Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday June 17, 2010 - 05:22:00 PM

Republicans? In Berkeley?; President Obama's Speech; Oil Hell; Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill; Lackeys; Energy Policy; Hooked on War 

Republicans? In Berkeley? 

Re your June 15 editorial, "Moving On After Berkeley Turns Down Measure C," voter registration by party broken down by city is available from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters: 

Less than 4.5% of voters in Berkeley are registered Republican, 66% are Democrats, and 23% declined to state a party affiliation. 

To that latter group, I say, you are making a strategic error. In Berkeley (and Oakland), the Democratic primary is the only election in which there's sometimes a meaningful choice for partisan offices. In the general election, Republicans and third-party candidates have virtually no chance of beating the Democratic nominees. Yeah, Green Party candidate Audie Bock beat Elihu Harris in the 1999 State Assembly race, but the circumstances were unique. 

Robert Lauriston 


President Obama's Speech 

Editors, Daily Planet: In Tuesday night's speech about the BP oil spill, I was disappointed in his endorsement of theKerry-Lieberman proposed American Power Act (Act), which in my opinion should be sent back to the drawing board. 

Why? By meeting behind closed doors, the lawmakers let corporate polluters play too large a role in the Act to the detriment of the climate and consumers. The proposed legislation promotes nuclear energy, oil drilling, and coal mining with a weak carbon-pricing mechanism. 

In addition, it guts the EPA's current authority to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The proposed legislation fails to give incentives to renewable energy development and energy efficiency investments. 

For example, Section 1102 of the Act increases loan guarantees primarily for nuclear power to $54 billion, which is a bad deal for taxpayers, especially considering the high risk of default that even the government acknowledges. Section 1103 provides $6 billion in taxpayer-subsidized risk insurance for twelve nuclear reactors. 

The Act would expand offshore drilling even in light of the BP oil spill. Section 1412 establishes a carbon tax paid by ratepayers and collected by utilities to fund carbon capture and storage with no money allocated to rooftop solar or energy efficiency investments. The coal industry will eat up most of the subsidies that should go to renewable energy development. 

In sum, the nuclear and coal industries will receive a lot of taxpayer money and loan guarantees under the Act. Instead, renewable energy should be getting the investments and loan guarantees. 

Ralph E. Stone 


Oil Hell 

Who is accountable in this corporate oil monster hell and why wasn't there a backup plan - safety measures beyond failure already in place?Stop this insanity and create green energy bill and means to pass it. 

Roberta Llewellyn 


Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill 

An Open Letter to the President: 

Mr. President, it is time for you and British Petroleum (BP) to come clean with the American public about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which is being described as a catastrophe of biblical proportions in the making. We are hearing too much spin and not enough facts. 

The oil spill isthreatening to make vast parts of the Gulf into dead zones where animals and plant species will be so contaminated and unsafe that Gulf communities may face the total end of fishing. Based on new video images showing the unimpeded flow of black oil, it is estimated that100,000 barrels daily -- not the 20,000 barrels being reported -- are leaking,creatingvast underwater oil plumes or concentrations of oil under the sea, whose impacts will take years to understand. 

Besides the enormous damage to the Gulf, eight or more hurricanes are predicted. If one or more hit the Gulf, it means that seawater several hundred feet below the surface of the water could be churned up and then deposited over the South. This seawater, containing oils and radioactive fission products, would magnify the environmental problem hugely bypushing the oil ashore, and spreading it through torrential rains well inland, contaminating vast crops and farmland over a vast area. 

At the very least, Mr. President, there should be absolutely, positively no more off-shore drilling until your administration gets its regulatory house in order and a comprehensive energy policy -- not one developed behind closed doors -- is put in place. Regrettably, big energy now largely controls our climate's future. 

Also, all BP oil profits from its off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico should be considered ill-gotten gains and placed in escrow as a down payment to pay damages caused by the oil spill. Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have the legal authority to order this, but public opinion and your bully pit might embarrass BP to consider this possibility. 

The Gulf oil spill is fast becoming your Hurricane Katrina. While this is an unfair comparison, who said politics is always fair. 

As you have said, "every crisis is an opportunity." It's time to seize the opportunity. 

Ralph E. Stone
Judi Iranyi 



2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney joined the bandwagon along with Tea Party leader Sarah Palin, blaming President Obama, in a roundabout way, for the Gulf oil spill. Both being corporate lackeys, they would do that. 

The oil spill in the Gulf is BP's fault, corporate malfeasance, or, it could be the Republican's fault due to lax regulations on oil wells during the Bush-Cheney oil presidency. 

And come on! Look at the white people protesting for the new Arizona immigration law. White folks carrying signs "ILLEGAL IS A CRIME", "WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON"T YOU UNDERSTAND". This debate is not about immigration "THIS IS ABOUT RACISM" plain and simple. Decaying white power targeting a whole segment of society, Hispanics and Latinos. 

Ron Lowe 


Energy Policy 

If this isn't a 911 on our energy policy I don't know what is. PLEASE let's get off the oil diet and onto a more sustainable energy source. Hey here's a concept—we become the world's leader in green energy technology and at the same time we don't have to pour billions of dollars into middle east conflicts to try to keep our oil flowing this way.

Bamboo King 


Hooked on War 

US and Afghan officials claim to have discovered more than $1 trillion in untapped copper, iron, and lithium deposits in Afghanistan, enough to significantly bolster the future development of the war ravaged country. But there remains skepticism about Afghanistan's mineral wealth, as some critics argue that the extent of un-mined deposits is being inflated to garner support for the war. 

Yes, America is hooked on war, and although some Americans might not realize that, you can be sure the rest of the world does, as it looks at Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places around the world where the U.S. has fought wars, threatened to fight wars, sent armed forces, or launched missiles in their stead. 

America spends more on its military budget than most of the rest of the nations of the world combined, and yet many Americans would tell you that the U.S. is a peace-loving nation that only goes to war to bring about peace, and that only uses its military to keep the peace. 

It's like Orwell said: "War is peace" to them. More than that, though, war is profit to many U.S. weapons makers and manufacturers, who make enormous amounts of money selling arms and material not only to the U.S. government but to many others around the world. 

Ted Rudow III,MA