Letters to the Editor

Kenneth Clair: An Innocent Man on Death Row

In regard to last week’s story, ‘Panel Denounces Death Penalty,’ I was rather shocked when I read the first sentence, which ended with a phrase that still reverberates through my mind: ‘Kenneth Clair, currently on death row in California for a murder he committed in Orange County.’ Although Kenneth Clair was convicted of murdering a young woman in Orange County more than 20 years ago (he pleaded innocent), there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Furthermore, the investigation was littered with police corruption; his case was based entirely on the testimony of one woman, who was mentally incapable at the time; and critical details were withheld from the jury, including the ‘unofficial’ testimony of a five-year-old witness to the murder who described the assailant as white (Mr. Clair is African-American). How this case was able to progress to the penalty phase may astound some; however, this is no ordinary case.
Since 1973, more than 110 death row inmates have been exonerated after finding they were wrongfully convicted; 10 were released in 2003 alone. Fortunately, recent testimony by the now 25-year-old witness, jurors from the initial trial and Mr. Clair’s original state-appointed attorney are shedding light on the injustices of this case and may help prove Mr. Clair’s innocence. With this said, I would like to stress that when the court system finds a person guilty of a crime, this doesn’t always mean that they actually committed the crime. For more information regarding Mr. Clair’s case, contact K. Bandell at aspiration@iwon.com.

Katie Falbo
Amnesty International

California Should Consider Seceding

Thanks for your wise words. Frankly, if California goes, how about the whole West Coast? One can only hope and pray. Thanks for your thoughts. A refreshing view.

Shelley Dillon
Vashon, Wash.

I hear a lot about ‘Seceding’ lately. It sounds like, ‘If I’m not getting my way I am taking my ball and going home.’ Why, I wonder, would you want to quit? You lost a battle, not the war. What if great leaders of the past had given up like that? Stop feeling sorry for yourself!
Republicans, when Clinton was elected, did not cry, whine and carry on like little babies. They quietly got to work and started turning things their direction in the mid-term. Mid-term is two years from now. Get to work! Forget this election; it’s over. Rhetoric about ‘seceding’ is useless. Keep it up and the Republicans will have 75 seats in the Senate.
States tried seceding before. It cost 1.5 million American lives. You dishonor that bloody cost by making a joke out of it. As a sovereign citizen, you personally can secede and go to Canada or Europe. I would wish you would not as this is your Country and worth fighting for.

Richard Dunn
Detroit, Mich.

Had to respond to your splendid editorial. Found it on BuzzFlash.com and was taken by your deft missive. There is much truth amid your droll prose, but a clause of one sentence strikes me brilliantly: ‘be governed by a leader who was chosen by a region we have so little in common with when it comes to political and social ideologies?’
As a native Californian who had the misfortune of being born in the wrong state, the current Midwest is not even the same Midwest from which I fled some quarter-century ago. It’s worse. And it’s not going to get better any time soon. We need to face that.
So, as someone who has occasionally mused about the political possibility of a Californian secession, it occurs to me now that you may have come up with the Raison d’etre, the cause celebe, the really good fucking reason to seriously consider this perhaps quixotic proposition. And consider it surely we should. A lot is at stake. I shudder at the prospect of what California would become should our gays be forced to flee to Canada. (The line would be funnier, if it weren’t true) Nonetheless, it’s time to put succession into the dialogue of this state. Thanks for a nice start.

Scott Ewers
Hercules, CA.

Students’ E-Voting Woes Are Baseless

With regard to the students who waited several hours to vote in the recent election I feel no pity for them. First, there is always an absentee ballot which can be filled out and mailed in any time before election day. Second, for those who wanted to vote in person, many locations were set up where you could vote early from Oct. 1 to 29 such as Albertsons and here on campus at the Office of the Dean of Students in the Student Center.
Many a day I have walked by this location and found no one in the voting booths. So the only ones I feel sorry for are the poll workers who had to deal with those students who didn’t bother to vote early and got angry at the workers for not having enough voting machines.

Mr. Toni Reger
Distribution Services

Had to respond to your splendid editorial. Found it on BuzzFlash.com and was taken by your deft missive. There is much truth amid your droll prose, but a clause of one sentence strikes me brilliantly: ‘be governed by a leader who was chosen by a region we have so little in common with when it comes to political and social ideologies?’
As a native Californian who had the misfortune of being born in the wrong state, the current Midwest is not even the same Midwest from which I fled some quarter-century ago. It’s worse. And it’s not going to get better any time soon. We need to face that.
So, as someone who has occasionally mused about the political possibility of a Californian secession, it occurs to me now that you may have come up with the raison d’etre, the cause celebe, the really good fucking reason to seriously consider this perhaps quixotic proposition. And consider it we should; a lot is at stake. I shudder at the prospect of what California would become should our gays be forced to flee to Canada (that line would be funnier, if it weren’t true). Nonetheless, it’s time to put secession into the dialogue of this state. Thanks for a nice start.

Scott Ewers
Hercules, Calif.

Students’ eVoting Woes are Baseless

With regards to the students who waited several hours to vote in the recent election I feel no pity for them. First off there is always an absentee ballot which can be filled out and mailed in anytime before election day. Second for those who wanted to vote in person many locations were set up where you could vote early from Oct 1-29 such as Albertson’s and here on campus at the Dean of Students office in the Student Center. Many a day I walked by this location and found no one in the voting booths. So the only ones I feel sorry for are the poll workers who had to deal with those students who didn’t bother to vote early and got angry at the workers for not having enough voting machines.
Toni Reger
Distribution Services