"Black Panther" by fall writing contest winner Don Stoddard ("It Showed Up on My Doorstep," Oct. 16) was especially endearing; a special reminder of growing up in the '50s. My 93-year-old mother still has her black panther proudly displayed.
What's a Forest?
Artesa would clear-cut 1.25 million board-feet of redwood and Douglas fir at the site, based on 2004 inventory, according to what the project description in the EIR says would be logged ("Chainsaw Wine," Oct. 16). That sure sounds more like a forest than "agriculture," unless you define "forest" as "tree farming"—except that it's a final harvest forever, converted to monoculture vineyards, not regenerating young forest after clear-cut.
Hemp, Not Wine
There is not one original oak left in Oakland. For 75 years, we have been destroying our forests instead of growing hemp. How many golf courses and "vineries" full of pesticides and harmful chemicals do we need?
Bea Johnson can fit her household's annual trash inside a small jar because she defers her waste to someone else—sending back the plastic strip from her Netflix envelope is a great example of how she's letting someone else clean up her mess ("The Simple Life," Oct. 9). It's important for everyone and anyone to reduce their waste output, but ooh-ing and aah-ing over the antics of a material anorexic is not the point. Industrial and corporate waste is the prime source of our ecological crisis. If Bea Johnson wants to deprive herself and her family of everything except seven pairs of shoes, let her, but I'd personally rather see articles about p eople who are fighting the real actors in the environmental breakdown we're witnessing: Big Oil, Big Ag, Big Pharm and Big Coal. Nothing Bea Johnson is doing, so far as I can tell, impacts that.
Author, 'Urban Homesteading'
Now is a good time to clarify that since 2011, the Johnson household has taken advantage of Netflix streaming, a fact that we neglected to mention in our original article.—The Ed.
No New Taxes
It's voting time again, and many cities are asking for a sales tax increase. When is the Sonoma County taxpayer going to take a stand and say no to any sales tax increases until cities start seriously reforming the gigantic pension hole that we taxpayers are burdened with? Should we just pay higher and higher taxes so public employees can retire on twice the amount we will? Vote no to our tax dollars going to fat county and city pension plans and lifetime medical benefits. Are you getting that when you retire?
I'm a one-year, eight-month resident of Willits, a community activist and ex-biology student. I've been protesting this bypass project by Caltrans for more than seven months. This project has not, cannot and will not help the environment. It will probably not affect "traffic" significantly, which in any case has almost never existed in Willits, especially if locals just get off Main Street. (Honestly, 99 percent of the time it sees less traffic than the average in West Los Angeles, where I lived for 28 years.) And it will cost $300 million to $600 million, that latter balloon figure reflecting the true adjusted-for inflation bond price(s).
That's why over one-third of all area residents have signed the petition against it. That's why people contact their uncaring "representatives." And that's why people have and will continue to get arrested (some of us don't need to, I joke, having been exposed heavily to poison oak, reducing our mobility heavily, along the way).
This is bad, but we are peaceful.
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