Letters: Housing pause | Treat addicts | Housing rule | Staying cool cheaply | Christians and pluralism | Biden’s hypocrisy

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:30

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.

Drought demands
pause in new housing

Your Aug. 22 headline on the front page (“Can area’s drought, housing cohabitate?”) showcases the question of whether the drought or housing is the priority.

After years of perennial drought, the answer would appear to be obvious. The developers and the politicians believe both can be addressed. In retrospect, a housing and building moratorium should have been mandated years ago.

This is not a NIMBY issue but a common sense way to prevent further water shortages which we are currently experiencing. The increased building will also cause more power outages throughout the entire region. Let’s hope reason overrides greed and political interests.

Mark Sever
Concord

Addicts need treatment,
not safe injection sites

Re. “Newsom shoots down Bay Area drug injection sites,” Page A1, Aug. 23:

Thank you, Gov. Newsom, for being the voice of reason and common sense with your veto on the disaster that was Senate Bill 57. The last thing any city needs is sanctioned drug abuse on its streets.

Sadly, some elected officials think that allowing for more drug use in a safe setting is the answer. People with addictions need real solutions to help with fighting and overcoming their substance abuse, not more drugs to feed it.

Besides, health care providers take an oath to do no harm. I’m pretty sure sanctioning drug abuse is a clear violation of that vow.

Sharon Dixon
San Leandro

Housing rule puts
shoe on other foot

I’ve been waiting for this: In his Aug. 28 letter to the editor, Robert Drury decried the existence of off-campus student housing in Berkeley, which welcomes all manner of people other than us White folk.

Given that marginalized people have been excluded and worse for decades, centuries, eons, from places and opportunities overtly or “understood” to be for Whites only, maybe it’s high time we experience what it feels like to be rejected on the basis of our skin color alone. I’m sure it’s uncomfortable, Mr. Drury, having that shoe on your foot for a change.

Louise Gray
Danville

Tips to beat rising
cost of staying cool

We understand no one likes energy bills that are higher than expected. Heat waves are causing customers to crank up their air conditioning, which can lead to higher summer energy bills.

PG&E does not add any markup on the energy we buy for our customers’ use, neither gas nor electric. What we pay, you pay. Yet, the market prices for energy supply costs, which account for about half of a customer’s monthly electric bill, are expected to be about 75% higher this summer compared to last year.

Customers can take simple steps to improve energy efficiency in their homes:

• Pre-cool the home: use the air conditioning in the morning or overnight.

• Set thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting, when home.

• Change air filters regularly.

• Close window coverings.

• Enroll in free programs including Bill Forecast Alerts and Budget Billing.

For more tips, visit www.pge.com/summer.

Aaron Johnson
Vice President of PG&E’s Bay Area Region
Oakland

Conservative Christians
believe in pluralism

I am a Christian and a nationalist. But I’m not a Christian nationalist. Thomas Higgins (“The idea of Christian nationalism is a malignant falsehood,” Page A6, Aug. 23 guest column) and Bill McGrath (“Christianity has no place in our politics,” Page A6, Aug. 25 letter) fail to understand the difference.

Most Christian conservatives today strenuously reject the idea that America should be a Christian nation, in which Christian views and values should dominate. Rather, we believe in pluralism. That is, that all people, whether they are religious of any form or non-religious, should have an equal right (as much as is possible) not only to believe what you want to believe, but to be able to express it openly, and, even, to try to influence society accordingly.

To believe that religion must be kept out of politics and government is actually the ideal of Marxism, not American democracy. And everywhere Marxism and its exclusive secularism prevails it leads to the enslavement and impoverishment of all but the 1% or so in power.

Christopher Andrus
Dublin

Biden is fast and loose
with COVID emergency

“It’s the economy, stupid” was the phrase Bill Clinton used for his 1992 presidential run. Thirty years later “It’s the hypocrisy, stupid” that will be associated with Joe Biden.

He constantly preaches “the rule of law” but conveniently forgets in July 2021 Speaker Pelosi said he lacks executive authority to grant debt forgiveness, that such action would be illegal, and that loan cancellation requires an act of Congress. His legal justification for debt forgiveness is the post-9/11 HEROES Act, which allows student loan relief due to war or “national emergency,” which the Department of Education now says is the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2022, Biden tried to end Title 42 restrictions, which allowed the expulsion of asylum seekers because of the COVID pandemic. So in May we no longer had a COVID emergency on the border but in August we have a COVID pandemic student loan emergency. Oh, the hypocrisy.

Martin Wilmington
Hayward

Categories: Local News

Q & A: What’s causing the mass die-off of Bay Area fish?

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:30

One of the Bay Area’s largest algae blooms in recent memory could intensify with the arrival later this week of the longest, most intense heat wave of the year — creating pitch-perfect conditions for the toxic algae to potentially kill even more fish across the San Francisco Bay, experts and water regulators said Monday.

The bloom — which is a chief suspect in the killing of thousands of fish across the San Francisco Bay over the last several days — appears to be affecting everything from tiny yellowfin goby to sharks, bat rays and possibly even green sturgeon, an already threatened species.

Experts and water quality regulators have little idea about when this so-called red tide event will end, And for the time being, they say, there is no readily available solution to reverse its and end the die-off of Bay Area marine life.

It’s also not clear what can be done to dispose of the thousands of dead fish fouling popular waterfront destinations including Oakland’s Lake Merritt, where the dead fish have started to cause pungent, rank odor to emanate from parts of the lakeshore.

Here’s what experts are saying about the fish die-off — and how it might end.

When did this fill kill start, and what type of marine life is affected?

Dead fish first started appearing in the San Francisco Bay on Friday. Since then, they’ve been observed in Foster City, the Alameda estuary, Keller Beach, Sausalito, Fort Baker and Lake Merritt, according to reports submitted to San Francisco Baykeeper, an environmental group focused on water conditions in the Bay.

Myriad types of fish have been killed, including white sturgeon and stripped bass, according to Jon Rosenfield, senior scientist for San Francisco Baykeeper. He claimed at least one green sturgeon — which is considered a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act — also has been found dead. However, a state survey team has yet to find any such green sturgeon carcasses.

What’s killing all the fish?

No specific cause has been officially determined, though environmental groups and water quality regulators suspect that a red algae bloom is to blame. The likely culprit, they say, is Heterosigma Akashiwo, a type of phytoplankton that has long been found in the San Francisco Bay — though rarely to the extent seen recently. It’s extremely adaptable and thrives in nutrient-rich estuaries, making the Bay a perfect haven for it.

The phytoplankton is found in waterways across the world, including Chile, France and Asia, as well as along the Pacific Coast, including Monterey Bay. It’s particularly dangerous for fish, because it produces multiple substances — including at least one neurotoxin — that can affect fish gills, said Raphael Kudela, professor of Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Certain types of bacteria like to feed of this type of algae, and in doing so, it can cause oxygen levels in the surrounding water to crater, killing fish. But regional and state water and wildlife officials are still studying fish specimens to determine what exactly caused these fish to die in the Bay, said Eileen White, executive officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

“We’ve never seen anything of this magnitude,” White said, of the algae bloom.

What’s causing this algae to spread so much, and why now?

It’s still unclear why this particular type of algae — which has long been a part of the Bay’s ecosystem — started blooming now. “It’s kind of like the lottery – sometimes some other organism will pop and do really well. And this year it turns out to be Heterosigma.”

However, conditions across the Bay this summer have been extremely favorable for its type of phytoplankton to spread, Kudela said. The phytoplankton can survive in water that has relatively low salinity levels, which the Bay boasts. And it does well in sunny, hot conditions when runoff from the nearby river deltas is low — much has been the case, due to California’s ongoing historic drought.

Kudela said it’s difficult to attribute any one specific algae bloom to climate change. However, research suggests that the overall conditions that are conducive to such blooms can be attributed to climate change, including hotter weather and increased droughts.

Is the algae bloom harmful to humans?

Not really. This specific type of red algae affecting the Bay produces toxins that chiefly affect fish gills — meaning that humans are largely safe from its worst impacts.

But officials and experts are advising people to avoid algae-affected waterways and practice caution. And reports have emerged of people suffering skin irritation after having come into contact with water rich in this algae, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board is asking people to stay away from any impacted areas. In some cases, the algae can cause difficulty breathing — often for people with underlying respiratory issues who stand too close to the algae. As a result, San Francisco Baykeeper also suggests people avoid affected shorelines.

How much longer will this last?

That’s anyone’s guess at the moment. Typically, outbreaks of this type of phytoplankton last only a week.

Almost nothing can be done by humans to reverse its spread, once a bloom begins, Kudela said. Some places — including in Asia — have treated water with certain bacteria that eat away at the algae, or other substances that kill it off. However, such measures would be considered an exceptionally unusual move, and could have unintended repercussions.

Typically, bacteria already existing in the Bay have helped to keep this type of algae in check, or reverse any previous blooms, Kudela said. Same goes for viruses that have been known to impact such phytoplankton. With little in the way of rainfall forecast for the Bay Area in the foreseeable future — another common means to halt an algae’s spread — there’s little telling how much longer this bloom will last.

While Kudela said it would be extremely unusual for the bloom to last another week, the looming heat wave is leaving experts guessing, due to it offering the exact type of conditions preferred by this type of phytoplankton. After all, the algae bloom already is surprising experts.

“This is pretty usual, in terms of the size of the area that it’s covering,” Kudela said.

Categories: Local News

Will all those omicron infections and reinfections trigger lots more long COVID?

Seattle Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:29

Researchers warn the big number of omicron infections compared with earlier variants signals a need to prepare for a large boost in people with long COVID.
Categories: Local News

California lawmakers approve landmark bill to give greater protections to fast food workers

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:28

By Don Thompson | Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers on Monday advanced a nation-leading measure that would give more than a half-million fast food workers more power and protections, over the objections of restaurant owners who warn it would drive up consumers’ costs.

The bill would create a new 10-member Fast Food Council with equal numbers of workers’ delegates and employers’ representatives, along with two state officials, empowered to set minimum standards for wages, hours and working conditions in California.

A late amendment would cap any minimum wage increase for fast food workers at chains with more than 100 restaurants at $22 an hour next year, compared to the statewide minimum of $15.50 an hour, with cost of living increases thereafter.

The Senate approved the measure on a 21-12 vote, with no votes to spare and over bipartisan opposition. That sends it to the Assembly for final action before lawmakers adjourn on Wednesday. Assembly members previously narrowly passed a broader version of the bill.

Debate split along party lines, with Republicans opposed, although three Democrats voted against the measure and several did not vote.

“It’s innovative, it’s bringing industry and workers together at the table,” said Democratic Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, who carried the bill in the Senate. She called it a “very, very well-balanced method of addressing both the employers, the franchisees, as well as the workers.”

Almost every Republican senator spoke in opposition, including Sen. Brian Dahle, who also is the Republican nominee for governor in November.

“This is a steppingstone to unionize all these workers. At the end of the day, it’s going to drive up the cost of the products that they serve,” Dahle said. He added later: “There are no slaves that work for California businesses, period. You can quit any day you want and you can go get a job someplace else if you don’t like your employer.”

Restaurant owners and franchisers cited an analysis they commissioned by the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecast and Development saying that the legislation would increase consumers’ costs. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration also fears the measure would create “a fragmented regulatory and legal environment.”

The debate has drawn attention nationwide, including on Capitol Hill where Democratic U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna has expressed hope it will trigger similar efforts elsewhere.

It’s “one of the most significant pieces of employment legislation passed in a generation,” said Columbia Law School labor law expert Kate Andrias. She called it “a huge step forward for some of the most vulnerable workers in the country, giving them a collective voice in their working conditions.”

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The bill grew out of a union movement to boost the minimum wage and Andrias said it would “work in conjunction with traditional union organizing to give more workers a voice in their working conditions.”

International Franchise Association President and CEO Matthew Haller countered that the legislation “is a discriminatory measure aimed to target the franchise business model to bolster union ranks.”

Organizations representing Asian, Black and LGBTQ businesses sent a letter to senators Monday arguing that the measure would harm minority owners and workers.

Categories: Local News

How is Trey Lance impacted by Jimmy Garoppolo staying on 49ers?

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:26

SANTA CLARA — For what little the 49ers and everyone else truly know of Trey Lance’s NFL capabilities, his self-confidence sure seems pertinent right about now.

Lance has shown enough belief in himself, enough moxie, and, also enough humility, to not be rattled by Jimmy Garoppolo’s enduring shadow.

Getting Garoppolo to accept a pay cut on a restructured contract Monday should not be viewed as a damning indictment on Lance’s potential.

Lance is not a “looking-over-his-shoulder” guy. When the first mishaps, first interception, first loss happen — and they indeed will happen more than once — he should not be fretting his job security.

That’s not to say he feels entitled to the pressure-packed role of 49ers’ starting quarterback. He’s been groomed for 16 months in the 49ers’ organization for this promotion. He’s respected the process, he’s waited his turn, and he’s exercised full-fledged leadership, the latter of which was Garoppolo’s best trait since arriving on the 49ers’ doorstep on Halloween 2017.

Even if Nate Sudfeld or Brock Purdy lit it up this preseason or training camp, having a Lance-Garoppolo quarterback stable is the best insurance at such a vital position (see: 2018 collapse after Garoppolo’s Week 2 knee Injury).

Can they get along? As awkward as it may seem? Sure. They’ve made it this far together — and they’ve got years and a couple of Lombardi Trophy victories to go before they reach the Joe Montana-Steve Young level of awkwardness.

“It’s nothing weird at all. Like I said, I’ve never had anything I could possibly say that’s bad about Jimmy,” Lance said as training camp opened. “I mean, he’s been a big bro to me since the day I came in. He could have made things hell for me, honestly, last year. But he didn’t.”

Lance has looked every bit a NFL starter in terms of leadership since Garoppolo exited the 49ers’ stage after the NFC Championship Game loss.

Lance has taken every first-team rep, and he’s shown control of a complex offense. That’s not to say he’ll be an instant Pro Bowler. There’ll be growing pains, and the 49ers have a strong enough roster to withstand mishaps rather than panic and summon Garoppolo off the bench.

Say Lance face plants in his first full go-round as a NFL starter. It won’t be because of being thin-skinned and worrying that Garoppolo will reclaim his job.

No, the more likely paths to a Lance demotion are simple: a raw skillset that tends to yield high throws, a haphazard offensive line that’s being rebuilt, and, the ever-present possibility of injury.

Lance’s accuracy and game management could come with growing pains, and Shanahan sure seems willing to exercise patience this year more than perhaps ever.

If the offensive line struggles with new starters on the interior, that could disrupt a lot of the offensive scheme Lance must engineer, all of which will have trickle-down impacts on Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Elijah Mitchell and other offensive mainstays.

Health-wise, it’s obviously shrewd to have a quality backup in the bullpen if Lance gets hurt, again. Last year’s finger fracture in the preseason finale was more of a fluke than a knee sprain he endured in his starting debut at Arizona, where he had 16 carries and 15 pass completions.

Contractually, the 49ers have Lance signed through 2024 and can exercise his fifth-year option for 2025. If they truly felt he was not ready for the starting job, they could yield to Garoppolo at any point, though they’ve made no move to suggest doing that.

Credit the 49ers for not pushing Garoppolo into practice for a sham of a competition. This is Lance’s year to take over the reigns, and Garoppolo is still here for it because he’s a great insurance policy and he’s able to wait for a better option on another team, seeing how the QB market passed him by because of his March shoulder surgery.

What will the quarterback situation look like a year from now? Could Garoppolo and Lance flip roles again? Heck, anything is possible with this franchise’s quarterback history, just as it proved possible Monday to bring back Garoppolo. Related Articles

 

 

Categories: Local News

Kurtenbach: The 49ers failed their way into the right Jimmy Garoppolo decision

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:23

Call it a marriage of inconvenience.

But also call it the right decision for the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers didn’t want Garoppolo to be on the team for this season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have made that abundantly clear over the last 18 months.

Garoppolo didn’t want to be new starting quarterback Trey Lance’s backup, either. That’s why he and his agent went searching for a trade and a team to make him their starting quarterback this past offseason.

But neither party was able to make happen what they wanted. No one wanted Garoppolo, and the 49ers didn’t want to lose him and receive nothing in return.

With both parties left empty-handed and lacking good options, they decided the best move was to stay together for one more year. Garoppolo and the 49ers agreed to a restructured contract that will keep the quarterback on the team’s roster — as Trey Lance’s backup — for one more season on Monday.

Yes, the 49ers botched their way into the prudent play — one that neither party likes.

The best kind of deals are the ones that everyone hates but the columnist loves, right?

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The 49ers’ brass believes they have a Super Bowl-caliber team. I can’t disagree with them. That’s why keeping Garoppolo — now the best backup quarterback in the NFL — is a good move. It serves as quality insurance for this team’s potential, albeit with a hefty premium.

The role of overqualified backup is one that Lance held last season — one that Shanahan puzzlingly said he was drafted to fulfill this time last year. But having Lance on the roster, even as a backup, proved vital, as San Francisco would not have made the playoffs last year had the then-rookie not started and beaten Houston in Week 17.

I have my qualms with Garoppolo’s play. I still believe the Niners are justified in transitioning away from him to Lance as their starting quarterback. But if Lance — a running quarterback who picked up two different significant injuries last year — injures himself again in 2022, the 49ers need a quarterback who can be reasonably expected to lead them to victory, lest they torpedo this promising season.

Garoppolo can win games. I’ve been told as much a million times over by his fans.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ first-pick alternatives at backup quarterback — Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy — do not have what it takes to save the 49ers’ season.

Put the money and the politics and the buffet tray’s worth of eggs on the face to the side. The 49ers are a better team because Garoppolo is still on the roster today.

Ok, now let’s get into the money and the politics and the embarrassment, because it’s hilarious that we’re here, in this situation, today.

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Let’s start with the fact that neither you nor I should care about the money involved. Garoppolo will make less than his originally prescribed $20-something million this season, but even if he were on his original contract, keeping him would be the right move. The 49ers are flush with cash — enough to buy city council members and a whole Premier League soccer team — thanks to the NFL’s booming revenues and their effectively free stadium. Cutting Garoppolo wasn’t going to make beer at Levi’s Stadium reasonably priced. It was just saving billionaires a bit of cash and making the 49ers worse. The team can afford to pay him, and there are no salary cap issues. This was always a non-issue.

I don’t see a massive political issue, either. The notion that Lance might be “looking over his shoulder” this season will be perpetuated ad nauseam now that Garoppolo is officially the backup. Apparently, Garoppolo can singlehandedly ruin Lance’s promising career with his mere presence. It’s laughable. but even if Garoppolo was on another team, Lance would be compared to him after every game. In fact, by keeping Garoppolo on the 49ers roster and bench, the team makes it all the more difficult to compare the two quarterbacks — no one can say “well, Jimmy did X, Y, and Z this week”.

Lance has his head on straight. He’s smart enough to know he doesn’t need to worry about fans clamoring for a quarterback who had no suitors on the trade market and presumably as many on the open market (hence the hefty pay cut to stay with the Niners — he couldn’t get that kind of cash anywhere else). But San Francisco traded three first-round picks to land Lance. They’re all in on him. Garoppolo is only around because no one would take him off the 49ers’ hands and the team deemed the only thing worse than cutting him would be to keep Nate Sudfeld as the team’s backup quarterback this season.

And Garoppolo knows he needs to continue to be a good teammate to Lance this season — as he was last season, albeit in reversed roles — lest he pick up a bad reputation before he hits the open market next offseason.

If Garoppolo ever wants to be a clear-cut starter again, he certainly can’t afford to be known as a bad teammate.

But just because the 49ers made the right decision to keep Garoppolo doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be embarrassed by his saga.

They can try to spin it as “this was the plan all along,” now, but they have said the opposite frequently and publicly for months. Garoppolo himself said “it’s been a hell of a ride” in February.

Garoppolo hasn’t practiced or been in meetings with the team since the end of last season, despite him being cleared to play weeks ago. As of last week, he didn’t even have the 49ers’ playbook.

That’s not how you treat your backup quarterback.

No, the Niners believed until the very end that someone would trade for Garoppolo, despite the fact that their one firm trade offer for him came in April 2021 and was considered a lowball at the time.

By keeping Garoppolo all these months later, the Niners are still holding out hope that they can trade him. In part, this new contract is the Niners biding their time until the NFL’s trade deadline. Maybe they can move him by then. Worst-case scenario, they land a compensatory draft pick.

It’s a far cry from that first-round pick they wanted for him until his shoulder surgery in March.

And that’s why this saga is so embarrassing to the 49ers. It’s not in keeping Garoppolo as the backup. No, had that been the plan all along, that would only have affected Garoppolo’s ego.

No, it was in telling everyone their plan, being rebuffed by the market, and then not softening their stance at all. It undercuts their credibility as an organization, even though the end product of this fiasco improved their team for this season.

The Niners might have a more-than-capable backup quarterback now — something they needed but effectively lacked a day ago — but their inability to move on from Garoppolo begs the question:

They can botch this portion of their grand quarterback plan, what’s to say they won’t botch the portion that involves turning Lance into the star quarterback they envisioned him to be?

Categories: Local News

Richmond: ‘The Golden Rule’ embarks on 15-month, 11,000-mile anti-nuclear mission

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:07

RICHMOND – “The Golden Rule” was the first boat out of the water at Svendsen’s Bay Marine boatyard Monday morning.

As the San Francisco Bay’s waves lapped at the 30-foot wooden ketch sailboat around 8 a.m., a mechanical lift swaddled the vessel’s port and starboard sides, scooped the boat out of the water and nestled it onto a semi-truck trailer, where it will be docked for the next week.

The Golden Rule set sail on Richmond’s streets just before noon on Monday, embarking on a 2,000 mile trip east to complete “The Great Loop” — a path that starts on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota, winds around Florida, up the East Coast on the Atlantic Ocean, pivots into Maine, down through the Hudson River, and, finally, around the Great Lakes.

The old wooden sailboat, owned by the group Veterans for Peace and primarily based in Humboldt Bay, has a mission to sail every navigable waterway in the United States, educating people about a “nuclear-free world” along the way.

Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa, left, unties a knot on one of the cables of the Golden Rule while Helen Jacard, right, checks for other loose items in preparation for a cross-country journey to Minnesota at the Svenson Marina in Richmond, CA on Monday, August 29, 2022. Originally setting sail in 1958 to put an end to nuclear weapon testing in the Marshall Islands, the restored ship picks up it's mission to continue efforts to end nuclear proliferation, and is scheduled to return to the Bay Area in 2023. (Don Feria for Bay Area News Group)Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa, left, unties a knot on one of the cables of the Golden Rule while Helen Jaccard, right, checks for other loose items in preparation for a cross-country journey to Minnesota at the Svendsen’s Marina in Richmond, CA on Monday, August 29, 2022. Originally setting sail in 1958 to put an end to nuclear weapon testing in the Marshall Islands, the restored ship picks up it’s mission to continue efforts to end nuclear proliferation, and is scheduled to return to the Bay Area in 2023. (Don Feria for Bay Area News Group) 

Richmond’s marina, the group said, had the right people and tools in place to help kick off the latest trip.

One of the boat’s captains, Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa, who grew up in Hawaii and has been a practicing Buddhist involved in anti-nuclear work since the age of 14, said the exhibition is personal.

“I had the skill set to sail the boat and take care of the boat, but the interest in world peace and nuclear disarmament comes from much, much farther back in Hawaii,” Johnston-Kitazawa said, while watching “The Golden Rule” roll away. “Many of the people’s ancestors came from Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan — the first places where nuclear weapons were deliberately used against people.”

The Golden Rule has set sail with the same mission in mind for the past six decades.

Helen Jaccard, a project manager for Veterans for Peace, said the crew hosts presentations along their trips to try to teach as many communities as they can about the possibility of nuclear war, its consequences and how people can try to stop it by crafting petitions, writing letters to political representatives and having conversations with neighbors.

After spending the past few years traversing along the West Coast, trekking out to Hawaii and back, completing most routes west of the Rockies, the crew will reassemble the boat in Hudson, Wisconsin, in September before tackling The Great Loop.

“It’s 11,000 miles, with 100 stops and probably 400-500 presentations in 15 months,” Jaccard said. “A boat with a mission — other than just getting around — is unusual enough, but for us, this is quite a thing we’re undertaking.”

“We don’t just terrify people, we give them hope by giving them a way to act,” Jaccard said.

In 1958, four Quaker peace activists set sail for the Marshall Islands onboard The Golden Rule, attempting to interfere with the United States’ nuclear bomb tests happening there. After being intercepted and arrested in Honolulu, public outcry helped spark a larger anti-nuclear movement, eventually climaxing when President John F. Kennedy signed the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water.

After the boat was sold to a private owner and eventually sunk in Humboldt Bay in 2010, local members of Veterans for Peace, Quakers and boat lovers across Northern California came together and restored The Golden Rule to resume its original mission.

“They realized it was the perfect vehicle with a story of consistent opposition to nuclear weapons over a long period of time,” Johnston-Kitazawa said. “History shows the pressure was put on and change happened. It’s time to continue that work.”

The crew is not certain where the boat’s name originated.

“While the captain in 1958 wrote a book about his voyage, he didn’t mention why it was named that,” Jaccard said. “But that’s my assumption: ‘Don’t bomb others that you wouldn’t want to bomb you.’”

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Both Johnston-Kitazawa and Jaccard say the push for nuclear disarmament is as relevant as ever, as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, tensions are still high between India and Pakistan, and threats have bubbled up between the United States and North Korea.

“Right now, that’s all falling apart and the three major nuclear powers are all basically bragging about how much more they’re going to get and how much better they’re going to be,” Johnston-Kitazawa said. “I think people are even more aware now, that maybe we should have taken care of all of them instead of getting complacent.”

Categories: Local News

The Book That Explains Our Cultural Stagnation

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:07
Art has gotten so boring. W. David Marx knows why.
Categories: Local News

Pastor Matt Chandler Steps Aside After ‘Unwise’ Online Relationship

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:02
Matt Chandler’s leave of absence from the Village Church near Dallas comes as Southern Baptists are already facing challenges.
Categories: Local News

Letters: A big step | Paperless billing | Housing issue | Cheney stands ground | Unanswered questions | Getting it right

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:00

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.

Phasing out gas
vehicles a big step

Re. “State phasing out gas vehicles in climate fight,” Page A4, Aug. 26 :

While there are questions to be asked on the feasibility of a zero-emission future, I believe that this momentous decision by the California Air Resources Board is a big step forward toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

While paper straws, meatless Mondays and carbon footprints would all help with the climate change situation, this sweeping regulation will lead the way in significantly cutting the carbon emissions. I’m optimistic.

Wayne Zong
San Jose

Paperless billing less
productive, efficient

Re. “420,000 PG&E customers revolt against paperless-billing switch,” Page A12, Aug. 21:

As a bookkeeper, I’d like to explain the revolt against PG&E’s paperless billing.

Paper billing and customary office bill payment and filing procedures have become standardized over hundreds of years. With paperless billing even for a small business, you have to juggle hundreds of electronic credentials and accounts all of which are not standardized and are subject to account lockout, vendor lock and hacking. Paper billing, even with electronic payments, is far more efficient for proper recordkeeping and filing. For nonprofits, paper bills with supervisor approval signatures create a cleaner audit trail than a tangled web of electronic permissions.

A paperless office is a less productive and less efficient office.

Thomas Busse
San Francisco

Housing issue: you can’t
make the finite infinite

How does our homeless situation resemble the Colorado River? It looks like they have nothing in common; but it’s about ignoring a fact, too many people using a finite resource. With the river, the problem is obvious; 40 million people are using it with more being added every day. Rather than acknowledge this fact, we keep trying to find a way to make a finite resource infinite, which isn’t going to work long term.

With the homeless, the problem is a bit more subtle. Cheap land to build on is practically nonexistent, so the pressure is exerted by rising housing prices, prices that the homeless can’t afford. No developer will sustain the losses necessary to build more housing that rents for what the homeless can afford, and government agencies would need to invest hugely to make a dent in the problem, which only gets constantly worse as the homeless population grows.

Meade Fischer
Soquel

Cheney stood ground
against Trump’s lies

Re. “Trump foe Liz Cheney loses election,” Page A4, Aug. 17:

Ernie Konnyu wonders why Rep. Liz Cheney “self-immolated”? (“Cheney’s targeting Trump killed congressional hopes,” Page A6, Aug. 23)

Perhaps concepts like “honor, integrity,” and “doing the right thing” have become a distant thought to Konnyu. While I disagree with Cheney on her political affiliation, I admire her for her standing up to the alleged “king,” as Konnyu stated. Doing the right thing and standing up for one’s beliefs implies personal integrity and a sense of moral guidance, even in the face of adversity.

Liz Cheney did the right thing, regardless of the cost and stood her ground, even in the face of loss.

Steve Sulgit
Cupertino

Article leaves many
questions unanswered

Re. “‘Magic mushroom’ psychedelic may help heavy drinkers quit,” Page A8, Aug. 25:

Besides having a misleading headline, the article was infuriatingly facile and could lead people into a dangerous self-experiment. As licensed marriage and family therapists, we will comment on the most egregious elements of this reporting.

The sample size is so small as to be scientifically invalid. There are many different modalities of “talk therapy.” Did all the participants receive the same type with the same therapists? What does “heavy drinking” mean as opposed to being an alcoholic? Those who are drinking alcoholically are not suffering from a “bad habit” but from the disease of addiction. The end of the article mentioned a woman who drank “5 or 6 drinks every evening.” How is she doing now? We don’t know because the article doesn’t say.

Although the Associated Press is the source of the article, we expect The Mercury News to be more responsible in choosing and/or editing its content.

Mark Zalona
and Heather Turey
Santa Cruz

Related Articles Mallard Fillmore gets it
right on climate change

Right off the bat, I confess I rarely, if ever, read the Mallard Fillmore “cartoon.” On August 25 however, I was intrigued by the drawings of the dinosaurs.

Wonder of wonders, lo and behold Bruce Tinsley actually and correctly addressed a real issue – climate change. Quite a departure from his usual attacks on the Democrats. If only this might continue, but alas, I doubt that it will.

Caroline Rackowski
Morgan Hill

Categories: Local News

Why Student Debt Relief Isn’t Elitist

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 16:00
No, it isn’t a bailout for slacker baristas.
Categories: Local News

In Brazil, the Last Member of an Isolated Tribe Dies

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:47
Known as the “Man of the Hole,” the last member of an Indigenous group was found dead this month, marking the first recorded disappearance of an isolated tribe in the country.
Categories: Local News

Owner of Sunnyvale Airbnb party-shooting house sued by state, city

San Jose Mercury - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:43

A massive house party at an Airbnb rental in Sunnyvale last August where two young people were shot, one fatally, would almost certainly not have happened if the owner had obeyed a city law requiring her presence at the home, a new lawsuit by the state of California and city of Sunnyvale claims.

“It is extremely unlikely a massive, advertised house party would have occurred at the subject property had the ‘host’ actually been there,” the suit claims.

The state and city allege that Ke Zhou, of Maryland, appears to have bought the home solely to rent it out to temporary occupants, and that she broke Sunnyvale’s law against short-term rentals where the host is not present on the property.

Zhou also continues to advertise the house in the Raynor Park neighborhood as a short-term rental, the lawsuit filed Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court claims.

Contacted by phone Monday about the lawsuit’s claims, a person who identified as Ke Zhou said, “No comment.”

At least 150 young people had flocked to the Navarro Drive home after the party was advertised on social media. Gunfire killed Elias Elhania, 18, and wounded another person. A male Sunnyvale resident, 17 at the time of the shooting, was arrested in December on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.

It was at least the fourth shooting at an Airbnb party house in Northern California in less than two years, including a 2019 bloodbath that killed five in Orinda on Halloween. Zhou listed the home on Airbnb from July 2018 to August 2021, the suit alleges. The San Francisco company said it deactivated the listing after the shooting, which occurred despite the firm imposing a temporary ban on parties a year earlier in the wake of the Orinda tragedy. Airbnb in June said it was “officially codifying the ban” as company policy.

Zhou failed to obtain required permits and approvals to rent the home short-term, and she violated state and city nuisance laws, the suit also alleges. It was unclear what evidence California and Sunnyvale had for claiming in the lawsuit that Zhou has continued to advertise the house as a short-term rental.

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Property records indicate that Zhou has owned the house since 2014. She made at least $81,000 in “ill-gotten proceeds” renting it out, the suit claims.

The city and state are seeking a court order banning Zhou from advertising and operating the home as a short-term rental. They also want a judge to force Zhou to hand over any revenue made through alleged illegal rental of the property, and to reimburse the city for enforcement costs related to the property.

Categories: Local News

Sotomayor denies NYPD detective’s plea to block vax mandate

Seattle Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:39

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied an appeal from a New York Police Department detective who asked for an emergency injunction to keep the city from firing him over its vaccine mandate.
Categories: Local News

EXPLAINER: Pakistan fatal flooding has hallmarks of warming

Seattle Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:33

What's behind the flooding in Pakistan are all hallmarks of manmade climate change: Warmer temperatures, hotter air holding more moisture then dumping unrelenting rain, and melting glaciers.
Categories: Local News

Back at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez Tries to Be ‘the Best Version of Myself’

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:16
After a foot injury sidelined her for much of the summer, Fernandez returns to Flushing Meadows with high expectations.
Categories: Local News

California Senate Passes Bill to Regulate Fast-Food Industry

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:13
If signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the measure would create a state council to establish minimum pay and safety conditions on an industrywide basis.
Categories: Local News

Deadly Floods Devastate an Already Fragile Pakistan

N.Y. Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 15:00
More than 1,100 have died as record monsoon rains inundate the country, washing away bridges, roads and crop fields. Much of Pakistan is underwater.
Categories: Local News

After deadly fires and disastrous floods, Vancouver, B.C., moves to sue big oil

Seattle Times - Mon, 08/29/2022 - 14:48

The move, in the birthplace of Greenpeace, would be the first lawsuit of its kind in Canada against the fossil fuel industry.
Categories: Local News

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