Missing the Point
The Great Wall of Arizona: This story is terrible ["Held Captive," Monica Alonzo, Feature, 8/18]. Missing from the article is any sense of scale or sense of balance. Hundreds of thousands cross from Mexico into the United States every year. How many are kidnapped by their coyotes? A very small number. The author is so intent on pushing her point of view that immigration reform is needed (I agree) that she neglects the obvious complement: securing the border in Arizona, at least to the standards met in Texas and California. Hell, secure the entire border so thoroughly that barely anyone attempts to cross it illegally.
This idea that a country cannot effectively fortify its borders is a canard, brought to you by none other than Janet Napolitano when she was Arizona's governor. Now she's head of Homeland Security and a faint heart when it comes to enforcing the law. From Hadrian's Wall and the Great Wall of China to the East-West German divide, governments have successfully kept invaders out or their citizens in.
Parking Goes Digital
How smart is smart parking?: I think it will take some time for someone to come up with uses for the [parking] data from the point of view of a smartphone, iPad, or whatever ["Keeping It Real-Time," Patricia Decker, Sucka Free City, 8/18]. The MTA can use it to learn more about how drivers are really using parking (instead of just blanket assumptions tossed out by people), and make better use of the spaces. I can see potential with a phone and a hands-free device. It'd be tricky, but that's what smart people figure out. We don't have to wait for the MTA; someone out there will get creative.
Hasta la Vista, Kermit
Clawing its way through the food chain: The African clawed frog population in the Lily Pond is a biological time bomb ["Gang Green," Matt Smith, Column, 8/11]. The frogs will disperse. It's not a question of if, but when. That's the bad news.
The good news is that we can deal with this problem quickly and decisively. It's rare for environmental problems to have simple solutions, but this is one of those times. Let's drain the pond, eradicate the frogs, and be done with this thing once and for all.
president, San Francisco Naturalist Society
Vegans and Animal Seller Play Chicken
Live and let die: I was discussing this story ["Fowl Play," Chris Roberts, Sucka Free City, 8/4] with my sister. She pointed out that when we police others' food choices, means of transport, clothing, and other bits of life, we often end up discriminating against a variety of minorities. In this case, a vegan with a cause he truly believes in is harassing mostly Chinese folks who cook at home according to their own traditions. One of these is to eat freshly killed animals — fish, frogs, chickens, etc.
I trust these folks to put the animal down quickly. What possible motive would they have to do anything but a quick kill? And while vegans may occupy moral high ground (at least in their own worldview), the rest of us omnivores are eating all sorts of animals killed far from our gentle eyes. How are they killed? I doubt it's as humanely as in mama's kitchen or backyard.
Don't be cruel: This isn't about race, tradition, or what someone "enjoys eating" — this is about animal cruelty. Whether a Chinese person, a white person, or a black person is performing the abuse, it does not matter; if an animal is being cruelly treated, it must be stopped.
I have seen the videos that Andrew Zollman has taken of people roughly shoving two live birds into one bag upside down, and it is far from humane. I commend Zollman's work against cruelty to these poor chickens who are suffering immensely.