Lindsay Pyle interviewed me on the Dutra Asphalt Plant proposal (the piece was presented to me not as a personal commentary but as an article). I am shocked that the Bohemian printed the column ("Tit for Tat," Open Mic, June 17), since it is inaccurate. Dutra does not have the contract for the Highway 101 widening project as far as public knowledge goes. Ms. Pyle implies that since Petaluma caused the traffic jam, we should breathe toxic air and degrade our park as punishment.
Dutra is a newcomer to the county; they bought the Petaluma Quarry in 1995. They sold it eight years later in December 2003, operated as a tenant on the sold property for one year, and then operated a temporary asphalt plant for two years (from 2005 to 2007) at a different location across Petaluma Boulevard. During their relatively few years in Petaluma, they were issued multiple air-quality violations (NOVs) by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. They have operated without a permit, and were shut down for failure to use Best Available Control Technology. Their EIR states that they have gone as far as to engage in grading work at Haystack Landing without a permit, damaging the wetlands. Since they do not currently operate an asphalt plant, it's a mystery how they can claim to be "relocating" their defunct and out-of-compliance plant to Haystack Landing.
Their spokesperson, Amy Dutra, was asked questions about the Dutra Group's record in Petaluma in front of county supervisors at the formal hearing on Feb. 3. On June 9, at the next formal hearing, Supervisor Zane publicly chastised her for less-than-complete answers that failed to mention the formal NOVs issued on their operation.
Is this the kind of local company Ms. Pyle wants us to embrace for asphalt production? Yes, asphalt will be laid to widen 101, and the company with the lowest bid and best track record will get the job. Which company that is remains to be seen. What can now be seen is Dutra's local and national record. And it isn't pretty.
When Lindsay Pyle was first assigned the Dutra piece, it was indeed intended to be an article, not an Open Mic commentary. Due to deadline constraints and other unforeseen events, it changed to Open Mic status.
Erections of yore
Jessica Lussenhop's feature article "Inside the Pornocopia" (June 24) leaves yet unanswered the basic question of what accounts for the persistent and ongoing appeal of porn for this particular generation of teens. The perennial affinity of the young for the "forbidden fruit" cannot suffice to address the matter, because the latter proposition gets tired once the novelty fades.
When we were kids (sometime around when the polar ice cap was forming), porn was considered ancillary support for "dirty old men." Such assistance was hardly necessary, though, for an adolescent. Good God, at that age it was all I could do to keep it down . . .
Our post-oil future needn't be as grim and apocalyptic as portrayed in Alastair Bland's Transition article ("Cheer Up, It's Going to Get Worse," June 17). Consider the late 19th century. Railways criss-crossed the nation. Seaports were full of ships. The trains and ships burned coal to generate steam power.
Coal is a foul pollutant, and should be banned from use in power plants and heating. Yet it's abundant, and could fuel our post-oil transportation network. A train trip from San Francisco to New York took about four days in 1895. A steamship took about the same time to travel from New York to Europe.
Dept. of Way-Hey
It is with cream-fed feline pleasure that we announce that our 2008 Arcadia issue won a national award in the Special Issues category from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies at last week's annual convention. This is our eighth national award in six fleeting years and, meow, are we proud.