Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 1319, 2001

Child Wonder

Tough love: "For the Love of Jamie" (Amy Silverman, December 6) has got to be the best story I have read in New Times in years. Your article was insightful, moving, and a real eye-opener for those of us who think we have it rough in life. Congratulations on an excellent piece.

Thomas M. McNabb
Phoenix

Dream on: Initially, I was humbled by Amy Silverman's composition abilities while reading "For the Love of Jamie." She was able to evoke feelings not only of empathy and respect for Cheryl Moore, but a yearning to ally myself with her in any manner that could assist. In fact, I perceived Silverman to be a major supporter of this brave soul until the last paragraph:

"Only that Jamie acts like a typical 2-year-old. And that Cheryl Moore is in for a lifetime of Barney."

I pray to God that I am misperceiving what I view as a cynical castigation of Ms. Moore's dreams and hopes for her son. Whether there was an ulterior motive to exercise Silverman's feelings on Jamie's future, or she was being overtly realistic with the inclusion of this closing dissemination, it makes me believe that Silverman is a pompous ass.

How does she think Ms. Moore feels after reading that final paragraph? Obviously, there was no way that Silverman momentarily envisioned herself in Moore's position. How do I know that? Because, if Silverman had attempted such a role-playing exercise, she would have ended the article with Moore's final diatribe concerning McDonald's.

Silverman needs to realize that she may have inadvertently destroyed someone's unanswered prayers.

Michael S. Schwinn
via Internet

Thar She Blows

We are the world: The Natural Resources Defense Council and its members are proud of the successful campaign against Mitsubishi Corporation's plan to industrialize the World Heritage Site, Biosphere Reserve, Whale Sanctuary and Migratory Bird Refuge at Laguna San Ignacio in Baja California Sur ("Crying Whale," Jill Stewart and Michael Lacey, November 22). NRDC got involved in 1996 at the request of leading Mexican environmentalists -- including Homero Aridjis -- and worked closely for five years with an unprecedented coalition of more than 50 environmental groups in Mexico. The Mitsubishi project was condemned as a "reasonable risk" both to gray whales and the entire lagoon ecosystem by leading international scientists, including nine Nobel laureates, the president-elect of the Mexican Academy of Sciences, and renowned whale scientist Dr. Roger Payne, who, in contrast to Mitsubishi's experts, donated virtually all of his time. The project generated an extraordinary level of public activism, including more than a million letters of opposition to Mitsubishi from people around the world and formal resolutions of condemnation from mutual fund managers and every major city and country in California as well as the California Coastal Commission.

If Mitsubishi (one of the world's wealthiest corporations) was "hopelessly outfoxed" by this campaign -- as New Times now concludes -- it was accomplished not by "glossy mailers" or "campaign rhetoric" but by an overwhelming public and scientific consensus that World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and Whale Sanctuaries must be protected, not industrialized as Mitsubishi and its Mexican government partners proposed. New Times may believe that the Mexican government would itself ultimately have rejected the venture, but Mexican environmentalists, with a far better understanding of the intense domestic political and economic pressures, wisely chose not to take any chances. And when they requested international support, NRDC and millions of people around the globe responded. President Zedillo's courageous decision in March 200 to cancel the project was an act of global leadership and a triumph for the Earth.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Joel R. Reynolds
S. Jacob Scherr
Senior Attorneys, NRDC
Los Angeles

Ahoy the mothership: When one has just written a three-page single-spaced point-by-point refutation of "Crying Whale," the pièce de résistance (we hope) of New Times' "Shades of Gray" series, and knows there is no point in sending it to a publication whose letters page would have to be twice its normal size to accommodate it in any coherent fashion, one must settle for pragmatism.

So let's just say instead that New Times' Executive Editor Mike Lacey -- hell-bent on proving his premise that environmentalists were lying when they said there was a good chance that gray whales would be negatively impacted if Mitsubishi and ESSA went ahead with their joint venture to build the world's largest saltworks on the shores of the whales' last undeveloped calving lagoon -- ignored the most telling quote of all the subjects interviewed, a veteran Natural Resources Defense Council campaigner who said: "I have never seen an environmental impact assessment that did not conclude that the project should go forward. They always conclude it can be mitigated." Instead of contemplating the wisdom of these words, Lacey goes on to trumpet the "no adverse affect" conclusion of the EIA for the San Ignacio saltworks. Vast fields of spin, distortion and minimization spread out from there, based on Lacey's evident inability to grasp the fact that bad projects get turned into better projects -- and sometimes, thankfully, even canceled projects -- solely and only due to outside pressure.

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