In response to the inflamed readers who were vexed by the article regarding Stephen K. Bannon's Sarah Palin documentary ("Film highlights Palin's successes," Aug. 12):
Last time I checked, tolerance is a two-way street. But for the left it seems that tolerance is more clearly defined as accepting their way of thinking and keeping one's opinions to oneself if one does not agree. The readers who made such a fuss about the article should really get out more. Do they not read and hear everyday how the mainstream media loves to malign Palin for getting out of bed each morning?
It's unfortunate that just because some narrow-minded readers don't agree with Palin's views they have to complain to the paper for covering a story about a local who made a political documentary. Where is that open-minded spirit to which liberals lay claim? Surely no one would complain if it was another Al Gore documentary — and he does not even live in Laguna. But then again, that's tolerance when you bat for the left.
Improvements in fire safety continue
I recently read about the improvement in our fire rating for Laguna Beach from a 4 to a 2.
This may or may not lower our insurance costs, but it certainly makes the insurance industry aware of our conscientious drive to improve our exposure to fire losses in our town. But the real heroes in our town are the City Council, city manager and Fire Department.
The Fire Department has been very proactive in doing commercial and residential inspections to reduce the potential fire hazards that exist in our town. In addition, we have added 10 million gallons of additional water supply (the Lou Zitnik and Richard Jahraus water tanks), our goat program has expanded and we also have the Laguna Beach Fire Safety Council keeping a diligent lookout for fires during our high fire season.
And, like it or not, the Toll Road cuts the wildland fire zone in half, giving Laguna Canyon less of a running start for brush fires. With these continuing efforts, perhaps more insurance companies will realize that the likelihood of another Laguna Beach Fire Storm has been sharply diminished.
Too much unknown about 'fracking' effects
An essential element of a viable democracy is that its citizens be accurately informed, and that, once informed, they actively participate in the process of decision making. I fully believe that when the people of this nation have the information they need, they will make good choices.
Many are concerned that the process of hydraulic fracturing to obtain natural gas from deep within the earth's surface may be a threat to the purity and availability of our water supply. The question is, should the present method to obtain natural gas be allowed to continue until good information is available to permit the public to make a good choice?
What do we know at this time? We know that natural gas is a much cleaner alternative than coal or oil. We know that the supply of gas available in our nation represents the amount of potential energy equal to the remaining supply of oil in Saudi Arabia's reserves. The largest deposit is in the Marcellus Shale in our eastern states. Other large shale deposits are being explored in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, in the Four Corners area, and yes, in California. That is the good news.
We also know that a single well uses two million gallons of water a day. About half that water, loaded with chemicals used in the fracking process, comes to the surface. Municipal purification plants can't deal with that much contaminated water, so it is stored in plastic-lined containers. Some of that water leaks back into the earth. It has been documented that those living near those wells are no longer able to use their customary water supply — sometimes the water coming from their faucets can actually be ignited. That is the bad news.
What do we not know? We don't have enough information at this time about how much damage is being done to our water supply. How much of the contamination is going into our streams? The Environmental Protection Agency is doing a study and is supposed to make a preliminary report next year. We don't even know what chemicals are being used in the process.
AB 591, which would require drilling companies to disclose what chemicals they use, is being considered in California, but pressure from energy companies will prevail to kill it unless there is enough public pressure to counteract their influence. If our water supply is affected, will it cure itself if the drilling stops, or is it permanent?
As precious as energy is to us, it pales to the importance of a viable water supply, which is a basic necessity.
The question remains, should hydraulic fracturing be allowed to continue until a clean method of drilling is developed? Should it be stopped until we have assurances that our water supply remains unaffected?
Let your elected representatives know if you think they should take action on this. Their addresses and phone numbers are listed in this newspaper.