Ed Decker's Jan. 8 "Sordid Tales" column, "Why recycling is a waste of money, time and energy," should be applauded for challenging the assumptions behind a hallmark cause of the environmental movement. As Decker rightly explains, we should never march blindly to the beat of liberalism, no matter how bright the colors on the do-gooder flag.
But, Decker's conclusions about recycling are selective, superficial and in some instances, plainly inaccurate. For instance, he fails to consider that there are massive energy savings when producing from recycled materials instead of virgin materials. Further, there is an assumption that the natural resources we ship from every corner of the Earth to feed production are infinite. They are not. In fact, one of the factors driving the profitability of recycling is the diminishing availability of resources like the petrochemicals that make plastic. Nor does Decker figure in the efficiencies that recycling achieves over traditional waste disposal. For instance, while trash trucks often have to drive long distances to reach the rural mega-dumps he points to, recycling facilities are typically local and reduce the vehicle miles traveled to handle the waste stream a city's population produces.
Then there are the environmental-justice concerns surrounding traditional waste streams. Countless studies document the disproportionate impact of landfills, waste transfer stations, toxic-waste incinerators, nuclear-waste disposal sites and other waste facilities on low-income communities of color. Decker's answer—we can just build bigger landfills—is simplistic at best. He fails to consider that such mega-dumps often end up devastating sacred tribal land or burdening vulnerable communities with our most risky refuse.
What is most troubling about Decker's article, though, is that he demands short-term profit to justify a decidedly long-term social, environmental and economic investment. If our nation subscribed to that errant standard, then Teddy Roosevelt would never have established a single national park, soccer moms would still be keeping their kids at home on bad-air days and we would be sourcing every wind turbine and solar panel from overseas.
In the rare instance our society takes the long view and builds up an industry like recycling, we must be certain that we weigh all the costs and benefits. When we do so, it's an obvious conclusion that recycling is a worthwhile investment for this generation and, especially, those to come.
Danielle and Tony LoPresti, City Heights
Sanders hit .167
In regard to your Feb. 20 editorial about Jerry Sanders and the city of San Diego pension: I believe it's relevant to identify this item along with various other activities that took place during Jerry Sanders' reign as mayor:
1. He negotiated down city employee benefits. 2. He attempted to rebuild City Hall for $300 million.
3. He promoted the construction of a $180 million Downtown library that very few San Diego residents will ever use.
4. He attempted to divert $500 million of redevelopment money to the Chargers.
5. He sponsored an initiative to convert the city pension to a 401(k).
6. He lied about the city having surplus money when he left office.
And during all this time, he collected money from a pension that he tried so hard to destroy.
I score his reign as one out of six.
Ron Harris, Scripps Ranch
We got screwed
Concerning your Feb. 20 editorial on Prop. B: I don't feel the public really had anyone watching out for our interests for years, and we are the boss. So, what is wrong with voting on city workers' employment? They aren't getting screwed. We already got that. And with the public responsible for market losses, I do not see where we will ever get even. And do your employees tell you what they want to be paid, or do you tell them?
Thanx for the newspaper.
Joseph Strusienski, Downtown
About the brouhaha on the Tourist Marketing District ["Editorial," Feb. 27]: Chairman of TMD Terry Brown, in a U-T San Diego op-ed, says they spent $12 million last year to advertise San Diego. As we know, Filner is holding up this year's funding because he has the gall to tie it to a living wage for hotel workers.
The public probably thinks that this results in zero advertising for San Diego as a tourist attraction. Terry doesn't mention the $60 million being spent by the city, which comes from the 10.5-percent transient-occupancy tax. Nor does the news media mention it. That's why I'm writing this letter.
Mel Shapiro, Hillcrest
Is it safe to assume that when CityBeat was preparing its local-music edition, Edwin Decker hacked into the file prior to press and inserted his nonsensical rant about how music piracy is acceptable ["Sordid Tales," March 6] because he once purchased a Van Halen album in 1984 that didn't meet his expectations?
Brandon S. Sand, East Village
Vets, drugs and jobs
Thank you for your story on deported vets who are former convicts ["News," March 13]. My reaction is that we need to change the drug laws, as sentences of three years for selling pot is an injustice; it should be legalized. However, if it's for selling methamphetmine, that is a serious illness that needs hospitalization, no jail.
I also don't like illegals busting up union jobs, but we need to repeal NAFTA and stop taking their jobs away, too.
Bring this to the attention of Rep. Scott Peters or other Congress members who promote local veteran causes in Washington, D.C. Thank you.
Val Sanfilippo, Linda Vista
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