Letters to the Editor
by AVA News Service, May 6, 2010
A FORMULA FOR DISASTER
Dear Mr. Anderson:
A nuclear bomb explodes with great force destroying immediately with blast, then destroying long-term with radioactivity. Detonated at great height, it destroys computers, radars and communications networks with electromagnetic pulses but does no blast damage. The terrorist mutt, limited in knowledge and technique, without research and development capability, or industrial capacity, is limited to a dirty bomb, a bit of explosives and a bit of radioactive stuff. A dirty bomb has no great damage potential really. It cannot destroy a great citiy such as New York as can a 5 Megaton thermonuclear bomb detonating at 5000 feet.
This is the idea one gets from reading press accounts — the dirty bomb broadcasts radioactivity but not enough to lay waste to a great city. Yet we have humongous difficulty in disposing of radioactive waste from power plants. It is dangerous. So consider the possibilities of a radioactivity dispersal weapon in the context of a hostile country with some research and industrial capacity, say North Irania, that is, the next Iran or North Korea, but with a creative madman dictator not locked into the missile delivered exploding nuclear bomb convention. He asks not, “How can we make an atom bomb?” But “how can we destroy New York City without the enriched uranium?” More technically, our madman realizes the terrible difficulties of separating isotopes and seeks a much easier, strictly chemical answer.
Consider the “dirty bomb” in development by a research establishment with chemical and metallurgical capability. The weapon being developed is a radioactivity dispersal mechanism or RDM. Let's add a couple of vowels for a pronounceable word: a random destroyer. To limit this discussion let's consider only three metals: uranium, cobalt and strontium, the chemistry of which all are known. (And plutonium if a state can produce it.) That is, all can be separated from their ores by strictly mechanical, thermal and chemical means, and said processes are well-known within academia and industry. (Plutonium can be separated from reactor waste by these means.)
The goal here is to produce metallic uranium, cobalt and a molecule containing strontium. All are heavier than iron; cobalt slightly heavier, uranium much heavier. Assume that finely milled heavy metallic dust on being thrown into the air settles out quickly — much more quickly than flour, say. Research here will determine the rate of spread of our three metals as they are projected upward by TNT and subsequent settling rates. Given a quantity, say an ounce, of uranium powder, projected upward by TNT tented at bottom and sides by steel plate, how high will it go given an ounce of TNT? What is its spread to all sides as it goes up? And how fast does it settle? Different slant on the tampering plates or a center inverted cone will cause more spread. The powdered metal may clot under shock and thus not spread well and so may have to be coated in some way. The size of the particles will determine the sampling rate. All three metals may be made into an alloy or maybe not. A mixture of particle sizes may be advantageous with exquisitely fine dust particles traveling better in water moving in aqueduct pipes. Much can be learned here.
This type of research can be carried out by a small company or third rate university or by Cuba or Syria.
Let's settle on quantities: say 100 tons of uranium, 5 tons of cobalt, and 100 pounds of strontium. Mixed as metallic powders, or alloyed and then milled into powder, the naturally occurring mixture of uranium isotopes will produce some strontium 90 and cobalt 60 within a few months and more with passing time. In other words, the nonchemical work is not done in a factory but occurs naturally. Of course, the additives may be chosen for desired half-lives and biological activity, strontium and cobalt being representative of a specific biological activity and half-life.
Consider an overall Radim destroyer weapon design: 105 tons of metal powder on top of 1000 tons of TNT tamped to ideally project upwards and spread widely (a large mortar) built into a small freighter coming into New York Harbor or the San Francisco Bay.
Choose a point for detonation: in New York, the East River as the boat approaches Roosevelt Island, Manhattan to the West, Queens and Brooklyn to the east. Imagine a sister ship detonating at the same time on the Hudson at the point of 42nd Street and regardless of wind patterns, Manhattan has a major problem. By our estimate, the weight of the dispersal particles will favor settling within a radius of 20 miles and there goes an entire major city along with most of its metropolitan area, without any blast damage at all. Full residual radioactivity easily dwarfs that of the World War II atomic weapons while the technical difficulty of R&D and production is not significantly better than that needed to develop the World War II T-34 Soviet tank of 1942.
New York City is held as the target par excellence but recently I suggested San Francisco and its environs (from Napa Valley to San Jose) present a target of greater opportunity because of its broad impact on daily life throughout the United States. In California the Central Valley produces half of the nation's vegetables, fruit and nuts, along with a lot of cattle feed and cattle.
The southern half of this incredible production is watered by a near gaging system centered at greater San Francisco where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers empty the good part of their water into the 444-mile long California aqueduct, partly via the Tracy pumping station just 50 miles due east of the Bay. The Hetch Hetchy aqueduct originates just south of San Francisco at the Crystal Springs reservoir. These and other canals and aqueducts bring water as far south as San Diego. The farther south of course the less is agriculture dependent on North California water. The Colorado River and all-American aqueducts pretty much water the Imperial Valley.
However, two issues mitigate against this irrigation system preventing its contamination by radiological attack: 1. An exploding freighter does not quickly trigger a radioactivity warning and 2. neither the Central Valley Project nor the State Water Project has a working procedure that will shut down water transport quickly due to atmospheric radioactive dust. The system would be horribly contaminated, probably by our estimate for 16-24 hours before a shutdown was ordered.
Consider again two small freighters, one detonating in the Bay, just south of the Bay Bridge where even if a powerful South blowing wind spares San Francisco, it just so destroys San Jose. More likely San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley would be laid to radioactive wasteland and Napa Valley to the north and San Jose to the south would be lightly dusted and ruined too. The second boat would go north, transit San Pablo Bay, pass under the Carquinez Bridge, pass through Suisun Bay and proceed into the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta detonating there primarily to target the irrigation system at points south in the Central Valley.
My estimate is that at least 50% of California food production would be frankly contaminated but, more importantly, the hysterical nature of American reaction to minor food and drug contaminations in the past forecasts a total rejection of all California produce for days if not weeks with a cascading effect throughout the nation as perfectly good California produce and flowers rots in trucks, warehouses and markets. Worldwide sales of Napa Valley wines which have continually grown since Chateau Montna was a top winner at the 1976 Paris tasting which put California wines on the world map would drop off to nothing. Nothing like this eventuates from destruction of New York City.
This type of attack by North Korea follows a path at sea similar to the Pearl Harbor attack which wrought great destruction. The precedent is there. Given North Korea as attacker, I suggest the addition of 20 pounds of plutonium to the metal dust which, tiny as it seems, would significantly increase radioactive devastation.
So, in my opinion, the press takes the dirty bomb lightly, whereas given creative conceptualization, a small, hostile nation easily will take out New York City or San Francisco with its big brother. In between the current conceptualization of some mutt with a little dirty bomb and North Irania with a set of radium destroyers, Al Qaeda even now has the material and can produce a little Radim destroyer that, delivered in a 52 foot Grand Banks motoryacht could give New York City or San Francisco a serious case of indigestion. Wanna bet they can't?
Ron “ghetto boy” Simmat
Federal Prisoner 39486-066
Bruceton Hill Federal Penitentiary, West Virginia
PS. Think perfect airport and airplane security can prevent another 9/11? Think a plane is needed to do it again? Not so. We know that was the hard way. Do you want to know the easy way?
BOW YOUR HEADS
“I hear the loved survivors tell how naught from death could save, till every sound appears a knell and every spot a grave,” wrote Abraham Lincoln at 37.
Then, decades later William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead, it isn't even past.”
I bow my head United States of America to each citizen in Iraq — alive and dead — and to each Haitian.
CAMPING & LOGGING
The California Department of Forestry has announced that timber harvesting activities have resumed on Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Several timber sales are underway in Brandon Gulch, Camp 3, Camp 6, Pleiades, North Fork Spur, Parlin Forks, and Dunlap North. These plans will be harvested using selective silviculture. Some campgrounds in the Camp One area will be closed at various times this summer season to ensure safety. Also some roads and trails will be closed until timber operations have been completed. Other roads may be open on weekends.
Detailed information on the closures including a map is available at the Jackson Demonstration State Forest office in Fort Bragg. It will be posted in the “day use” and other prominent areas in the Forest.
Revenues from this timber harvesting activity will fund forest programs and enhance forest activities including recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, and other activity. For more information contact the Department of Forestry's Fort Bragg office at 802 North Main Street in Fort Bragg: 964-5674.
Pam Linstedt, Forester
CalFire, Fort Bragg
To the Editor:
It appears that the Board of Supervisors has made up their collective minds not to provide the retirees with the health coverage that was a part of the hiring package when these past employees accepted their jobs. Many of these former employees gave the better part of their lives making Mendocino County what it is today. Now they are elderly, sick and/or injured and have no possibility of increasing their incomes to pay into the proposed new health plan.
Let us remember that 15, 20 or 30 years ago the County was using the continuing health coverage as a hiring tool which offset the low wages the county was paying at that time.
In my opinion the County of Mendocino is obligated to continue to provide these retirees with health coverage. This is based on the past actions of the County. If the county had no real obligation to provide this coverage, why did they continue to do so for all these years? You do not continue to pay a debt that you do not owe.
The Supes seem to have covered themselves in this area on the employees hired after 1998. If they can rid themselves of those old-timer employees who were injured on the job and ill, they will have money to burn.
Healthcare back when most retirees left active duty with the County was much less expensive than it is today. I can't help but believe there just might be something in the president's new health-care bill that will lock the County of Mendocino into keeping the present plans if they do not get out very soon. First it was December of 2010, now it's August of 2010 and it would not surprise me to see the supervisors try to move it up to June of 2010.
I truly believe the retirees and all affected had better do as the song by the late Bob Marley said, “Get up. Stand up for your rights.” If this plan is allowed to be dropped it will never be reinstated no matter how the economy improves.
Now as an outsider I say get a lawyer who is well-versed on employee rights. Seek the assistance from the state, federal governments on their rights to keep their present plan as much intact as possible as it was prior to 2010.
The supervisors seem to find the funds to cover these things when they deem it important and necessary, such as the employment of the new chief executive officer, Ms. Carmel Angelo, who seems to be bound and set on closing the county budget gap of $7.6 million at any cost. Ms. Angelo was promoted to her new post on or about February 22, 2010, and since that time getting rid of the retirees health care seems to have been a priority with the supervisors.
It's shocking to see how the County Board of Supervisors will go up against the State of California's laws and perhaps against the federal government allowing 25-99 so-called marijuana plants to be grown in this county. But they refuse to take a stand for the county's old, injured and disabled retirees. Why not legalize marijuana in this county and tax it as we do alcohol and tobacco and use some of those monies to get rid of the County's deficit?
I haven't heard that the County is looking for a better way to fund the retiree health-care plan. All I hear is that they try to get free of the obligation as soon as possible under the disguise of dwindling funds.
Yes, things are tight for most of us. But you should not balance the budget on the backs of those who have served, given, and been hurt in the line of duty for the great County of Mendocino.
Claude J. Watson
There is a new book out called “Population Crash” in which the author holds that the crisis confronting mankind will not result in disaster. He holds that the population of the earth is declining, everywhere. Women are getting jobs, he said in an interview on The Daily Show, and this occasions them to have fewer children in developing countries.
If this were true, and I don’t think it is across all of the social classes in those nations, it would still take 40 to 80 years for the population to level off. Do we have that long before the impending economic/ecological crisis wipes us out?
The confluence of the problems of populations, ecology and environment, and global warming will come, not slowly, decade by decade, by year by year. The global system will implode from the tensions created by the different factors of land, climate, resources, hunger and disease bashing into each other. The ecosystem is a system. The social system is a system. The economic system is a system. They usually, until a hundred years ago, operated in sync with each other. Not anymore.
Now, the system gears are not meshing; the economic system, capitalism, is clashing with the ecosystem. The social/religious system is clashing with the ecosystem and the economic system. When the clashes get more impactful a civilization collapses. We are now past the tipping point, and we can’t contain the contradictions that the clashes are symptoms of. There is a momentum to all of this, and it is increasing with each year and decade.
This is why it is highly unlikely that mankind will voluntarily curtail population growth and curtail consumer consumption. When people get scared and/or confused, and the political and religious fanaticism these days evidences that fear and/or confusion, they generally find their comfort zone in doing what have been doing. They resist change.
The current global political system, nation states and the U.N. resist change. We have to change and the system works against it. The current answer to cries for change by progressives is the silence of the masses. That silence will not last. It is based on denial of the population crisis. Before long the clash and crash of the systems will trigger great, loud cries for salvation. These cries will fall on the deaf ears of a drugged God.
It will take three major changes to stop the momentum. First, the people in the developed world will have to limit consumption drastically. Second, the people in the developing world will have to stop wanting to develop and consume more resources. Third, everyone in the world of child-bearing age will have to cease having unprotected sex, using one or another form of birth control other than the rhythm system. Abortion will have to become legal and affordable and socially acceptable everywhere in the world. Wake up. You’re dreaming.
The world is not ready to become the world it has to be to prevent economic/ecological disaster from happening, assuming it is not too late already. The political process is not geared to respond to the clash of the systems. All political systems resist change. Even if the political will was there, globally, to do those three things, and it is not only not there, but it is, on some levels, moving in the opposite direction. The internal contradictions grow greater, not fewer and lesser.
It saddens me to be on the brink of despair about the plight of mankind. Being full of hope feels good, but that feeling is an emotional luxury I can no longer afford. The four horsemen of the apocalypse have saddled up, they have mounted, and are ready to roll. As has been said, it is the middle of the ninth inning; mankind is ahead; but nature bats last.
Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia
TREASURES & TREATS
Bruce McEwen is a treasure! I enjoyed his biography by Steve Sparks. Don't ever lose him. I think we could use his observations in Washington DC.
And thanks to Via Keller (in her Steve Sparks interview) for recommending Susan Trotts “The Holy Man” — damn good read.
Thanks to all of you for a bit of sane literature in these insane times!
All the best,
Elizaville, New York
ABANDON ALL HOPE
Letter to the Editor:
The fact is that nobody has written a letter to the editor to challenge Lee Simon's pessimistic predictions. Should we take heart that the readers of his last four letters agree about the reality that confronts our world?
As one who agrees with Mr. Simon, I wish to assure him (in his April 21, 2010, letter to the AVA) that I stopped “living in hope” many years ago — particularly after the absurdities of the 60s, culminating in the atrocity of the Vietnam war!
I truly owe Studs Terkel's Chicago radio interviews a lot in the art of questioning authority! Two prior guiding lights were Henry David Thoreau and B. Traven’s books — especially one statement in one of his “jungle books” when he has one of the peons say, “There are no saviors; we have to save ourselves!”
That says it all: abandon hope!
Americans are poor losers. They would rather die than give up the “American dream.”
All bets are off!
A faraway ghost town in Michigan
PS. People here in Michigan are serious when they tell me they could not live without their cars. They are still debating in the state legislature whether to make it illegal to use a cellphone while driving. Last summer I witnessed just such a death at a four-way intersection.
PPS. The very least we can do is to be honest to the young who will have to carry the burden of our obscene debt.
Lions Club members Christine Clark and Judy Long just arrived back from one of the most successful eye clinics in our history. 1001 eyeglasses were dispensed to the community of Teziutlan. We were picked up in Puebla by local Teziutlan Lions Club members and loaded into a large bus. There were four doctors and a technician: no seatbelts, five cases of cerveza — singing Mexicans and a two-hour drive! Needless to say, the ride was exciting! We survived and were ready to go the next morning.
We were able to dispense 1001 glasses due to donations of your old glasses to the Lions Club. Thank you! When we receive your glasses they get shipped to Vallejo for prescription verification, cleaning, repairing and packaging for the next eye clinic. Your old glasses that are hidden away mean sight for someone somewhere. So please dig them out and get them to any Lions Club member. Thanking you in advance.
AS MENDO GOES, SO GOES FORT BRAGG
Letter to the Editor:
The city of Fort Bragg should be hiring police officers instead of laying them off. I understand that six city personnel have been laid off including one police officer. City employees have taken a 3% pay reduction and I commend them for that. Spending cuts are necessary in this economy. However, the last item to consider cutting should be public safety. This is priority number one according to our Constitution.
I suggest the City Council look at the annual salaries of the governors of Alaska (population 686,293): $125,000; Idaho (population 1,523,816): $110,000; Texas (population 24,326,974): $150,000; and Vermont (population 621,270): $142,542.
Compare these to the Fort Bragg City manager (population 7,000) at $130,095.51.
Then there is the Assistant City Manager at $65,392.52. The Administrative Secretary to the City Manager at $39,410.20. Administrative Secretary to the Executive Office at $39,410.20. Administrative Secretary for Emergency Services at $39,410.20. City Clerk at $65,392.52. Director of Community Development at $79,650.73. City Engineer at $61,054.01. Director/City Treasurer at $79,650.73. Finance Tech I at $35,518.41. Government Accountant I at $47,592.26. Senior Government Accountant at $58,603.54. Senior Planner at $57,249.84.
These are starting salaries. A total of $668,340.96 for city management for a town with a population of 7000 and a high percentage of residents who are near or below the poverty level.
It is a shame that residents of this beautiful city live in fear, their homes being vandalized and burglarized. We have panhandlers and gangs (terrorists) — and the city is laying off police officers!
City Council: you are responsible for our safety and we hold you accountable. Please do not jeopardize our well-being by laying off the people who protect us — our police officers! Why should we need to put bars on our windows and doors, buy guns, or any other numerous private remedies to make us feel safe when the underlying problem still exists? We have to find the resources to hire more police officers who will put our safety first. Unfortunately we are taxed to the limit, cutting spending is our only solution.
The City Council's public safety committee meets at the police station conference room on the second Wednesdays of each month at 3pm. Attend and let them know you're concerned and/or your ideas on how to keep us safe.
If you haven't already seen Bernard Bertolucci's film “1900,” I highly recommend it.
It was made in 1977 about the struggle in Italy between fascism and socialism between 1900 and 1945.
It stars Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Burt Lancaster, Sterling Hayden and mostly Italians in minor roles.
In one scene, Depardieu's character “Olmo” says, “Listen to me comrades. Fascists don't spring up like mushrooms all in one night. No. Fascists are the padrone's offspring; inventions of the padrone.”
On 60 Minutes recently they had a story about the mafia. I got to thinking how similar to the mafia our government has become. We constantly hear how wonderful gambling is from our government since they get a cut from all the different gambling operations going on. They used to say how addictive it was and that it was taking the food out of the mouths of babes, when it was mostly illegal.
I am not against gambling, but the government should not be saying how wonderful it is and promoting it.
Then there’s loan sharking. We now have all these payday loan stores which will loan you money at 300-400% interest which is a lot. But that’s mostly a service charge for making a small transaction $200 to $300. There is nothing wrong with this as it is mostly people’s own fault for this continually having to borrow to pay off the last loan.
When the mafia does this, it’s a crime. When our government allows it, it’s fine.
Then we have extortion where someone paid the mafia off for protection from them or anyone else. Every election, the campaign contributions grow up and up. If a company, union, pension fund, etc. doesn’t fork over the big bucks in campaign contributions, they don’t get the big perks that can lead to disaster for the non-contributors.
That’s extortion and government has the gall to call it Freedom of Speech. The people who are giving the campaign funds are committing bribery, but it wouldn’t happen if politicians did not take any campaign funds.
Politicians even brag about extorting campaign funds. Because protection and drugs are illegal, the mafia makes money on them. Two consenting adults making a deal that affects only them (with regulation) is not a crime. Campaign contributions by all the enforcers — police, courts, prisons and prison guards, etc. — make for good paying jobs. Keep these a crime.
My suggestion is that Mendocino County be the first government area to eliminate campaign contributions. We have all kinds of organizations such as the League of Women Voters, American Legion, Lions Clubs, and a long list of community organizations to sponsor these debates. Many have halls and government property is available. Newspapers and other media could print one time the qualifications and views of all candidates. The cost to all would be little. It should be voluntary and a chance to practice real democracy.
And if it doesn’t work, we could always go back to extortion and bribery.
HOW TO AVOID CENSORSHIP
Re: Eureka Capt. Buhne, AKA Ryan Hurley: I totally agree with the Captain about the AVA’s print-edition format. It works as well as invisible ink to slip past the morons and over-worked censors.
PS. By the way, is there any chance Captain Buhne is related to the Captain from Half Moon Bay who used to grace your letters page?
ANOTHER GREAT SHOW
The Anderson Valley Unity Club’s Garden Section would like to thank everyone who made the 2010 Wildflower Show another success. We had very good weather for the show, with attendance slightly down. Most attendee’s were from Mendocino county. Thank you 7th Grade Science classes for the excellent Youth Development posters,
We wish to thank the following for raffle donations: Celeri & Son of Fort Bragg, Ludwig’s Tin Man Nursery, Oak Valley Nursery of Ukiah, Safeway, The Garden Shop, The Pot Shop, WalMart, Sue Hopkins, Wally Hopkins, Robyn Harper, Liz Dusenberry, Robin Lindsey, Sue Davies, Eileen Pronsolino, Christine Clark, Beverly Dutra, Mary Pat Palmer, Joanie Clark, Patricia Beverly, Val Muchowski, Alice Bonner, Judy Basehore, Grace Espinoza, and Linda Wiley.
Thank you to Shirley Hulbert, Gloria and Sharon Abbott for the delicious food served in the tearoom.
We wish to thank the following people who helped our club members with collections, identification, raffle, set up or cleanup: Peter Warner, Lynn Halpern, Jessica Savage, Bill Harper, Wally Hopkins, Chris Sowers, Austin Hulbert, Scott Hulbert, and Sandra Nimmons. Thank you to the fairgrounds staff for all their help.
Thank you to Robert Rosen and the AV Brewery for allowing us to put our banners advertising our event on their fences.
AV Unity Garden Section
Susan Hopkins, Chairman
AT LEAST SURVIVAL
To The Editor:
It is unfortunate at a time when we are all struggling to find solutions to our common problems, that we get the kind of haranguing rants by John Hendricks (Utopia it ain't, etc. UDJ), who has apparently taken it upon himself to be the local voice of conservatism, decrying the so-called evils of “socialism.” Such divisive screeds are a disservice to our community, our democracy, and true conservatism. Rather, we need calm, reasonable, and firm voices such as, on a national level, Thom Hartmann, Wendell Berry, and John Ikerd.
We have always had a mixed economy of both capitalism and socialism, as has the European industrial nations. America and England, especially beginning with Reagan and Thatcher, has leaned to the capitalist side... Europe to the socialist side. Finding the right mix for the right times has always been the democratic struggle among industrialized nations. And socialism has always been, and will always be, a part of that mix. Deal with it.
Unfortunately, American-style economics has been converted by neo-conservative ideology into a highly-destructive form of capitalism called oligarchic, monopoly corporatism. We've swung way too far to the right, and it is now our job as democratic citizens and political representatives to repair the damage and get us back to a more fair economy.
As for me, I hope we swing way too far to the socialist side and recover our humanity, our social safety net, and a conserving way of life in the process. We may never reach our personal utopias, but for sure, the future will reward survival of the cooperative.
Have you noticed? You don't hear the Republican leadership yelling, “Drill, Baby, Drill” anymore.
Imagine going into Surf Super Market or Gualala Supermarket and being told you owe them money because you might buy something in the future!
Not only once but year after year they demand more and more money because someday you may buy something.
Crazy isn't it?
Unfortunately this is exactly what “Proposed ordinance #2010-1 of Gualala Community Services District” demands.
When someone takes from you and gives you nothing that is theft, and on this scale it is Grand Theft.
If you read the last sentence of the ordinance it negates any return whatsoever and “reserves the right to review and revise the forgoing rates at any time by ordinance and to amend the ordinance as necessary.”
In other words we give ourselves a blank check and zero accountability or any even a suggestion of a return, only a threat of higher theft amounts to come!
If you have any doubts who wrote the ordinance look at the commercial rate compared to residential rate for water.
Page two specifically states under exceptions (b.) “The aggregate company will be charged a flat rate of $130 per month.”
What a sweet heart “exception”! — a yearly gallon total for “The” aggregate company should be published!
But more importantly why is the biggest user of water in a town getting a bill so ridiculously low it is in the residential single family rate level despite a ban on new hook ups due to the scarcity of summer water?
Our paid representatives and the hopeful should address these issues now.
Here in Gualala the poorer people were able to build a community with modest homes of working families.
But for 20 years actions like this have whittled away at who could afford living here.
Everyone knows the multiple families shoved into one home merely to survive yet the GCSD apparently feels it is the wealthy businessman who needs monetary relief.
Worse, they are taking the money from the working poor to subsidize the rich.
The Depression going full bore and all they can think to do is reward them selves by taking it from the poor.
Representatives need to step up to the issues.
1. Who's water is it ?
2. Who's water is it in low flows?
3. Will the aggregate company use water in low flows?
4. Why the sweetheart deal stinking of impropriety?
5. Since GCSD has been talking sewer for 20 years why shouldn't we get individual accounts with proper interest paid in case it never comes?
6. Why a final sentence that negates any responsibility for anything or promise of public benefit? Why do you deserve a blank check in the middle of a depression?
7. Why meeting times when most workers are still working?
Unfortunately we live in a rich area where ambulances sleep in mansions and firemen make 3-4 times the average income of the rest of us, where extra fees, and additional assessments are standardly passed by people who can't imagine not having the money. Think about it.
The Working Poor
As I grow older, if not wiser, the truths of ageless cliches become increasingly appealing. “Occam’s Razor” suggests that life is much easier if you select the simplest of several alternatives, rather than dither endlessly over their relative merits. In modern parlance the “KISS” motto urges us to “Keep It Simple Stupid!” — advice I often take while pondering the state of affairs.
Now, it is readily apparent to the casual observer and inquiring scientists alike that America is seriously addicted to lifestyle choices that are both unhealthy and nationally dangerous. From the recent study that over 40% of eligible youths are not sufficiently fit to serve in the military, to the still unexplained epidemic of diabetes, particularly among the young. The food industry has fought to avoid any government research into the effects of high fructose corn syrup as a substitute for sugars of the traditional sort.
The use of this sweetener in every imaginable food product, from soft drinks and the new “energy” beverages, to baked gods and canned goods, is aggravated by the super hype advertising for junk foods in general, and sweets in particular.
In recent years it has become big business to sell bottled water, in reaction to tests showing that most municipal water is polluted at best and potentially toxic over long use. Rather than working to improve the purity of tap water, America has opted to create another high profit private industry, based on the failure of society to provide a safe water supply. We shun public transportation while our streets and freeways slowly degenerate into high or low speed traffic jams at all hours. Any car with less than six cylinders is considered infantile and any truck with less than four hundred cubic inches of engine and torque enough to pull tree stumps is un-American.
Meanwhile, we go broke from the costs of a sickly populace, our energy deficits and the inescapable costs of wars, past and current, not to mention arming for the future. Either the government cuts spending on programs that are the basic contract with the people, or increase revenue drastically. Meaning taxes.
I suggest that we overhaul our entire tax system to put the costs of our bad habits on the victims. Tax cars and trucks on the basis of engine size and fuel use, combined with air pollution fees to make driving gas guzzling muscle cars an expensive habit. Tax beverages on their calories and threats from certain ingredients found to pose health risks. The same for prepared foods and fast food items that contribute to the obesity and Diabetes epidemics. If people want drugs, including alcohol, collect taxes to pay for the rehab costs. To reduce gun violence, tax ammunition. Prostitution? Collect a room tax per customer.
The short and simple of it is to decide what’s good and what’s bad, then tax the hell out of the bad and use the money to solve the problems we face.
Travis T. Hip
HOW ABOUT A SLAUGHTERHOUSE, DAVE?
Dear Supervisor Colfax;
I am writing you to ask for your support in allowing a USDA certified meat processing facility to be built in Mendocino County.
Before my time, as you probably know, when my parents first came to this County they found themselves in the sheep business rather by accident because the 1000-acre sheep ranch that they bought to establish a winery already had sheep on it. When I was a young child they decided that they didn't want to be in the sheep industry anymore because they were too busy making and selling wine and they were losing money with the sheep. In the 1970s they decided that they were going to stop the use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides in the vineyards. This greatly increased the amount of fossil fuel that Navarro Vineyards used in the vineyard because of increased tractor use, but it was a trade off they decided was still environmentally sound.
Six years ago, I returned from college and started using a flock of specialized sheep that could be used to mow, sucker and hedge the vineyards for almost 10 months of the year. We now have a heard of approximately 300 sheep that we not only use to keep the weeds at bay in the vineyard but also to limit fire danger by reducing the vegetation on the other 900 acres of ranch. I am currently in the process of starting up a goat and sheep dairy in Boonville which will be attached to a winery facility. We are hoping to sell the cheese direct to consumers from our farm. By producing this value added product, we hope to be able to sustain a successful business that will employ six or more employees in years to come.
Right now I cannot justify producing commercial meat because the closest USDA-inspected slaughterhouse is just too distant. Currently I would have to make an over 100-mile trip not just once to deliver the animal, but a second time so that I can pick up the meat. In practical terms that means I would have to slaughter my entire lamb crop at one time to make the long trip worthwhile. Even if I could do that, it means I would have to market my entire lamb crop at a single time and have no fresh product for repeat customers later in the year. Our local grocery stores as well as many of our local restaurants have shown extreme interest in my meat. Studies have shown (MWWC joint market study) that our tourists are looking for locally produced products and often can't find them.
I am currently working on plans for the creamery sales area which will include a commercial kitchen. Without the ability to turn my crop into a value added product, I might as well erase that section of the plan. Sonoma County is filled with dairies and they have grain suppliers, dairy mechanics and hay dealers all readily available to them. Why would you want to farm in Mendocino when it's so much cheaper to farm in Sonoma County? If Mendocino county farmers were able to process their meat here, they would finally have a tangible competitive advantage.
As someone who raises their own farm animals, I am sure that you realize that it is more humane for animals not to have to travel all day to be slaughtered. With a local processing plant we would be able to process our animals in small batches and provide fresh meat to our local restaurants and stores who would no longer have to buy from mega-producers or even worse, buy lamb that is shipped half way around the world. We would be able to produce value added meat products and sell them directly to customers, increasing the viability of our operation. Building a local meat processing plant is not only going to help the ranchers and farmers, it will help the restaurants, the butcher shops, and all the industries, including tourists that support our farms.
Thanks for your consideration.
Sarah Cahn Bennett, Co-owner
Navarro Vineyards & Pennyroyal Farms
BIG THIEVES & LITTLE THIEVES
I spent last Tuesday watching on and off the 11-hour interrogation by a Senate subcommittee of the Goldman Sachs executives about their actions with the various exotic securities and lack of disclosure to their clients that they were fobbing off to these customers. It was quite a show.
Senator Carl Levin seems to be very knowledgeable about the securities and was relentless in his questions of these snake oil salesmen. They in turn could not give a straight answer to even a simple question but rather were double speaking, hemming and hawing and seemed to be totally unaware of what ethical behavior is.
If these sharks are typical of Wall Street salespeople God save the investing public.
There was one hilarious exchange when Senator Ensign — of all people — was questioning them about their ethics. There is a lesson here: if you are hungry and steal a loaf of bread you go to jail — if you work for Goldman Sachs and engage in unethical behavior you get a 10,000 square foot house in Connecticut, five cars, membership in a country club and a vacation in southern France
James G. Updegraff