Union Democrat staff

Dirtier environment

To the editor:

I want my state senators to know I will be watching how they vote on Senator Lisa Murkowski's amendments attacking the Clean Air Act. This measure was written with the help of lobbyist from dirty energy companies and weakens efforts to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.

If our Senators vote for this amendment, we can look forward to a dirtier environment and a trip back to the old days, when we did not take responsibility for how we care for the environment. If we do not take care we will lose this world as we know it.

The environment is important to me, because I am in it every day and I enjoy it when it is clean. My children enjoy it too.

I would like my friends and family to be healthy. When we are living with pollution we get sick. How can we have forward thinking if everyone is sick?

The senators should spend more time talking about how to reduce our dependence on oil, and build up our domestic sources of clean energy (wind and solar).

Chris Bey


Hetch Hetchy vote

To the editor:

Regarding Jan. 13's story concerning Hetch Hetchy.

It is being proposed that the issue of tearing down O'Shaughnessy Dam and draining Hetch Hetchy should go to the voters of San Francisco. I think I can imagine the hype they will be fed in preparation for a vote. The advocates of removing the dam say they want to restore the valley to it's original condition, "hoping to create a twin to the world-famous Yosemite Valley."

Yes, I'm sure the valley was very beautiful. Building the dam flooded the valley floor. But it also created a very beautiful mountain lake. I wonder how many San Franciscans have any real concept of this area and how magnificent and, yes, pristine, it actually is. My guess is very few. And if the lake is drained, would the area ever resemble anything approaching beautiful again? Would it ever look like it did before the dam? My guess is never.

Do we need to attempt to create another Yosemite? Yes, we did "tamper" with nature when the dam was created, but the result is both practical (San Francisco's water supply) and beautiful. Can we not simply enjoy it as is? Or do we need hamburger stands and guided paths to enjoy nature?

These thoughts do not even take into consideration San Francisco's future water supply (should they lose Hetch Hetchy) or the astronomical expense of such a misguided concept.

Let us hope the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has more common sense than those who propose to put this to a vote.

"Happiness is the ability to make a bouquet with the flowers within reach" (author unknown).

Jan Canavan


Face facts

To the editor:

I am probably going to make several people angry with me, but I feel it must be said.

I feel very bad for the people of Haiti. It is devastating what has happened there. And as an individual, I think helping is the right thing to do, if you can manage to do so.

However, as a country, I think we need to stop focusing on other countries and start paying more attention to what is going on here in our own backyard.

How many Americans lost their jobs last year? How many Americans lost their homes? What are we really doing to help our own? All of the money that is going to Haiti, think of what that could do for us.

We are not the only country that can help others. And let's face facts, if we don't start taking care of ourselves who will?

Tammy Johnson


Financial disaster

To the editor:

On Jan. 13, the new Financial Inquiry Commission launched its investigation of the financial disaster that so many call "the worst since the Great Depression."

We as the "bailout" public would expect the 10 commission members to come out swinging, with questions, such as, "What happened to all that money we pumped into all you losers?" "How much are you still getting from us?" "Do you still consider yourselves, 'too big to fail'?" "How many lobbyists are you paying to defeat efforts to prevent another meltdown?" "With so many traders now unemployed, how can you still pay outrageous compensation that exceeds even the best neurosurgeons' incomes?"

We don't need to go back 100 years to the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, but only 40 years back since Richard Nixon took us off the gold standard. Ronald Reagan deregulated everything. Bill Clinton destroyed the Glass-Steagal Act, in addition to signing NAFTA. Then George W. Bush carried it further with over one trillion dollars' in tax cuts to the wealthy and more trade agreements to increase the wealth of the super-wealthy while crushing ordinary Americans with more (exported) job losses.

Once again, as in past "inquiries," witnesses will bob and weave, dodging not hard fists of questions, but soft pillows that give each and every one an out, and reinforcing the notion that the public just isn't in on the fix.

We understand all right. Who will guard the guardians and watch the watchers? We're being financially and politically raped, and we will suffer the long-term financial and psychological effects.

Why not Ralph Nader as a commission member?

Bert Canepa