Letters for December 5-11, 2007 

Readers sound off on the Tuolumne River and Daniel Spitzer presents his credentials.

"Tuolumne Water Grab," Full Disclosure, 11/7

Start Recycling, SF

Compliments to Robert Gammon for the excellent story about San Francisco's water grab. The Tuolumne River originates in my county of residence — Tuolumne County — and we are growing tired of San Francisco's endless thirst for more of our water. In Tuolumne County we recycle virtually all of our wastewater and put it to productive irrigation use. San Francisco is the only large county in the state that does no water recycling. Before taking more water out of our river, whether it is for use in San Francisco, or to sell to Hayward and others, San Francisco should join the rest of the state in doing some serious water recycling.

Jerry Cadagan, Sonora

Smart Growth is Better Than Dumb Growth

Before you conclude that SF aims to make a profit on water, consider a) that the Raker Act (under which it takes Tuolumne water) prohibits SF from selling water except at cost to wholesale customers, as it does; b) an outside engineer, URS, was engaged to predict 2030 demand, and demand numbers were lowered; c) there is no allowance for global warming to increase demand; d) SF residential per-person usage is far lower than average across the country, and usage within its service area is significantly lower than elsewhere in the Bay Area; e) SF has and has had a number of conservation programs; and f) taking more river water is undesirable because doing so makes it far harder to accomplish seismic solutions that are urgently needed. If SF does not accommodate growth in the Bay Area, where do you think growth will occur, and will development there (e.g., Manteca) be more or less "green" than in-fill growth in the Bay Area? If demand does not materialize, great, the extra water won't be taken; there are limited places to store it. If water isn't available, population growth will go elsewhere: further inland, with more commuting, air pollution, water usage, and air conditioning.

Steve Lawrence, San Francisco

Here's Something Truly Sexy

We're told by the drumbeat of the media that our sports teams and tech firms put the Bay Area "on the map." They make us feel important, part of a place where we can take pride. Robert Gammon's fine piece on the Tuolumne River offers us a deeper and more adult reason to take pride in our region — but only if we act to save the river and its breathtaking watershed, upon whose fresh waters from the Sierra the San Joaquin Delta survives. We drive our Priuses, we recycle paper bags, but all this is so abstract, and it seems pallid compared to the chance to save an entire ecosystem. The Tuolumne is a world of white waters, exciting species of fish, and delta recreation. What do we pay for its survival? Not terribly much. We can water our gardens less, cultivate native plants and reduce our grassy lawns, and monitor the efficiency of our toilets, the length of our showers. The problem for now is that conserving water, unlike driving a Prius, hasn't become "sexy." But if we do save water, we can feel proud that we saved a large swath of the natural world — and showed other regions how to do it. Which is sexy, indeed. And if we don't, we can feel petty and selfish, and console ourselves with long, hot showers, along with lots of time gazing at our half-acre of grass.

Charlie Stephen, Oakland

Stop the Water Grab

This defies the imagination. There will be no water in the Tuolumne River when this plan enacts itself, and unfortunately it will be a laugh — better said, a cruel joke — on the public, who wanted so much and in the end will receive very little of the north Yosemite Valley. When it comes time for a vacation, there will be nothing there. Stop this stupid water withdrawal plan, and three cheers for Robert Gammon for saying so.

Carolyn Straub, San Jose

Keep Up the Good Work

Thanks for printing this article. Keep up the good work! We need to let as many people as possible know that they have GOT to oppose this water grab. Will there be ANYTHING left of ANYTHING in a hundred years? Will anyone want to live anywhere anymore ... ?

Toni Kielu, San Francisco

Kudos

Great article. Very well written and documented, on a most relevant/dire topic. Kudos to Robert Gammon and the East Bay Express!

Connie Peirce, Belvedere

"Some Journalist," Letters, 11/28

Presenting My Credentials

It's a testimony of Roger Gabrielson's laziness that he failed to check any source other than a few pages of the Google index in which my name is referenced 1,340,000 times in calling into question my background as a journalist. Yes, it's been a while since I've written pieces — I've focused upon editing and writing books in my later years and have written or co-authored nine of them, largely based upon five years' work in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But in the course of a lengthy career, I've had at least a hundred pieces printed in publications such as the SF Chronicle, Mother Jones, and The Progressive, examining political, cultural, and environmental issues. I also taught journalism both at the College of Marin and Merritt College. Those institutions hardly would have hired me to oversee their student newspapers if I didn't have substantial publications to my credit.

As for the Daily Planet apologizing for running a letter I wrote about an individual at a lecture by journalist Daniel Pipes screaming, "You are all a bunch of filthy, lying Jews," the rant of which I wrote was confirmed by Mr. Pipes himself in a letter printed by the paper. Absurdly, the Daily Planet wrote a subsequent apology to the individual who expressed his anti-Semitic vitriol. Daily Planet editor Becky O'Malley's decision to publish said apology fit very well with her openly anti-Israeli stance. Indeed, O'Malley even ran a blatantly anti-Semitic op-ed by an Iranian for which she was later criticized by prominent local politicians such as Tom Bates, Jerry Brown, and members of the Berkeley City Council. O'Malley's incessant Israel-bashing has led many to dub her paper "The Daily Palestinian."

To return to Gabrielson's letter, he appears to be alleging that Israel fabricated the ISM's hiding of Islamic Jihad's suicide bombing planner Shadi Sukiya. Well, as Mother Jones reported, Sukiya was arrested by the Israelis smack-dab in ISM's Jenin office. This understandably led organizations like the Red Cross and Medicins Sans Frontieres to kick ISM out of the building, as these NGOs couldn't afford to be associated with terrorists.

Dan Spitzer, Berkeley

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Please provide your full name, address, and daytime phone number, although we'll only print your name, city, and affiliation. Send letters to Letters@EastBayExpress.com or Letters, East Bay Express, 1335 Stanford Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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