up in themed attire to show your support for the home team.  
Last year, when the Homecoming spirit theme was to dress up as Barbie or GI Joe, I held my tongue. I spoke with my daughter about gender stereotypes as her classmates dressed up in pink spandex and camouflage. I imagined it slipped the minds of teachers and administrators that buxom, blonde, one-dimensional dolls and war-torn soldiers inscribe a heteronormative bias that encourages a very dated way of looking at the the roles of men and women.
This was a teachable moment, and I hoped that future spirit events were handled with greater sensitivity.
I was mistaken.
This week, two of the spirit themed days call on kids to dress as a “CEO or a Hobo” and to “Fake An Injury.”
As a concerned parent, and a person living in the 21st century, I can’t be silent anymore. These are incredibly DANGEROUS ideologies that are being proliferated. What do CEOs look like? What do “Hobos” look  like? Will kids call out sick to fake an injury or mock other classmates who have experienced physical setbacks? How does this unify an academic community?
When we raise citizens of the world to make light of poverty and injuries, stereotyping people into one-dimensional caricatures, we lose a chance at teaching this generation how to be open and accepting of difference.
I challenge the administration at Christopher to “use their hearts and minds”, as it states in the motto featured on their website, when planning school wide activities. Part of an education is to critically question the world; to offer up the challenge of making it a more tolerant place.
Martha Bell, Gilroy


St. Francis low-cost spay and neuter animal clinic provides a vital service
Dear Editor,
Many of our Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin residents are familiar with the St. Francis of Assisi  Animal Rescue Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic situated on the corner of Church and Murphy in San Martin.
This clinic was founded in 1992. It’s mission is to help reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats.  By offering lower fees for spaying and neutering, SFAAR helps to reduce the number of puppies and kittens born to unwanted litters.  
The clinic is open two days per week and is always booked into the next few months.  There is no doubt of the demand in our communities for the services. After all, it is the ONLY low cost spay/neuter clinic in South County. The average number of surgeries on a daily basis is 18. Full service veterinary hospitals cannot spay/neuter this many animals daily as they see animals for a variety of concerns, i.e. illness, well checks, teeth or skin problems, emergencies, variety of surgical procedures, etc.  This is the reason the clinic is so important to our community.
Each year there are an average of 1,700 spay/neuter surgeries performed at the SFAAR Clinic.  Local veterinary hospitals cannot absorb this many surgeries if the clinic was to close.  The outcome would be that more dogs and cats would end up pregnant and more litters of puppies and kittens would be taken to the local shelter to wait in hopes of finding an adoptive, loving home.     
Our shelters are already full of dogs and cats waiting for homes! Please visit the shelter and see for yourself.  Although the existence of low-cost spay/neuter programs has impacted the overpopulation of dogs and cats, we are not near the end of the battle in finding a balance of adoptive homes vs. number of pets needing homes.  
The current trend is to fund shelters and rescue groups based on the number of animals they adopt out in a given period of time.  This does work in that there is more motivation to locate pets into homes, but this does not address the “root” of the problem. The most viable way to help reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats is through making affordable spay/neuter programs available to our communities and continue efforts to increase public awareness in regards to the importance of spaying and neutering.
SFAAR is a non-profit organization and depends solely on donations to keep its work going.  The cost of medical supplies, etc. has risen. The clinic needs your financial support.
For the sake of the animals in our communities, won’t you please take a moment to send a tax deductible donation (any amount is appreciated) to: St. Francis of Assisi Animal Rescue Low Cost Spay Neuter Clinic, 12000 Murphy Ave. San Martin, CA,  95046.
You will receive a receipt within a few days of our receipt of the donation.
O. Ileana Cleveland, president, Morgan Hill


Beware the ridiculous tyranny of Country Estates homeowner’s association
Dear Editor,
Twelve years ago we moved to Gilroy. In that time we have dutifully paid our quarterly dues to the Country Estates of Gilroy Homeowners Association. We have never had a problem until we attempted to maintain our house.
We found the paint on the front of our house had deteriorated badly since that faces the western sun. So, as responsible owners, we had the house repainted. The original colors were a pale green on the stucco and off-white on the garage door, so we chose paint that came as close to those colors as we could find.
Then we received a notice from the Association that we had “made a major change to our house”, which is apparently defined as repainting our house, without prior approval, even though we attempted to duplicate the existing paint.
After the fact, we attempted to comply with the Association demands and submitted color strips and documentation to the Association, but these were rejected without explanation.
We were not aware that simple maintenance of our property would violate the regulations of the Association. Obviously the original house builder must get approval for the house plans and colors. Likewise, if the colors are subsequently radically changed, that must always be reviewed for acceptability. But we have now learned that maintenance of our property, regardless of the colors, also requires prior approval.
The argument is this review is necessary to maintain the standards of our community. But most of the people who live here are responsible adults and conscientiously maintain their property without supervision as it is in their best interests to do so.  
We believe that unless a radical change in colors or patterns of color is proposed, then the Association should forego this review process and be content that the homes are being maintained properly and promptly.
From the latest bulletin from the Association it seems many in our community have neglected to get prior approval for repainting their homes. We hope we are not being singled out as that would border on harassment.
Larry & Aileene Edsinger, Gilroy


Suffocating government regulation causing massive bankruptcies all over town
Dear Editor,
Downtown, uptown, East Side, West Aside, and all around town and outlying areas small and very small business owners are being crucified, strangled and suffocated by confiscatory taxes/fees/fines/mandates/assessments, and local government leaders are forcing more taxes/fees on us, increasing regulations, rules, ordinances, even unconstitutional ones, so that they can reward their special interests. Your article about new laws in California grossly understated the new ones we’re hobbled with. We on Gov. Pete Wilson’s Regulatory Reform Roundtable in the mid-’90s told the governor that we needed less regulations, and his Executive Order so held. But our Legislature, and local municipal and County governments, with the support of public-sector unions, have increased the regulatory burdens, forcing many small and very small business owners into insolvency, bankruptcy, and/or out-of-state. Your own paper has reported this – actually under-reported it. And you never mention the unconstitutional joint power authorities like VTA, COG, AMBAG, etc. adding to the fatal chokehold effects of all the cumulative intolerable acts of our government, much worse than the Founders ever encountered under George III. Let’s have some real truth in reporting the regulatory burdens on local business owners.
Joe Thompson, Gilroy

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