The Crowd: Big names fighting fuel dependence

A social gathering with serious national ramifications launched a campaign to end American dependence on fossil fuel. The Newport Coast residence of Yael and Eyal Aronoff welcomed significant participants in an organization called the Fuel Freedom Foundation for Saturday's consciousness-raising rally attended by some 500 guests.

Orange County citizens were joined by a roster of national names including R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, former Rockefeller Foundation President Peter Goldmark, John Hofmeister, a former Shell Oil executive, and Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Securities.


Such major players in the arenas of business, politics and the American as well as international social landscape came to voice concern over "America's oil addiction," according the Fuel Foundation's media consultant Ann Norman.

"The high cost of oil impacts our economy, our families, our national security, our environment and our health," said Eyal Aronoff, a computer software pioneer and co-founder of the Fuel Freedom Foundation. "It's time to introduce cheaper, cleaner, healthier American-made fuels like natural gas, ethanol and methanol into the transportation fuel market."


He went on to say that such alternative fuels would reduce the consumer cost of fuel to $2 a gallon.

"Stand with us," he added, "and end our nation's addiction to oil."

Yossie Hollander, co-founder of the foundation, took on an even more serious stance.

"We believe the absence of competition in the fuel market is the biggest threat facing America today."


During this week of the final presidential debates with focus on foreign policy and America's role in world government, the subject of fossil fuel dependence is critical. UC San Diego economist James Hamilton shared with the Fuel Foundation dignitaries concern over rising global oil prices in the coming decade which could "cripple the U.S. economy as well as become a threat to U.S. national security."

Those in agreement are committed to the rapid development of replacement fuels as a solution to oil dependency.

Of course it is not a simple task. Regulations and enormous commercial interests that are the basis of structure on many levels of the present American economic model must be modified, changed entirely and/or replaced. Barriers to such competition from alternative fuels by entrenched oil interests are serious obstacles to rapid evolution.

Yet the call for action comes not solely from new age thinkers and global economists. International airline executive Sir Richard Branson joined the chorus for change via a pointed video endorsing the Fuel Foundation played for guests attending the evening reception.

Also shared with the crowd, the Fuel Foundation's first video produced by filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell in association with Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts was presented.

Entertainment at the event was provided by the Stray Cats' Lee Rocker and Los Lobos. DJ Miles of KIIS FM moved the party into high gear.

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THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.