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March 26-April 2, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

Moth-Economy Link

I THINK that there are three very important issues that you missed in your article on the light brown apple moth (LBAM) ("Invasive Procedure," Cover Story, March 12). These are the human, the environmental and the economic toll this aerial spraying has taken.

Over 643 people have the money or insurance to have a medical report made to document their reaction to the spray. How many more were sick but were unable to see a doctor and file a report? I personally talked with several people who had acute respiratory inflammation for weeks after the first day of the spray, and one almost died of pneumonia. How many died from diseases infecting weakened respiratory and immune systems? We will never know.

What about the environmental degradation such as massive bird kills, water contamination and other dead wildlife which are not being monitored or evaluated?

And how about the economic devastation due to the crash of tourism, real estate and many other businesses that rely on people coming to California because it has a desirable environment? I have met many people in the last few months who have said that visitors are canceling their appointments and reservations due to the threat of future spraying. Some people are selling their homes or moving out of Santa Cruz and Monterey because their doctors have told them that they will be dead if they don't.

These are just some of the costs that we will pay if they continue to spray us with these toxic, untested chemicals. I think the above issues and the recent letter to the editor by Joyce Keller (Letters, March 12) would be a good outline for your next story on LBAM. Please cover these very important real issues as well as just the disputed impact of LBAM on agriculture.

Drew Lewis, Santa Cruz

Asking for trouble

THE NATURAL predators of the LBAM were killed off in Australia and New Zealand due to chemical pesticide use. That's what happens when we start messing with Mother Nature. There will always be some pest that can do crop damage. Chemicals are not the answer and never have been. When will we learn from past mistakes such as Malathion, DDT, mercury, lead, organophosphates, etc.?

We are going to be in big trouble if we continue to use pesticides when there are no more bees, bats, birds and the natural predators to these insects which keeps everything going and in check.

CheckMate is the end of the game. Let's not play.

 Marilyn Madden, Santa Cruz

Hats Off

THANKS for the well covered/written moth article. Reassuring to hear facts, time lines and intelligent response.

 Evelyn Bernstein, Soquel

The People's Bill

THANK YOU for this article providing such a detailed look behind the scenes and at the deeper causes of the moth issue. However, you state that four bills have been introduced into the California Assembly, completely overlooking that there has been a fifth bill: A.B. 2892 Voter Consent by Assemblymember Sandre Swanson (Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont). A.B. 2892 would require the secretary of Food and Agriculture to obtain the consent of two-thirds of the registered voters of the cities and counties affected by applications of pesticide if the pest eradication zone includes any urban areas.

Completely off the media's radar, this is the people's bill! While the four bills introduced by Assemblymembers Laird, Leno, Hancock and Huffman strengthen the public's right to be informed and restrict the powers of unelected officials, Assemblymember Swanson's bill recognizes the basic human rights of the people of California to have a say in an issue so intimate to our biological being and our environment, and is delivering on the call for consent by the more than 12,000 signers of the petition hosted by

Please correct this error and give this legislation the exposure it deserves. Next time an invasive species comes around and has to be eradicated we might not be so lucky to have science on our side. Who decides what price is acceptable to pay in human and environmental health? This is the real question that goes unreported.

Isabelle Jenniches, Soquel

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