A symbol of sacrifice
Make no mistake about it, war is not something anyone should ever have to experience. As a combat veteran, it is safe for me to say that, loudly and clearly. There are many memories that continue to haunt a combat soldier of war. The remaining part of their lives after a war will never be the same.
It is with heartfelt gratitude that I salute my fellow combat veterans who have experienced the horrors of war, and other veterans who have supported this country in and out of combat for many decades. It is with deep emotion that I salute each and every one of you who understand the military’s efforts to keep us all safe here at home in these United States.
In Vietnam we were told by our Army commanders not to become too close to our comrades, as it would be likely that many of us would not return to fight the next day. So we gave one another nicknames. I most remember “Doc” because he was our Medic from the Central Valley here in California. Doc kept us safe. Doc was our hero who died one night in front of us while saving a member of our platoon. All I ever knew about Doc was that his parents owned a hobby shop store somewhere in the Central Valley. I never knew his real name.
For those of you who bought poppies from us veterans as we stood in front of stores this past Veterans Day, we gratefully thank you. We thank you for remembering who we are as veterans, and what we stand for; because you all know that we stand for you, our fellow Americans. We have stood ready to defend you, each and every one of you, at any and all cost. We are ready to give the ultimate sacrifice for you, as so many of my fellow veterans have done. Our gratitude is especially important at this the time of Thanksgiving.
And with that I leave you with the famous poem written and delivered by Colonel John McCrae in his immortal words dedicated to the memory of the men and women who served, fought and died in France during World War 1, the war that was supposed to be the war to end all wars. The red poppy flowers he wrote about in this poem have become the true symbol of all who have given their lives in our nation’s war.
For those of you who stopped to visit us veterans, and give us a portion of your precious time this past Veterans Day, we thank you, and thank you also for wearing your red poppy proudly.
In Flanders Fields
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch be yours to hold high
If you break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. their rulings, go beyond the role of the judicial branch of government, in effect promulgating law.
Trump has damaged our country and the presidency in many ways, but the damage can be fixed. The damage caused by court-promulgated law that invades what is properly the states’ purview or is blind to the fundamental truth that the family, not the individual, is the basic, bedrock unit of society would be more damaging than anything Trump has done and much harder to fix.
Preserve deserves better
The Sierra Club wishes to express its disappointment and chagrin at the behavior of the Vallejo City Council and staff in regards to the operation of the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve.
In April 2019, the city sprayed the preserve with harmful chemicals as “weed abatement.” They did this without notice to the operators of the Preserve nor any announcements to the citizens of Vallejo who were actively using the Preserve.
In May, 2019 and with only 72 hours notice to the citizens of Vallejo, the council voted to enter a process to find a new operator for the Preserve. Although there was no citizen involvement, recent releases of documents from the city has shown that city staff has kept the Nimitz Group involved for over a year in that process.
Since that time, the city banned camping for no reason. Camping is still available at other city parks, which fortunately are not operated by the city. They then engaged in a damaging fire mitigation effort, killing a living 80-yearold pepper tree and destroying the only known honeysuckle plant on the Preserve. The city has not retained any bio diversity expert or arborist to help deal with vegetation on the Preserve.
Next a fire broke out on Navy land. The fire then spread to the Preserve. After the fire was extinguished, the fire department offered to let the Mare Island Heritage Trust volunteers reenter the Preserve. They were overruled by city staff management, who decided to keep the Preserve closed for an undisclosed length of time. The management made the ludicrous argument of the danger to users of the Preserve from “killer trees.”
The Nimitz Group has also acted poorly in regards to the Preserve. In June, 2019; the Group cut over four acres of grass on the Preserve. Staff was so surprised they came to volunteers of the Trust and asked if they had mowed the property. Afterwards, the Group put up a fence banning citizens of Vallejo from using more than 20 acres of the Preserve adjacent to the Nimitz golf course. The Sierra Club contacted Councilmember Robert McConnell and the Mayor to stop this illegal seizure of acreage from the Citizen’s Preserve. Councilmember McConnell’s efforts ended in the removal of the fence. At the time the volunteers have been locked out of the Preserve, no remediation efforts had been attempted by the Nimitz Group to repair their ill-advised mowing and a serious erosion problem looms now that we are entering the rainy season.
In our public records request, a city spokesperson wrote a Times-Herald reporter that only one public hearing was going to be entertained by the city on selecting a new operator of the Preserve. At that meeting in early September, the city had made no attempt to record the hearing and was going to merely record items that they deemed important on some butcher paper resting on an easel.
The city didn’t even bother to open any bathrooms in the building of the hearing. The city also was going to break the citizens up into different groups so that not all citizens could hear what each other were saying. It was as horrible an effort of suppression of citizens as I have ever seen. It also was not what the City Volunteer Liaison promised for the hearing. In fact, the recording on butcher paper by the city’s representative was so poor, that a citizen took the marker from him to record the citizen’s concern.
After that effort and the fire, the city staff management has kicked the volunteers who have run the Preserve for the last 12 years off the property and made hugely unreasonable demands for the volunteers to remove Trust property from the Preserve. To add insult to injury, our current fire department won’t even mail these demands, but have texted certain volunteers to “swing by and pick up said letters.”
In two separate meetings with the Mayor, the Sierra Club has requested that a process be defined for the operation of the Preserve. That process would include addressing all of the moving parts of this complicated property. It should include the historical remnants including the 1852 Geological Survey marker, the artistic efforts of the Navy era, and the arboreal and wildlife component of the Preserve. We also want the process to review the Citizens’ Mare Island Regional Park Task Force Plan that was submitted in 2008.
Now, the city manager announces that the Preserve will open in May. No hearings, no scope, no experts on city staff to address any of the above items, no discussion of fire efforts or safety efforts that the city feels is so important.
In spite of all of these bad acts, it is not too late to rebuild the citizens’ trust in the city. First, immediately reopen the Preserve. Also, hold public hearings on the scope of the process of the management of the Preserve. And stop the secret negotiations with out-oftown developers to manage the Preserve. Do not give the citizens reason to suspect another land grab like the LNG project of the last decade.