Letters to the editor
February 27, 2002
MADD writes in support of charges
To the editor:
MADD Nevada County would like to thank the Truckee Police Department for your efforts to stop drunk driving. While sometimes it’s difficult for the public to understand, it is very necessary for local authorities to enforce all laws that can prevent drunk driving.
MADD’s mission is to stop drunk driving, to support the victims of this violent crime and to prevent underage drinking. With this in mind, we strongly support the Truckee Police Department’s recent effort to enforce the laws on underage drinking.
Paul Manuel, president
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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Nevada County Chapter
Teen drinking is ‘inevitable’
To the editor:
There are three issues that I would like to comment on:
First, how did we end up with a Gestapo for our police department? What happened to our small town atmosphere where the law enforcement agency was here to help and guide our citizens? When you did something wrong they pulled you aside, explained the error of your ways, and sent you home after a stern lecture.
We now have age profiling in Truckee. If you are a teenager you can be pulled over because you are in a known party or drug area. Is that not illegal? Why would one sports championship party be investigated over another?
Any team member parent that took an interest and was involved with their child knew that the team had started planning for a party with alcohol while at Spring Creek. If they were concerned for their child’s safety, why did they let their child go?
Third, I do not agree with under-age drinking but I am appalled that our assistant district attorney Fred Holmes would compare a person who buys alcohol for minors at the local convenience store with a father that sat in his car at the end of his driveway trying to protect his child and her teammates. When you cannot stop the inevitable, it is your duty and responsibility as a father to protect your child, and that is exactly what this father did. It is common knowledge that team members from past championship teams stole alcohol from local businesses and from their parents for their party. Were these coaches and the father that wrong for trying to stop this from happening again?
As for the police department’s investigation all I know is that on a rainy night in early November I sat in my living room, looking out my front windows at this caring and loving father’s house, and I never saw any teenagers leave, and I am proud to be his neighbor.
Police were only enforcing the law
To the editor:
So much for personal responsibility. What is happening to some weak parents and coaches? Blaming the police for enforcing the law is a poor tactic.
As a retired educator/football coach, I would like to see more enforcement of rules. Are these people who are complaining about police tactics the same people who fail to use their turn indicators, tailgate, speed, cut corners, dart and commit other driving offenses?
Hey, how about only arresting visitors, not locals?
Men shouldn’t be judged by one mistake
To the editor:
As a parent of one of the members of the varsity girls soccer team, I would like to give my full and complete support to Michael, Mark and Eric. I have watched all three be crucified in our weekly paper. People are making condemnations based only on what they have read in your paper, and your paper does not have all the facts.
I could not believe it when I read the guest column from Ray Kulak, the concerned parent that you applauded in your editorial Feb. 14. He writes a very self-righteous article condemning the coach and Mark and “all you parents out there who knew before hand what was planned, what were you thinking?”
The paper and others present the picture that these men organized the party. They did not.
When both our teams won state, the parents all knew they wanted to be together to celebrate their victory. Did we want them to drink? No. Were they somehow going to do it? Probably. Do we want them out at Boca or Stampede in cars drinking? Or do we want them in a controlled environment, a party that’s not “open,” where keys are collected and where they spend the night, unlike the party the football team had that happened the next weekend.
One day your child will be off to college. I would rather have my daughter try alcohol while she lived at home where I can still be there to talk to and guide her rather than send her out without that experience.
Should all the years of good these men have done be wiped out by one night’s mistake? I think not. For those of you who want them hanged, shame on you. You obviously don’t know them personally. How easy it is to judge someone you don’t know.
Defendants failed to be good role models
To the editor:
For her 18th birthday my older daughter wanted a party with alcohol. Her 24-year-old brother offered his place as a safe haven where the kids could spend the night. They thought only of safety issues, while I wanted to pull out my graying hair and scream at the thought of my son in jail. After discussing it, the resulting party was enjoyed by all, and was alcohol free.
Now, my 15-year-old is testing her independence and testing me in the process. We discuss our differences, and sometimes I concede to her. But she knows unequivocally that there will be serious consequences for breaking rules.
Now, three “good” men have taken it upon themselves to teach local kids that under-age drinking is OK. I don’t know if I have taught my child enough to resist the kind of temptation that was put before these other young people that night.
Mr. Holman may be “honest, decent and honorable,” but he broke the law. Mr. Ross’ pain was obvious, and I nearly cried, but he broke the law. Mr. Jitloff purchased and delivered the alcohol. He broke the law.
Suzanne Prouty was quoted as saying the men “were doing it the only way they understood.” They broke the law. She also criticizes the lack of consistency in enforcement, but ignores Holman’s pledge to oust from the team any player who drinks; then he provides money to buy booze for their party. Chris Spencer said she knew about alcohol at parties. Perhaps if she or some other parent had spoken up, this incident would not have occurred.
Since when do thinking parents avert their eyes because “the kids will do it anyway”? Of course, some will, but maybe not yours, if you talk and discipline early on.
A common misconception is that teenagers and adults are equals. They’re not. Neither are they good buddies. The defendants forgot who were the adults.
How will convictions help community?
To the editor:
We disagree with the Feb. 14 editorial that the most basic element of the issue is that a law was allegedly broken. Rather, the intent of those who allegedly broke the law is the most basic element.
They were trying to provide a safe location for a party that was going to happen with or without them. If the students had their own party at Boca or Prosser and someone had been injured or worse, who would we blame, the school, the coaches, the police? There has been a lot of talk about taking responsibility for our own actions. That also applies to the parents of the students who were made aware by the coaches that alcohol would be present at the party and then dropped their kids off at the Ross house anyway.
Were laws broken? It appears so. Was there bad judgement? You bet. Was there malicious intent? Absolutely not. Both Mike and Eric have given a lot back to this community over the years and granted they made an error in judgement, but is that all we will use to judge them? Is this enough to prosecute them and punish them for the best of intentions, although misdirected? If they are guilty of anything, it is criminal stupidity and believe me they are suffering through the worst punishment of all right now.
Who is best served by trying and convicting these men? The legal system? The parents? The kids? The community? Haven’t we all been guilty of stupidity or bad judgement in our lives? Hopefully, as in this instance, there was no injury to anyone.
Rusty and Carol Pauli
Teen drinking can lead to alcoholism
To the editor:
It is strange how Sept. 11 caused this country to pull together against terrorists. Well, Truckee has its own terror D alcohol being supplied to our kids. This is our crisis. Will you pull together to combat the problem or will you sit back and make ridiculous statements like “kids just drink” or that “It’s better to put them in a safe house and supply them their drug.”
Yes, alcohol is a drug. Why don’t the schools supply a real safe place in school and educate these kids about what can happen to them? Alcohol is addictive D ask any sober alcoholic. Ask one, “Where did you start?,” and you know what they will say? “In high school, at parties with friends having fun.” How do I know? Because it started at high school for my husband, for my kids, our nephews.
“Big deal,” you say. “OK, it won’t be me.” Well, guess what D it can. It can happen to your kid. How many people reading this already know it’s a problem but don’t want anyone to know? Denial does not work.
I pray Ala-Teen is invited into the school as a meeting place where kids can come and talk about it and not be judged but listened to. If the safe place is not at home then make it at school. Come on, Truckee, get educated about addictions and how they start and where and how. Nip it in the bud. Don’t let it grow and get worse.
Parents must talk with kids who drink
To the editor:
This soccer issue is not about kids driving drunk. I’d hate to be a policeman, dealing with drinking related accidents, seeing repeat drunk drivers let loose. But this issue is about caring parents who want their kids out of cars if there is any possibility of drinking so that they can live to become responsible adults.
There cannot be many readers who don’t remember a fellow student who died driving after a party. It is a fact that kids are going to drink.
After much high school drinking, as a UC Davis freshman I was astounded by kids who had been very sheltered who then went crazy. Girls were the worst. These students got good grades, dressed nicely, then drank, and had sex with everyone, etc. Many thought that their patents either were naive or didn’t care about their carousing. That situation remains unchanged.
There is no simple answer. Many parents who believe that their kids never drink should remove the blinders. Our entire society celebrates by drinking. Kids are going to party. Maybe parents are afraid to deal with these issues, using “just say no” or the “not my kid” rationale. Affecting naivete begs disaster. What huge denial to imagine that only “bad” kids go to Boca to party. When cops come they scatter, in cars. Too bad they don’t have open enough communication with their parent so that they may discuss different social situations, knowing that they can always call their parents for a ride.
Having known Mike Holman for 25 years, I believe that Mike and the others are being mightily slandered. Mike has given so much of himself to the kids of this community. Appreciate that your kids’ mentor had the guts to get involved, that the kids love this man, that they are alive.
Speed limits should be lowered
To the editor:
We agree with Parvin Darabi in her letter of Feb. 7 about the speed limits in Truckee. About 15 years ago we wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation about the speed limits on West River Street D too much speeding going on and an excessive speed limit. We were told the “average” was 45 mph so it was deemed appropriate. Now that there is a roundabout, it is even worse D accidents, close calls, more traffic and still a two lane road. We also agree that the speed on Donner Pass Road should be 25 mph. Can the Town Council do anything?
Barbara and Ralph Hunt
Help sought in case of animal cruelty
To the editor:
I would like to inform the citizens of North Lake Tahoe of a horrific act of cruelty which recently took place along our beautiful shores, and to enlist their help in finding the culprit or culprits responsible.
On the morning of Feb. 13, a cat was found floating in the lake near Dollar Point — in itself a sad enough story. But the manner in which this cat died goes well beyond sad — he had been tortured. The local residents who were unfortunate enough to happen upon this poor creature reported the incident to Animal Control, and local law enforcement will be looking into the matter. Without more information, however, this is where the story will end. Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this.
Another disturbing issue raised by this act is the indisputable fact that many violent criminals, including serial killers and child abusers, begin their careers of violence with the abuse and murder of defenseless companion animals. Aberrant behavior such as this typically does not end with a single act, and in fact is very likely to escalate in scope. This person or persons must be brought to justice.
If you own a pet, ensure their safety by keeping them indoors when they cannot be under your direct supervision. And if you see or hear anyone mistreating an animal in any way, please speak up; if you are afraid to, call the proper authorities so that they can intervene on the animal’s behalf.
If you have any information at all that may prove relevant to this crime, please contact the local authorities, Animal Control at (530) 546-4260, or the Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation at 775-833-2319.
Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation
(Editor’s Note: Due to the heavy volume of letters received on the “soccer charges,” the Sun reminds readers of our submission rules: All letters are run in the order they are received. This means it may take several weeks for your letter to run. In addition, in order to fit in as many letters as possible, we are strictly holding to our 300-word limit for letters and other submission guidelines as outlined on page A7 every week. Some letters printed may have been edited for length to fit closer to the 300-word limit.)