Letters for September 14, 2006
Fallout from nuclear story
Re: “The new nukes” (Cover Story, by R.V. Scheide, CN&R, Sept. 7):
Energy expert Amory Lovins says, “The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask.” According to Scheide’s article, some prominent environmentalists have determined nuclear [power] is the answer to the question “how do we get more energy?” But what if we frame the energy question as “how can we use less energy?”
Keep in mind: 1) Nobody wants energy. Nobody wants a barrel of oil or a nuclear reactor in the front yard. We want energy services—cold drinks and warm baths. 2) Energy isn’t a benefit but a cost of getting those services. The less energy we have to spend to get those services the better. The Rocky Mountain Institute estimates utilization of energy-efficiency measures in existing U.S. buildings and industries would save about three-fourths of all electricity now used at an average cost far below that of a nuclear power plant.
Obviously, science and technology do have vital roles in solving environmental problems. But an abiding faith in science and technology is as unhelpful as apathy. They turn over our responsibility to someone else. We are responsible for envisioning the world we create and accountable for the questions we ask science to answer.
Grappling with questions like “how should we live” has never been the domain of science. In a radio interview, I once asked James Lovelock—referred to in the article as a leading environmentalist—if he considered himself an environmentalist. “Heavens no,” he said, “I’m a chemist.”
Apparently the Chico News & Review likes to offer front-page headlines to nuclear-industry PR. What is the process CN&R editors went through before declaring that “Environmentalists want us to go nuclear"? Your so-called “environmentalist” Patrick Moore is well-known for decades of public relations stunts for the forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, plastics, mining and nuclear industries. Guess what he’s doing this year? Spearheading a new campaign launched by the nuclear industry to generate support for increased nuclear power.
I will support nuclear power when, first, we solve the physics problem, the creation of materials that remain poisonous for tens of thousands of years; and, second, when companies that generate power with nuclear reactors are willing to assume liability, instead of dumping that responsibility on the rest of us.
Until then, anyone with at least two brain cells and a slightly greater sense of morality and civic responsibility than a rabid weasel in heat will simply use less. Any one of us can live with half the power we have been trained to consume.
Re: “Does Chico need more Wal-Marts?” (Streetalk, CN&R, Sept. 7):
Did you honestly have any doubts as to what all the responses would be to the Wal-Mart question? What did you expect when you ask people who are shopping downtown? I guarantee you would get rather different results had the question been asked in any other area in town.
And while we’re on the subject, I would like to know the annual income of all the people so vociferously protesting Wal-Mart in any form or number. You see, unlike those who can afford local hand-made or name-stamped T-shirts that go for $30-$50, there is a huge majority of people in this area whose incomes necessitate they shop Wal-Mart.
You see, it’s not that these people do not wish to support the local businessmen and -women, it’s simply a matter of minimum wages only going so far in our economy. I personally prefer to shop All Around Sound to Best Buy, or S&S to Trader Joe’s, but I cannot justify buying a $50 blouse from a local boutique that, for all intents and purposes, is exactly the same as a $15 blouse from Wal-Mart.
Instead of complaining about Wal-Mart growing in this area, adding numerous jobs and actually quite a bit of money to the local economy, these local-business supporters should be encouraging local businesses to make their goods available to all. If you take away the market for Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart won’t stick around!
Re: “Opening the book” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Sept. 7):
I would like to address the recent issue of City Council candidate Mary Flynn’s long-ago DUI that she announced to the public. I agree with you that “One of the most difficult things about running for public office is that it is so, well, public.” That is true and I believe, like Mary Flynn said, “it’s important that I bring it up so we can focus on the real issues and not have a mistake I made become a campaign issue.”
All of us make mistakes that we cannot take back, and I am impressed by Mary’s courage to come out on her own and tell the people of Chico about her one past DUI. Reflecting back to that event, Mary now knows that what she did was dangerous and she hasn’t repeated it ever since. I think that shows character. Should we hold that against her? I do not think so.
What we should focus on is not her one mistake, but her other qualities, such as her faith in her teaching career and her optimistic views, when considering her for City Council member.
Re: “I will not forget” (Guest Comment, by Emily Brannen, CN&R, Sept. 7):
I would like to thank Emily for her most beautiful feelings surrounding Sept 11, 2001: “And while I still grieve for those lives that ended so violently and abruptly, I express my gratitude to them for reminding me to live and love well while I can.”
As a firefighter/EMT with Butte County Fire and Rescue Volunteers and a person who has put his life on the line for his people, I would like to see the people of this land celebrate the future with hope for all. Instead of hating the terrorists outside and inside of ourselves, I invite everyone to open their hearts and pray for each person in this world, for all the warriors on both sides to be able to go home at night safely to their families. And for the sorrows that seem to consume us to be replaced with the “selfless love” demonstrated that day in 2001.
N Gene Dunning
Summer’s best show
Re: “Magical Mystery Tool” (Music, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, Sept. 7):
You could have let your audience in on more about how Isis was. They were awesome—a definite must-see when they venture into our neck of the woods again.
I’ve seen Tool five times this summer and the Marysville show was the best show of the summer. Better than sitting next to Les Claypool in Oakland, better than Coachella and better than Street Scene.
Tool played four songs off their new album, not three ("Vicarious,” “Jambi,” “The Pot” and “Rosetta Stoned"). These were Tool fans at this concert instead of the meathead-jock types I had seen at Street Scene and Coachella. Nobody had to be worried about being trampled in the pit. Tool fans are there to have a great time, but we know that someone’s life is more important than hearing a Tool favorite.
Re: “Opening the book” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Sept. 7): In stating that clients of political consultant John Gillander “have had to disown him,” some readers may have been left the false impression that his clients won’t have anything further to do with him. Mr. Gillander reports that his clients are all satisfied with his work and would hire him again.
Re: “Try for bigger flights, too” (Letters, CN&R, Sept. 7): The first name of the writer was spelled incorrectly. He is Brahama D. Sharma. This has been corrected on the Web site.