Letters to the editors on Monday
Priorities for water
EDITOR: Please be aware that water storage tanks are sold out for many miles. We need air, water, food and shelter. Rights and freedoms are interwoven with these needs. So we have to decide whether we need to allow food farms and dairies the water to supply us with cheese, milk, some meat and water catchment area, or whether we need more vineyards, cannabis complexes, casinos and tourist staff to take advantage of our dwindling limited water supplies. Remember that the world’s food sources are dwindling. So what do you think is important? Vintage wines, a good spliff, fine food after the roulette or cheese and vegetables and maybe some rain that is absorbed into the floor through the open space?
EDITOR: Have you ever longingly looked at all of the fresh water that flows from the Russian River into the Pacific during winter storms and wished it was available to us during the dry months? Your wish could come true.
Sonoma Water, our local water authority, has conducted a feasibility study showing that the river has had natural flows every year since 1908 that could be used for aquifer storage and reclamation to improve groundwater supplies.
In addition, projects are being investigated in which floods or possibly non-flooded natural winter rivers are distributed to farmland in order to replenish shallow aquifers. The state has identified water management strategies that incorporate surface and groundwater as keys to drought resilience.
The agency’s study has many aspects, with one of the more intriguing ones examining whether at least one production well could function “in reverse”. Instead of pumping water from the ground, the well pumps high quality drinking water when it is plentiful, such as during our winter storms. The water would recharge the aquifer and be available for future droughts and emergencies.
For more information, visit sonomawater.org/droughtresiliency.
EDITOR: It’s encouraging to see a lot of people thinking about the pros and cons of nuclear power. The amount of energy that remains in the spent fuel rods from light water reactors is 90% of their original output, which is why it is so toxic for such a long time.
There is another type of reactor called the molten salt reactor that was originally designed to be fired with enriched thorium, an abundant element that cannot be converted into weapons-grade material. This reactor design has a walk-away safety factor due to a freezer plug that melts if it gets too hot. The solution drains into a receptacle where it is safely stored until it is reintroduced into the reactor chamber.
These reactors can be built on a much smaller scale, as a huge safety dome is not required to contain a meltdown. They can be placed near energy-consuming communities, eliminating the need for high-voltage lines that endanger our forests. And they can run on spent fuel rods from existing nuclear power plants and consume 90% of the remaining energy in the fuel rods. They’re a proven, workable technology – not science fiction.
EDITOR: Gayle Kozlowski (“Texas: A great state,” Letters, Tuesday) idealizes Texas as a land of godly, conservative-minded people, a state where citizens “work hard so they don’t need government support” and:
– Texans receive more federal aid per tax dollar spent than Californians.
– Compared to California, a higher percentage of Texans participate in state and federal aid programs.
– California leads the nation in agricultural product sales; Texas is # 1 in state farm subsidies.
Texans, she says, are pro-life and “respect good moral values,” which should at least mean taking good care of children, and yet:
– Texas lags California on virtually all child health indicators, including infant mortality, premature births, child deaths, teenage suicide and children living in poverty (Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation).
– The teen birth rate in Texas is twice that of California.
And when it comes to Texans and God, they may not be that religious after all: Texas ranks outside the top 10 states for belief in God, daily prayer, and regular church attendance (source: Pew Research Center).
Thanks, but I’ll stick with California … warts and stuff.
Smoking and COVID
EDITOR: The hot opinions about vaccinations did not mention “secondhand smoke”.
The medical experts have been very clear about smoking and health. It’s printed on packets of cigarettes. We all know that smoking is dangerous and can cause lung cancer which can cause your death.
Stricter rules apply to public health and safety. It is forbidden to smoke in and on airplanes etc. Secondhand smoke can affect the rest of us who don’t smoke. It can pose a dangerous health risk to our lungs.
Smokers can choose to smoke, but only outside and not around others. You can choose a lethal habit. But they don’t have the “freedom” to impose it on the rest of us. These warnings and rules were put in place for the good of all and for the sake of public health.
Smokers can whine whatever they want, but they are forced to. Do you see this as discrimination? Do you understand that your behavior can negatively affect the rest of us?
I draw a parallel to the No-Vaxxers.
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