Pet dilemmas
I see Hesperia is at it again. Safely ensconced Somewhere in the Midwest, when I think of Hesperia where I lived for 13 plus years, I feel such a sense of ugliness emanating from there it makes me all that much happier that I escaped from it not quite three months ago.

In the spring of 2006, I undertook the task of fostering kittens for a local nonprofit animal rescue group. Many of the kittens had to be bottle-fed, requiring a great deal of my time and many were sick with upper respiratory infections. Unlike animal control, I would not just kill them and in fact fought the infections with everything that modern veterinary medicine has to offer, spending a small fortune in the process as well as an enormous expenditure of my time. As the kittens healed they were adopted out. Some were nursed through 5 separate incidents of upper respiratory. When I finally got them well and placed an ad in the paper for adoptions as well as placing them in homes through the rescue group, some kindly (!) person called Animal Control and reported that I had too many cats and possibly too many dogs at my home. (The dogs turned out to be a non-issue.)

I will say the officer was courteous and volunteered that the animals were all in good condition and well taken care of, but nonetheless gave me 30 days to reduce the number of 19 kitties to a total of 4. This is apparently a Hesperia ordinance of which I was unaware and a bad one at that. Why should well-kept indoor animals be a problem for anyone other than nosy parkers and an excuse for Hesperia Animal Control and Code Enforcement to flex their muscles?

I knew I would be unable to place 15 cats into good homes within a 30 day period and so told the officer I would simply move out of state. Which I have done. I should say at this point that I have personally funded the free spay and neuter program of the aforementioned nonprofit organization for cats in Hesperia and Apple Valley. To date there have been 875 cats altered, at no cost to the recipients, except they were requested (not required) to donate a bag of food or litter. I have studiously avoided any and all publicity about my part in this program to date, as Precious Pets needs and deserves the credit for this. Mary Olson of Precious Pets runs herself ragged accomplishing the physical portion of this program. I mention it now only to point out that Hesperia is running the good people out of town, stopping short only of tarring and feathering them.

Had I known how positive this move would be, I would have made it years ago. No more dust and chain link, gangs, worry about fires and earthquakes. Just green grass and trees, abundant wildlife in my back yard and no more worries about growth, graffiti, traffic and crime.

In a nutshell, you could not pay me to move back to Hesperia.

I feel for the two ladies with too many cats in their home. They are facing the expensive, mad scramble of a move that I have made. I do not understand why they were not given at least the 30 days to relocate that I was (plus a one week extension asked for and granted) unless they just made Supervisor Tony Genovesi plain mad, seemingly an infringement of epic proportions. When Supervisor Tony ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! Still, shame on everyone involved in the incident when six or seven animal control officers descended upon their home and a tiny senior lady was handcuffed and forcibly pulled from her home, her only crime being trying to do some good in the world. When there is so much bad in the world that Code Enforcement could deal with why would they make such a big deal out of a minor infraction, which I would wager, the ladies did not even have a clue they were committing. Of course, I realize that it would be much easier to overpower and intimidate a small, frail elderly woman than it would be a 200 pound, armed, dog or cock fighting gangster, wouldn't it? Way to go Code Enforcement! And way to go Hesperia for not reining in your PR destroying thugs!

Joyce Kirkwood

Hesperia teacher's union president is on the run
At the July 23rd HUSD board meeting, Hesperia Teachers Association President Jim Pace requested to see copies of signed contracts the Hesperia school board signed with WLC Construction, the agreement to hire an outside project manager, and the minutes indicating former Superintendent Richardson being placed on administrative leave.

Mr. Pace is obviously circling his wagons to defend himself and bedfellow board members against proven accusations of financial irresponsibility, nepotism and incompetence.

He does not represent all Hesperia teachers. He represents a few teachers who are morally challenged and ethically empty. He does embarrass all teachers.

I am a 17-year veteran teacher and have never been so ashamed and embarrassed of my union executive board as I am now.

Hesperia teachers will gladly sign the recall petition. Mr. Pace, guess who's next?

Catherine Howl
Oak Hills

Spy cameras
Commenting on the massive installation of 94 citizen spy cameras being implemented in our county by pontificating government officials encouraging people to turn each other in to the government recently I can't help but observe that Orwells'1984 is finally arriving with government cameras behind every bush, see: JBS.org -search 1984. Will cameras in our TV sets be next on the agenda?

Government obviously has too much money when they start using it to spy on American citizens at intersections and now out in the bushes to supposedly catch trash dumpers. We have far more serious issues in this country than beer cans on the roadways or people shaving red lights. Lets start cutting government by at least 50 per cent at all levels and restore our freedoms by getting parasitic government officials off our backs and out of our lives reminiscent of 1776. A police state is not what the founders of our country fought and died for!

Catching trash dumpers is police work and does not justify a mega bucks police state spy network that can be used to impose draconian police state controls on us in the future while meanwhile squandering our tax money on our own destruction as usual. However as an afterthought maybe we should put these cameras in the government buildings so we could watch what the aspiring commissars are doing all day while they feed out of the public trough and laugh up their sleeves. The American people are fast becoming the biggest suckers in history and we should stop throwing away our heritage NOW!

Ed Nemechek
Adelanto

First Amendment challenge?
I was appalled to read the June 29 story of the Hesperia City Council voting to flagrantly challenge the First Amendment with a sign promoting "God" in their council chambers.

Pretending that the sign isn't really about religion is so transparently ludicrous that it should put the mayor's sanity into question. Why the City Council would want to go on record that they stand for religious segregation is a mystery.

Some 15 percent of Americans do not adhere to any religious belief. Yet most of them are model citizens, they pay their taxes, they vote, they contribute to their communities. But "Under God" separates them out from the rest of the population and renders them invisible. This sign is not only constitutionally suspect, but an outrageous slap in the face of these 15 percent in the Hesperia community who do not share the council's beliefs. It tells these people, your views are not appreciated by your local government and we will not represent you.

How will someone who does not share the council's shared god-belief feel in bringing an issue to the council chamber, will she feel that her views and concerns will be fairly considered if they learn of her lack of religious belief?

Attorney Mike Dunn should be taken to task for not properly advising the city council on the controversies and financial risks to the city for this blatant promotion of religion by government. Mayor pro tem Mike Leonard is clearly misinformed or misunderstands how solid this phrase will stand up in US courts, it has yet to be given a full legal hearing.

Councilmembers, as well as any citizen, certainly have a right to hold their religious beliefs and practice their religion on their own time. And they may certainly take pride in those beliefs. But when they take the oath of office in a government institution, the Constitution dictates that they are to remain religiously neutral in fulfilling their oath.

This act also raises spiritual and moral issues for the council. The council may pat themselves on the back for being able to get away with violating the Constitution behind their protected walls of privilege. However, what does that say about their own religious views? The fact that they seem to want to ignore the diversity of opinions and views in their community and pretend that their view is the "right" one smacks of hubris and arrogance. That would seem the opposite of the lessons of meekness and humility that Jesus stood for. He even mocked the self-righteous Pharisees for their public and hollow display of their religious beliefs. How is the council acting any different here?

By voting to put up this sign, the Hesperia City Council has challenged the Constitutional basis of our country; alienated a significant portion of their constituency; put their city at significant financial risk; and showed themselves to have questionable legal and moral judgment in fulfilling both their spiritual and official duties.

The council should really rethink this issue and seek to serve all their constituents, not just the religious ones.

Stuart Bechman
Co-President, Atheists United of Los Angeles