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Clear contrast
Recently, the KPCC radio station supposedly ended a fund drive. Yet the programs continue to milk their listeners every 10 minutes for additional funds.

It is rather sad that they claim to be "public" radio, even as they regurgitate poorly camouflaged commercials for their so-called underwriters. They also encourage listeners to patronize the services of those underwriters. In clear contrast, a competitor station refuses to accept funds from commercial entities. Listeners can choose information sources based upon factors relevant to them.



We have the power
In a review of 12,000 papers on climate change, a story in the May 15 issue of Environmental Research Letters found that 97 percent of scientists attribute climate change to human activities. Although we're unlikely to reverse climate change, we can mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, energy use and meat consumption. Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 UN report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of manmade greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.

Carbon dioxide, the principle greenhouse gas, is generated by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals. Much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

Each of us has the power to reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch meats, hotdogs, veggie burgers and soy- and nut-based dairy products, as well as an ample selection of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes and transition tips are at www.livevegan.org.


Save the whales
An Associated Press report described a one-nautical-mile change to the commercial shipping lane within the Santa Barbara Channel by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The purpose of this lane adjustment is ostensibly to protect endangered blue whales from ship strikes.

While we appreciate the concern expressed by the participants in the development of this new rule, unfortunately there is little likelihood that a reduction in the number of ship strikes and kills will follow. It is simply too small a change to make a difference. The industry is also offering to help gather more data; more data is always good, but there is sufficient knowledge for a better solution to be adopted now.

A more promising alternative is for the ships to move 15 to 20 miles outside of the channel. This area is in international waters and legally available to the industry. In fact, many oil tankers have been transiting these waters for years and were joined by a number of cargo vessels and cruise ships when California passed a rule in 2010 requiring lower sulfur (and more expensive) fuel to be used within 24 miles of the coast to reduce the number of air pollution deaths in coastal communities. An IMO extension of the fuel rule to 200 miles in 2015 will make the cost-benefit question moot. It is anticipated the ships will come back to inside waters to save an hour of transit time.

Blue whales are negatively buoyant: They sink when they die. Collision with a ship as long as several football fields typically results in the whale's death, and while the number of documented strikes is usually in the single digits in any given year, it is believed the actual number of blue whale kills may be at least an order of magnitude greater. The bottom line is that every year we fail to take the necessary action more blue whales will be killed.

By 1966, more than 98 percent of the world's blue whales had been killed by commercial whalers, primarily for pet food. Only about 10,000 of these highly intelligent, social, graceful beings are left on Earth. The population cannot afford to lose 10, 20 or 50 more whales, year after year. The IMO rule acknowledges the problem but does not solve it. The ships can choose to sail outside of the critical blue whale feeding area from July through October, when the density of the whales in the area is at its peak. 

I encourage your readers to go to the Great Whale Conservancy Web site to learn more about this issue and find out how to tell the shipping companies and the government that more needs to be done now.


Re: "Hearing is believing," May 30
Interview tapes are self-authenticating, so there is no chain of custody issue. What happened here is due to more than one factor. Criminal discovery is informal. It depends on a prosecutor to place a high priority to fulfill the duty to timely provide evidence in possession of the police to the defense. This was obviously not a priority with Mr. Kim in this case. He probably got the evidence when he was busy in another trial, set it aside and forgot about it. When the stuff hit the fan, he passed the blame, which oftentimes happens when things go wrong in law enforcement. It's lack of prosecutorial organization and priority instead of conspiracy. This is not the first time the ethics of Kim, Broghammer and Okamoto have been called into question, but this one clearly falls on Kim.


Re: "The only way," May 30
It is a demonstration of poor leadership skills on behalf of the mayor of Pasadena to criticize one of the city's best, brightest and ultimately most committed people. Randy [Jurado Ertll] has a long-standing career in true public service. Especially in this era of economic turmoil, which often slides into more social instability, Randy has used El Centro's capabilities to positively impact the Pasadena community. Eight years is as long as two presidential terms, and we should look forward to Randy's next phase of leadership, which has not had the glorification of the "fat cat" lobbyists of DC or Sacramento. We all deserve to have access to the history he has so sensitively documented in his writings. Shame on the mayor of Pasadena. He should retract his thoughtless statements and give Randy a medal from the city of Pasadena.


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