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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Only time you'll see me with lipstick and powdered nose

The people behind the letters to the editor: Ann Adams

EDITOR'S NOTE: Each year, the Merced Sun-Star publishes more than 1,000 letters to the editor. Many of those letters are written by frequent contributors.; We thought that readers would like to know a little more about these people, since they contribute mightily to the area's public discourse.; This week's profile is on Ann Adams of Merced.

What is your occupation?

I've been retired since 1993. For the 15 years prior to that, I worked for a large insurance brokerage in San Francisco in their Marine Insurance Department (ships at sea). I began in claims and retired as a licensed Solicitor. I took early retirement planning to find work when we moved here. I found work but not what I expected. I'm raising three great-granddaughters, ages 10, 11, and 12.

How long have you lived in Merced?

Since 1993.

How long have you been a Sun-Star reader?

Off and on since 1993. Now that I have the computer, I'm a daily reader.

Excerpt from most recent letter

"If I don't want to see a film (which is most of the recycled junk that comes out these days), I don't go. Others could do the same without restricting my right to see one of the best films of the year. If the theaters continue to refuse to show this extraordinary film, I have spent my last dime in their establishments. I have a feeling I'm not alone."

On Hurricane Katrina response: "The Gulf Coast leaders blame the federal government and the military. The federal government claims that the New Orleans mayor and Louisiana governor didn't ask properly. Properly? "We need help" should have done it. American citizens responded as we always do when others need help. All that was lacking was leadership and a coherent plan. When Congress discusses this fiasco, the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution might be a good starting place. We memorized it as kids; now would be a good time to review it."

Have you received any reaction to your letters?

Yes. The topics I discuss are often controversial and I'm a progressive in what is still a rather conservative city. In San Francisco, I would be considered a moderate. I was once referred to as the "sophisticated and politically correct" Ann Adams. The reaction of people who know me, however, has been positive although sometimes surprised. I was quite silent the first several years I lived here. I was amazed when the Sun-Star printed one of my letters and then another.

Any advice for other letter writers?

No matter how emotionally involved I am with an issue, I try to remain civil. Name calling solves nothing. I'm interested in many of the problems that beset our community and our country but, since I don't want to be disregarded as a crank, I limit the number of letters I write. I try to stay on topic, make my points clearly, and be brief. Remaining brief is the most difficult for me and I often go back and edit.

What is your educational background?

I'm a high school graduate with some college credits, some professional seminars and classes, and over 40 years of work experience in many fields. I'm an avid reader and love learning new things. I'm on my third generation of children which has given me a much practical experience with education and the schools over the years. One of my great-granddaughters has cerebral palsy and I've educated myself to make her life the best it can be. Another has learning disabilities which requires more study on my part.

If there was one thing you could change about Merced, what would it be?

I'm the mother of a adult gay son and the great-grandmother of three mixed-race girls. The city has come a long way in the time I've lived here. The Sun-Star reflects some of the changes. The university will bring many more. As a progressive, I look forward to the time when discrimination, for any reason, will be ancient history.

Merced is growing rapidly. I hope that growth is planned and orderly. I hope Merced will keep its individuality and not become merely a bedroom community for the larger cities.

I hope the citizens of Merced will realize that our children are our most valuable resource and that our schools reflect that realization.

I support our local police in their efforts to fight crime and keep our neighborhoods safe. I support Neighborhood Watches and after school programs, affordable medical and childcare, and an end to domestic abuse. I believe, in spite of the jokes, that it does take a village to raise children.

In short, I want to leave the world a better place for the three little girls I'm trying to equip for adulthood. We may not agree on many things but I hope we can all can agree on that.

Posted on 02/04/06 00:30:00


ipodmomma said...

brilliant!!! or way cool... :)))

loved your responses... how very lucky they are to have such an intelligent, dedicated and passionate reader out there...

lovely picture too... :)))

Gary said...

Okay, I should have made it this far before my first comment... nice excerpts. Your community is indeed fortunate to have you. I like your attitude about civility also - it doesn't get us anywhere to draw a line and throw stones over it at each other.

"Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood."

stefanierj said...

You. freaking. rock!!! I know you're not old enough to be my granny, but would you consider being an honorary aunt?? I SO need you in my corner!

caroline said...

Hurrah! Fame! You really deserve to be noticed and I think they have portrayed you (or you portrayed yourself, but we all know how papers can twist things..) as intellent and sympathic which is a great way to bring attention to the causes that you want to.

Have you any any reaction from the community yet?

Norene said...


terrific excerpts from what are clearly terrific letters. i agree with gary that your community is fortunate to have you. it's nice learning a little more about you, too.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Ann

I enjoyed reading the interview/ question answers and learning more about you and your family.

Its important I think to have active thinking members of our communities to speak up on issues and if you didn’t have such a busy life bringing up 3 great grand children I would be the first to nominate you to an importation civic position in your community.

Mayor of Merced?

How a society looks after its minorities I think is a measure of how civilised and compassionates its democracy.

I think the US to day with 47 million uninsured is a real fear and lack of protection to those most vulnerable.

Your interview represents a personal milestone and I send my heart felt best wishes and congratulations to you.

caroline said...

Yes. Lindsay said it much better than me.

Mayor of Merced indeed. Voting commencing shortly.

DA said...

Super GrANnie,

I recently got caught in your blog pages and read a lot of historic posts about you, family, grandchildren and so on.. You really are a wonderful person..

Thank you!

BTW Nice picture!

Andrea said...

granny is a rock n roll granny!!

nancy said...

very nice

madcapmum said...

I'm very impressed! That paper picked a great topic!

Elizabeth Green said...

Congratulations, Granny. Your picture looks really nice, and I loved reading your profile. It was interesting to learn about your working life and your life raising your grandchildren. You also made some good points about how to deal with controversy and how to make your opinion known in a civlized way. It was good advice for all of us.

Gary was right; you are an asset to your community, and I am glad you are part of my blog community.


JBlue said...

Ann, I just read it again, and I'm even more impressed the second time around. I admire your poise, your intelligence, your clear-mindedness, but most of all your empathy and compassion. You are a terrific lady.

Angel said...

I am SO proud of you :*) You have such a gift for writing, I'm glad the newspaper recognized that gift, and your passion.


Beckster said...

That is an awesome article, and great picture!

Uncle Roger said...

Congratulations! Very well said!

Screw the mayor thing... how about president!

Heidi aka VirusHead said...

Simply beautiful! So proud of you!

Gawdessness said...

So incredibley cool and a great piece on you!