Letters for July 29, 2010

Letter of the week
Not so benign

Re “Benign by design” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Green Days, July 22):

While “manufacturers and environmentalists supported the idea of Green Chemistry,” it is unclear whether these regulations will move us toward the green-chemistry principles and bring more safe products into the state of California. The regulations, as detailed in the most current draft, would be too weak, slow, secretive and biased toward industries that are resistant to change. Some of the draft regulations even represent a step back from current science and existing regulations.

Some of the concerns from the public-interest community in a letter signed by nearly 50 organizations: First, the list of chemicals to be regulated by the program is limited to carcinogens and reproductive hazards in the state’s Proposition 65 registry, ignoring other chemicals already recognized and regulated by the state, U.S. [Environmental Protection Agency] and the European Union.

Second, there is no fast-track process for dealing quickly with known bad actor chemicals, even those for which safer alternatives already exist, meaning it could be years before notoriously harmful chemicals like lead or cadmium are addressed.

Third, the draft regulations propose that any product will be considered “safe” if it contains no more than 0.1 percent of a regulated hazardous chemical. This so-called de minimus level is equivalent to 1,000 parts per million, an alarmingly high figure in a day in which science has proven harm from chemical doses measured in the parts per trillion. The state’s existing standards for cancer-causing substances in drinking water are an average of 300,000 times more stringent than 1,000 ppb.

More information on concerns from the public interest community may be found at www.changecalifornia.org/2010/07/safer-products-regs-fall-short.html.

Ansje Miller
policy director
Center for Environmental Health and Coordinator of Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy

Leave Midtown alone

Re “Battle for Midtown” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, July 22):

I always like to read stories about Midtown. Like all the others, the reporting dwelled on both good and bad.

In 1984, we brought our 3-year-old daughters here to Midtown and settled in. The article was right about the dark years of Midtown. Houses and apartments overflowed with drug dealers and users. Almost all the beautiful century-old houses were used as illegal boarding houses. We rented a house near 19th and F streets. My wife is a state worker, and moving down from the hills above Auburn gave her two more hours with our daughters.

A couple of years later, we bought a spacious house on H Street. The ’90s were all about fighting for respect. We made north Midtown an attractive alternative to a long commute. We did it by calming dangerous traffic, closing illegal home usage and a plethora of other improvements. I don’t think there is a more wondrous place to live in the region.

We like Second Saturday. Yes, drunken kids do walk by at night. I have always used a fan for white noise anyway. These old houses are porous to noise. Screeching tires, sirens and train whistles have always provided noise pollution. We deal with it.

I am more concerned for the health of the stores and restaurants. Our governor and “I wanna be governor” are intent on destroying Midtown. Second Saturday has engendered a lot of interest in the restaurants and stores. In this recession, I say leave things as they are for now.

Vincent Bezdecheck

Go to your room!

Re “Battle for Midtown” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, July 22):

Great story—and I’m rooting for artists, musicians and “janky” people to win the “battle for Midtown.”

It’s also worth noting that Midtown was only “quiet” during its worst period, when druggies were skulking around. During its “golden age,” the streets were filled with both streetcars and, yes, even horses. That’s why so many of the houses were built with bedrooms in the back, away from the noise (and smell) and nearer to private gardens and porches.

Tracy Eldon

Lovin’ those Bites

Re “Vote nobody for mayor” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, July 22):

Thank you, thank you for an excellent column. You’ve hit a home run on two issues near and dear to my heart!

First, [Sacramento City Unified School District] Superintendent [Jonathan] Raymond must have a close friend on The [Sacramento] Bee editorial board, because he’s not been crucified for his high-salaried Cabinet he’s installing at the expense of other employees, like teachers and administrators. It’s so obvious the Bee hates unions—any kind—and will say anything to make unions look bad (and yes, even if it’s bad for kids).

Second, you brought up issues that I’d forgotten about [late Sacramento Mayor Joe] Serna and his measured approach to changing the city charter. Has [Mayor Kevin Johnson] ever bothered to look up the history on this? Nah. He’s too busy trying to be powerful and remembering what designer his fiancée has chosen for her dress.

Do you think that we’ll ever get a charter commission as you described? Thank you again for a fine article!

W.L. Au

More info on Green Chemistry

Re “Benign by design” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Green Days, July 22):

If your readers are interested in more information about Proposition 65 and the state’s Green Chemistry initiative, they should go to www.prop65clearinghouse.com. The Prop. 65 Clearinghouse reports on Prop. 65 developments and on the Green Chemistry Plan.

Lana Beckett
via e-mail

Bravo, Shoka

Re “Introducing The V Word” by Shoka (SN&R The V Word, July 22):

I’ve been trying to convert to a more vegetarian diet for years for health reasons, and the online resources I’ve found have generally been judgmental, righteous, fundamentalist or some combination thereof.

I went to the Vegetarian Times and looked over their Starter Kit PDF and “Why Go Veg” page, and was extremely pleased to not be called a meat-eating murderer for a change! Thank you, Shoka, for this different and very useful link!

Brad Carps

Don’t diss Beck

Re “Van Jones comes to town” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, July 15):

How disappointing to read your column where you take aim at Glenn Beck. I’m no Beck supporter, but I am interested in honest reporting. You have just used the very tactics you attack Beck with. To say Beck sees nothing wrong with a defenseless man being beaten by an officer and an all-white jury letting them off is just lazy and beneath you.

I dare say you cannot tell me what Beck’s vision for America is. I’m just another intelligent conservative, but I can’t stand lying or mischaracterization from either side of the aisle. I expect better from you.

Ethan James