Letters to the Editor
Whitman's Simplistic View
HAVE YOU heard the political radio ads that Meg Whitman has been airing on KPIG? Meg, as you may not know, is running for the Republican nomination for governor of California, and she has a solution to California's problems. Is the problem about jobs (after all, our unemployment rate is higher than the 10 percent nationwide average)? No. Certainly it is about health care, which is on everybody's mind? Nope. Perhaps it is about schools or libraries or closing parks? Nah. The problem is single mothers with a couple of children who are on welfare. Meg's solution is to limit the time that they can be on welfare from five to two years.
There you have it folks, the Republican level of consciousness.
Cyclists: The Real Enviros
I WAS delighted by Curtis Cartier's article sharing the benefits of the Arana Gulch path ("Long and Winding Path," Currents, March 3) and especially amused by Brocklebank's comment claiming that "Bicyclists are not environmentalists. They are usually only concerned with having places to ride." ?! Maybe someday we can honor bicyclists as the true environmental rock stars, cheering them on as they endure lethal traffic and auto fumes.
As a lifetime member of the Sierra Club, who sold my car to live in a more carbon-free way and greatly reduce my negative impact on the earth, I wonder if the person who made such a brash comment drives a fossil-fuel burner, only concerned about having a planet or Arana Gulch to enjoy for a few more years.
Arana suffers from years of minimal management. This plan will bring protection and habitat restoration, restoring the endangered tar plant, which needs stewardship and is threatened by invasive, nonnative grasses.
Similar to the bike path through the beautiful hills at UCSC, this greenbelt path will inspire us to get out our cars, move our bodies, ease our minds and connect with life-supporting nature. Children and people in wheelchairs will have easier access to this greenbelt. Bicycling may become natural for most errands.
Ultimately, with global climate change all around us and as our community becomes more car-congested and paved, we are all endangered; thus we need to invest in immediate infrastructure that gets humans out of our fossil-fuel burning vehicles and encourages people to nurture nature—as the Arana path does!
Cyclists: The Real Threat
I HAVE known people who ended up in the hospital by crashes, while walking, with a bike on the move. If they are dangerous to people, how much more so for the fragile wildlife that is trying to hold on in Arana Gulch? Basically Micah Posner ("Arana Path Would Connect More Than Streets," Bullhorn, March 3) said he believes in global warming. Unfortunately, due to the malfeasance of the scientists, it is back to go on collecting information about global warming other than the True Believers. So I won't automatically bow to people grabbing power based on the global warming scare. As Rahm Emanuel said about such power grabs, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Arana Gulch is a nice quiet neighborhood refuge for nature as we keep putting up houses on spare lots. Pretty soon the birds will leave us.
And yes, I think dogs should stay on leash in Arana Gulch for the same reason. I adore the dog beach and wish the hours had not been cut back. I think bikes should have something put on them to make a specific sound, as I think electric cars should be equipped with something that makes a sound. Silent and fast is not a good combination.
We know the politicians gave it to the bike people because they are the squeaky wheel.They are a vociferous group that are willing to take to the streets. I don't see people switching to bikes for travel partly because they need to shower once they arrive at work. The young people who bike are aggressive on the road, and as happens with joggers, the hormones that come into play when they are doing their thing makes them oblivious to dangers, which creates a danger to others. I do not see bikers engulfed with a hagiographic glow even though the bikers look in the mirror and see a halo.
People talk about getting back to nature with bikes but they aren't getting back to nature. They are speeding. They like the wind in their face. Let them ride the rollercoaster. They are contributing to the demise of quiet parks where California quail can raise their young. I met a poor little wild mammal trying to eke out a living in Arana. Terrorizing it with speeding bicycles will not help him survive and raise young. We betray our values by giving up our preserved areas for speedsters. If someone wants to get back to nature they should walk, or kayak. It is hypocritical to talk about "asphalt and speeding" in the same breath as "the environment."
I'D LIKE to differ with Jean Brocklebank's statement that "Bicyclists are not environmentalists" ("Long and Winding Path"). I quote from an article Published in Sierra, the Sierra Club magazine (March/April 2008), titled "Two-Wheeled Wonder."
"A surprising number of car trips could be easily made by bike. Nearly half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile. ... Most often they help us inhabit a small daily realm—'Errandsville'—defined by home, store, job and school."
It is clear to me that the Broadway-Brommer connector will encourage many shy cyclists to abandon their cars and use their bikes for travel in "Errandsville," leading to the obvious environmental benefits.
I FINALLY got around to reading Gil Stein's column ("Cut Israel a Break," Bullhorn, Feb. 24) and was horrified. It is a perfect example of what he, in his opening paragraph, claims to detest—namely, the propaganda, lies and half-truths so easily spread by contemporary media. Although there are no pure devils in the Israel-Palestine situation, Israel is very far from the saintly nation portrayed by Stein. I hope you will print a rebuttal column from an informed source. I am not up to the task of going through Stein's column and providing the countless factual and available references, but I'm sure there are people in this community who could and would gladly do so.
THERE WAS nothing written about the "Israel Lobby" in the Bullhorn by Gil Stein or the following letters, and I just wanted to say that here is an all-powerful force that makes and breaks presidents and just about every political office held in America. Support this lobby and Israel or die a slow political death. The book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007) makes it clear this lobby and the power driving it have no intentions of giving back any land and feel [they have a] God-given right to all land right up to the sea. The pressure to go after Saddam and/or Iran was ever present and our $3 billion gift of aid yearly adds to their stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Would a good ally have torpedoed a U.S. Navy spy ship during the six day war in 1967 and lie about their reasons? The shocking truth is in Body of Secrets by James Bamford.
It is simple to see that if one criticizes Israel in any way or even questions its behavior they are labeled an anti-Semite. With the Christian Evangelicals enamored with the second coming and Israel enamored with their tourist dollars, both await the other to convert religiously.
This tiny country actually controls our foreign policy and gets us to fight their dirty little wars and give them aid at the same time and political support for atrocities they commit against their neighbors in such a horrific fashion.
Sorry I cannot cut Israel a break.
Steve S. Rudzinski,
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