Los Angeles Times

Mailbag: Irvine 11 coverage ignores Jewish viewpoint

Why would you reprint most of the "Applauding the 'Irvine 11'" article from the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 27, 2011? The article already appeared, in its entirety, the previous day in the L.A. Times.

Did you feel we hadn't gotten enough of the prejudice of the L.A. Times coverage, which was more than transparent, with regard to the pre-meditated acts of verbal violence by the Muslim students against the Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, accusing him of being an "accomplice to genocide?"

What really disgusts me is that there have not been enough Jewish voices raised here in Orange County in reaction to the Muslims or this reverend, Sarah Halverson of Costa Mesa, who said that "Islamophobia is alive and well in Orange County."

I have lived in Orange County for 13 years. The No. 1 hate crime in Orange County is not toward Muslims, not toward the gay community, not toward Latinos, but toward Jews. The Muslim community is strong, healthy and thrives well here. Their cries of being put down, or looked down upon, are not realistic.

The students who upset the Israeli ambassador that day should have been pulled out immediately; they were looking to create an anti-Semitic forum, as they have done numerous times at UC Irvine with impunity.

With all this belly-aching and the reporting from the Times — and now repeated in the Daily Pilot, for which I see no positive reason — I hear too few voices from the Jewish community. I have to wonder, are we afraid, once again, to speak up? Are we afraid to identify ourselves? Afraid of the repercussions here in Orange County?

I, too, have kept quiet here about my identity. People just assume I'm not Jewish, and I thought it was best to let them think that. I am now ashamed of having done that.

The Times, and now the Daily Pilot, has spurred me to write this letter and come out of the closet. Guess the honeymoon is over.

Michelle Comsky

Newport Coast


Buy American efforts continues

Thank you so very much to the many people who responded to Sarah Peters' article about buying products made in the USA ("Shopper's grass-roots quest," Sept. 20). How encouraging it is to learn so many do, and will, support our local businesses that carry American-made products.

As we go through our daily lives, we all experience corners. Thinking of the corners we face, we consider turning right or left. Perhaps we just go around the corner.

Every corner provides us with opportunities to make choices that benefit others. Buying products made in the USA is a great way to do just that. As Grandma Moses says, "Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be."

Let us encourage each other to fill the corners of our lives with a willingness to make a difference in our communities. Please let me know of any companies that make products made in the USA. We are busy compiling a list which will be shared in the Forum section of the Daily Pilot. Hope to see you around the next corner.

Please send your submissions to kim@farthingdevelopment.com.

Kim Farthing

Costa Mesa


Still time to plant El Toro airport

The diversity of crops grown around the Great Park's runways in Irvine speaks well for El Toro's past ("Focus on Health: Turning to Great Park for produce," Sept. 25.) It's too bad Laguna Beach doesn't have more children and a bigger budget for a salad bar, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

El Toro's runways are being preserved before a full-scale revolution erupts in Newport Beach over an unpopular John Wayne Airport in its midst. It's time to turn on the lights at El Toro International Airport, completely compatible with the garden.

Donald Nyre

Newport Beach


Smart to chop down trees

Thank you, city of Newport Beach, for taking down the trees ("Cuts to keep streets safe," Sept. 22). I can now drive slowly down Irvine Avenue and not worry that a tree is going to kill me. Our children can now go to school safely, and I can go to the library. This freak accident that killed a young woman would never have happened if the trees had been properly inspected.

I see so many of these trees around. You do know that they are known as a widow's tree? Thank you. Let's get rid of all of them and plant something better.

Patty Edelman

Newport Beach


Challenge to climate change argument

Re. "Verdict not out on climate change," (Sept. 24): This is in response to Preston Zillgitt's letter, as well to other climate-change deniers. Zillgitt states that there is a significant contingent of scientists (more than 30,000) who do not believe global climate change is in any way human induced. His proof of this is drawn from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) and Wikipedia.

To become one of these scientists, all you have to do is print a one-page form with your degree, area of study, area of specialty and your signature. I briefly went through the list, and there is no simple way to determine the publication or peer-review histories of these signatories; in fact, many of them do not list a master's degree. The one paper OISM presents as "peer-reviewed" does not show any evidence of peer-review. In fact, some of the references are listed but appear to be unpublished — that is, there is no journal or "in review" listing.

Let me list a quotation from the OISM website to give you a better idea of what is really bothering climate-change deniers: "Several members of [OISM's] staff are also well-known for their work on the Petition Project, an undertaking that has obtained the signatures of more than 31,000 American scientists opposed, on scientific grounds, to the hypothesis of 'human-caused global warming' and to concomitant proposals for world-wide energy taxation and rationing." (http://www.oism.org, 2011)

I admit I have neither the time nor the desire to track the flow of money to OISM, but who do you believe provides its primary funding? Given the Citizen's United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, we may never know.

And, let me spend one minute on Wikipedia as a source for something more important than spelling: Here today, gone today. Wikipedia posts people's opinions and may often be removed if found erroneous; however, they are fairly generous in that regard.

As for me, why would I have anything to add to this subject? I have a bachelor's degree in zoology (1985), a doctorate of veterinary medicine (1989) and a master's degree in environmental science and policy (2007). I was involved in quite a bit of fieldwork in animal surveying, ecosystem evaluation (biogeochemical, hydrologic) and changing migratory patterns.

I have published one textbook, and had a paper published in the SCAS journal, which included a 45-minute presentation including peer review. I am working on a book concerning environmental economics.

I have had the pleasure of studying under prominent — peer-review published — scientists including Prem Saint (Cal State Fullerton, retired) and Matt Kirby (also at Fullerton). Kirby's specialty is littoral (lake) core samples, which he studies much as other scientists study ice cores. If you want a different take on this issue, read some of his papers and then read some of his references.

Incidentally, the OISM website lists a "peer-reviewed" study on climate change related to, among other issues, hydrocarbon (HC) increase versus glacier recession. They utilize 1946 as their time of increasing HC levels; however, since we started burning coal — a hydro-carbon — since the early 19th century (the Industrial Revolution), their assumption is incorrect.

Visit the website, and look at the study and graph. Glacier recession begins precisely when we begin burning coal. Please, take 10 minutes and look at this; it is important.

Climate deniers place us in a precarious position. Some people dismiss them out of hand. But, for those who do not, they are ignoring the Precautionary Principle. Climate change may not be completely anthropogenic, but, if it is, and we do nothing simply because we want our extractionists to continue to make money, we are placing ourselves in danger.

If you cannot bring yourself to recognize the precariousness, frequency and level of severe storm activity from hurricanes, droughts, fires, snowstorms and the possibly related tornadoes, then be very glad you live in Corona del Mar.

But truly, if none of this piques any scientific curiosity, move to the Gulf Coast and wait two to three years. If you are young enough, watch the climate and sea level over the next generation; watch the changing migration of plants and animals; watch the rising number of extinctions.

Yes, I know a background number of extinctions are normal; however, we are likely about 2,700 times the background extinction level expected without humans. Of course, not all of this is from global climate change, but it is all additive and destructive.

Good luck with your research. I will feel encouraged if you do more than simply and reflexively check Wikipedia and partisan private institutions. However, if you are an ideologue instead of a person looking seriously at a variety of ideas, I'm sure those two source types will fill all your needs.

Jay B. Litvak

Costa Mesa


Some squid dumped due to fees

I want to respond to "Squid wash ashore in Newport," Sept. 23). I disagree that it's a natural occurrence. We went out fishing for the giants with Newport Landing. We found out once we were leaving the port that there is a limit of 30 squid per person, and that the city of Newport requires that all the squid be cleaned before returning to the dock.

Many fishermen did not hear the announcement that Newport Landing charges $2 per squid to clean them. If you caught 30 squid and didn't want to drop another $60 to get them home, you could simply walk away from them. The crew simply washed all the abandoned squid back into the water at the end of the night.

It was a mass slaughter, brought on by city of Newport Beach's own policy. If you consider the number of boats that we saw out there, and the number of people landing one squid after another, it's no surprise to me that there could be several hundred dead squid washing ashore in the morning.

Barb Turner

Ladera Ranch


Countywide walk against suicide in Irvine

Please help spread the word about a community walk happening in Irvine next month. The walk is to raise awareness and prevention about suicide.

A life is lost to suicide every 15 minutes in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds and the second leading cause of death among college students.

However, most Americans remain unaware that suicide is a national health problem. The impact suicide has on family members, friends, co-workers and the community is devastating. The loss of human potential is enormous. Reaching out to young people has become my passion.

The walk is at 9 a.m. Oct. 8 at Bill Barber Park, 4 Civic Center Plaza.

Dana Webb

Rancho Santa Margarita


Bill makes Gold Coast homes affordable

Who would have ever thought of buying a home, or duplex for that matter, on the south side of East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar for less than $1 million? Not a chance back in 2005, when the average home in these neighborhoods was selling for about $800 to $900 per square foot.

Yet, as of September, prices have dropped significantly with a recent listing along the 300 block of the flower streets in Corona Del Mar for $950,000. Of course, this is a short sale, subject to lender approval, but the listing still remains an indication the housing market is continuing to plummet with no end in sight.

Is this recent listing a product of Senate Bill 458 of July 15, which modifies California Code of Civil Procedure 580e even further than did its predecessor, S.B. 931? To the casual observer, it might simply be indicative of a housing balloon yet to be reinflated and a homeowner struggling to stay afloat. However, a more discerning eye might offer the codification of S.B. 458 has encouraged the commencement of a soon to be short-sale onslaught, graciously protected by this newly imposed junior lien holder bar against seeking deficiency judgment.

The prior S.B. 931 prohibited first mortgage holders from seeking a deficiency judgment under a note secured by a first deed of trust if the home is four units or less. S.B. 931 did not apply to junior lien holders. During the housing boom, many homeowners took out second, or even third mortgages and, as a result, they were discouraged from short-selling their homes due to a junior lien holders' ability to seek a deficiency judgment against them.

The California Assn. of Realtors-sponsored S.B. 458 extends this ban on banks seeking deficiency judgment to junior lien holders. While the same exceptions apply to S.B. 458 as in S.B. 931, many homeowners are now able to short-sell their homes without the possibility of a deficiency judgment from all lien holders.

Thanks to "location, location" and now legislation, home ownership along the Gold Coast may not only be desirable, but possible for less than a million bucks!

Michelle J. Berner

Costa Mesa

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