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March 25-April 1, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Progressive Sighting

RIGHT ON, Mark Weller (Letters, March 18). What a relief, and amazement, to see an actual progressive in Santa Cruz. A rare sighting, indeed, these days. Thanks for your informational letter.

Former progressives have now become developer hand puppets in many cases. Sad to see, for sure.

It is truly sad to see a city that bills itself as progressive dismiss labor issues as they do and swallow every misguided project these folks can come up with.

I've got a real cool idea for the Canfields. Wouldn't it be interesting to install an indoor, heated saltwater pool on the Boardwalk?

The miniature golf course seems like a good spot for such a project.

I'm just suggestin'. It might be popular with the old timers. 

 Buzz Daly,
Santa Cruz


Curb Your Dogma!

WHILE attempting a short morning walk (recovering from surgery) I was accosted in Lighthouse Field by self-appointed dog-leash vigilantes.

In pain, I had let my dog off leash and called my doctor when two women asked innocently, "Is that your dog?" Then they attacked, demanding I call my dog, threatening to call the ranger for breaking the law. I asked them to stop yelling so I could call my dog. I explained my medical situation again. They stood closer, arms crossed, staring me down.

Under their hawk-eyed gaze I leashed my dog and left. As they turned to go I collapsed in pain. Neither of them ever looked back. Laws first, compassion later? Moving back here after 20 years I am saddened to find this town so changed.

Naomi Woldemar,
Santa Cruz

The Meatout

LAST NOVEMBER, Californians enacted Proposition 2 requiring that animals raised for food be provided sufficient space to turn around and stretch their limbs.

Unfortunately, the new law does not prevent deprivation, mutilation, suffocation and other atrocities perpetrated in factory farms and slaughterhouses.

This is why I have joined Operation Prop 2 Follow-Through, which advocates a vegan (animal-free) diet ( The campaign has placed billboards and bus cards and coordinated massive leafleting and tabling in California's metropolitan areas. Its slogan is "You favored Prop 2--Now Go Vegan Too!"

This week, the campaign is getting a boost from the global observance of the Great American Meatout ( Now in its 25th year, Meatout has grown into the world's largest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Thousands of grassroots participants ask their friends and neighbors to welcome spring by kicking the meat habit and exploring a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Steven Alderson,
Santa Rosa

Clearcutting: Still A Bad Idea

WITH Earth Day just a month away, it is a good thing that the United Nations has set a goal to plant 7 billion trees by the end of this year. That's just over one tree per person on the planet.

But lest we not forget, over 1 million acres in the Sierra Nevada forest are scheduled to be clearcut by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), California's largest private forest landowners.

In a clearcut, all of the vegetation is removed. Intensive amounts of herbicides are applied to wipe out whatever manages to survive. Then the area is saturated with chemical fertilizers and planted with rows of evenly spaced, same-age, same species pine trees--monoculture tree farms that contain 90 percent fewer species than a natural forest.

These tree plantations are more susceptible to wildfires, and outbreaks of insects and disease. Old-growth forests which have evolved over thousands of years are resistant to pathogens.

Clearcutting is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, second only to the burning of fossil fuels.

Our taxpayer dollars are helping to fund clearcutting. Write your representatives in Congress and demand an end to this harmful practice.

An alternative to clearcutting and tree farms is selective harvesting, where only trees used for lumber production are removed. Selective harvesting when properly managed, preserves forest ecosystems and protects wildlife, does not degrade our water supply (60 percent of California's water supply comes from the Sierra Nevada) and can produce timber forever.

Justine Ashton,
Glen Ellen

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