What you get by mixing Brown and Gray: Your July 4 cover story ("Gray Skies") on California's rush to build more power plants and its disregard for health and environmental impacts on minority communities was excellent. My compliments to [writer] Jeremy Mullman.
Since Gov. Davis has taken away the authority of San Franciscans to make decisions about local power plants, perhaps a solution for shutting down the Hunters Point plant may lie in the considerable influence that Mayor Willie Brown still has with the governor and the state Legislature. During the many years Brown spent in the Legislature, he and Davis often worked together, and Mayor Brown could use his influence with Gov. Davis to change the law and have the Hunters Point plant immediately closed.
The residents of the city's southeastern corner have steadfastly supported Willie Brown for his entire political career, and now it's time for him to return the favor.
Thomas S. Harriman
Wasted energy: While the [article] made some great points on the energy crisis, it overlooked a lot of the real issues with renewable energy. Instead of focusing on all of the negative possibilities, we need to focus on positive solutions. California Senate Bill 531 would increase required renewable energy usage in our state from 10 to 20 percent. There are a lot of methods like wind, solar, geothermal, fuel cell, or hydrogen power that groups like the California Public Interest Research Group and Sierra Club have been promoting, all of which would solve the problem and save the environment.
Adam J. Rose
Rallying the troops: Intentionally or unintentionally, the article's sidebar story, "They're Hijacking Our Rally!" (on the competition for media attention between public power advocates and environmentalists at a recent demonstration), walks, talks, and quacks like a divide-and-conquer technique. Pitting environmental groups against each other is a telltale sign that the spin is on to cloud the truth behind the purpose and thrust of public power.
The rally you referred to was right on the mark for two reasons: 1) Public power is the only way the public can become involved in the operations of their utility, and 2) public power is vastly ahead of investor-owned utilities in the support of renewable energy sources.
Public power and healthy communities go hand in hand. Divide-and-conquer will not work this time. We will be victorious in November, and let there be no mistake: When public power does come to San Francisco, Hunters Point's "peaker plant" will go down just as quickly as you can say, "So long, PG&E!"
Avalanche warning: I read your excellent story ("Love in Times of Choler," Matt Smith, July 4) about the Sue Hestor/Joe O'Donoghue face-off [over development and growth issues]. Each seeks to perpetuate the status quo in a way that suits their own ends. Neither is willing to work in a cooperative way to achieve a better total solution. This should be required reading for every San Franciscan. You make it clear that as a city, we continually espouse goals that we then seek to implement with contrary policies. The only way to break this logjam is for the voters to take the responsible, nonpartisan view and dictate sustainable, fair, and effective solutions. Assuming they can find their way past the avalanche of propaganda that passes as "political discourse" these days.
During the intelligence shortage, we conserve by using ours as little as we can: Matt Smith has once again hit the nail on the head. There is no real shortage of housing in San Francisco. There is only a shortage of intelligence, honesty, and genuine desire to serve the public good in the planning and political process. The housing "crisis" has been orchestrated over the past 20 years by politicians and special interests to serve their own political interests and fatten their wallets.
Of course, the citizens of San Francisco who allow themselves to be manipulated this way are equally to blame. Like a battered wife who keeps going back for more, they get a lot of emotional mileage out of the dysfunction and drama. Our city is corrupt, dirty, and overpriced, but that's a small price to pay for the pleasures of being perpetual victims.