Letters for November 15, 2012

Re-evaluate extreme-weather priorities

Re “The new normal?” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Editor’s Note, November 8):

Rachel Leibrock is completely right that we must focus on better preparing for extreme-weather events.

The problems is—and this is a problem all over the world, not just in California or New York—that it is going to be difficult finding the funds to properly prepare as long as the vast majority of climate money is spent trying to slow climate change.

Of the roughly $100 billion spent each year in the world on climate finance, only 5 percent of it (according to Climate Policy Initiative) goes to adaptation. The rest—95 percent—of it is devoted to controlling global climate decades in the future, something increasing numbers of climate experts tell us is impossible.

It’s time to re-evaluate our priorities.

Tom Harris

executive director, International Climate Science Coalition

Losing coral reefs, too

Re “The new normal?” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Editor’s Note, November 8) and “Sandy means it’s time to act” (SN&R Editorial, November 8):

Your Editor’s Note and Editorial cite Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that made landfall [on the East Coast], as the reason for you to emphasize the need to act in regard to climate change.

Let me give you more convincing reason: the devastation of coral reefs, due to [the] high acidic nature of oceans resulting from dissolved carbon dioxide produced in excess by humans.

Brahama D. Sharma


The unions live!

Re “Superintendent man and the meddling mayor” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 8):

SN&R is my newspaper of choice. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Per a National Public Radio broadcast, I believe all the anti-union ballot issues across the country were defeated. Maybe the middle class has found its voice, is using it and is forcing big money to take a step back. But we in the middle class must forever be vigilant, because, no doubt, [others] are already planning their next move.

Doris Fodge


Cheaper than water?

Re “Taxing soda” by Christina Jewett (SN&R Green Days, November 8):

Go ahead and attempt to justify taxing sodas. What those that want to curb diabetes, etc., don’t get (those that have the power to pass this) is while places like Woodland and Davis jack up rates for something that falls from the sky (water), some will gladly pay the soda tax, because when they’re homeless, it may be cheaper to shower and live off the stuff. Next thing you know, some asshole will figure out a way to monitor how many breaths a person takes in a month and tax that.

If you really want your breath taken away, look into the monthly pay of city managers in the areas I mentioned, while many struggle to survive.

Noah Kameyer

via email

Cut sugar producers’ subsidies

Re “Taxing soda” by Christina Jewett (SN&R Green Days, November 8):

There’s really no reason to tax soda. We could accomplish the same savings—and possibly the same health benefits—if we simply ended the state [and] federal subsidies to sugar and corn producers. The reason we consume so much sugar, both cane and corn, is because the price is artificially low due to subsidies to growers and producers. If we end those, not only will we have federal monies to spend elsewhere, we’ll also reduce sugar consumption as the price goes up to actual market levels.

A free market can be an interesting thing, but only if it’s actually “free.” Subsidizing big business has consequences, and cheap sugar in all our food is one of them.

Jan Kline


No ‘ma’am,’ please—we’re British

Re “It’s a long, fun way down” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Film, November 8):

Methinks Jonathan Kiefer needs to watch more British cinema: There’s nothing behind the “ma’am”/“mom” pronunciation in Skyfall. That’s a common British pronunciation.

Christopher Thielen

via email

Won’t vote until lobbyists are gone

Re “Question: Why vote?” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature Story, November 1):

I did not vote in this election because of an ethical issue. When we go to the polls and vote, we are saying: “I believe in this system, and I think we can make it better.” That’s a noble and positive mindset, to be sure; I once held that very attitude, and I wish I could believe it again.

But I refuse to knowingly lie to myself. It’s very unethical. So, although I’d love to join the party and believe our voting matters, I can’t.

There at least two things which make our voting mostly null and void. The first is legal bribery. Everyone I know is human, and humans can be bribed, often for far less than you’d imagine. Bribery is rampant and legal. Some call it “lobbying.” It’s really bribery, because something is given to the elected official with the expectation the official or bureaucrat will repay the donor with some favor.

The second is secret council meetings. A secret meeting is a meeting where you and I are not invited, and we will not be allowed to attend. Why would an elected council want a secret meeting? Obviously, because they don’t want us to know what is discussed.

I am not saying our elected officials would ever discuss new zoning amendments and get certain delicate “permits” passed, repaying old election contributions and weekends at some private Tahoe resort, etc., but they are human. These kind of “legal” actions undermine and trump our voting choices.

So until bribery is made illegal, I will not vote.

Bobby Ingram