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June 24-July 1, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Big Fish Tale

YOUR STORY "Big Fish" (Currents, June 17) contains glaring errors that further confuse this complex issue. I am a member of Santa Cruz County's Fish and Game Advisory Commission and I'm also a conservation activist for three organizations. The statements made about forestry regulation are wrong. The rules that Big Creek Lumber and every other logging interest in this county follow are the same, and they are not voluntary. The 50 percent canopy cover rule on intermittent streams now applies across the entire state, and the proposal is not for 85 percent but instead is actually less. Width would be determined by slope steepness and other factors. I've looked at the temperature data you apparently refer to. It was collected as a condition of Regional Water Quality Control Board permits required of logging plans. It shows higher temperatures downstream, according to the Regional Board, though few useful conclusions can be drawn from it. As for the claims made about the condition of coho salmon, it is alarming to see such incorrect statements coming from a scientist for NOAA. Last winter the coho recovery project on Scott Creek captured only three male fish at their weir, not "30 to 40," which would itself still be a dangerously low number. The breeding female coho came from fresh water captivity in a tank at the NOAA lab at Terrace Point. In the winter of '07-'08 coho crashed across the entire state and very few showed up in Scott Creek or anywhere else. Scott Creek is not the only place coho survive. They are also in Waddell, San Vincente and Laguna, according to recent records. NOAA surveyors and other scientists found juvenile coho in the San Lorenzo River in 2005 and in Soquel Creek in 2008. In 2008 the site densities in Soquel Creek were higher than in Scott Creek.

These fish need a group of adjacent watersheds as healthy habitat so they can survive catastrophic events. They are not going to survive based solely upon a fish hatchery on Scott Creek. These desperate measures will not succeed unless these fish can repopulate several county steams with healthy numbers. This is possible, but it will not happen without vigorous habitat protection rules that everyone from logging companies to homeowners follow.

 Kevin Collins,


Peak Reading Experience

THANK YOU so much for publishing the piece on Transition theory and peak oil ("It's the End of the World As We Know It," Cover Story, June 17). It's time the world wakes up, and it's going to take publications such as yours to start the ball rolling.

Margret Raines,
Tallahassee, Fla.

Well Done

THANKS FOR the great piece about Transitioning. It was informative and clearly written.

Anina Marcus,

An Un-Fairy Tale

IT IS VERY interesting to hear peak oil believers start their own communities and actually get something done. I believe that Washington will give us no help in this matter, and I'm going to try to get my small town to actually begin thinking about it. We have a small group of people who I think would be the leaders. However, to get the populace to go along with us will be kind of like the Three Little Pigs story--they will only believe when it starts blowing down around them. Any help would be appreciated.

Jerry Grabarek,
Preston, Conn.

MediVac Shenanigans?

IN THE LAST few weeks there have been two accident reports and a stabbing where the victims were taken by helicopter to another county trauma center--fairly routine, in that people who are gravely wounded or torn up must be flown to a highly responsive trauma team. Trouble is that these injuries as reported were hardly "life-threatening." In the last decade this combat-style Air MediVac is called upon almost as standard ambulances. Every day there are two or three birds flying out of Dominican with victims who have minor injuries.

I guess someone really likes to use these helivacs so much they aren't going to wait for the severely injured victims to come around. There has to be an explanation why this helivac is so common now. I have narrowed it to three possibilities: (1) Dominican has reduced its emergency room capabilities to the point it's a first aid station with a helicopter referral desk; (2) air pollution and food additives have made people frail and weak so bruises and sprains must be treated as life-threatening; (3) groups of physicians invest in the helivac coppers so attending friend doctors are authorizing plenty of the $1,600-a-pop flights. Kind of an inside deal with docs helping fellow docs get returns for their investments.

The unnecessary flights are costing insurance companies and the county social services millions, and that's passed on down to you and I in increased rates. Physicians authorizing unnecessary air evacuations? It's gotta be either abuse of public trust or just plain dishonesty.

Theodore F. Meyer III,
Santa Cruz


THE GEORGE W. Bush administration had eight years to make things right, but screwed everything up (lying to the U.N. and the American people and propagating the Iraq War). Now the American people want to make sure the world opinion of our country is mended. Please take your Halliburton and Brown & Root stock profits from the Iraq War and shut up!

Lee E. Tolbert,

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