Letters for August 26, 2010

Letter of the week
Lawns need educated tenders

Re “Kill your lawn” by Ted Cox (SN&R Feature, August 12):

Well, it sure is getting harder to be green, isn’t it? What a dilemma. Here you have a writer that has an agenda: No lawns equal lower water use. Well, how about this angle? No trees equal lower water use.

What do trees and lawns have in common? They are both plants; they both play a large part in keeping our increasing asphalt jungles much cooler in the summer; they both produce large amounts of oxygen for our environment and for us to breathe healthy air; they both clean large amounts of pollutants from the air; they both use a lot of water; and they both are heavily overwatered by homeowners.

But one thing that grasses do is provide a way for the water to be captured and channeled deep into the soil, where it recharges the underground aquifers. One of the negative results of these large housing developments is that all of the natural grasslands that used to be here were taken away and replaced by homes, streets and a gutter/sewer system. All the rain water runs off the homes and streets and into the gutters, not back into the aquifers like it used to when this valley was a grassland marsh. Except in our lawns, where the water percolates back into the soil and recharges the aquifer.

It is much less expensive for everybody if we just educate people on the ways to make your lawn, garden, trees and shrubs more water efficient. It starts with the soil, enriching it to be able to hold more water. It is about proper distribution of water to your plants and [knowing] how much your plants really need to grow healthy. It is about the use of mulch around the plants to keep the water from evaporating directly out of the surface of the soil, which keeps the soil cooler and reduces the need for irrigation.

There is a much bigger picture than this article portrays. I hope I have sprinkled a little information for you to drink up.

Keith Miner
Plumas Lake

Cringing at Governor ‘Moonbeam’

Re “Meg & Jerry” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature, August 19):

What does it mean, “paid [his] dues”? Just because Jerry Brown rode in on his father’s coattails a few years back, that doesn’t qualify him for a damn thing other than bringing to mind some very poor leadership qualities and poorer appointments.

Granted, putting enough money into your own campaign to “sell yourself” to the public as a contender in place of the 30-year less-than-average career of your opponent may seem extreme or over the top for some, but time is short, and I have confidence that the people of California can appreciate the efforts of Meg Whitman to introduce herself and her leadership qualities. I, for one, support Ms. Whitman in November and cringe at the thought of another term of Governor “Moonbeam.”

Buddy Bergstrom

Don’t insult the bats!

Re “Coffee and cigarettes” by Kevin Young (SN&R Frontlines, August 19):

Screw Starbucks and the bat urine they sell as coffee. I would much rather support a local coffeehouse than corporate greed and a culture that simply insults my intelligence. I’m a nonsmoker but have no problem with someone having a smoke outside while they enjoy a cup of corporate buzzard puke, providing it isn’t one of those nasty black cigars that smell worse than the coffee.

Star Barker

She’ll dump ’Bucks

Re “Coffee and cigarettes” by Kevin Young (SN&R Frontlines, August 19):

As a college student, I spend a great deal of time at local coffeehouses studying and also visiting with friends, but since the ban, I no longer go to Starbucks to study.

I fully understand the health hazards associated with smoking, and I try to be a considerate smoker. I keep my distance from entrances and will not light up if there is a child around, but Starbucks has definitely lost my business. I have found it more and more difficult to smoke in public because of all the bans. It is frustrating, and it would be nice if they could just have designated smoking areas and/or stores—but, oh well, like I said, I will just take my business elsewhere.

Elizabeth Boyd

Lawns kill the Delta

Re “Kill your lawn” by Ted Cox (SN&R Feature, August 12):

Thanks for this great article on lawns. Few people realize it, but when we built a million houses in California over the past decade, we also dramatically increased diversions from the Delta. Urban users account for 70 percent of the increase in Delta exports in the past decade, which crashed the Delta ecosystem.

So please, consider downsizing your lawn and planting some drought-tolerant plants. Over the long run, you’ll save a lot of time and money, and the fish will thank you.

Deirdre Des Jardins
via e-mail

Who’s paying for new plants?

Re “Kill your lawn” by Ted Cox (SN&R Feature, August 12):

Beautiful gardens! Now, how much will that cost me to install? $5,000? $10,000? How ’bout if I don’t have the time, or if I’m physically unable to do all that work? I water my lawn three times a week. Pretty cheap.

Meanwhile, that ex-actor with saggy breasts wants to spend our money to dig a ditch and send water to Southern California golf courses and swimming pools. How much will that cost? How much water will be lost into the air during the trip?

Yes, I’d love a lush garden to replace my lawn. I know; since the politicians scrapped the city charter which guaranteed unmetered water in Sacramento and are charging us to install water meters, they should pay for my landscaping. Sounds fair to me!

Joel Lambel

He quits!

Re “Kill your lawn” by Ted Cox (SN&R Feature, August 12):

I have to agree with this article. If you own a home in any American suburban neighborhood, you are immediately indoctrinated to the “National Lawn.” If you don’t maintain this treasure to Americana, you are considered a low-life property devaluing slug.

Well, the always tenuous relationship I’ve had with grass is over for me!

It’s a complete waste of water and time, so I quit. I like rocks and drought-tolerant anything instead. It’s high time we rethink our priorities.

Dave Lynch