Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 20, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 20, 2013 

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdsall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams



A couple of Sundays back my wife got a call from our daughter. It’s a regular 
mother-daughter thing that’s been going on for years. She calls me too but not 
nearly as often as mom, especially since she gave birth to her own daughter last 
December. However, this is only a segue to a mistaken conclusion my daughter 
shares with most Americans -- that America is the first and the best in just about 
everything when compared to the rest of the world.

 My wife had her phone on “speaker” so I could say hello. But before I could say a word my daughter 
made a curious remark. My wife was telling her about our upcoming trip this month to Mexico to 
save thousands of dollars on a bunch of dental work I need done before I retire next summer. My 
daughter said, “Getting your teeth fixed in Mexico is like having heart surgery in China.”

 Clearly my daughter shares a common misconception that American health care--including 
dentistry -- is better than anywhere else in the world. This simply isn’t the case. For the purposes of 
comparing medical costs and outcomes between countries the World Health Organization (WHO) 
includes dentistry as a part of medical care because the serious diseases related to poor dental care.

 According to the WHO, the United States spends a higher portion of it’s GDP on health care every 
year than any other in the world. Yet, the U.S. ranks 37th out of 191 countries in the WHO’s ranking 
of health care systems. It’s difficult to imagine any consumer spending that much more money on a 
product only to be handed something that ranks 37th in quality.

 According to the CIA World Factbook life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is 78.6, or 51st in the 
world, below most developed nations and some developing nations. Monaco is 89.7. Jordan is 80.3. 
With 72.4% Americans of European ancestry, life expectancy is well below the average life expectancy 
for the European Union (EU). More importantly, with the exception of Mexico, Turkey and the 
United States, all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries 
have achieved universal or near universal health coverage.

 The U.S. also ranks close to the bottom compared to other industrialized countries on several 
important health issues affecting mortality: low birth weight and infant mortality, injuries and 
murder, teen pregnancy and STDs, HIV, and AIDS, deaths resulting from drug overdoses, obesity 
and diabetes, heart disease, and lung cancer. Most involve life style choices. A few, such as low infant 
birth weight and HIV, might be increased by improved health care.

 My going to Mexico to get my teeth fixed is not that unusual. Commonly called “dental tourism” 
it is, along with its counterpart “medical tourism,” increasingly attracting middle class Americans 
seeking dental work abroad because it is too expensive here and not covered by insurance. 

 Since April I’ve been healing from the initial “screw” surgery for two implants that are to support a 
bridge replacing four lower front teeth. I had thought my total bill was going to be $3,200. Now I find 
out that doesn’t include the posts and crown bridge, which is another $3,200. The dentist then tells 
me I need an additional implant to construct yet another bridge to span the gap where two molars 
had once been. I was beginning to feel like San Francisco between the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. 

 And all this sparkling new white porcelain dental work would only cost me $11,000! I almost 
choked on the temporary denture I’ve been wearing in place of my missing teeth. 

 My choices were suddenly very simple: either I go around the rest of my life without four lower front 
teeth and a bunch of missing molars, looking like that toothless hillbilly in the movie “Deliverance,” 
rob a bank with my wife like Bonnie and Clyde, or seek out much more reasonably priced dental 
work in Mexico. It was a no-brainer. I chose Mexico!

 One other thing. Another common misconception my daughter shares with most Americans is the 
misconception that the U.S. middle class is first in the world. It isn’t... It is 27th... just behind Kuwait!

 There’s a lot going on and 
it’s very hard to make sense 
of it all. Are we on the brink 
of taking action against the 
problems facing the world 
and our particular country or 
are we all about to throw in 
the towel? Last week’s issue 
of this newspaper which hit 
the streets just before news of 
George Zimmerman’s acquittal 
contained passionate articles 
focusing on the significance of 
that trial. Today’s Los Angeles 
Times (Monday, July 15, 2013)) 
refers to the not guilty verdict 
freeing the admitted killer of 
an unarmed Black teenager as 
“a referendum on race and gun 
laws across the nation.” All 
right then, what does the Not 
Guilty verdict tell us about the 
state of our country? 

 Reviewing last week’s 
Mountain Views News Articles, 
political conservative Greg 
Welborn begins by declaring 
that the American criminal 
justice system is becoming 
highly politicized through 
the efforts of the Obama 
Administration. Let me begin 
here. It may be news to Mr. 
Welborn, but I can attest to the 
undisputed fact that during 
my 45 years as an attorney, 
the American Criminal Justice 
System has always been 
politicized. By this I mean 
that a journey into almost any 
Criminal Courtroom in Los 
Angeles County will reveal 
a room filled with people of 
color. A huge percentage of 
Defendants, depending on 
the neighborhood, are young 
African-American or Hispanic 

 Are people of color 
genetically determined to be 
law breakers? Of course this 
question is nonsense. If you 
are a Caucasian and you do 
not know responsible non-
Caucasian people, you might 
well question your own values 
and way of life. Are you living 
within a bubble that confirms 
your life experience to some 
mythical view of the world? 
Let’s face it; our wonderful little 
secret mountain town which 
is probably 95% Caucasian 
allows for a life experience that 
is definitely different from the 
experience of most residents of 
Los Angeles County. Take a ride 
sometime on the Metro Train 
from here to Long Beach and 
you will experience something 
like a World Tour of different 
peoples and Communities. It’s 
an experience very different 
from simply hanging out in 
Sierra Madre.

 My point is that even if you 
have chosen to live here in Sierra 
Madre because of its isolated 
and homogeneous nature and 
even if the only people you 
know are people very similar to 
yourself, this should not blind 
you to the undisputable fact 
that wonderful people come 
in all colors, sexes, and ages. 
Really, this is an important 
point—white does not mean 
right. There is another equally 
salient point; being non-White 
in America, even today’s 
America, automatically places 
one in category of potential 
suspects. In criminal court 
parlance, just driving your car 
may put you into the category 
of Driving While Black. 

 Let me give you another 
example. Some years ago I 
had walked to lunch with a 
colleague, a distinguished 
African American Attorney 
some years older than myself. 
We were a little late getting 
back to Court and I suggested 
we take a short cut and jog 
back through an alley. My 
lunch companion shook his 
head and said “Black Man 
can’t run through no alleys”. 
I thought he was kidding, 
but when he wouldn’t run I 
realized it was no joke; and 
I realized something else. 
Notwithstanding education, 
achievement, and wealth; color 
still made a difference in every 
moment of one’s life. 

 Returning to a consideration 
of Mr. Welborn’s article, he 
maintains that race should have 
no place in the administration 
of criminal justice and that 
“the racial politicization of the 
judicial process jeopardizes 
all our freedoms and strikes at 
the core of all the principles 
we hold dear.” I’m afraid that 
just the opposite is true. The 
continued administration of 
criminal justice as method 
of keeping the Blacks, the 
Browns, the young (-especially 
the young males) and the 
poor in line is a despicable 
but continuing process. It 
creates criminals and impacts 
upon futures. Criminal Justice 
should not simply be a method 
of protecting the wealthy and 
secure (while ignoring their 
crimes) and singling out for 
punishment only those already 
most vulnerable in the society.

 I want to conclude by 
referring to Susan Henderson’s 
response to Mr. Welborn, 
which appeared in last week’s 
paper. She voices the concern 
of any parent, especially the 
parent of teen-age male of 
color. “Is America now (still) 
a place where someone can 
take a life simply because they 
have a gun and want to?” The 
problems resulting from the 
continued existence of racism 
in America, along with the 
insane proliferation of gun 
possession, together constitute 
a threat to all the principles 
we hold dear. AND one 
cannot close our eyes to these 
facts - even in safe, friendly, 
homogeneous Sierra Madre. 

Mountain Views News 
has been adjudicated as 
a newspaper of General 
Circulation for the County 
of Los Angeles in Court 
Case number GS004724: 
for the City of Sierra 
Madre; in Court Case 
GS005940 and for the 
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Case No. GS006989 and 
is published every Saturday 
at 55 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., No. 302, Sierra 
Madre, California, 91024. 
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Views News and may 
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Opinions and views 
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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

APPLE FRITTER: The Fruit Of My Choice

Our country, 
so it 
runs on 
The more 
choices we have the better we like 

Most people in America pride 
themselves on the ability to make 
their own choices.

"Freedom of Choice," is the cry 
you hear all around our country 
these days. Yet, most people do 
not have the freedom of choice 
they think they have. Somebody 
is influencing the choices they 
make without them realizing they 
are being influenced.

That is called marketing.

The Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage and I were watching 
television the other night, trying 
to watch a favorite TV program. 
Finally, from an end of the room 
that was not my end, came an exasperated 
sigh. I tried to ignore it, 
but you know how that works.

The exasperation seemed to accelerate 
and I knew that if I did 
not acknowledge it in some way, 
well, I think you know what 
would happen.

It was in the middle of some commercials 
and so I turned to her 
and said, "What's got you in such 
pain tonight?" At her age I did not 
know if there was some medical 
something or other going on.

"These commercials," she moaned 
so painfully, "I can't stand all 
these commercials!"

I must say I was a little bummed 
out about all the commercials 
myself. I think every one-hour 
program is devoted to 30 minutes 
of commercials. Most of those 
commercials are for things I have 
no interest in. Or, they are played 
at a very inappropriate time.

It never fails if we are having our 
supper while watching television 
there are 79 commercials for diarrhea. 
Is this really a major problem 
in our country today?

Getting back to my wife and the 
commercials, I responded as 
cheerfully as I could, "Well, my 
dear, somebody has to pay for our 
television viewing privilege."

I felt a cold yet burning stare in 
my direction.

"Can't they run those lousy commercials 
when I'm not watching 

Someone once said that silence 
is Golden and right then I cultivated 
a golden moment.

Commercials are a way in which 
manufacturing companies influence 
our choices. Every product 
has 100 different companies marketing 
the same product. I have 
not done too much research but 
the little I have done I discovered 
that the same company makes the 
same product but sells it under a 
different name.

There are two categories of products. 
There is the name brand, 
which cost a fortune. Then there 
is the generic brand, which is only 
a fraction of what the name brand 
cost. It is the same product, made 
by the same company, but advertised 
by difference venues.

This is where choice comes in.

Some people choose the high-
priced product because they 
think it is better.

Some of us choose the low-price 
product because we know better.

One night as we were watching 
television, it seemed most of the 
commercials had to do with dieting 
of some kind. There were 
high calorie diets, low-carb diets 
and diet that really did not make 
sense to me.

Watching all of those dieting 
commercials, I did not see one 
that I would die for.

Every one of those commercials 
assumes everybody watching 
wants to lose 297 pounds. Personally, 
I have lost the same 5 pounds 
for over 30 years. I lose 5 pounds 
and then by golly, three weeks later 
I find those 5 pounds, at least 
they recognize me.

Anybody can lose weight; it is all 
a matter of choice. Personally, I do 
not plan to lose any sleep because 
I cannot lose weight. I think it is 
going to be rather funny if when 
we go to heaven everybody is 
fat. Wouldn't that be something? 
We plummet ourselves almost to 
death trying to lose weight and 
get to heaven and everybody is 

It all boils down to choice. It all 
boils down to the fact that most 
people think they are making 
their own choices.

Those of us who are on the husband 
side of the marital equation 
know we do not make our own 
choices. Our choices are made for 
us by our "better half." Why do 
you think we get married?

My wife is a great one for fruit 
and vegetables. Every day of our 
life is fruit and vegetables. To mix 
things up a little bit one day it will 
be vegetables and fruit.

She prepares the fruit and then 
invites me to make a choice. I am 
sure she did not see all of this in 
any television commercial; at least 
I hope she hasn't. She is proud of 
the display of fruit choices she has 
for me.

She is also concerned about my 
diet. Much more than I am. I do 
not think my diet is so important 
that both of us should be concerned 
about it. If she chooses to 
be concerned about my diet, that 
is her choice.

I choose to be a little more cavalier 
when it comes to dieting.

Actually, and do not tell her I said 
this, but my fruit of choice is the 
humble Apple fritter. It has everything 
my heart desires and a few 
things my body desires, too.

I like with David said, "Delight 
thyself also in the LORD; and he 
shall give thee the desires of thine 
heart" (Psalms 37:4 KJV).

It is all a matter of choice, that is, 
making the right choice.

Letter To The Editor: 

Dear Mountain Views News: THANK YOU

 I am a 13 year old, I am a purple belt and I help teach the younger 
students as a junior instructor. Thank you for writing an article 
March 23 about G3 Academy, it really helped with the publicity 
for the studio. 

Your article made my teachers happy, because we were getting 
noticed in Sierra Madre. Because of this Sierra Madre is getting 
stronger and safer because people are learning life skills.


James Taylorson, Junior instructor 

Dear Editor - please forward: NOT MY MONEY

Mr. President, as you eloquently stated in the aftermath of the 
Zimmerman trial, “we are a nation of laws”. As a veteran that 
served and fought for the preservation of our way of life, I am 
distressed that we have failed as a nation on the most critical of 

No state law can supersede federal regulations. Our Constitution 
guarantees our "inalienable rights". That is the right to life - Trayvonn 
Martin's is DEAD; Liberty - Trayvon's liberty was grossly 
infringed upon, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It doesn't guarantee 
our happiness, just the ability to pursue it, and Trayvon’s was 
taken away.

The right to defend yourself with deadly force should never infringe 
on our most basic protections. It doesn't matter if this 
incident was race related, nor the specifics of the ensuing altercation. 
An American is dead, killed through a series of horrific 
and avoidable circumstances. A stand-your-ground gun culture 
like the one in Florida is a slick promotion of vigilantism, since 
it is not necessary that the person standing their ground be receiving 
any actual physical threat. Perception of threat is the only 

I do not want the federal government to bring additional charges 
against Zimmerman. After all, proving civil rights violations may 
be next to impossible. Instead, I urge every politician in Washington 
to challenge the merits and legality of Florida's law, and if 
Florida continues to have such rules on its books, we withdraw 
all federal money from the state. After all, we threatened money 
restrictions to states that would not lower their speed limits to 55 
in the 80’s, so why not use that same tactic now?

I do not want one dime of my federal tax dollars going to state-
sponsored vigilantes.

Fred Thomas, Sierra Madre

Mountain Views News

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