Letters: 3/9/17

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Danish vs. Dyer

Unfortunately, I was able to relate all too closely to Danish’s article [Re: “Cannonball River slobs,” March 2]. During my “hippie years” (early to mid ’70s), I spent a fair amount of time hiking and camping in the foothills, and I was constantly appalled and disgusted at the filthy campsites left behind by back-to-the-land freaks who wanted to live “close to nature” — soft drink cans, beer bottles, food packaging, disposable diapers, etc. I myself was scrupulous to leave behind as little evidence as possible that I had ever been anywhere.

Then, ironically, I turned to the back of the same issue and found, in ICUMI, a defense of the protestors on the basis that they had been arrested and hauled off without being given any chance to clean up their campsites or even retrieve their personal belongings — hence the number of abandoned vehicles and pets, which nobody would have been likely to leave behind if they’d had a chance to take them. I couldn’t help wondering how much, if any, communication there had been between Danish and the editors (presumably Dyer) before they wrote their respective views. Two equally persuasive and opposite perceptions of the same event. As a former hippie (and a bit of an anarchist — and in some opinions a bit of a slob), I’m inclined to side with the protesters. But still, good writing from Danish, whom I am too often inclined to dismiss as your token right-winger.

Anthony Lee/Lafayette

Protecting the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuges

I am shocked and dismayed that Rep. Don Young’s H.J. Res. 69 passed the House of Representatives, which opens the door once again for cruel and callous killing methods such as trapping grizzly and black bears with steel-jawed leg-hold traps and killing bear cubs and wolf pups at their den sites on over 76 million acres of pristine national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The companion version, Senate Joint Resolution 18, will be voted on by the U.S. Senate soon.

Our Congressional delegation is elected to represent its citizens — not the interests of the trophy hunting lobby. As a constituent, I urge Senators Bennet and Gardner to vote NO on S.J. Res. 18, to end these barbaric and outdated killing methods, and I urge others to do the same. These lands are ours to treasure and they should be a place of refuge for wildlife, not a minefield of cruelty.

Ms. Britton Slagle/Aurora

Immigration

My grandfather Albert Joseph Bialek came to the United States from Galicia, Poland in 1910. Per the Ellis Island website, he boarded the ship Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse in Bremen, Germany (formerly Prussia). He had just completed his service in the Austrian Army. Poland at that time was divided into three spheres of influence by Austria, Prussia and Russia. Upon being discharged he returned to his father’s farm.

Officers from the Austrian Army made an attempt to reenlist him but tradition dictated that he could remain at home so long as he was sorely needed on the farm. Immediately after the officers departed Albert’s father gave him his brother’s travel documents and instructed him to immigrate to the United States. His father knew that war was coming and he didn’t want to lose his son to it.

It took me longer to locate my grandfather on the passenger list because I had forgotten he was traveling under the name Jan and not Albert. Given the fact that Albert entered the United States under the name Jan Bialek and later burned his immigration papers it is evident he was by definition a “illegal immigrant.”

He went on to become a very hard-working brick mason and law-abiding citizen raising 12 children with the help of his Polish wife Mary and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just as Cleveland is a city of neighborhoods so is the United States a country of immigrants. In fact, all the major cities of America, at one time, served as incubators for immigrants to not only become accustomed to the ways of this country but also to intermingle with each other — something often prohibited in their native homelands. It’s a shame that the inner cities were handed over to the absentee landlords following World War II. Gentrification is not the answer. Preventing immigration is not the solution. Intense vetting is acceptable during these challenging times but to unfairly deny one person access to the United States makes us all orphans again. As a popular song goes: “Let me in immigration man.”

Joe Bialek/Cleveland, OH