Attacking my character
Perhaps for want of sound reasoning, Bill Bauer resorts to the weakest form of argument, actually no argument at all, only an ad hominem attack on my character, which is guided by the principle that we should be kind to animals. While this columnist seemingly does not believe that animals have feelings or suffer, fortunately much of the world, including leading scientists such as Jane Goodall and her colleague, Marc Bekoff, firmly disagree with Bauer. In fact, Beckoff, the author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, calls the tethered pony ride at the Main Street market “thoroughly inhumane.”
While Bauer terms the tethering and trapping of animals “educational” I would point out that tying ponies to a metal bar, forcing them to go round and round for almost four hours, often in the heat, on hard concrete, next to car exhaust andloud music, teaches our children the wrong message, which is not to empathize with animals but to view them as equipment subject to an outdated attitude that disguises animal exploitation as human amusement.
Bauer fails to mention a few salient points: firstly, over 1400 people, many local residents, signed the Move On petition (http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/shut-down-pony-rides) to shut down these exhibits (I urge those reading my comments to read what others have to say about the tethering and trapping of animals); secondly, another 1,000 signed a similar petition during a year-long Main Street market protest in 2005; thirdly, those of us who testified had waited many hours, from 5:30 until midnight, to have a chance to testify on the item and when asked if we wanted the discussion to be held all parties involved, including the animal operators, wanted the discussion to continue into the night and morning.
As for lawsuits, I don’t know why Mr. Bauer, who may fancy himself a journalist, feels compelled to stifle freedom of speech with threats and intimidation, for he knows that criticism of animal exploitation is protected speech, and that any legal challenge would be subject to an anti-SLAPP suit or in lay terms the defense of First Amendment rights. Mr. Bauer also fails to mention that, contrary to what he suggests, I have only told the truth from the beginning, and have used the California Public Records Act to surface issues concerning permits, business licenses, workers compensation, and automatic renewals of leases. To read more, visitwww.freethepony.org
The campaign to end this exploitation has struck a defensive nerve with Mr. Bauer, who apparently would like nothing better than to continue to restrict the ponies’ freedom to turn around or seek water on their own on a scorching hot day. This is truly a sad commentary, though I am encouraged and inspired by the many others who view animals not as captives but as non-humans who also have rights.
Truth about taxis
In a letter to the editor on Monday 9/29 Ellen Brennen writes about Lyft and its safe hiring practices. It sounds to me like she’s being paid by Lyft. How else can you explain her getting her facts so wrong? Taxi drivers are the ones who must get “mandatory drug and alcohol tests before they can get a taxi permit. Taxi drivers must get fingerprinted at the police station and have their background run through FBI and Dept of Homeland Security files. She neglected to mention that just last week the LA and San Francisco’s DA’s have filed a joint complaint against Lyft and Uber stating that they do not screen out sex offenders and people with felony convictions and have people with prior DUI’s. In fact they sent letters to these companies to appear on Oct 8th to show cause why they should not be shut down for deceptive advertising regarding their background checks of drivers and misleading the public. Oh and she also obviously does not know that in Santa Monica a person can hail (flag down) a taxi anywhere that’s legal to pull over and pick up a passenger. She said that a person would have to walk to a taxi stand blocks away and that’s 100% not true. It’s the same as NYC and taxis can be hailed from anywhere. She said she would have to walk to Bloomindales or the Pier to get a taxi which is nonsense.
Lyft does not do more than a seven year background check, does absolutely no drug tests and hires drivers with a DUI more than seven years ago. I would not let my children ride in a car being driven by a stranger who has not been drug tested or fingerprinted. I hope you print this so the proper facts are out there. And if you need more information on the DA’s operation I invite you to simply Google “Uber LYFT California legal troubles” and see what the real truth is and about the current investigation. I’m convinced the person who wrote to you works for Lyft.
I don’t want your editorial section to become a forum for untruths so I needed to get the facts straight.