Photo by Mariya Chorna via Flickr Creative Commons

Letters to the Editor – September 2011

Fresno Nuclear Power Plant Seems Unlikely

Here is an update to the coverage of the Fresno nuke proposal by Vic Bedoian in last month’s Community Alliance.

On July 26, the California Energy Commission (CEC) held its 2011 biannual Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) workshop on nuclear power in California. The focus was on the post-Fukushima seismic situation at Diablo Canyon and San Onofre. Questions from the commissioners focused on current and future seismic safety concerns, and the utilities were able to answer some but not all of them.

Of note to Fresno: At former CEC IEPR workshops John Hutson has made an appearance, as it is the CEC that determines when and whether the moratorium on building new reactors will be lifted. This year, although he has vowed to proceed with his plans, Hutson was absent as a proponent of his project. In fact, not one person spoke of building a new nuke in Fresno. One visitor indicated on the sign-in sheet he was representing “Areva” (Hutson’s French partner) but made no oral comments. This is a marked contrast to previous years.

Not only were “new nukes” clearly not a subject of discussion, but it was also possible to sense that concepts like “phase out” of the existing ones was more plausible.

Therefore, if Hutson and company aren’t pursuing their goals at the CEC and have no chance of introducing legislation in this session, I guess Hutson should be looking at that offer of a second career as a conservative talk radio host, as Bedoian noted.

Interesting side note: Former Irvine Assembly Member Chuck DeVore, who did Hutson’s bidding (and failed) in the legislature, termed out of the Assembly, tried a bid for the U.S. Senate against [Barbara] Boxer, lost and is now (did you guess?) a conservative talk radio host in Orange County! Coincidence? Or is this the career trajectory for those who fail to make nuclear power a reality in California?

For more on California’s nuclear story, I recommend folks turn to our Web site, www.a4nr.org, as the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility has been actively working on this issue for the last six years and continues to do so.

Thanks for your reporting of this important subject.

David Weisman
Outreach Coordinator
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility

*****

Medical Marijuana Is Safe and Reliable

Are our Fresno city and county politicians ignorant or stupid or just plain mean?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major constituent of the marijuana plant, representing up to 40% in its extracts. Medically, it has been shown to relieve convulsion, inflammation, anxiety and nausea, as well as inhibit cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown CBD to be as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia. Studies have also shown that it may relieve symptoms of dystonia.

In 2007, it was reported that CBD reduces growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro and reduces their invasiveness. In April 2005, Canadian authorities approved the marketing of Sativex, a mouth CBD spray for multiple sclerosis to alleviate pain.

CBD has been shown as being effective treating an often drug-induced set of neurological movement disorders known as dystonia. CBD also appears to protect against “binge” alcohol-induced neurodegeneration.

Marijuana, which has never been proven to have killed anyone, has now been proven to prevent binge alcoholics from destroying their brains. That kind of generosity is Christ-like. It is even kind to its users: CBD prevents the short-term memory loss caused by THC in mammals.

All of this information and more appears in Wikipedia’s “Cannabidiol” article, which also has 37 references from global medical journals.

Mike Starry
Fresno

*****

Victory: Challenge Against Chem Waste

Greenaction scored a historic victory on August 4, 2011, in the long struggle for environmental health and justice in Kettleman City.

For the first time in the history of the Chemical Waste Management waste dump in Kettleman City, Chem Waste did not get what it wanted from a government agency in a permit process.

Community groups El Pueblo and Kids Protecting Our Planet and Greenaction challenged the Central Valley Regional Water Board’s intention to approve a renewal of Chem Waste’s permit for the bioreactor process that dumps liquid leachate from the landfill into garbage that is dumped at the Kettleman Hills facility. The bioreactor was initially approved by Kings County as a way to have the garbage decompose quicker so even more garbage could be dumped there. The bioreactor has operated for three years and needs a renewal permit prior to September 15 or it has to shut down.

We also challenged the Water Board’s unjust process as the so-called public hearing was held 230 miles from Kettleman City without any resident being notified and without any permit documents translated into Spanish, the language spoken by the majority of residents.

Greenaction and community members attended the hearing and raised concerns about the unjust process and about the environmental health threats posed by continuing the bioreactor process. We also stated that approval of the bioreactor permit without a proper public process was a violation of civil rights.

After a three-hour hearing, a Board member made a motion to approve the bioreactor permit. A community member who sits on the Board then raised concerns about the lack of notice for residents, and other Board members agreed.

The Board voted 4 to 1 to reject the motion to approve the bioreactor permit due to the lack of public notice. They also voted 4 to 1 to continue the hearing and to hold the next hearing in Kettleman City with full notification to residents and translation of the key permit document.

This was the first time in the history of the Chem Waste dump that Chem Waste did not get what they wanted!

This is also a great victory for all communities as the Water Board fully acknowledged environmental justice concerns about community members’ rights to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

We applaud the Water Board for doing the right thing to hold a hearing in the community and provide proper notice and translation of documents. Please support Greenaction’s efforts to win health and justice for Kettleman City and other communities.

Bradley Angel
Executive Director
http://www.greenaction.org/

*****

Response to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer Saying He Is God’s Minister of Justice

First, Dyer’s reading of the Bible is very selective. Both the Jewish and Christian scriptures are full of references to people in authority who did not act righteously. This includes many kings of Judah and Israel who are explicitly referred to as not having done what was right in the sight of God. Also, of course, there’s Herod, as well as the soldiers who scourged Jesus (does Dyer want to compare himself to them?). That Dyer reads the Bible as a sanction for power but not a call to righteousness seems to exactly mirror his reputation for brutality without morality.

Second, it would be a great mistake to imagine that only those we oppose grossly abuse religion. Community Alliance Editor Mike Rhodes and I both attended a meeting of homeless advocates in Sacramento where the proceedings concluded with the majority of participants gathering in the center of the room, praying to Jesus and expressing general agreement to the statement that “only the blood of the lamb” could end the suffering of the poor. That left everyone else in the room—whether they were atheists, Buddhists or, as in my case, Jewish—on the outside.

Can anyone imagine a group of left activists suddenly withdrawing from a mixed multitude and declaring that only White people or heterosexuals could achieve social justice? No, this kind of thing only happens when it comes to religion. So I would have to say, with regard to Jerry Dyer’s remarks, that the real imperative is not to see what might be wrong with him so much as it is to see what might be wrong in ourselves.

Jeremy Alderson
Hector, NY

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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