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July 22-29, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

No Such Thing As 'Typical'

I WAS GRATEFUL to see an article about the homeless and their plight ("Down by the River," Cover Story, July 15); however, I was incensed to read a so-called specialist assigned to Watsonville, Georgina Ibarra, making such an ignorant generalization as, "There's your typical alcoholics." I wonder if Ms. Ibarra has any training in dealing with the disease of addiction, from alcohol and other drugs to violence and thrill-seeking to any other form of obsession or compulsion. From her comments I really rather doubt it.

My name is John Morris and I grew up in La Selva Beach and graduated from Watsonville High in '63, Cabrillo College in '66, the United States Army in '69, Fresno State in '72, and the University of San Francisco with a graduate degree in Counseling in '85. I have been a surf bum, lumberjack, waiter and busboy, front desk clerk, lifeguard, swim instructor, kayak and canoe instructor, decorated Army Officer, award-winning classroom teacher, championship-winning coach and a very rewarded counselor by the students coming back five to 10 years later to see me and introduce me to their families and tell me about their recovery from addiction and thanking me for planting the seed of the possibility for recovery from addiction.

And take note, Ms. Ibarra, as I am a typical alcoholic-addict. I celebrated my 15th year of sobriety this month by the grace of God, and I continue to learn how to be a good person by practicing the spiritual principles of a program I believe was also a gift, unasked for and undeserved. So, do I fit in your narrow definition of a "typical alcoholic"? I sure do, as far as the AMA and the National Council on Alcoholism is concerned. Most alcoholics are very intelligent people and have received degrees and certifications after high school. These are all published statistics but us guys involved in recovery knew these anyway. All alcoholics are very sensitive and hurt very easily, don't heal well and work very hard at not getting resentments, as they are the number one offender in an alcoholic picking up a drink again.

I could keep going on for hours as I have the lessons for the classes I taught in a continuation school for years to our population of alcoholics and addicts, which was usually about 80 percent of our student population, but I really want to have this letter published so this information is out there for all to see. If anyone is interested in this type of information I will give the Santa Cruz Weekly my phone number, and if you ask them for it, they have my permission to give it out. If any of you out there want to keep right on drinking and drugging, more power to you. That's your business. However, if you want to stop drinking and drugging, that's my business and I would be happy to share with you how it is done.

John Morris,
La Selva Beach

Arnold Not Above The Law

CONTRACTS are enforceable. If in fact California accepted $286,000,000 (or any amount) from the Land and Water Conservation Fund in exchange for agreeing never to close the parks ("Double Trouble," Currents, July 15), then that's a done deal. Any court in the country would say, "Sorry, Governator, that's illegal and you can't do it. You'll have to think of something else instead." It's not only that violating this one contract might put future federal funding at risk. The Governator is just as subject to the law as the rest of us, and I can't see the Sierra Club and other such groups, most of which have litigation funds, letting Schwarzenegger violate this substantial contract because the parks look like easy victims. Maybe closing the parks would save money, maybe it would lose it. But how much would defending that mammoth class action suit cost the state? That cost would have to be factored into the already uncertain equation: if closing the parks would save money, the cost of defending a class-action lawsuit would have to be subtracted from the money saved, if any.

Deanna Beeler,

Of Saltwater and Solar

FRED GEIGER has valid points about UCSC and local politics ("Desal and Democracy," Bullhorn, July 1). As far as his idea of running the proposed desalination plant on solar-generated electricity, I don't know if that is feasible. The reverse osmosis process uses a lot of electricity to force seawater through a membrane. Santa Cruz is not an ideal spot to situate a solar electric facility large enough to power a desalination plant. I don't know if it is possible to have your power bill payments go only to sustainable sources, but the actual electrical current we use on the coast is mostly generated at Moss Landing, using very modern, natural gas turbines--a pretty clean generator compared to other fossil fuel sources.

Don Dibble's letter ("Worth Our Salt," Posts, July 8) suggesting that we use solar electric electrolysis to produce hydrogen and oxygen from the brine produced from desalination, and then burn the hydrogen and oxygen to produce water and use the heat to dry the brine, borders on the mechanics of perpetual motion machines.

There is some research that suggests it may be technically possible to produce hydrogen from seawater using electrolysis, with wind, wave power or solar as the power source. There are many technical issues to be overcome, such as, using seawater instead of pure water to make hydrogen produces compounds of hydrogen, oxygen, alkalis, chlorine and others. The byproducts are sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or sodium hydroxide (Drano).

There are often circumstances that limit growth. UCSC brings a lot of money into our city and uses a lot of resources. Water, sewage treatment and safe infrastructure are becoming more and more valuable. Maybe those resources aren't being priced accurately.

Craig Cheatham,
Santa Cruz

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