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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

Invisible Children

The Impact of Abuse

We all learn to live with our own flaws, nutty behaviors, and past traumas. With help from family, friends, and social institutions, we develop into functioning adults within our community.

Child abuse adds a dimension to human development that is much harder to live with. By child abuse, I mean repeated or severe emotional or physical neglect or trauma. As a guardian ad-Litem, I have seen two-year old children sexually abused. Mothers are beaten and raped in the presence of their children. The emotional neglect of alcoholic and drug addicted parents for their children, never goes away.

Trauma suffered by a child may be the same for a raped or beaten child and a child who watches mother being raped or beaten.

Mental development of abused children is very different from that of normal children. Their concentration is on avoiding pain and developing skills for living in insane situations. Sex, violence, and drugs are normal for some abused children. Being normal in the community becomes impossible. How can a child unlearn sex, violence, and drug use?

Most abused children don’t like themselves, trust adults, do well in school, or conform to other people’s rules. It’s hard to unlearn terrible behaviors. It’s hard to live with the constant anxiety and fear that have been hardwired into an abused child.

Growing up is getting more complicated every year. We live in a frenetically busy society with conflicting values and attitudes. We have little time for people who don’t make the grade and few resources for children with great needs.

American schools provide almost no mental health services to students. Teachers are expected to manage severely troubled children with almost no training.. Most mentally ill children are placed in special education classes, and proscribed Prozac and other psychotropic medications to keep them from disrupting classrooms and hurting themselves and others.

We are an advanced nation with the money and expertise to help abused children lead normal lives. Programs and therapy for abused children can help them cope with their own past and learn the life skills necessary to succeed in school and in our community.

We can all be for that. Call a legislator, tell a friend, or send a letter to someone with influence.

Mike Tikkanen www.invisiblechildren.org

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Gender & Sexuality : Womyn

Anti-Gay Reggae Trend: Elephant Man

Kingston, Jamaica—A Jamaican dancehall singer whose lyrics call for the killing of gays has been jailed but not over his incitement to hate.




His hit tune Pump Up has the line “Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom (Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom)?.


Then, following the murder of a gay man ...

He has refused to apologize for his incitements to murder lesbians and gay men. At a concert in Chicago in April 2002 he told the audience: “I won’t take back my words…I kill sodomites and queers, they bring AIDS and disease upon people…shoot and kill them?.

Last summer Sizzla performed a concert in Montreal, but he was only allowed into Canada after he signed guarantees with the government that he would not perform music that promotes homophobia.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Education & Youth : Environment & Food

Budweiser - The Green Beer ?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Anheuser-Busch Cos., the nation's No. 1 buyer of rice as well as its largest brewer, says it won't buy rice from Missouri if genetically-modified medicinal crops are allowed to be grown in the state.

The St. Louis-based beer giant is the latest company to express concern over plans by Ventria Biosciences to grow 200 acres of rice engineered to produce human proteins capable of making medicine.

The company says it is concerned about possible contamination.

- You might want to write to Anheuser-Busch to thank them:

https://contactus.anheuser-busch.com/contactus/email.asp

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Environment & Food : Globalization & Capitalism : Government & Elections : Labor & Economics : Police State

John NegroPonte, Top Banana

Given the timely nature of these extremely incrimating documents, I've decided to share them in advance of my article about the training center for terror run by John NegroPonte in Honduras. They include a World Bank document indicating how the land used for the training center has become a thorn in the side of land reform attempts in Honduras, where the farmworkers have long suffered oppression by thugs from Chiquita, Dole, and finally, John Negroponte's Unit 316. for the links, click.....

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:: Arts & Culture

Aeon radio launch party

The new www.aeonradio.com has Gillian Welsh interviews, Nico CAse articles, JAZZ, Blues, you can tune-in for free to independent radio now! Go and check it out. 7 free stations all in all.

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News :: Peace & War

UC Protest Forces Military Recruiters To Leave Fair

Protesters shut down a campus job fair, forcing recruiters from the U.S. Armed Forces to exit through the rear of the building, and then re-staffed the military's booths with student activists.

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News :: Labor & Economics

Protest Targets Privatization of Social Security

More coverage of last week's social security protection demonstration at Charles Schwab.

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News :: Environment & Food : Poverty & Urban Development

Anti-hotel petitions submitted; 8,4000 names must be verified

March 10, 2005

‘It seems ... the citizens have spoken,’ Bill Malone said as he delivers stacks of anti-hotel petitions to City Hall on Wednesday.

Anti-hotel petitions submitted; 8,4000 names must be verified

By SHANNA McCORD
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ — Roughly 8,400 people who want the Coast Santa Cruz Hotel expansion plan stopped or put to a citywide vote signed petitions that were delivered to city officials Wednesday, possibly putting the project in limbo.

The signatures, if verified, will force the City Council to either repeal the three ordinances passed in February that allow the hotel and conference center project to proceed, or agree to an election.

"It seems to us that the citizens have spoken," said Bill Malone of Santa Cruzans for Responsible Planning. "They don’t want the project."

Petitions were unloaded from boxes by the group at City Hall on Wednesday, a day before they were officially due.

City Clerk Leslie Cook and two staff members spent Wednesday afternoon doing a preliminary count of names and addresses on the petitions.

The petitions will be handed to the county Elections Department today for verification. The county has until April 20 to verify the signatures.

According to Cook, the City Council at its April 26 meeting could be faced with reversing the project’s ordinances or holding an election.

An election could be held 88 days after the council makes a decision. It could be held in conjunction with a statewide election in November.

Santa Cruzans for Responsible Planning led a referendum effort to overturn the 4-3 vote by City Council to move forward with the $100 million hotel and conference center project on West Cliff Drive.

They had 30 days to gather 3,892 signatures, 10 percent of the city’s registered voters.

Working with 150 volunteers and several paid signature gatherers, project opponents blanketed the city and talked with more than 10,000, Malone said.

"We didn’t cause this to happen. The City Council caused this to happen," he said. "We have a difference in values and priorities than the council."

For reasons mostly related to the project’s size, location and financial risk, opponents object to the city Redevelopment Agency teaming with hotel owner Northwest Hospitality Group of Idaho to demolish the former Dream Inn and build in its place a larger oceanfront hotel connected to a six-level parking garage and conference center.

The Redevelopment Agency would invest $30 million to own the parking garage and conference center building, which would be leased to the hotel owner.

Supporters say benefits for the city include significant new tax revenue, year-round tourism and more full-time union jobs, as well as a modern and attractive building.

City officials have said the hotel and conference would bring, conservatively, new annual tax revenue of $500,000 by the third year of operation; about $2.2 million in estimated new annual tax revenue would go toward paying off a $30 million bond.

"I think there is a better way to achieve the same goals," said Nancy Knudegard, a Westside resident and member of Santa Cruzans for Responsible Planning. "If we take the time to plan this properly, we can do better."

Hotel owner Bob Suits said he’s undaunted by the opposition. Despite the referendum, he said, he has no plans to walk away from the expansion.

"We definitely believe in the project; we believe it’s good for a lot of people," Suits said. "It would be foolish to give up now just because someone wants to put it to a vote."

City Manager Dick Wilson, who has called the hotel and conference center the most important project for the city in 40 years, said he’s unsurprised by the success of the referendum.

An election, Wilson said, would be an "interesting test" of community support.

"We’ve never said this is the solution for the city’s budget by itself," Wilson said. "On the other hand, there isn’t any other project remotely of this same magnitude. We’re mostly a built-out place."

Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice, who voted with council members Ed Porter and Emily Reilly against the project, said he favors rescinding the ordinances instead of an election.

"Why put the community through this, why put the project through this?" Fitzmaurice asked.

Councilman Ryan Coonerty, in favor of the project, said he leans toward an election.

"I think the opponents of the project claim they want more democracy and process," Coonerty said Wednesday. "A vote is that."

Project supporters rallied against the referendum effort with a drive to have signers remove their names from the petitions.

Cook said the number of people who deleted their names from the petitions is confidential unless the petition signatures are deemed insufficient.

Contact Shanna McCord at smccord@santacruzsentinel.com.

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