A Doctor's Legacy
Thanks to Krystal Zaragoza for her excellent article, "Closing the Chart", in the Jan. 20 issue of the Alibi. In it, she writes about Dr. Steven Hsi and his transition from family doctor to patient as he coped with Takayasu's syndrome, underwent three major heart surgeries, starting in 1995 and died in March 1999.
Dr. Hsi was our family doctor from the late '80s until his death. He was an outstanding doctor; he would ask you questions, listen carefully, examine you, tell you what he knew and what he didn't know about your problem and then prescribe the medicine or treatment you needed. I think his experience as a critically-ill patient made him an even better physician, a doctor who always treated you as a real person. We could not have asked for better care and we miss him dearly.
I was very pleased when Jim Belshaw, Dr. Hsi's friend and patient, and Beth Corbin-Hsi, Dr. Hsi's widow, wrote their book, Closing the Chart, based on the journal Dr. Hsi kept during the last four years of his life. It's a book which should be read by every medical practitioner, as well as by their patients. I recommend it without reservation.
Missing the Boat on MLK
I consider you the best source of information in the city and rely on you for such but I am extremely disappointed in your Jan. 13-19 edition. First of all the front cover photo and top story, though important, regarding veterans is not at all timely in my opinion. This would have been a very timely and perfect front page story for Veterans Day.
I was dismayed that you did not use this opportunity to highlight the vision, dreams and leadership of our late Dr. Martin Luther King, as we need his vision now more than ever with our country at war and racism and racial profiling still very much alive and well. Instead you printed one small article with no photos, (only two columns long) on page 11 as a "guest editorial."
For me, a person of German/Cherokee/Jewish heritage, Dr. King speaks to my heart, mind and soul and this is one of the most important days of the year, and I feel you missed the boat. I searched your pages for information on the march and peace gathering at the civic plaza and found no information regarding this important event.
Please consider a more focused approach next year and a higher profile of this day of peace so as not to miss the boat again. We need all the help we can get to unite the people in this country who want to see and participate in positive change.
It's the Dream, Not the Day
I was heartened to read Robert Jensen's article [RE: "This MLK Day," Jan. 13-19] reminding us of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "radical analysis" of our global situation and the moral responsibility we have concerning it. I definitively agree with Jensen in his assessment of King's place in our national consciousness as a token nod to racial equality. I would submit (as Jensen implies but does not state) that the very fact that we have MLK day undermines the possibility of the realization of King's dream.
In Terry Gilliam's film, The Fisher King, there's a memorable scene in which a commuter passes a homeless man in the subway and drops some change into his coffee cup.
Unfortunately, the cup is full of coffee. The story's protagonist turns to the homeless man and says, "He didn't even look at you." To which the homeless man replies something like, "He gave money. He didn't have to look."
This, I believe, typifies the way we, as Americans deal with the radical revisioning of our world offered by Rev. King in his life and work. If we deify him, not only can we ignore the most radical, most challenging, and, essentially most healing parts of King's vision, but also, as mere humans, we are relieved of our responsibility to make his dream reality. We must not permit the vision of justice community in our world to be relegated to one man or to one day. We must remember that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one member of a dynamic community working for peace, social, racial, economic and environmental justice, and that it is a community of which we must, in King's words, choose to be a part, if we are to survive as a people.
Endless Growth in a Finite Desert
Greg Payne [RE: Jan. 13-19] raises valid points about neighborhood associations' reluctance to make concessions needed for infill development, but he and others must realize that due to a population tsunami sweeping our nation—and in turn our state—infill development is like a bucket of water dipped from the wave: inadequate.
Europe has effectively stopped growing. Ireland, Italy and Spain are all—despite "sky is falling" depictions of our own boom boosters—enjoying negative population growth and, in the case of Ireland, a booming economy. Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Japan have effectively stopped growing.
But, the United States booms along with the third fastest growth rate behind only China and India! While the media, wrongly, depict our 1 percent per annum growth rate as low, that rate—70 percent of which is driven by immigration three times higher than the frontier-era immigration Great Wave—represents doubling times of 60 years or less. (Europe's doubling time is 600 years or more!)
Boom areas, like the still uncrowded West to which people flee to regain a lost quality of life, grows at 2,3,4 and 5 percent, doubling times as low as seven years! If this continues, since tomorrow's population is determined today, the United States will be a China-like one billion people before the end of the century.
Planned growth strategies merely delay addressing cause. As Payne points out, the Southwest is running out of water. At some point our leaders must stop promoting growth, that benefits mostly land speculators and other large campaign contributors, and diversify our economy away from its dependence on land speculation, the construction industry and their requisite need for endless growth. As a famous economist once said, "Only a madman or an economist would believe that you can have endless growth on a finite planet."