Letters for August 20, 2009

Letter of the week

Don’t criticize polluters—it’s legal!

Re “Worst in show” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, August 6):

The article about local polluters appears to miss the point of regulation. Cosmo Garvin listed SierraPine Ltd., Grafil Inc., and Procter & Gamble for releases that were completely legal.

Federal and state regulations are based on what we have determined to be safe amounts of pollution to release, based on both human and ecological health. If you think the limits are too high, criticize the Environmental Protection Agency or the Cal/EPA. Tell Congress and the state Legislature to push for stricter limits. Convince your little sister to become a green chemist to find less toxic production methods. It is unreasonable to expect companies to control pollution below legal limits just because 510 pounds per year of hydrogen cyanide makes you nervous. (By the way, the base federal limit for hydrogen cyanide releases is 10 pounds per day, or 3,650 pounds per year.)

In fact, as Garvin said, SierraPine Ltd. installed pollution-control measures they didn’t even need to by law. This company should be applauded for this measure rather than tut-tutted for its large but legal emissions. Georgia-Pacific Chemicals was fined for using a pollution-control technology without a permit, i.e., possibly for doing the right thing to control pollution but not filling out the right paperwork (it isn’t clear from the article). Aerojet General Corp. polluted the aquifer, which is bad, but they are cleaning it up. About them dumping the treated water into the American River: Where do you want them to put it? They can’t put it back into the aquifer because it will make the plume spread faster. Would you rather they put it into the drinking water system directly instead of diluting it in the American River?

The kind of scare tactics Garvin uses in this article give environmentalists a bad name. He says hydrogen cyanide can cause rapid death. Sure, if you’re breathing it at high concentrations, but you aren’t going to get sick from Grafil’s releases unless you live in their smokestacks. Most of these violations are minor compared to, say, McClellan Air Force Base (it was a long time ago, they’re cleaning it up, it’s OK). Sierra Pacific Industries were bastards for trying to pretend they were emitting less, no question. But getting mad about operating diesel generators without a permit? How about getting mad at our government for not changing commercial water rates that make it profitable for Nestlé to bottle water when we never seem to have enough?

Lauren Goodfriend
via e-mail

Fraud is not widespread

Re “Secrets and lies” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, August 13):

The thousands of low-income elderly, blind and disabled Californians who receive home care under the In Home Supportive Services program are perhaps the most recent victims of the governor’s lies.

In July, [Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger told a news conference in Sacramento that the IHSS program is “riddled” with fraud. He cited claims that the fraud rate was an unbelievable 25 percent. … Our own Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully was an enthusiastic participant in the governor’s dog-and-pony show.

These claims of “widespread” fraud in IHSS are totally bogus. Here’s just one example: In Sacramento County during fiscal year 2006-2007, there were fewer than 400 reports of suspected fraud from more than 17,000 IHSS clients. That’s a rate of only about 2 percent. Of these reports, 31 cases were deemed worthy of prosecution. That means the rate of prosecutable fraud in Sacramento County for that year was approximately two-tenths of 1 percent.

While any fraud in IHSS is wrong and should be punished, 0.2 percent is hardly a fraud “epidemic.”

Unfortunately, the state Legislature bought the fraud claims of the governor and his right-wing allies hook, line and sinker. From now on, all home-care recipients will have to be fingerprinted. Amputees are exempt from this requirement; maybe the governor and Scully will authorize retinal scans for these unfortunates. In addition, home-care providers (most make little more than minimum wage) will be required to pay for their own criminal background checks.

It is a sad day for California when we treat our elderly, blind and disabled citizens and those who care for them like common criminals and call it “reform.”

Steve Mehlman

Swearing by diet

Re “Legislating diet” by Matt Perry (SN&R Frontlines, August 13):

There is definitely something to nutrition. I had a gum disease that required surgical scraping of the gums. I went on a total vegetarian diet: no meat, no dairy, all whole grains and no refined flours or sugars. Within eight months, my gums healed!

My dentist asked me what I did to reverse this disease. I told him that I wasn’t trying to heal myself; I was grieving over the death of my dad (who died of cancer), and I was just trying to eat better by eating a cleansing diet for a while.

Oh my, was I surprised when he said, “Well, it worked. Your gums are completely healed.”

So I told my friend with breast cancer, and she did it and is healed. We need to wake up and realize that the pharmaceutical companies fund the medical schools and have a vested interest in selling pharmaceuticals. To get you well wouldn’t serve their pocketbooks. So eat healthy and live; be richer in all ways.

Nancy White Henderson

Spoilers for The Green Room

Re “It’s all about me” by Kel Munger (SN&R Stage, August 13):

I was an audience member at the Saturday night performance [of The Green Room: The College Musical]. Wow, it was amazing, and I will be back with all my friends!

My favorite songs I believe everyone should hear: “It’s All About Me,” “In the End,” “I’ve Had Enough of You.”

I believe one of the best scenes in the show is when Divonne kisses Anna. Also, when Cliff makes his entrance to the green room. I loved how the crowd went crazy over the video with the sperm, as well as “It’s All About Me.” I felt there was something I could relate to, and the song “In the End” will speak volumes about our journey in life for everyone! I loved the show and what powerful voices they all had. Divonne’s [Courtney Parks’] voice was beautiful. What a fun show.

Ralphie B.
El Dorado Hills

Delusional editorial

Re “Lose your delusion” (SN&R Editorial, August 6):

[This editorial] appears to represent the ravings of someone who is on their way ’round the bend; I don’t recall that I’ve read such trash in recent times from someone who is supposed to be a source of information. I would urge him (or her) to maintain a balance on the issues and not confine his remarks to passing along the ramblings of the few as being representative of the position of the much larger body of voters who disagree with the liberal point of view.

Henry Kelleher

Adam, Eve and the American River

Re “New nude order” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, July 30):

There is nothing quite as awe-inspiring as being completely naked, like Adam and Eve, in the presence of Mother Earth, God, the sand, air, water and sun. The American River is an excellent place to go naked. Let no law by man interfere with this primal birth rite.

Steven Bourasa