Letters for September 1, 2005

Cindy’s been co-opted

Re “Cindy’s question” (SN&R Editorial, August 25):

As always, SN&R’s editorial staff took the tragedy of Cindy Sheehan and used it for their own wrong-minded leftist agenda.

Cindy Sheehan has been co-opted by people in the far-left fringe and is being used by them to further their crusade of hatred toward George Bush and all things Republican. She is not the same woman she was prior to her new association. As soon as her 15 minutes of celebrity are gone and she is of no use, the left will kick her to the curb and find a new body to feed on.

The loss of Cindy Sheehan’s son is sad, but he died doing what he believed in, which is more than most of us will have said about us. He was not drafted; he volunteered to go to Iraq. We should all honor his memory and the memory of all those veterans that have given their lives for the greatest good.

To do anything else is to diminish their sacrifice and to say that they died in vain.

Frederick T. Cianci

A big, clueless essayist

Re “A big, clueless Boy Scout” by Alison Rood (SN&R Essay, August 25):

As I read Alison Rood’s essay online, I couldn’t understand why, as a mother, she did not appreciate that Scouts are neither soldiers nor adults. Many are only 11 years old and learning about what it means to be a citizen of this great country, both in terms of duty and responsibility.

Then I realized that, like all left-leaning liberals, she transferred her hatred for President Bush to young men and, by extension, an organization that likely has done more good for this country and the world than most others. She doesn’t necessarily dislike Scouts or even those Scouts who perhaps needed to be better directed by their leaders. She used the Scouts as a means to complain about our country’s leadership. She certainly has a right to do so, but why at the expense of Boy Scouts of America?

No one who is decent and truly God-fearing desires war, but Ms. Rood, when viewing the memorials dedicated to those men and women who died during wartime, missed a big point. Their sacrifice is what has preserved our freedom and that of other democratic republics throughout the world. History shows us that the United States often remained isolated from its allies at war until it became impossible to avoid conflict. In retrospect, had we not entered some of these wars, our world would be significantly different and our survival a matter of chance.

The fact that Ms. Rood was surprised by the existence of the war memorials in our nation’s capital leads me to believe that she, not our president, is clueless.

Nat Fitzsimmons
New York City

We own the water— they just use it

Re “Drinking problem” by Josh Indar (SN&R Cover, August 18):

Josh Indar should have made clear that water still belongs to all of us; California’s Constitution and several court cases affirm this fact. California water is used based on a system of water rights—a right to use, not to own—water. Nestlé isn’t buying a piece of private property; it’s buying the right to use the water for a period of time.

Those of us interested in public resources would undoubtedly agree with Nancy Price’s statement “Water in general is part of the commons and should not be privatized.” How do we stop the privatization?

The preferred tool seems to be lawsuits based on incomplete environmental documentation. However, those environmental tools are not designed to address the unique, complex legal and economic aspects of water use in California. Even if Nestlé were thwarted from building a bottling plant because of the environmental-review process, the company would likely go elsewhere.

To effectively deal with water concerns today, California needs a statewide coalition of citizens interested in water privatization. The public owns the largest volume of water in California and the only statewide water-delivery systems. To be most effective in stopping privatization, the coalition would concentrate on legislative action, with specific emphasis on water rights and groundwater regulation.

Privatization of publicly owned water could not happen without the Legislature writing laws to allow it. Most of the laws affecting use of water, including public water and delivery systems, are written by the corporations or special interests that benefit from them. This needs to stop.

As for water rights, the public owns the water, and it is the Legislature’s duty to periodically review the state’s system of water rights and change it, when necessary, for the public good. So far, the Legislature has refused to act on the courts’ rulings.

California is one of the few states with no mandatory groundwater-management statute. Groundwater management is a local responsibility, provided for in the California Water Code and a number of court decisions. Some California cities and counties have groundwater-management statutes, and some don’t. Without statewide, comprehensive groundwater-management legislation, citizens literally run the risk of losing the water out from under them.

Water holds a unique place in California’s Constitution, specifically mentioned as the property of the people. The Legislature is charged only as the trustee of the people’s water. It is time for the people of California to demand the Legislature do its job and show the Legislature how to do it.

Marie McLean


Re “Moms à la mode” (SN&R Scene&heard, August 18):

In this article about a recent art show, we inadvertently misspelled painter-designer Sunny Langley’s last name. It has been corrected in our version of the story online.