Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday January 26, 2011 - 04:12:00 PM

A peep at 2011:  

There was a decline in the world's hungry and malnourished for the first time in 15 years. To be sure, vast numbers of people are still hungry, but it's a glimmer of hope.  

Economic outlook: Forecasters predict healthy growth in 2011 and fewer unemployed. The New Start Treaty with its comprehensive measure for monitoring nuclear weapons will make the world safer. The United States plans to remove troops from Iraq this year and perhaps begin to draw down forces in Afghanistan. 

lternative energy is gaining a foothold. Renewable sources of energy (solar and wind) are abundant and everywhere. As if computers are not fast enough Intel is working on laser emitting chips, which among other things, will allow you to download a feature-length movie in a few seconds. 

There are so many creative and wonderful things in the offing. 

Ron Lowe 

* * * 

Palestine Papers 

Al Jazeera starting publishing stories related to its trove of more than 1,600 memos, diplomatic cables, and notes from the past decade of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The so called "Palestine papers" ( show Palestinians humiliating themselves by offering enormous concessions in private with the Israelis willing to concede little or nothing. For example, the Palestinian Authority offered to concede almost all of East Jerusalem, an historic concession for which Israel offered nothing in return. The papers show Israeli was intransigent in public and intransigent in private. This raises the question as to why Israel should concede anything when the Palestinians were willing to concede much. When the Palestinians people and the world see what the Palestinian negotiators were willing to concede, there should be an outcry forcing Palestine to give up the peace process and seek international recognition of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders. 

So far only some of the documents have been released. We will have to wait and see what the remaining documents reveal. 

Ralph E. Stone  

* * * 

This Island Park 

Wendy Schlesinger is correct. The Park cannot be an island unto itself, the homeless people and drug abusers in the Park need services (mental health, housing, etc), and the Park needs volunteers. Regarding the plants, the Park is supposed to be a community garden. It's not just supposed to be me by my lonesome. I would love to relinquish yardage to enthusiastic people to grow their own organic food, herbs and fresh flowers. It would be amazing if a local viticulturalist took care of the grape vine (I don't know squat about grape vines), or if someone who knew about fruit trees assisted in keeping them healthy. People's Park is a substantial place, and there could be so much more food grown in it if people joined in. The park needs manure for fertilizer, and it needs more dirt to combat errosion. The park needs to be cleaner; the onsluaght of chemical laden cigarette butts threatens the quality of the soil. 

Regarding the people, it is not enough that they live out their lives as marginalized cast-aways. Everyone has potential. It is insulting to the youth in the Park to think that they cannot be reached, and cannot be guided. The people in the park are stuck, because there is no boat to help them off the island and onto the mainland. Police officers are not guidence counsolers, and jail isn't an internship program. There are no social workers in the Park, there are no rehab programs in the park, there are no job trainers there to recruit and educate the youth. As it stands now, people are feeding off each other's chemical depenencies, each other's hopelessness and rage. It creates a place in which other community members feel uncomfortable to go. However, these social services cost money, and we need to demand that the funds be made available by putting pressure on those in power. 

This past November's election saw a lot of talk regarding People's Park, but it appears that it was just campaign rhetoric. I'm out there pulling weeds and planting new plants because I need a place to grow food, and because I want to contribute to the community by beautifying the park. Wendy is right; there isn't a lot of work that can be done up in a tree. If people are going to improve the park, then they must have their feet firmly planted on the soil. Socialism requires volunteerism not escapism. Socialism requires a willingness to work. 

Nathan Pitts 

* * * 

BP and the Oil Spill 

The BP oil spill could be one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation's history. 

The coast is home to fishing communities and is a haven for wildlife. What will become of them if we cannot contain this spill? Almost all of all the marine species in the Gulf depend on coastal estuaries at some point in their lives, and most of these estuaries are in Louisiana and are threatened by an oil spill that could last months. 

It is obvious that drilling isn't as safe as we've been led to believe. Eleven people are missing. And now BP is unable to stem the flow of oil and is calling for US government help. 

Not only is there not enough oil available off of our coasts to satisfy our fossil oil addiction, the risks to people living on our coasts and the wildlife who depend on our waters are too high. It simply is not possible to drill our way to energy independence, and misguided attempts are proving nothing less than deadly. 

I hope that we learn from this tragedy. Our senators need to get serious about cleaner alternatives and pass a clean energy bill. It's past time to stop putting oil company profits ahead of real energy reform. 

Keiko Martinez