Letters for August 21, 2008

Go moped!
Re “The Bike Issue” (The whole damned issue, July 31):

While I appreciate and admire your issue on bicycles, let me push once more my take on alt/vehicles.

Too many of us fat and lazy old folks will not ride bicycles at $5 a gallon gas. We’d rather pay extra and get poorer. Some of us even at $10 a gallon, surely.

The lowly 100 mpg moped, on the other hand, fills many prerequisites to our transportation dilemma.

Mopeds allow us slackers to still save substantial fuel and jet around town with minimal effort. They provide an inexpensive, less manufacturably-intensive alternative vehicle.

They can be used after Peak Oil and Culture Change to provide vehicles for towing trailers of goods locally for minimal expense.

They will help pave the way for expanded bike lanes, by virtue of automobiles having to make room for them.

If they become scarce and in demand this may stimulate manufacturing of the same.

They may introduce many of us to the delights of having a clear sky above our heads instead of encapsulated car tops, and never getting into a hot car.

And they will save you a load of money. Along with using a clothesline, installing a solar water heater, starting a compost pile, and putting in a swamp cooler, mopeds are one of the great things we can do for an immediate impact on our fossil use.

Craig Bergland

Right is wrong
Re “Obama’s crocodile smile” (Know You’re Right, Aug. 7):

I realize that you need to maintain a certain amount of balance in your publication, however, could you please find a right-winger with a little more sense and intelligence? I never thought I’d say this, but I kind of miss Lafferty. In Amanda Williams’ latest attempt at political analysis, she contradicts herself on two points.

First, she ridiculously defends the non-substantive attack ad McCain launched last week comparing Obama to “over-the-top spoiled” Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and then in the same breath says the campaign should be framed around “discussing actual policy initiatives.” Well, she can’t have it both ways, if the campaign should be about policy and not political treachery and theater, then this ad has no place in this campaign at all.

Secondly, she berates Obama for having traveled to the Middle East and Europe, seeming to forget that McCain was gallivanting across Latin America long before Obama gave his speech in Berlin.

I agree with Williams that policy should be the focus of this campaign, so why not talk about something relevant? Perhaps, if she actually looked up the candidates’ tax policies she’d see that Obama’s plan would save 95 percent of the country an average of $1,000 more than the McCain plan. McCain wants to save taxes for his cronies in the oil industry. Let’s talk about relevant issues. McCain received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from oil execs mere days after changing his position on off-shore drilling. What this country doesn’t need is more cronyism in Washington, and spinmeisters like Williams defending them.

Marvin Gonzalez

Dream big
Re “The Bike Issue” (The whole damned issue, July 31):

There were several columns (Editor’s note, Riders Unite, and Core Principles) stating that Reno could become a more bicycle friendly city. At the time, I thought this to be an extreme case of pie in the sky!

Since then a walkability survey published in an online journal, Worldchanging (Aug. 3), listed Reno with a score of 92/100. This same article included a neighborhood/pedestrian /friendliness/ checklist (www.walkableamerica.org/checklist-walkability.pdf). Although pedestrian-orientated, it contains ideas for safer streets and contact information for organizations like Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at UNC, National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and the Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Program. Perhaps by using such resources and creative thinking, we can make Reno safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, improving the quality of life in general.

John D. Daniels

Right checked
Re “Obama’s crocodile smile” (Know You’re Right, Aug. 7):

Your columnist Amanda Williams is a disturbing reminder of all that was/is inadequate in the Collectivist regime over Hungaria.

Normally, I would not be confident, perhaps, in criticizing a native Westerner in the application of English, but I am forced to declare that there is not ever substantive reasoning from this person, and the writing style always is extremely weak.

These things are evident, more so than ever in the Aug. 7 column, which also we once called “propaganda” against Mr. Obama.

Williams never displays the ability to back positions with information. I was especially amused, I must admit, by the gratuitous inclusion of the simile comparing politics to chess. Naturally, even very naive people know that politics is conducted in exactly opposite ways from chess, which is completely logical.

It came not as a surprise to learn that chess is one of many, many topics which Williams does not understand at all.

S. Polgar
Lubbock, Texas