Letters to the editor: April 10 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: April 10

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Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 10:36 pm | Updated: 10:52 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor


Convert coal to diesel

Oil is more than $100 a barrel and diesel fuel is now selling for $4 a gallon. This buzzard is going to come home to roost on our economy and soon.

Rail and truck travel, the major means of moving goods in America, all run on diesel. So what is our government doing about this? Staying the course in Iraq and trying to convince us Iran is a bad country so we will support an attack on them.

We actually have the solution to the diesel problem right here in this country. America has some of the largest coal reserves in the world. We actually have more energy in coal reserves than Saudi Arabia has in oil energy. The Fischer-Tropsch process that was used by Germany in WWII to turn coal into liquid petroleum has been improved and is alive and well today. The break-even point to compete with oil is $35 a barrel. Everybody raise their hand who thinks oil will ever be below $70 a barrel in our lifetime.

So why isn’t our government running a crash program to get coal liquefaction plants up and running? It would use American resources, employ Americans to mine the coal, produce and distribute the product, and wean us off foreign crude oil. In reality, the only big push for such a plan is being spearheaded by the governor of Montana to produce petroleum from coal.



Farming the Valley

Richard Ward (Letters, March 29) makes some interesting points about the area of solar panels required to match the output of the Palo Verde nuclear power plant. His conclusion is to abandon renewable energy and just build more nukes. I don’t believe he has thought this all the way through.

The area of Phoenix is about 517 square miles. Currently, nearly all of that area is an energy consumer, draining away the output of generating stations like Palo Verde without giving anything back. If every roof in Phoenix were to be covered with solar panels, we would have a collection area of 329,000 acres (assuming that every square mile had a structure on it, which is a simplification). Ward estimates that it takes about 1 acre to create 1 megawatt. So we would end up with 329,000 megawatts of energy being made without spewing one gram of smog into our air or generating toxic waste that we have no idea what to do with. This would not require us to pave open desert with a solar panel farm — we already paved the desert for the city, let’s use what’s already there and leave the pristine desert alone.

If every building had solar panels, we would have a distributed system. If one part fails (such as when a thunderstorm blows through) the grid would take up the slack. Any outage would be confined to the point of failure, instead of an entire neighborhood going dark. Such a system would be robust and impossible to disrupt.

We can either be dragged kicking and screaming into this future, or we can start solving the problem now and thus be well ahead of the rest of the world when the day of reckoning arrives.




The right to choose a pastor

Please, let’s take a reality check regarding Sen. Barack Obama and his pastor and ignore 24-hour news for a change. I feel certain that in Congress, senators and representatives frequently hear views and proposals that offend their beliefs, frighten them in that those proposals may become law or are otherwise distasteful to them. I know I do. All of this is broadcast to millions of viewers on C-SPAN. Should the offended legislator get up and leave? Confront the opposition after the session and express their disapproval? Resign?

I can formulate my own opinion. I’m sure you can too. I do not need to confront the speaker. I do not need to avoid the venue. I will not be influenced or brainwashed. I would be insulted that one of my critics would infer that I did not have sufficient discriminatory ability to formulate my own opinion. Would our self-appointed, judgmental news pundits and talk-show hosts allow themselves to be accused of having a moldable, plastic value system?

Let’s put this to rest and allow Obama to have the same common sense and selective filtering of offensive speech that we allow ourselves.

It is not his responsibility to monitor and proclaim offense regarding anything he hears that is objectionable, even in his own church. Face reality! Were that our responsibility, many of us would not attend the same church for very long. Perhaps a good pastor needs to be outrageous on occasion. It stimulates thought and discussion.




Praise for Arpaio, not for Gordon

Shame on you, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, for telling 1,500 partisan people at a lunch honoring Cesar Chavez that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is violating the “brown people’s” rights by arresting them for breaking the law. Does it make our community safer? You say no, but I say yes.

Gordon feels along the lines of Mesa’s Police Chief George Gascón that police shouldn’t arrest brown people who break the law but that they should look the other way. Illegal — what is not to understand?

Maybe what Gordon is suggesting is that police only ticket white, black or Asian people. That way they wouldn’t be profiling. Sheriff Joe is the best thing that has ever happened to Maricopa County. I, for one, believe that if a person is breaking the law, that person should be arrested.

Gordon and Gascón owe a big apology to Sheriff Joe for hindering his enforcing the laws and, instead of encouraging people to obey the laws, Gordon and Gascón lead Hispanics to believe that they are being discriminated against.




Seeking control of destiny

My very short visit to Lhasa, Tibet, in 2005 does not qualify me as any kind of expert on what is happening in that society, but having been there gives me an appreciation of the place and a sense of how resentful the Tibetan people have become.

In 2005, the Jokhang Temple (right in the center of Llasa and around the corner from our hotel) was still a point of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhist worshipers. They came from miles away, many by prostrating themselves and essentially crawling up to the front entrance of the temple. Masses of people gathered in the large open plaza in front of the temple were obviously not Chinese.

The monks were young, fervent, always in groups, and every single one seemed to be equipped with a cell phone. In all things, the Tibetans were different from the Han Chinese, and were even different than the many Nepalese people who ran commercial establishments all over Lhasa. It was clear the Tibetans were trying desperately to hang on to their own culture while being pushed away from their centers of worship, and struggling to compete for jobs and a place in the changing economy of their country.

Tibet is the source of great mineral and natural resources. It’s clear what China wants from Tibet. Allowing the Tibetans autonomy is unthinkable to the Chinese.

But what pains me most is to see pictures of monks bravely standing up to the manipulating maneuvers of the Chinese — knowing they do it because they have a culture, but no wives or children to protect.



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