Three major sources for saving our water
I am very disturbed about the pressure of solving the drought problem being primarily put upon the general public. Of course, we all need to do our best to conserve water. However, I have three main water-use concerns:
1. EBMUD: There have been several water main breaks in assorted neighborhoods within the year. Who knows how many considerable gallons of water were lost. The cause is outdated, very old pipes; lack of proper consistent maintenance; and not enough proper oversight.
2. Fracking: That this process uses so much excess water should be reason enough to have a law against it. At the very least, it should be banned during drought season. Drought or not, fracking poisons our groundwater and is environmentally destructive. Only big-money corporate executives benefit from fracking, and they would never do it in their own backyard.
3: Illegal marijuana growing: Marijuana uses an excessive amount of water and endangers our environment. Just legalize pot.
Altering river flows caused the problem
Nature provided California two great rivers, Sacramento and San Joaquin. Both ran through the Delta and San Francisco Bay. Agriculture used natural gravity flow -- water, fish and wildlife, the Delta Bay, and human population were healthy.
In 1953, the Central Valley Project sent the entire Sierra flow of the San Joaquin River south for agriculture. Sacramento River flows were sent south. In 1965, the California State Water Project sent more water south.
These projects sent 7 million acre-feet annually south out of the Delta in concrete ditches. Entire runs of fish were wiped out, wildlife habitats decimated.
These projects were funded by the federal and state government -- our tax money -- providing subsidized water at a fraction of cost to irrigate deserts, former ocean beds high in salts and contaminants.
These lands drain off as much as 25 percent of its deliveries as salt waste water, returning through the San Joaquin River, to our Delta and bay, killing wildlife and prompting grave concerns for human health.
The governor now plans more pipes to transfer more water south of the Delta at public cost. Water interests south of the Delta want more water than can be environmentally or prudently supplied.
Need creative ideas to aid the homeless
The March 18 guest commentary, "Society shamefully turning its back on the desperate," is right on.
But what can actually be done about the constellation of problems so eloquently described?
Unable to fund a sufficiently large police force, would the citizens of Oakland be willing to pay more in taxes to build and staff facilities to house and care for those on the street?
Would civil rights precedents mandate the release of those who did not want to stay in such facilities? Would deep-pocket charitable foundations step into the funding breach and pay for such facilities?
Philanthropists could look to the facilities and programs run by Circle the City in Phoenix and Boston (www.circlethecity.org) as templates for something that might work here.
These are hard problems to solve. Look what little success San Francisco has had after a decade of concentrated effort. More creative ideas are needed and I thank the author for getting this conversation started.
Nasty letters about Israel reflect envy
There certainly are a lot of people writing letters with emotionally chaotic souls who become bullies because of their powerless and insecure nature. They write as if they are knowledgeable about what is going on in the Middle East.
They base their facts on rumors. Then they develop a distorted view of reality and become paralyzed by their own hate.
Israel's greatness is in its great intellectual gift to the world. Israel towers over all other nations in the Middle East with its advance biotechnology that improves the quality of life for the whole world. This is why it is known as the Silicon Valley of the Middle East and the most resourceful and creative place in the world.
People should not judge what they do not understand or fear. The marginalized people who write toxic letters resent successful nations like Israel. They write letters full of deception. They are quite misguided and uneducated.