Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jul 1999
Date: 07/15/1999
Source: Tribune, The  (CA)
Author: Mark Burnes

For many years in many of our local publications I have been reading
letters from August Salemi. Often I agree with his points.

However, I must take issue with the disrespect he has shown to
Atascadero Police Chief Dennis Hegwood in his letter, "Missed a chance
to dash D.A.R.E.," July 12.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Chief Hegwood when I was filling in
as host of KPRL's Sound Off, the North County current events talk
show. Also, I have spoken with Dennis a number of times both before
the interview and since.

I found the chief to be a man of great integrity, highly intelligent,
warm and honest. I think Atascadero is very, very lucky to have a
person of this caliber as their police chief. This attitude is also
reflected in the enthusiasm and professionalism displayed around the
clock by the members of his agency.

To suggest that the chief is in "shameless complicity with
fast-talking henchmen" (henchmen?) and is willfully and knowingly
"baboozling gullible locals" to feed a "lucrative cash cow," is a very
poor way to disagree with an idea. Avery poor choice of words, indeed!

And to suggest that Chief Hegwood wishes to "(brainwash) young
children and turn them into obedient little Nazi-like informants," is

During our interview and in a later conversation, I discussed D.A.R.E.
with Chief Hegwood and I can assure you, all of you, that if Dennis
Hegwood did not believe wholeheartedly that this program was greatly
beneficial to our community, he would not support it.

In the future, Mr. Salemi, I would suggest that you choose your words
more carefully.

Remember this: Great minds discuss ideas, poor minds discuss

Mark Burnes,
Pismo Beach