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Took the Words out of My Mao



I was bothered to see Heidi Walters' use of the expression "gang of four" in the article "Big Trees" (July 17). I created that as a descriptive label when I was writing about the four supervisors Estelle Fennell, Rex Bohn, Ryan Sundberg and Virginia Bass, and their destruction of the General Plan Update. Journal Publisher Judy Hodgson then used it when speaking about the same issue, which I totally appreciated. For Walters to now feel it's something that can be slapped onto any old thing is disturbing and insulting. In doing so she not only rips off someone else's words but reduces the original intended impact of the phrase to nothing. My use of that phrase had a powerful effect in the context for which it was created and intended. The phrase turned up in a number of letters to local papers. It profoundly impacted the public view of the supervisors who many felt were abusing their positions. Walters probably used it because she thought that made her sound clever. Not.

Walters responded to me that she used the phrase because it was used in publications referring to the biologist, something few locals were likely to know. I say that showed poor judgment since she surely must know the meaning of the term locally and by using it in the way she did she cheapened its impact. Since there was no real reason to use it she surely chose to do so because it is a locally known term

Sylvia De Rooy, Eureka

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