I have been diving, working and fishing off the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts for many years, and I know how passionate local folks are about our ocean. Still, I was surprised and, frankly, disappointed to read in Alastair Bland's article on the Marine Life Protection Act that some shortsighted people still oppose protections that will maintain, and in some cases restore, the health and productivity of North Coast waters ("Coastal Conundrum," Aug. 26).
Fishing and abalone diving are integral parts of our region's economy and way of life, and that is precisely why we need to keep them sustainable for the long haul.
Our population is growing every year, and so is demand for abalone and other ocean plants and animals. But their numbers are going the opposite direction. We've seen abalone populations dwindle to extinction elsewhere, and we should count ourselves lucky that we can still collect them off the North Coast.If we want to keep it that way, we have to set aside a few key areas, especially the nurseries that help reseed local waters. Marine protected areas are a smart investment; if we manage them well, we can live off the interest, but we have to be in this for the long haul.
As an ab diver, dive master and fisherman, I applaud the local stakeholders who created a commonsense plan to protect our sea life and habitats. Thanks to their hard-fought compromises and the vision of California's Fish and Game Commission, consumptive users like me can look forward to many seasons of abundance.
The article in the recent Bohemian regarding street light blackouts emphasized the "big number" of $800,000 annual electric cost to run city lights ("Darkness on the Edge of Town," Sept. 16). Simple arithmetic shows the cost per Santa Rosa resident at about 1.7 cents a day.
That seems to me to be a minimal expense to provide real safety at night. Is Public Works itself really necessary? Big savings there, I think.
All Roads Lead To . . .
In its obsession with highway expansion, Caltrans is internally comforted by two monumentally false premises ("Heat Rises," Green Zone, Sept. 16). As columnist Julianne Poirier noted, the first is that the Romans were wrong in their belief that traffic expands to keep up with roadway expansion. Over the last 2,500 years, that reality has been demonstrated endlessly. The second is that the gridlock produced in the cities at the ends of the freeway doesn't matter. Or as a Caltrans District IV Director once put it, "That's not our department."
The Jerry Error
Jerry Garcia did not die of a heroin overdose ("Cannabis Cannabiz," Sept. 16). This is a factual error. Though his use of heroin over the years is well-known and -publicized, he did not die of an overdose. Heart failure, heart attack, whatever—not an overdose. Please check the facts before printing. Otherwise, great article!
Hi, Mary (Hi, all the many people who phoned):
This was an editing error made by someone old enough to remember the hot August afternoon of Jerry's death, by someone old enough to have been listening to the radio like it mattered that day by her grandfather's Fairfax pool, by someone old enough to have been amid pouring pure baby oil onto her flesh as a UV enhancement and by someone once young enough to have cried. In other words, Dan Hirsch nearly had to have "Garcia" spelled out phonetically, and it wasn't his fault.In other editing oddities, our recent hot! hot! hot! bagel roundup ("Hole in One," Sept. 2) drew the usual savage criticism that such deeply investigative pieces are wont to attract. To wit: The California Bagel Deli would like to know why it received a C– rating for the quality of its products when the Sonoma Valley Bagel Co., which provides the California Bagel Deli with said products each morning from a location just a few blocks away, received an A– for the exact same bagel. We suspect that a "Heck if we know" response may be inadequate, our writer blaming the vagaries of taste and tongue and palate. We're old enough to admit that it probably was his fault, but young enough to suggest that baking yer own is certainly one way to go if you're going to use the word "bagel" in your name.