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August 19-26, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Desal Talk A Waste

LET US put the desal process in the right context. The message from the Water Districts ("Desal and the Public Process,"Posts, Aug. 5) completely sidesteps the issue of adapting ourselves to a changed climate condition.

The state has just issued the 2009 Climate Adaptation Strategy Report, which summarizes the tremendous cost of global warming to all of us here at home. The report makes it clear that we must reduce dramatically greenhouse gases and we must take all steps possible to avoid any new activities that make the problem worse. So Reduce and Avoid are the two imperatives that form the core of the strategy.

But instead of Reduce and Avoid, the solons who run our water agencies are proposing just the opposite--increase water supply through desalination. The desalination process consumes a huge amount of electricity to run the sea water through the filters, to pump the filtered water to the treatment center, to pump the water all the way from Santa Cruz to Soquel, and pump all the brine residue from the desalination process to the sewage treatment plant and then out to the ocean. A huge amount of electricity will be used to do all this filtering and pumping, and the creation of the necessary electricity will create more greenhouse gases. This is not Reduce and Avoid, it is just the opposite.

Even though we are in the third year of drought, we are living quite happily with the current mandatory conservation measures that have reduced consumption by over 15 percent without causing any appreciable difficulty on anyone. So much more conservation is possible without significantly harming anyone. Conserved water is free water. There is no cost to it and it fits the mandate to Reduce and Avoid further damage to our environment and all the costs associated with that damage. If we do not follow the Reduce and Avoid path, we will have to bear the huge cost increase of desal plus the increased cost of environmental damage.

Let's get with the program, Santa Cruz and Soquel Water Districts. Stop wasting huge sums on a plan that runs counter to the state's strategy and that will ultimately run into huge popular opposition.

Aldo Giacchino,
Santa Cruz

Real Investment at Mobile Home Park

IT'S STRANGE that the Capitalist Mr. Jason Nelson ("That's Capitalism, Folks,"Posts, Aug. 12) is unfamiliar with the Income Approach to establishing market value for a commercial property. When investors buy mobile home parks, they usually do so at a price less than the land would bring for some other use, precisely because it is priced by the income it brings in and the restrictions inherent in the business, such as rent control. The Sea and Surf residents aren't asking Mr. Reed to "do the compassionate Christian thing,"they are asking them to sell the park to them for the same price he would sell it to another park owner.

Gas stations are expected to clean up their mess when they go out of business and sell their land; same thing with mobile home parks. Mr. Reed can go out of the mobile home park business, and sell the land, but he has to do some "clean up"to do that. Mr. Nelson is very ill informed if he thinks the money the people have invested at Surf and Sand is just in the form of "landscaping, decks or upgrades to their mobile homes."They have invested major money for their entire home (which is not very mobile), and a leasehold interest in the lot it sits on. They each have probably invested somewhere near or over $200,000 each and he wants to compensate them $3,000? On top of that, he is removing affordable housing from the community, and in a coastal area, the Mello Act says he has to replace that. That's the cost of doing business, Mr. Nelson, something Capitalists encounter in this country all the time.

Velia Anderson,
Santa Cruz

The Braying of The Boors

I KNOW there are boorish clods sprinkled throughout the county. I just didn't know they would all show up at San Farr's Townhall Meeting in Live Oak this last Monday. And as lesser-informed clods do best, they yell and make barnyard noises without knowing the true facts on a matter, i.e., the costs and repercussions of health care reform.

Congressman Farr was gracious and community-minded enough to hold this meeting and present himself to answer questions. To shout accusations at him as if he alone was going to enact health reform only served to contaminate intelligent discussion with barnyard yodeling. Mr. Farr has one vote in one committee: he consistently votes in the interests of his constituency.

The root of the problem, whether one is pro or con on health care reform is the incredulous greed and corrupt pricing by the medical service and pharmaceutical providers. Ya gotta love 'em, they know they have a commodity which people are forced to pay for: to survive one will pay anything. So the pharmaceutical companies, Blue Cross, etc., exploit this to its highest degree. It is larceny, nothing else: shrewd layers allow the larceny to continue. Price for reform for the health care industry will eliminate much of government assistance.

Theodore F. Meyer,
Santa Cruz

Nix Vick

PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Philadelphia Eagles have chosen to sign a man who hanged dogs from trees, electrocuted them with jumper cables, held them underwater until they drowned in his swimming pool and even threw his own family dogs into the fighting pit to be torn to shreds while he laughed.

As one person said, if a teacher had been convicted of these crimes, would you want him teaching your kids? Michael Vick and the Eagles are now teaching a nation full of kids that if you're elite enough, you can do whatever you want without long-term consequences.

Vick should count himself lucky that he gets a chance to be "rehabilitated,"when most pit bulls who have survived the hell that he put his dogs through are too crushed and torn to shreds--physically and spiritually--to ever have a chance at a "normal"life again. PETA hopes that Vick has learned his lesson and is remorseful for his crimes--but since he's given no public indication that that's the case, only time will tell. To learn more, visit

Ingrid Newkirk
President, PETA

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