Letters to the Editor


In Praise of National Treasures

I’m writing to commend Gabe Meline’s article “The New Rules” (Nov. 5). So many of us mark time through music. I wish it could’ve been a full feature article; I wish I could have helped with it. The part that really got me was his wish that Hewlett-Packard, with its insane profits in the Vietnam War, mass-manufacture Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue for free, sent to everyone. In Japan, certain people are named “national treasures.” Why can’t we just call Bob Dylan a national treasure? Half a century of pertinent, poignant and political comment encased in melody certainly warrants that while he’s alive.

Appreciate people while they’re still alive, that’s what I say. I react to the changing times (I’m 57)through music, and I wanted to add so many paragraphs to the article. It spoke (or sang) to me. Congratulations on a great article.

Mary Skevos


Damn You, Bill Gates

Great article on SlaughterhouseSpace, the new arts venue in Healdsburg (“Abbatoir Blues,” Nov. 12). The imagery was unforgettable: “The slaughterhouse’s main room overseen by large wenches, thick with rust-covered chain, which hang from the 35-foot-high ceiling.” Assuming these wenches have consented to being hung, do I gather that the San Francisco S/M scene has moved northward?

Conrad Bishop


Past the Tipping Point?

The Green Zone columnist, Patricia Dines, is living in a fantasy world (“Climate Healing,” Nov. 5). She writes of a year 2050 target for reduced greenhouse gas output, carbon taxes, cap-and-trade systems, etc., as solutions to global warming.

Renowned NASA climate scientist James Hansen coauthored a paper titled “Target Atmosphere CO2.” He wrote, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm (parts per million) to at most 350 ppm.”

In other words, Hansen thinks that Earth has passed the “tipping point.” It will take humanity’s unified, immediate, single-minded effort to avoid climate catastrophe. Can we actually reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and save ourselves? Each year that we do nothing, another two ppm of CO2 enters the atmosphere.  

Philip Ratcliff


Patricia Dines responds: I absolutely agree with your call for urgent action. The folks featured in my column also have more near-term targets; the 2050 goal just reflects the longer-term scale of cultural change needed. Also note that the plan I highlighted is actually Hansen’s plan.

Prop. 13’s Legacy Long and Gray

Californians need to wake up. This state’s budgetary problems are causing some very shortsighted measures. Cutting school funding will only come back to bite us. The results of increased class sizes and reduced course offerings will be a generation of young people who are even more underprepared to take on the world that will face them when they are adults.

It is not fair and hasn’t been since 1978, that businesses do not pay their fair share of property taxes in this state. It is not fair and hasn’t been for 30 years that two neighboring homeowners pay thousands of dollars difference in property taxes.

Proposition 13 needs to be replaced. How long will we limp along, saddled by a tax system that sounded good at the time it was proposed but was not clearly well thought-out? We need not return to a pre-1978 tax system. A replacement to Prop. 13 does not necessarily mean that people will lose their homes due to exorbitant property taxes. However, some of us do need to be paying more in taxes, businesses as well as property owners.

Mary Anne Sobieraj