September 13-19, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

A promiscuous lover

I am writing to say thank you for your cover story ("My Mistress Methamphetamine," Aug. 30). It was read out loud to everyone here in the C Pod--the recovery pod of the Marin County Jail--to about 70 inmates trying to change our lives. That story touched a lot of us. The program director here, Jose Gomez, brought that article in for us to read because he sees that Mistress Meth is very much real and alive, and she is scary.

Meth is not going anywhere. It's we addicts who get sent up the creek without a paddle, not Mistress Meth.

Look at me, a nonviolent 38-year-old who has done six prison terms, all of them property crimes (thefts) to get more meth. Now I'm most likely going to get my seventh prison term for a stolen car. I'm doing life in prison on the installment plan, the revolving-door cycle, all because I love and hate Mistress Meth.

I'm looking at 10 years in prison this time, but I do want help and I'm begging to go to Delancy Street. They've accepted me, and it's a highly structured two-year program. But because I was given treatment before and I promised the world and the courts that I was never going to use again, the judge doesn't now want to hear my cry.

But I'm still going to ask for help, because I truly do want to change my life.

I wish that all the jails and prisons had a recovery pod like C Pod, because miracles are being made here. The best thing that the system could do for an addict is to educate him or her on the disease of addiction and then point them the way to a treatment program.

From all of us here in the pre-treatment program C Pod, we truly thank you for your article.

Kenith Nielsen, Marin County Jail

Illegals and ids: Wha' Huh?

On behalf of myself, my mother, my grandparents and my spouse--who all immigrated to this country legally and became naturalized citizens--I was disgusted to read Peter Byrne's most recent article "Centro Laboral" (Sept. 5).

Besides the fact that his white, liberal, condescending attitude was showing throughout the article, he completely ignores the ramifications of the illegal activities that illegal aliens engage in.

Entering the country illegally is a crime. Stealing someone's Social Security number and/or buying and using falsified documents is a crime. In fact, stealing someone else's Social Security number can have serious repercussions for the legitimate owner of that number.

As reported on the local news, an East Bay woman recently discovered that seven illegal aliens in Texas were using her Social Security number. Sure, they paid taxes on the wages they earned, but the taxes were paid under her account number, and the result was that the IRS wanted to know why this East Bay woman hadn't reported those wages when she filed her income tax return! She is facing fines, late fees and other penalties from the IRS if she can't get this problem straightened out.

A man I know was initially denied his unemployment claim in Napa because someone was using his Social Security number in Los Angeles. It took him months before he could start receiving his much-needed unemployment check. If someone stole Peter Byrne's Social Security number, he might have a different take on the subject.

Many people who come to America do so because they are desperate. Even so, most come here legally. Why should there be an exemption made for Latino illegal aliens? Why are their illegal activities looked upon with a wink and a nod? I believe that Latino illegal aliens should be held accountable like everyone else who enters here illegally and who breaks the law after they arrive.

Mari Wilson, Petaluma

Joys of shared parenting

Re "Who's Your Daddy?" (July 19): There are so many things wrong with the family court system, child support/custody it's hard to know where to begin. But let's start with the very idea that the government has the "right" to award custody to one parent, and have the other parent "pay" for not seeing their children.

It seems to me California, and any state that doesn't enforce "shared" parenting, even in the cases where couples aren't married, is not following the mandates of the Supreme Court.

Robert Getchell, Boulder, Colo

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