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October 1-8, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

Don't Roast, Compost

ONE PROBLEM about the plasmaArc incinerator ("Too Hot to Handle," News&Views, Sept. 24) I've not seen discussed is what "trash" they propose burning and its problems. Quite a few dedicated volunteers spend hundreds of hours a year keeping green waste out of the landfill by teaching people about composting. Others raise awareness about losing the lawn, native plantings for yards and other methods to reduce waste. One news article said few alternatives to burning waste exist, but I'd like to point out some that not only are viable but preferable to toxic gases. These gases would float over residences, the high school and shopping centers to cover the Pajaro Valley.

To reduce waste, reduce purchases with excessive packaging, carry your own cup for coffee or water to drink, and my favorite--do food waste composting as this cuts 30 percent of your weekly garbage, on average.

Plus the incinerator, to make money for the owner, would require 400 tons a day of waste. This means garbage trucks would be coming from Santa Clara over Highway 17 or up Highway 1 from Monterey to keep the ovens going. How would that help your commute?

Say no to this incinerator idea. Connect with your supervisor soon. It's your health and your community.

 Cecile Mills,


Monosodium Glutamate by Any Other Name

YOUR READERS might want to read the book or view the DVD about MSG (a.k.a. umami--sooooo exotic a name that is), Excitotoxins by Russell Blaylock, for the flip side of unami's "allure" ("A Matter of Taste," Cover Story, Sept. 24). Ha! has copies.

Randy Om,
Santa Cruz

Things Are Tough All Over

THIS IS concerning your article about the Mexican families buying more house than they can afford ("Home Sweet Hell," Cover Story, Sept. 3).

Didn't many other families of different ethnicity do the same thing? Why should we concentrate only on the poor Mexican families?

Some of it was in fact due to the unscrupulous lenders. A lot of it was in fact due to people buying a lot more house than they knew they could afford. Couldn't these poor Mexican families have found people that were willing to help them through the initial and also refinancing steps? Surely there are governmental agencies that do this.

I for one do not feel the least bit sorry for them. I bought my house knowing what I could and could not afford. It was by no means an easy thing to do. I supplied bank records, W-2 forms, etc., just to prove I could afford a house. I also made the required down payment.

I knew going in what the payments were "before" signing any paperwork. Just as they also knew "before" and also knew they could not afford the house.

I repeat myself here: I do not feel sorry for them.

They knew going into the deal that it was more money than they could afford. How about doing an article describing how many "different" families did the same exact thing and how it affected them?

George Wilburn,
Santa Cruz County

Bike Church Independent

THANKS TO Paul Davis for the recent article on the Bike Church and the Hub ("Power to the People," News&Views, Sept. 17). Perhaps the title could have been: "Robert and Dan are taking the Bike Church's egalitarian model and expanding into computer repair. Hallelujah!" You might want to check with the founders of the Computer Kitchen about that (

A few things need clarification: The Bike Church collective runs and is responsible for Bike Church, and that's it. People Power! has its own steering committee. Both People Power! and Bike Church operate as projects of the Hub for Sustainable Transportation, a nonprofit. The new projects moving into the building, Computer Kitchen and the info shop (yet to be given a catchy name), each have their own nonprofit and are legally independent.

Paul also forgot to mention Pedaler's Express, the 12-year-old bicycle courier service at the Hub. PedX is a worker-owned collective and is for profit ('cause you have to make a living somehow and what better way than in the saddle). They have recently introduced a daily route to Watsonville if you need something to or from South County.

Josh Muir,
Santa Cruz

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