Letters to the Editor


Downhill since 1873

I enjoyed Ronald Bailey’s article “Peak Everything” (May 5). But his conclusion—”while the production of physical supplies of resources may peak, there is no sign that human creativity is about to peak”—is open to debate. In my 2007 book, coincidentally titled Peak Everything (which Bailey fails to mention), I cite a peer-reviewed study by physicist Jonathan Huebner showing that the rate of invention of significantly new and different technologies peaked in 1873 and has been declining since then. If Huebner is right, it is unlikely that humanity will be able to innovate its way out of the population and resource bottleneck we have entered.

Our best hope is to reduce both our numbers and our consumption rates. Fortunately there are ways to do this that could preserve what’s best about us—our culture, science, compassion. But we’ll likely miss that safe exit if we’re frantically pursuing techno-fixes, stomping on the gas pedal as we go.

Richard Heinberg

Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute

Santa Rosa


As progressive Democrats and advocates and activists for peace and social justice, we are saddened to know that our one-time heroine, Lynn Woolsey, would make such a terribly wrong-minded decision to support war-hawk Congresswoman Jane Harman (“Blue Dog Blues,” Open Mic, May 5). What are progressive Democrats so afraid of? How can they desert the core values of the Progressive Caucus and betray their constituents? This is exactly what the people who voted for her feel—betrayed! As part of the great PDA movement, we thank you, Norman Solomon, for this revealing and disturbing article.

Dr. Van and Mrs. Lois Hamilton

Santa Barbara

Keep Sonoma County’s D.A.

Stephan Passalacqua has been reaching out to the community in partnership with volunteers to get the word out about the growing problem of elder abuse. There have been several very successful Elder Protection Summit seminars at different locations in Sonoma County. The seminars bring information to seniors and caregivers about protecting the rights of seniors and preventing both financial and physical abuse of elders. Mr. Passalacqua has shown that he values input from the community, and is committed to fighting the problem of elder abuse and protecting the rights of seniors.

Outreach to the community and the desire and ability to work with the community are always important. In the present climate of budget cuts and subsequent staff reductions, it seems more important than ever.

District Attorney Passalacqua has worked well with the senior community. He deserves to be re-elected.

Raynetta James

Volunteer senior advocate


The 1.5 Percent rule

Perhaps the author of this story (“Hot Wines,” April 28) should have educated himself on alcohol labeling laws prior to writing this article. A winery with wines under 14 percent alcohol by volume must merely state on the label an alcohol level within 1.5 percent of the exact figure. Thus, in the 1970s, many wineries simply printed 12.5 percent, giving them the 1.5 percent leeway to go up to 14 or down to 11. Wines over 14 percent must adhere to the same rule, but must state a figure above 14 percent; i.e. a wine with 15 percent alcohol must state at least 14 percent but could say up to 16.5 percent.

Utilizing labels as a way of determining average alcohols during a specific time period is a flawed method.

Tary Salinger

St. Helena