Fight the Power
But 311 is working great!: Renewables are a great peak power source [“Green Scheme,” Peter Jamison, Feature, 1/14]. They cannot currently provide the base load, which is the minimum level of demand on an electrical supply system over 24 hours, and comes from nonrenewable power sources: coal, nuclear, gas, etc. Once you Green Nazis get over this fact, you will be doing us all a favor.
No matter how many power plants S.F. thinks it is going to put up, they will never produce the base load needed to run this city on a hot July day.
This article is absolutely horrifying given this city's fine management of Muni, its own computer networks (remember the network hijacker?), and Department of Public Works — not to mention the police force that is in a state of disarray, terribly underfunded, and poorly managed (thanks, chief).
That's right: Just tack on another “service” for this fair city to offer. In the long run — as if I will have a choice — I don't care what S.F. does. I will pick PG&E over “S.F. G&E” any day.
Two Bag or Not to Bag: That Is the Question
French kiss-off: Joe Eskenazi's article on S.F.'s plastic bag ban [“Baggage,” Feature, 1/7] did readers a small service and a much greater disservice.
Smothering readers in scientific study results, he spotlights the bewildering complexity that is our environmental nightmare. It is clear that with systemic problems like our waste juggernaut, it's not one law that is needed, but a 180-degree turn in our habits of thought and action. We are kidding ourselves if we think the ban is anything but a symbolic first step. Environmentalists know this, but for Eskenazi, it comes as a damning revelation. While he can hardly contain his scorn for “enviros” and “politicos” (with inexplicable venom, he goes so far as to compare a spokesman for Norcal Waste Systems to Joe McCarthy) who dedicate their lives to these issues, the author's examination of a pile of facts and factoids hasn't gotten him in any deeper than the question “paper or plastic?”
His assumption that banning plastic means promoting paper is — well — very 20th century. A ban on all disposable bags must be the goal, with bag fees as a potential step along the way.
I grew up partly in France in the 1960s, where stores did not offer bags. A light, strong, expandable string bag, compressible to a handful, was standard equipment for every purse or briefcase. If you forgot your metal mesh egg box, the grocer wrapped them in newspaper and you took your chances. The French have since abandoned these sensible habits, but we will all have to readopt them sooner or later.
Sadly, at this critical time, the effect of this article is to disempower. The issue is so complicated, and its ramifications so counterintuitive, that practical action seems bound to backfire. His one positive suggestion — charging for bags — is lost in a barrage of unconstructive debunking and ridicule. The end result for many readers, I would imagine, is a sense of futility. Nothing can be done, can it? Oh, well … wanna rent a movie? I doubt that this was Eskenazi's intent (and much of the information he provides is good to know), but let this be a reminder to him that playing the smarty-pants is a child's game.
Your name is Mud: I was surprised to read this line in Chloe Veltman's review of Mud [“Three Little Pigs,” Stage, 1/21]: “She treats Lloyd as though he's a retard.” What exactly was she trying to say? I have a daughter who lives with mild mental retardation. I'm guessing that's what Veltman would call a “retard,” right? My daughter is a happy kid who is very well loved and looked after.
Saying that someone is a retard just isn't right. It's a slur that hurts any way you look at it. You shouldn't have to have a family member with special needs to know better, but it seems that the reviewer hasn't quite grasped this concept.