Dear Eagle Staff:
After much thought and then after reading the open letter to the "top administrators" that was put on E-mail today, I decided that as an employee of Mendocino College, I have a few comments and questions for the Eagle staff.
Regarding airing our "dirty laundry" on the Eagle Web Site. Sorry, but that is what I choose to call it. Does anyone really think that someone, lets say in Pittsburgh, PA or Houston, TX really cares what we are feuding about in Ukiah, CA? I thought the idea was to have a positive approach for any Internet communication and use it as a marketing tool. Certainly that is the image I would like us to portray. I'm sorry, but whatever problems we have on campus, I feel we should keep them local. F reedom of speech you say-well, what useful purpose is served by broadcasting such scattered opinions, some untruths, and very few facts? Sensationalism of this sort can do more harm than good. Don't think for one moment that I don't agree with some points that people have made or that I don't respect freedom of speech, because I do.
I feel though, as an employee, I also have rights and I always try to respect the people who I work with. Whether I am dealing with students, my peers, or, as of lately, as some refer to that "dirty word", Administrators; respect is something that we must not forget. Certainly listening and discussing these issues for the past few months, and keeping an upbeat attitude, has become a real chore for me and I'm sure for others as well.
Thanks for responding to the open letter. The time you took to reply to it is greatly appreciated.
The people in Pittsburgh, PA or Houston, TX may not care about the local laundry problem. However the over 1,000 subscribers to the Redwood Freenet, the several thousand combined subscribers to Pacific Internet, Zap Communications, and the internet provider on the coast, as well as the countless junior high and high school students who have access to the Internet - all of these people are from the local area and may be interested in a basic local college issue.
There was enough interest in the matter for the Ukiah Journal as well as local public radio, KZYX, to cover the story.
We should be able to agree on some essential points. We all want to make this a school that anyone would be proud of. And we mean proud of in the deepest sense. Proud that the school is doing valuable work in and for our community. Proud that there is a intellectual dialog about real issues. And why not be pround that we have a toughminded newspaper that brings up issues that people actually care about.
You say that we published "scattered opinions, some untruths, and very few facts." The information we gathered was going around the campus as rumors. We consolidated the information, verified as much of it as we could and then put it in an understandable format so everyone has a chance think about what is being said. Armed with ALL the available information, everyone has a chance to decide what is, or is not, true. I feel we are accomplishing that, although, granted, there is a lot more to do.
If you believe we misrepresented something or printed something that is untrue, then I'm sure the college community and the EAGLE would like to know about it. Otherwise, to the best of our knowledge, what we have printed is true.
We can certainly understand why you would be uncomfortable with the process right now. Everyday, your work requires you to face college staff, students and the public while there are questions about how decisions are made and about the integrity of some of the administrators, and, yes, even about the EAGLE. This probably does make your work harder. To the extent that the EAGLE has caused this, it was not intended.
As for respect, the EAGLE staff has tried to respect everyone, including the public, by not hiding anything and by helping everyone have their say.
What the public wants is straight talk about what is going on. Why not give it to them? Why not simply say it like it is, and then get on with business? There are still certainly plenty of good classes and programs at this college, and plenty of work to be done.
And as far as the controversy is concerned, it is really a person like you that we are writing for. Don't you want to know what is going on behind those doors? Your fate, too, is decided there.
The letter you responded to, which is in this issue of the Eagle, appears along with many other responses to the simple question: "Why was the Eagle, the first link placed on the college site, removed? Is that censorship?" While we might disagree, we certainly would not censor your participation.
Russ Emal and King Collins
From: Mike Adams
Well here's an interesting anecdotal tidbit to mull over. Russ Emal, in his column in the November 4 Eagle, wants us to somehow link his felonious past to Prop 215. Sorry Russ, I see no connection between the fact that you were once a part of the "Old Boy let 'em be" system and got caught breaking the law by the people who's job it is to enforce it, and the legitimate needs for relief that legalization of marijuana for medical purposes will allow.
Since the laws were changed a number of years ago to reduce the general use of marijuana to a misdemeanor, and you were convicted of a felony, I assume your acknowledging that you had more up your sleeve than a couple of recreational joints.
I personally have always been an outspoken opponent of the "Old Boy" system of justice because it fosters discrimination. Which laws do you propose that the authorities should enforce and which should they ignore? Should it be only the ones that you violate or maybe just the ones that are violated by the good buddies of the sheriff's department? I see no difference between these two scenarios. The public through their representatives or through initiatives like prop 215 make and change the laws that we are governed by; while not perfect, the alternatives aren't very appealing to me.
The law you were convicted of didn't change with the passage of 215. I think your transparent personal agenda is getting mixed up with a real matter of public concern.
The fact is that through the public initiative process legitimate medical use of marijuana was approved by the voters. Legalization of marijuana by you has not yet been approved by the public; but if you want to test this for yourself go ahead. You can name your column, "Letters from the Mendocino County Jail".
Well Mike, it does look like we get to debate again.
Indeed, I was convicted of the felonious act of cultivation of marijuana and did spend about four months in county lockup for that dastardly deed. You are correct, my motives were ONLY for personal profit. That and, up until about five years ago, I enjoyed puffin my hookah. If you grow more than one or two plants, that is why you do it. For money. My open sun plants often produced 2-3 pounds each. Even a committed smoker like myself could hardly inhale that much per year. Of course I did freely share with all of my glaucoma inflicted friends.
You say you don't approve of the "Old Boy" system of justice because it fosters discrimination. I totally agree. We shouldn't have anyone decide what laws to enforce and which not to, we should ignore ALL the stupid laws. Should those guys have tossed the tea off the boat and proclaimed independence from their rightfully elected (or not) lawmakers two hundred years ago? I would have never voted to burn a witch, turn in an escaped slave, murder six million Jews and today, I'd never sentence any pot grower for any pot growing related crime. Even though today, that is the law. Laws change, using good rational should not. Although I doubt it, I hope I'd have been brave enough to have been burned with the witch, had my foot cut off with the returned slave, and got cooked in the oven. As it was, I did do time for cultivation. That didn't take much bravery, just greed. I guess I possess my share of that. All these laws and hundreds of others are foolish and enacted only for politically motivated reasons. They are not about justice. Stupid laws shouldn't be enacted and when they are they should not be enforced.
The reason all police departments around our country prioritize the laws they'll enforce is to use their manpower effectively. That and some top cop says "This law is stupid and we're not going to enforce it!" That is why the pot bars exist all over California; even though selling weed is against the law.
Actually Mike, we have talked about this in person and I doubt we differ in opinion on the stupidity of the drug laws. I bet we would vote together to ban most of them. Nevertheless, thanks. I enjoy the debate. But really Mike, you don't believe the only reason Prop 215 was passed was due to society's compassionate feeling for the sick do you? I know that is a part of the reason. But the only one? What the spotted owl is to the old growth redwood tree, Prop 215 is to the legalization of marijuana and the eventual reevaluation of our nations whole drug policy. It is just the means to the end. The spotted owl (whatever that is) and the recently passed California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 is not the end. It is truly the beginning.
About me doing a column, "Letters from the Mendocino County Jail." Good idea Mike. But, I did it already. Actually it was a weekly, live broadcast from within the confines of the facility heard on KZYX Radio. It was called Lockdown. I had a blast doing it. I told the public what really happens behind those closed doors hidden from their view. I hope you heard the show.
My article last month was not intended as an excuse and I don't have any personal agenda. Hey buddy! I did it, I made some money doing it and I then I went to jail for it. The article was a short recap of the history of wasting taxpayer's money in Mendocino County because of the pot laws. The passing of Prop 215 will help end that waste. For more info about the new law and how it might effect Mendocino County, please see Emal's Corner and my interview with Third District Supervisor John Pinches.
From: Dale Glaser (12/3/96)
Breaking the link to the Eagle web site that I created shows a complete lack of vision on the part of the college administration. Here we have a faculty advisor (myself) who, on his own time and initiative, developed a web site for the college newspaper. I did it solely for the benefit of students who might be interested in and want to learn about the Internet and electronic publishing. It was also the first web site developed for the college, up and running months before the college ever began working on its own "official" college web site.
An administration with real vision would, as soon as I developed and made the site public, have personally acknowledged my efforts as a faculty member and wanted to promote what I'd done. The Marketing/PR person would have come to me at the Eagle office and said: "I'd like to write an article for the local papers talking about your work creating the Eagle web site, as an example of the kind of innovation, dedication and learning that students can expect from faculty when they come here to Mendocino college."
I am in no way trying to toot my horn here. I only wish to use myself as an example of the many special projects that are probably being created by faculty all the time that students and the community never hear about because the administration has such a narrow grasp of the term "marketing."
The best this administration could do in my situation was completely ignore what I had done until the Eagle web site became "controversial" and then disavow themselves from it by breaking the link from the college web site. Not very imaginative!
From: Lynda Myers
Dear Eagle Staff:
According to The American Heritage Dictionary, to contribute means "to submit for publication." I wish to point out that, while the Senate Statement of October 2, 1996 is a public document, I did not submit it for publication. To list my name among the Contributors to the Eagle Extra is misleading and untrue. Please print a retraction and set the record straight. Thank you. Lynda Myers
Altough the Senate Statement of October 2, 1996 submited by Lynda Myers is a public doumnet and a significant contribution to the EAGLE Extra, she, herself, on her own volition, did not offer the document to the EAGLE for publication. Readers of the EAGLE Extra are hereby cautioned to keep this fact in mind when evaluating the document and its meaning.
From: Holly Brackmann
In the November, 1996 issue of the Eagle you mentioned that nothing like the TAB newsletters had ever happened before at Mendocino College. As one of the original faculty hired at MCC, I would like to inform you that there was another lampoon publication which came out about 1974. It was called the Mendocino Christian College "Trumpet." The author of this publication never stepped forward. It was written at a time when the College was also suffering from internal strife and one of the release valves was to write in a satirical mode.
Although most of the people mentioned are no longer at the College, I still laugh when I read it. If anyone is interested in reading the "Trumpet," I have donated a copy to the College Library. This is to be included as a part of the archives for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Mendocino College.
Thanks, Holly. How interesting! We stand corrected on the uniqueness of the recent underground pubs, and look forward to the twenty-fifth anniversary publication.
From: Dan Drew (11/5/96)
I got up this morning to a beautiful day. On the way to school I voted. When I arrived at school I went to my mailbox and picked up, among other things, an edition of the Eagle. There were extra copies laying on the counter for anyone to take.
These simple things made me feel good. Better than I have felt for weeks here at the college. Why ? Because, amidst the controversy of the fall, a sinister trend began to develop which has gone largely unnoticed. It began when Gerald deBane's fliers, advertising his classes, were removed. The same thing happened to Candie Dickinson and the cheerleaders. Then, when our infamous underground newspapers began to appear, they were removed from instructors mailboxes and offices. This happened again when the Eagle Extra was from instructors mailboxes and thrown in the trash.
Am I missing something here? Are we in a time warp? Is this really Germany of the late 30's or the McCarthy Era of the 50's? Why were these publications removed? Is someone really that afraid of freedom of expression? Is there a "Publication Police" at MC which is going to protect us from these anarchists.
It is these questions which trouble me much more than whether or not process has been followed. But today everything seems much better. I was able to cast my vote for president and read my Eagle without feeling unpatriotic. I HOPE THIS FEELING CONTINUES! WHAT A GREAT COUNTRY WE LIVE IN !!!!
EAGLE: We are also pleased to hear that the EAGLE and other opinions are making it to the mailboxes.
From: Kathy Shearn
To the Editor:
Take heart: there are those of us who appreciate the effort and courage the Eagle spent publishing the EXTRA. I personally cannot understand why anyone on campus would deem the proceedings of the past month and a half "not newsworthy." The hiring of the PR person, and the resulting anger and bewilderment of a segment of people working here, was/is simply the straw that broke a few backs. I think it's realistic to say that everyone on campus was talking, and wild rumors were flying through buildings; in view of this, publishing the events was a step toward getting the problems out in the open, instead of secluded in someone's office.
Is it honest to pretend that all this didn't happen, and everything's fine? Is it realistic to keep smiling when you've attempted to be heard by going through the "process" and find that you've been systematically ignored? Platitudes and patronizing just don't cut it with some people. Sorry. Maybe this is a personality deficiency, but I like to think of it as independent thinking.
As for including the TABs in the newspaper: those satiric lampoons are similar to political cartoons, and are important to an understanding of the deep frustration felt by some folks.
Considering your work as the college's graphic designer and all-around publication maker, you have a better idea than most just what it takes to put out a publication like the EAGLE. So coming from you, the compliment and the encouragement means a lot. Thank you, and we hope that our work will provide a platform for heathy changes at our college.
We are starting this semester with the firm intention to follow through on what we started last fall.
Copyright Mendocino College Eagle 1996
Permission granted to excerpt or use this article if source is cited.