Letters for the week of July 27-August 2, 2005

If you don't give young women one kind of choice, a writer notes, they may go ahead and make another kind of choice.

“Should Docs Snitch on Their Clients?,” Cityside, 7/6

Abortion is one choice; and suicide is another
As I read “Should Docs Snitch on Their Clients,” the fears of childhood returned, 25 years later.

I was raised primarily by my father. He was strict, and back then corporal punishment wasn’t a crime. Child abuse or incest was not in the news or discussed in the classrooms. The three of us — my older brother, younger sister, and I — just thought our dad was strict and learned to live with it. Or, should I say, around it.

When I was fifteen and a half, six months before I was supposed to date, I disobeyed my father and went to a basketball game with a boy. There were four of us. We stopped on the way home and as kids will be kids, I was late getting home.

My father always knew when I did something I wasn’t supposed to; probably because he could smell my fear. I walked in and the end results were welts on the backs of my legs from the nylon rope he whipped me with.

A few years later I was still living at home, working, and dating a boy I met in high school. “We” found ourselves pregnant. Even though I was over the age of eighteen, I could not find the courage to face my father. I was still terrified of him and the thought of the consequences were unbearable.

Reluctantly, my boyfriend helped me through an abortion. To this day I still question my decision and wish that I didn’t fear my father more than the fear of raising a child. I have been married for 23 years to the boyfriend who stood by my side back then, and we have two children. I know he still regrets the choice we made. But I am still thankful I had a choice to make.

From this short letter, many people are judging me and my childhood, thinking my dad must have been “trailer trash” or we were “those” type of people. I grew up on the “right side” of town in an upper-middle-class family. It doesn’t take a drug addict or alcoholic to put fear in the life of a child.

It is not that I believe abortions should be the method of choice for birth control; it is that I believe with limited choices, young girls may make life-ending decisions. Suicide was the other option I considered.
Name withheld, American Canyon

“Mud on the Tracks,” Cityside, 6/29

One of the (old) boys
I have just read the article, “Mud on the Tracks,” written by Stefanie Kalem, and I was appalled at the quote from jockey extraordinaire Russell Baze. I don’t believe for one second that any “male hormones” are required to excel and succeed at an extremely competitive job that is typically suited for men/boys. I am/was a big fan of Russell Baze and I can hardly believe that a married man with three daughters of his own would utter such words. I am a (girl) and I have excelled and been very successful as a project manager in the construction industry (an industry that is typically suited for men/boys).

On May 28 of this year, I was in attendance for Russell Baze Day at Golden Gate Fields; at the time, I thought Russell’s comment of “I couldn’t work with a greater bunch of guys” was just an oversight on his part. I hope that Miss Katie Repp and others like her hand him his hat in the upcoming racing season.
Kelly Douglas, San Francisco

“The Underground Greyhound Railroad,” East Side Story, 7/6

Our dogs are not juiced
The American Greyhound Council (AGC) always appreciates media coverage of greyhound adoption and the many wonderful volunteers who work to find homes for retired racers (“The Underground Greyhound Railroad,” July 6). However, in this case, there were several inaccuracies that require correction.

First, the AGC is not a research group, although it does fund some animal-health research projects. It is an animal welfare organization established in 1987, long before animal-rights groups began attacking greyhound racing and other animal enterprises. Its primary mission is to fund, coordinate, and oversee various animal welfare and adoption programs in greyhound racing.

Second, the vast majority of registered greyhounds — more than 92 percent — are adopted after they retire. Over the past decade, about 180,000 retired greyhounds have gone from canine athlete to well-loved couch potato in a loving home. This has been possible because of the close cooperation between greyhound racing and hundreds of adoption organizations around the country.

Third, your readers should know that all racing states prohibit the use of any drugs that might affect the greyhounds’ performance, including steroids. To ensure the integrity of the sport, competing greyhounds are tested while at the track to ensure that no such drugs are present.

It should be noted that these corrections in no way reflect on the generous people featured in your story, who were probably given inaccurate information when they adopted their greyhounds. There are still a few adoption groups that regularly dispense misinformation along with the greyhounds they place in adoptive homes.
Gary Guccione, communications coordinator, American Greyhound Council, Abilene, Kansas

“Goats in Seven,” Down in Front, 6/22

The A’s should be so underachieving
“While the Cubs, thanks to myriad injuries and the douchebag incompetence of fantasy bust Aramis Ramirez, remain history’s perpetual underachievers.”

Wow. Hitting .299 with 16 HRs and 44 RBIs in late June qualifies for douchebag incompetence? Did you write this article a month ago?
Jason Keglovitz, Chicago

In the June 29 cover story “The Land That Politics Forgot,” the last name of former Newark Police Captain Mark Yokoyama was misspelled. And in a July 20 Billboard item, an editorial wobble misnamed the Industrial Workers of the World.

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