Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor | Monday, Sept. 9, 2019: Modesto arts, animal cruelty with elephants, safe driving

Two African elephants at PAWS sanctuary near San Andreas in 2004
Two African elephants at PAWS sanctuary near San Andreas in 2004 Modesto Bee

The arts are a gateway to well-being

For years now, behaviorists, law enforcement and media have popularized the term “gateway.” In most cases it refers to certain behaviors or substance, which leads young adults into more harmful situations.

Peer Recovery Art Project has championed for many years — very successfully — that art, music, dance and other creative outlets for our youngsters can also act as a gateway. We believe the arts can be a catalyst to reach both young and old, and can reduce risk factors related to isolation and feelings of hopelessness, by improving social connections. This provides opportunity for improving our communities and individual members’ overall emotional health and well-being.

Our new mantra: Open the gates.

John Black, CEO and operations manager, Peer Recovery Art Project, Modesto

Leave elephants out of events center

Re “Racor plant to get new life as an event center” (Page 3A, Aug. 27): Kudos to Stephen and Anne Endsley for their plan to repurpose a large building for a new business. But they will have to leave out the elephants. Any time an elephant is in direct contact with humans, the handler has a bullhook in hand – a rod resembling a fireplace poker with a sharpened steel tip that is used to control elephants through fear and pain. Fortunately, this menacing weapon has been banned in California. Recently, the largest U.S. zoo association announced a phase-out of the cruel device nationwide.

PAWS cares for eight elephants rescued or retired from circuses and zoos at our 2,300-acre natural habitat sanctuary in San Andreas, managing them with a method that uses food rewards and a protective barrier between elephants and keepers. This allows the elephants to live more naturally and just be elephants.

Times are changing. As more people recognize that elephants are highly complex animals who deserve our respect and protection, many traditional uses of them are seen as inhumane and outdated.

No one needs an elephant at their wedding or any other event – and the cruelty that comes with it.

Catherine Doyle, Director of Science, Research and Advocacy, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), San Andreas

Bad driving endangers us all

Drivers nowadays seem to have no regard toward others regarding speeding, tailgating, crossing double yellow lines, generally reckless driving.

Current driving infraction fines can be:

Speeding - $480

Tailgating - $238

Crossing double lines - $234

Since the current traffic fine system obviously isn’t working, let’s try something else. Let’s double (or more) current fines. For a second infraction, further increase the fine, and impound the car for 30 or more days. Whatever it takes to wake drivers up, instead of the current system, which is basically a simple slap on the hand.

If drivers don’t care if they harm themselves, that’s OK, be my guest — just don’t take me down with you.

Besides, the county can certainly use the money.

Gary Peterson, Groveland

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