PG&E’s shaky claims
Three times since the Japanese earthquake, PG&E officials have told the county Board of Supervisors that they know the tsunami, and not the earthquake, caused the damage at nuclear plants there. They did so in unannounced appearances during the public comment periods at the March 15 and 29 and April 5 board meetings, giving no evidence to support that claim.
Was an inspection of plant operating and backup systems conducted in the time between the earthquake and tsunami? Has PG&E received a report of this inspection? When anyone claims to know something they know they have no way of knowing, it’s commonly recognized as a lie. When a corporation blatantly exploits a humanitarian disaster to spew unfounded propaganda, it’s commonly seen as disgusting.
The truth is that the Japanese nuclear industry and government officials have reported that a crack at the Fukushima plant leaking radioactive water into the ocean and turbine damage at the Onagawa plant to the north were caused by the earthquake. And a recent aftershock knocked out power to spent fuel cooling systems and caused leaks at three Onagawa reactors.
It appears PG&E’s claims about seismic safety, like Diablo Canyon, are on shaky ground.
What’s the solution?
I’m not a nuclear physicist, and I believe little of what corporate America or our government tells us. But I’m struggling with the Diablo Canyon issue.
Obviously, I don’t want a meltdown in my back yard. But I’m wondering, from where should we get our power?
How about solar? Oh, can’t do that — there’s a rat out there in the desert.
What about harvesting the wind? That’s bad — birds might fly into windmills, which are also ugly.
What about all that power you feel in the waves of the ocean? No, that might endanger some shrimp or fish.
Hydro? Don’t even go there
So if Diablo closes, in whose backyard are we going to build all the coal, gas or oil-fired power plants needed to provide our electricity?
Not in mine or yours, I’m sure. So I ask, do all these environmentalists turn on their lights when they go home? Well, here’s a starting point for our representatives in Sacramento: Every new housing development in California should be required to install solar panels on the roof and a cistern in the ground to capture rain water — easy ways to help prevent brownouts and water our lawns
San Luis Obispo
More stem cells needed
Should stem cell researchers from other states move to California to circumvent “ethical concerns in this area,” as has been suggested? No!
In vitro fertilization was developed in 1978 when sperm and eggs were introduced in a petri dish. After five days, the developing embryos were then implanted in their mother and brought to birth, or stored for a while and then implanted or discarded, or fatally used for human embryonic stem cell research.
Later, scientific advances reprogrammed adult body cells to the embryonic state. They became rejuvenated versions of themselves without actually becoming embryos themselves. These induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from adult cells, won’t be rejected, nor are they apt to become cancerous, as are embryonic stem cells.
Some researchers estimate that more than 100,000 stem cell lines will be needed to accommodate the genetic diversity of the populations needing therapies, and of the more than 400,000 frozen embryos in fertility clinics in the U.S., only about 11,200 are considered fit for research. It is becoming clear that it is not likely that embryos taken from leftover in vitro fertilizations could begin to meet the need, even if it were ethical to use them.
Vote against Republicans
Paul Ryan’s Republican-endorsed budget plan to assail all policies that do not benefit lobbyist-intensive corporations and the wealthy individuals that run them would certainly seem to be a call to action for concerned citizens, especially those who have not yet committed to exercise their right to vote.
If you are poor, and have seen what Ryan’s plan has in store for you, register to vote. If you are under 55 years of age, register to vote. If your family earns less than $250,000; if you are a student, a prospective student, the parent of a student, or someone who believes an educated citizenry will be essential to a successful future —register to vote. If you’re angered, or even mildly irked, that Republicans have strong-armed a continuation of the tax advantages extended to the wealthy, then by all means register, pay attention, and then, come November, vote.
And if you have voted Republican in the past because you believed in a conservative government without studying the implications, or have watched Fox News exclusively for your political perspective, then please examine the issues from more than one news source. Then consider whether you would like to re-register with a different affiliation.
Bread over banks
I noted with some interest the opening of Panera, a restaurant and bakery, in the architecturally interesting building on Madonna Road, near McDonalds. I say it is a good move that a bakery is opening in a building that has always housed financial institutions.
In the mid ’70s, financial instruments comprised about 6 percent of this nation’s GDP. In 2009, those financial concerns made up 26 percent of our GDP, and in that year, they brought in 2⁄3 of our nation’s profits.
These are profits generated by people moving money around to make more money for those who already have money, at the expense of those that don’t. When we finally come to our national senses and outlaw the reckless malarkey that pervades Wall Street and allows the exploitation of our middle class, there will be a huge drift of people that will need retraining.
Can a hedge fund manager that averages $556 million dollars compensation each year be successfully retrained to bake great bread? Living within a reasonable, sustainable wage? I hope I live to see it!
San Luis Obispo
On behalf of Kristine Cleary and Aaron Gould, we wish to thank the community of Five Cities, Nipomo and towns near and far — all those who contributed/donated to this young couple after hearing of the fire that completely destroyed their home. So many people have come forward to help in any way they could to get Aaron and Kristine on their feet again. There were countless donations, gift cards, furniture, appliances, linens, pet supplies, clothing and other items. We’re so grateful!
We wish to publicly thank Michele Brown, the owner of “Reinbow Ranch.” What a gracious woman she is — taking them under her loving wings and providing a home until they can find a replacement to put on the property.
As Aaron and Kristine’s parents, our whole family wishes to express our thanks and heartfelt appreciation for all the prayers and concern. Our children and their pets are all doing well and working on building their future — with the assistance of our loving family, friends and community.
Rick & Karyn Cleary
Kelvin & Penny Gould
Erik B. Layman’s statement in his April 20 viewpoint, “PG&E Must Make Careful Assessment” singularly stands out, surely comprehensible to even a fourth grade child: “.....given the horrible consequences of a nuclear accident, the most prudent course of action must be to simply prohibit operation of all nuclear power plants in seismically active belts.”
Photographer Paul Fusco’s deeply moving, narrated, graphic photo exhibit of the dark legacy and aftermath of Chernobyl ought to be required viewing for us all, including our older children. (This can be viewed online.) The long-lasting genetic damage and environmental damage is beyond calculation. Perhaps after viewing such a presentation, we might be shamed out of our Titanic-like hubris regarding nuclear technology. Paul Fusco’s photos are worth a thousand words.