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Letters to the Editor: August 13, 2014

Bond good for JC; oyster slurper Gogola wrong on Drakes; war standards not standard; ag pollutes waterways

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Bond—JC Bond

I'm writing to let readers know about the extensive public oversight of a potential Santa Rosa Junior College bond measure (Debriefer, July 30). If voters approve the SRJC bond this fall, there will be an independent citizen bond oversight committee whose meetings, minutes and annual reports will be public, and there will be annual independent, public audits (as required by state law). Members will be required to come from throughout the community.

All of the funds from this measure will stay local and will be spent to improve the JC—none of it can be taken by the state government, and Sacramento politicians will have no say in how the funds are used.

These bond revenues may be spent only for facilities and technology. They may not be used for any salaries or other college operating expenses.

Director of Communication & Marketing, Santa Rosa Junior College

Drakes Bay

I would like to respond to Mr. Gogola's thoughts on our oyster industry (Open Mic, July 30). So you went down there and observed the oyster farm. Did you take a ride out on the oyster boats into their "fields"? I did. We went through the harbor seal rookery at 15 to 20 mph; every seal head was erect, a sign of alert. Several slipped into the water. This is harassment of an animal that exactly 100 years ago numbered 30 along the entire California coast. The highly alerted in harbor seals causes cortisol to run through them, which in large amounts can kill.

We were part of the study to find out if Drakes Bay Oyster Co. posed a threat to the bay or the ocean. We specialize in plastics. The plastic bags that the oysters are grown in are made of a heavy plastic mesh. For the first three months that this plastic sits in salt water, it releases petrochemicals. We find these bags and their remains from Sonoma to Monterey. We have personally picked up thousands. Albatrosses take parts of these killing machines back to Midway Island and feed them to their babies.

Drakes' operation was not pristine. DDT was sprayed around the dairies. Plastic has PCBs as one of its components, and it has been proven that DDT combined with PCBs condensed in the flesh of aquatic animals consumed by marine mammals causes cancer, and we are marine mammals. To get a real awakening, Google "what is plastic made of" and then Google "affects on humans." Pay special attention to phthalates. To Drakes Bay Oyster Co., it has been about jobs and money. To the hundreds of sanctuary volunteers that carried out the studies that found Drakes a threat to our environment, it's about the ocean, always has been, always will be.

Sebastopol

Double Standards in Gaza

Yes, Norman Solomon, Israel should apologize to Hamas and the unfortunates of Gaza, but only when the British, Australian and American governments issue avowals of retrospective contrition for the carpet bombing of German and Japanese cities to "rid them of arms manufacture placed in civilian neighborhoods," then go on to destroy rocket launch sites. (Letters, July 23). And we need to accept that more non-combatants than soldiers died on D-Day, Okinawa and many of the other battles that contributed to the defeat of fascism and our national identities.

On that note, let's keep thinking about this implied double standard between now and when the commemorative ceremonies extolling the end of the Good War are unfurled later next year. More to the point, if Allied commanders had applied the same standards we're now demanding of Israel, we'd all be speaking German or Japanese (while, undoubtedly, some of my family and, I suspect, yours would be in or near a Nazi gas oven). Ah, the unintended consequences of purity!

Richman is the former general manager of The Bohemian's forerunner, The Paper

Brisbane, Australia

Live Vegan, Protect Water

Last weekend, the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo residents was fouled by animal waste. With unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it will happen again in our own state.

The problem has become pervasive. Waste from chicken farms has rendered the ocean off the East Coast unfit for fishing. Waste from Midwest cattle ranches carried by the Mississippi River has created a permanent "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico larger than that of the infamous 2010 BP oil spill.

Animal agriculture dumps more pollution to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Manure and fertilizers promote growth of toxic algae that poison drinking water supplies.

Effective regulations to limit dumping of animal waste into water supplies have been blocked by the meat industry.

Fortunately, every one of us has the power to stop this outrage three times a day by saying no to polluting meat and dairy products. Our local supermarkets offer ample alternatives.

Santa Rosa

Write to us at letters@bohemian.com.

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