Publication Date: Friday, October 19, 2001
Firefighters want to set the record straight
Your recent article about Mountain View Firefighters' endorsement process ("Political Backdraft") contained some misstatements that oblige us to set the record straight.
The implication that our endorsement process in the upcoming Assembly race was not fair to some of the candidates is inaccurate. Every candidate had plenty of chances to talk to our leaders away from the workplace. Two of the three candidates approached us to ask for our endorsement, and were interviewed. A third chose not to seek our endorsement, and was not interviewed.
Nor is it accurate to suggest our decision to endorse one candidate over the other in the contest was based on a particular incident. The door was open to all candidates, even one who had publicly - and falsely - accused us of being biased against women candidates.
Finally, it's simply not true to state that we or any other firefighter group makes endorsement decisions because of gender. Our endorsement of Santa Clara Councilman Rod Diridon is based on his qualifications and his promise to be there for public safety all the time, not just when campaign season rolls around.
To us, a firefighter is a firefighter, be it a man or a woman. Any person who can handle the training and physical ability requirements of modern firefighting is a colleague, pure and simple. Any candidate who seeks to drive a wedge in that camaraderie in order to win short-term political advantage does a disservice to the brave men and women who daily put their lives on the line to protect public safety.
It has been fascinating watching the little dustup between Sally Lieber and the Firefighters Union. Putting aside the issue of having public employees' unions endorsing political candidates, Ms. Lieber's machinations have been truly Clintonian.
When it became clear that she was not getting the union's endorsement, Lieber used her willing accomplices in the Voice to attempt to turn the rejection into a battle between male chauvinists and a feminist politician. I found the mailing of the book about Rosie the Riveter to the head of the union, Mr. Kuersten, truly a masterful political touch worthy of our ex-president.
Ms. Lieber's quote in this week's story about Attorney Gary Wesley's flyer was also reminiscent of the master. Using the deaths of over 5,000 people as a weapon in a local political issue certainly takes a lot of chutzpah.
While I agree with Attorney Wesley that we need less biased news sources than the Voice, I would never give up my subscription. It is too entertaining. I am fascinated to see whom the Voice will endorse in the race between Ms. Wakerly's two fair-haired politicians, Lieber and Rosemary Stasek. I predict heavy pressure on Ms. Stasek to drop out, thus unifying the opposition against Mr. Diridon.
... damned if you don't ... seems to be the fate for women candidates vis a vis the Mtn. View Professional Firefighters union and Dale Kuersten (see "Political backdraft" by Bill D'Agostino, Oct 5 Voice). Sally Lieber's support of pro-active hiring of women firefighters is dismissed as concern only for "personal political gains". Kuersten's condescending take on Lieber's stance is more revealing of Mr. Kuersten's view of women than of Ms. Lieber's motives regarding the issue of increased hiring of women firefighters.
Also Kuersten's statement brings into question his analytical abilities: if Lieber were guided primarily by "personal political gains" then surely Lieber would have said publicly only what Kuersten wanted to hear in order to gain his union's support. This technique as we all know is the time-honored (arcane as time passes... heaven willing) method amongst the "good ole' boys" political network and one which seems to work for Kuersten. After all, Lieber knows Kuersten's previous negative reactions to Stasek's similar mayoral stance on this issue. If her only purpose was to further her "personal political gains" she would have remained silent or evasive on the issue and gotten the union's support.
Now as to Kuersten's blaming Stasek for not contacting him for an endorsement: I can only say "duh!?". In light of his complaint to Ambra against Lieber for "contacting Kuersten during office hours" to ask for an endorsement, I have to wonder, when WAS an acceptable time for a women candidate to contact him? in the evening at home? possibly during dinner? or early in the morning before work? a new form of alarm clock, maybe? So Stasek's respectfulness and courtesy is turned against her as a penalty... I don't think so.
"Look what you made me do!" just doesn't cut it in either situation.
Males who resort to that nonsense regarding their treatment of women in any circumstance: wave a red flag that they (the males) did precisely what suited them without a good enough reason for doing it, and so the males blame the woman/women as the cause for the males' insupportable choices. Very very obvious... doncha' know?
Enlightened folks now reject this obvious self-centered justification.
I hope Mr. Kuersten soon re-evaluates his personal politics toward women as applied in the public arena and in the practices of his Firefighters' Union. Of course, some day pigs will fly too! but I am not going to hold my breath in either case.
PS: I am always annoyed when one public figure chooses to slander another public figure by questioning motives. It is such a waste of everyone's time and energy. Motives can never be determined... not really. Thirteen years working in DC taught me this. So now, I am solely interested in what a public figure supports and does; not why anyone else says they do it.
Yeah! That's absolutely what we need; another Asian/noodle restaurant in downtown Mtn. View. It's appalling to me and a large number of fellow Mtn. View residents that the city planners and elected city officials can have so much say in how an individual remodels or builds his or her home, but when it comes to our downtown character, it's merely a matter of how much tax revenue a business will provide for future frivolous city projects.
Here we have a lovely bit of history on the corner at 902 Villa and Tan Sung Lu, as do our city leaders, only views it as an opportunity to make a buck with yet another tacky restaurant. Mtn. View needs to revise how they would like our city represented. Why would an entrepreneur not want to ingratiate himself to a city especially when he resides in another area?
Just by the mere fact that the residents of Mtn. View have so little to choose from in their choices for "The Best in Mountain View" ought to show the city officials and planners that there should be some changes made in what is interpreted as "good" for the city.
I was thrilled to see the article by Joni Ratts in the Sept. 28 issue of the Voice on recognizing good service. I whole-heartedly agree that we are too quick to criticize and too slow to compliment good service.
I am enclosing my own examples of good service, which I have received in the local area, and I challenge other readers to submit their own letters so that this will become a regular feature of the Voice. I believe positive reinforcement like this will result in even better service by Mtn. View merchants and employees.
I have been going to Blossom Valley Cleaners for many years now, and am always heartened by the cheerful,.personalized service I receive there, especially from Cindy, Linda, and Sandy the seamstress, who go out of their way to have my clothes ready when I need them.
La Monique's Nail Salon is, in my opinion, the best manicure shop in the area. In addition to lovely ambiance, Nancy, Monique, Ly Van, Ocean, and all the other professionals give top-notch service.
Mtn. View Music Center has always been one of my favorite places to shop. Tony always gives great, old-fashioned service.
This past weekend my husband and I experienced a pet owner's worst nightmare. While standing in front of our home in downtown Mtn. View, a car came speeding up our street, we heard a sickening "thump" and to our horror the car had struck our cat Pete. We were further horrified when the car slowed down, the driver looked back, then sped off, leaving us and Pete in the middle of the road.
I am sad to say Pete did not survive; he died a painful death on the way to the animal hospital. I ask that readers please remember to stay alert and do not go above the speed limit in residential areas. Pete was a large (very fluffy) Himalayan who could have easily been seen a block away, his death is simply attributed to an over-zealous driver not paying attention to the road.
In general, I enjoy reading the Voice. My only lament is that there is no comics page. But, I have learned that I can always get my dose of irony, humor and pathos by reading what Gary Wesley is whining about.
Now he is accusing the Voice of advancing its own "strange political agenda." What a joke! I can think of no one in Mtn. View that qualifies more for that label than Gary Wesley.
I have been following Mtn. View politics for the better part of a decade. In that time, Wesley has continuously irritated our elected officials with bizarre conspiratorial accusations at the taxpayers' expense.
Our city council members are not paid much. They are doing their best to make thoughtful decisions for all of the members of our community. The majority are not only trying to uphold their sworn duties, but also hold a full time job and/or keep a family together...Our elected officials should not have to put up with his groundless accusations.
I realize that there are some in our city that hold up Wesley as some sort of a community watchdog. But to Wesley's supporters, I must ask: At what point does the dog that barks incessantly at every blowing leaf that enters the yard become a noisome, expensive irritant that no one pays attention to?
I quit paying Wesley attention long ago. Now I am only paying with my tax dollars and frankly it sickens me.
Thank you so much for the lovely story you published on October 12 about my son, Michael, who is about to begin his first tour of duty as an officer on a nuclear submarine, and the daily meditation/prayer book I am trying to create for him.
I have had such enthusiastic emails and call from friends and family, with one neighbor even sending me six very inspirational and uplifting essays which are very personal to her and which I am sure will be a great source of serenity and joy for Mike and the men for whom he will be responsible.
Although I am delighted with the response from friends and family, I do not think the invitation to the community at large to participate was as clear as I meant it to be. My husband and I are very aware at this stage of our family's journey that this boy no longer belongs to us. He is now very much a man who has responsibilities well beyond those of his immediate family and circle of friends. He will be only one of the sons/daughters, sisters/brothers, aunts/uncles, fathers/mothers who must hold that awareness ever close to his heart.
Whatever spiritual support the members of that greater community are moved to share with him will be gratefully welcomed. There is a greater force at work behind this book and only He knows what insight and wisdom Mike will need or be called to share on any particular day.
If any of your readers would like to share a prayer, a story, a meditation for this book, we hope that they will do so. I firmly believe that the prayer that surfaces each day will be the one that is just perfect for that day's challenges.
The email address is Mikesbook@ hotmailcom (the original story placed a hyphen between mikes book, but it's all one word) or those who prefer to send a hard copy may do so to Mike Lehner's Book, P. O. Box 4461, Mountain View, CA 94040.
I hope the word on this project of love will spread faster than the sad ones which prey upon our fears and concerns. Thanks again to you and to your readers for helping me fill 365 days in a very special way!
We just wanted to thank all the customers at the Safeway on Miramonte in the Blossom Valley shopping center, who took the time to stop by our Cub Scout Den 5's Bake Sale on Sunday, Oct. 14th. Many of you stopped by to just give us money without taking any baked goods, some of you said to just keep the change. One elderly man even came back twice just to give us all the change in his pockets! Parents of one of our scouts signed over their tax rebate check, and the manager at Safeway was very supportive about letting us use their store front to hold our sale. Because of all your generosity, our den was able to send in a check of $709.61 to the Families of Freedom Scholarship fund established for the children and spouses of victims of the World Trade Center tragedy.
Thank you for taking the time to teach our boys such valuable lessons of kindness and compassion as they are, indeed, our hope for the future.
As far as we are concerned, some of the kind hearted people in the city of Mtn. View shop at the Safeway on Miramonte!!
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