Letters to the editor
I have noticed many claims in recent letters to the editor that the political left does not use facts and instead relies on “appeals to emotions, not to reason,” all the while not using a single fact to backup their own accusations. While I personally think Matt Zalaznick has a tendency to rant, he does sum up the frustration that even those of us on the left side of moderate have felt over the past four years, both from the Bush administration and the lack of oversight from mainstream media.The fact of the matter is there is no “liberal bias” in the media. In a survey report conducted last year by the non-partisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 62 percent of those questioned stated the media was fair to President Bush, a full 11 percent higher than the perception of how the press was treating President Clinton in 1993. In my mind, this begs the question that if the Fox News Channel has a more right-leaning view in response to mainstream media, is it really “Fair and Balanced?”If you are tired of the distortions from the Fox News Channel and/or both sides of the political spectrum, please visit the Web site Factcheck.org, a service of the non-partisan Annenberg Foundation. This Web site does a great job of investigating claims from both sides of the political fence, particularly from the 30-second spot ads. Our democracy hinges on a well-informed electorate, so I urge everyone to get informed, keep an open mind, and most importantly, get out and vote this November.Jeff HoppGypsumSend Bush homeThe respected and very conservative magazine The Economist has supported Bush and the war in Iraq – until now! The recent leading article “Sincere deceivers” (Economist, July 17) should give all registered Republicans pause for thought. Some quotes are: “When making the case for war they (Bush and Blair) gambled that the facts found in Iraq would bear out their claims. They haven’t. The result is not only damage to the personal credibility of America’s president and Britain’s prime minister. It is real damage to the ability of those countries to deal with future military and terrorist threats.” “The next time politicians call for military action – even more people will refuse to believe them. Well intentioned or not, such salesmanship has made us all less safe and more vulnerable to terrorists.”The article concludes that Bush must be held responsible for the negligence and foolhardy rush into Iraq without sanction from the international community. We all have a duty in November to begin a process that will restore international faith and support for the foreign policies of the USA. We will not do that by re-electing Bush and I for one (a registered Republican) will be voting to send George back to Texas, where he can do no further harm to our image abroad and our safety at home. Tom McCaldenWolcott Building a new lifeWhen we returned from yet another excursion on the Mariposa Trail, with the help of our neighbor, we began the building process on our bungalow in the jungalow. We were introduced to Macario Gomez, a local Mayan, and his crew whom we hired to work with us on a weekly basis. It was our intention to do as much of the work as possible. After all we had brought a trailer load of tools and materials and a wealth of construction knowledge along with us from Colorado. At first we followed the original design of the house with a few minor changes. Felix introduced us to another local Mayan artesian, Ray, who had access to his father’s 72 hectare ranch for getting the wood we needed to complete the project. And we soon found out that we could order the wood in any size, type, color, and Ray and his four brothers would deliver it the next day.Many of the workers also held municipal jobs, like electrical inspector, water works, surveyor, etc. As it turned out, four of the signatures on our title work were also employees on our job. At any one time there could have been 16 workers on the site. They went about their jobs with a spirit of joy. Lots of laughter and Mayan conversation filled the air. The lead workers spoke Spanish and with the help of our neighbor, construction Spanish books, drawings, pictures, our growing knowledge of the language and lots of hand signals, we were able to communicate quite well. They were the hardest workers we had ever encountered. Many nights, the carpenter crew worked long after midnight when the air was cool and only the jungle sounds could be heard above the hammers and chain saw. With each payday on Saturday afternoon, we began to realize how cheap labor and materials were. With this in mind, we started to expand our vision. What was originally designed as the back of the house became the front. We decided to use two different styles of Vista Maya rock inside and out to help the house fit in better with the more natural jungle surroundings. Some of the stone and wood we used were taken from our own property. Since the front of the house was now facing a large concrete cistern, we felt a Mayan ruin-style water feature was in order. This also grew and developed into what some referred to as the “Chichen Itza falls.” This job was delegated to the maestro, who came from the neighboring town of Valladolid. He and his three companions came with their bags and hammocks on Monday and left on Saturday afternoon. Two of these men dug for three weeks into limestone and coral to build a hole big enough for the wet lands septic system. As the house started to take shape, we realized we wanted a larger bathroom. The main house was too small and since there were no permits required or building restrictions, it made sense to add it to the side of the house. All the rock for this structure was taken from the property. Rather than cutting down the tree in the interior of the room, we left it there and created an open air shower in part of the room. As soon as this room was finished, we had two bathrooms and only one bedroom. We asked Felix what the addition of an adjoining bedroom might cost. He said he could do it for $3,000, including labor and materials. A week later when Moe returned from Colorado, we had another bedroom. The spiral staircase inside the house was not big enough to take furniture up and down, so we made a plan to build a larger more functional staircase to access our upper decks and second floor rooms. And then you can guess what happened next. An open air deck on top of the bedroom and a third floor deck on top of that took shape. When we completed the palapa roof on the third floor, Moe said, “No more!” We still are not at the top of the jungle canopy. Maybe the crow’s nest will be added later. The house has grown to 3,000 square feet of enclosed space and 1,000 square feet of outdoor patios. The crew joined Lou in a Colorado-style barbecue to celebrate the completion of the project. Between the two of us, we put in 700 hours in the 10 weeks it took to build the bungalow in the jungalow. When the Villa Mariposa en la Playa plans are approved, we hope to bring this team of workers to the beach to build once again with us, because we NOW have the TITLE. Stay tuned to hear the story of that four day saga.Moe MulrooneyLou Pintkowski
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