As you may recall, a certain J. Sidney Sullivan wrote a letter to the Sierra Madre News.Net site that inferred a tactical similarity between Stroller Moms and the machinations of "... the German National Socialist Party against Jews in the 1930s."
A hideously ugly and utterly unfair comparison that defies the rules of what most people would regard as being decency.
For the record, the publisher of the Sierra Madre News Net site, Bill Coburn, in conversations with people at City Hall and other places, defends Ms. Sullivan and claims this was meant to be taken as a slap at the California Tobacco Control Program, not Sierra Madre's Stroller Moms.
However, this is a leap of faith that many who have read this letter are not willing to take. Including this writer. And besides, is comparing any other California group or organization combatting the consumption of something as dangerous as tobacco to "National Socialists" any better? The letter in question is still featured on the front page of the SMNN site.
Here is what I was sent today. If you go to the LA Mesa Community Services Commission Minutes Of Meeting you will notice that among those listed among the guests at a session on the question of proposed "public smoke free zones" is none other than J. Sidney Sullivan. And this is how her contribution was noted in the minutes:
"Fourth speaker, Joan Sullivan stated businesses currently have the right to decide whether or not to have smoke free outdoor zones and should not let government take this right away."
The La Mesa smoking ban failed to pass by a 3 to 2 vote.
So who is J. Sidney Sullivan? Click here and you will be taken to as site called PLoS Medicine, which published an article discussing the topic of lung cancer in people who never smoked. And if you scroll down and click on the comment entitled "A Lung Cancer Virus?" you will see the following:
Aerospace Engineer, Retired
Competing Interests: Pro-Tobacco Activist
There is also an e-mail address that goes to J. Sidney Sullivan.
Now is J. Sidney Sullivan actually suggesting that lung cancer might be the result of a virus and not cigarette smoking? Hard to say, J. Sidney's comment here is not that clearly written.
But what is revealed is that J. Sidney Sullivan is a pro-tobacco activist and, as we see in the letter published on Mr. Coburn's site, one not afraid to use extremist language to describe those she opposes.