Letters for December 27, 2007

Crowing caucus
Re “Where they stand” (Feature story, Nov. 29):

I want to thank Dennis Myers for outlining the candidates for the caucus. Being the consummate reporter, he did a good job with what all the issues entail. The important parts Myers did not include were the when, where, how and why. The caucus is Jan. 19, 2008. And the “why” is the most important note. The early caucus, as we have already experienced, is bringing candidates that would have never traveled to this state. We are meeting them face to face, asking the questions that are important to us as Nevadans, and as major influencers in the political process. Another “why” is the economic impact the caucus is having on our state. Candidates come with entourages, and entourages buy dinners, hotel rooms and mostly tip the hired help. And the last “why” is that if Nevada does not have a great participation in this caucus, we will not be offered it again in the near future. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, seek out the “how” by calling the Dems or the GOP office in your area, participate in a mockus (to learn more about how it is done), and get involved.

Francine Burge

Conversion fable
Re “SF breathes easier” (Greenspace, Dec. 13):

You ran an article about how the city of San Francisco has switched their entire 1,500-vehicle fleet to B20 (20 percent biodiesel).

In that article the author states that the “conversion process” took over a year.

SVO (straight vegetable oil) and biodiesel are two different, but related, things. They are not interchangeable, green-fever buzzwords.

I was part of a biodiesel/SVO co-op in Madison, Wisc. We jumped the legal hurdles, leased a mechanics shop, secured a supply chain and installed tanks and pumps. That co-op now sells biodiesel and converts diesel vehicles to run on SVO.

No modern vehicle needs any modifications whatsoever to run B100, much less B20. Any modern diesel can burn biodiesel straight from the pump, and any ‘80s-or-older diesel need only upgrade its seals and fuel hoses with new ones, which are resistant to the solvent properties of biodiesel.

The conversion involved with SVO involves upgrading the entire fuel system to be able to heat up and pump the much thicker unprocessed vegetable oil that can be used as the raw material for making biodiesel.

I have been running my Isuzu NPR truck on B100 for the last two years with no upgrades and no problems whatsoever, and my girlfriend’s brand-new, unmodified Jeep Liberty CRD has been on B100 for its entire road life of a year. Now that we’re here in Reno, we get winterized B20 from Allied Washoe. When spring comes, they revert to B100. There are other sources, as well.

I did a little research (i.e., I read the first few hits on Google) into what San Francisco did, and I guess RN&R can’t be blamed entirely as your article was a brief synopsis of one that was widely distributed, including in the New York Times.

No wonder so few people have a clue about biofuels (or much else for that matter), with this kind of half-assed, research-free pap in the media.

I’m not usually the snarky letter-writing type, but come on. Next time, crack a search engine, people.

Jason Hollis

Man, oh man
Re “10 Things I Hate About Burning Man” (Feature story, Sept. 6):

This article was so awesome. I just had to give a shout out. I really enjoyed Burning Man 2007, but these “hate points” all resonated with me personally. Are you sure this isn’t Sir Loin from Sir Loin’s rant?

Byron James
via www.newsreview.com

Taxes are bad
Our current tax system is complex and imposes a burden on the economy by unnecessarily high tax rates.

There isn’t a human being alive who knows what’s contained in the federal tax code. The Bible contains 773,000 words. The tax code is 9 million words and rising!

Since 1986, when the last serious attempt at tax simplification was made, the tax code has been amended 14,000 times. Its length has grown by 3 million words.

At last count, Americans spent a staggering 6.6 billion hours preparing their tax forms. A typical taxpayer filing the regular Form 1040 and reporting income from work, dividends and capital gains will spend an estimated 26 hours completing his/her return.

One possible answer. A flat-tax rate. The form could be printed on a single sheet of paper or in a postcard format. For more details just Google “flat-tax proposals.” Think about this when you receive your W-2 forms next month and the hassle to follow.

Timothy Jude Bauer

A cult above
Re “Light and sound” (Filet of Soul, Nov. 22):

I was a member of Eckankar for 12 years, and I left three years ago. Eckankar is a cult. For more information, look up David Lane’s book, The Making of a Spiritual Movement on www.geocities.com/eckcult/ or the following yahoo groups: groups.yahoo.com/group/EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous or groups.yahoo.com/group/eckankartruth.

Ingrid Fuchs
Vienna, Austria