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Letters to the Editor:

In the February 1-7 issue, Michael Rosenthal, your publisher, complains because an employee of Groundwork Coffee on Main Street wouldn’t serve him while the former was talking on a cell phone.

In this relatively new wireless age, we are able to have all kinds of new power thanks to handy items such as cell phones, MP3 players, etc.  As these are operated in a public setting, we also have to consider how our behavior using these affects those around us.  Put yourself, Mr. Rosenthal, in the place of that employee waiting on you at Groundwork, or of that teller at your bank, or checkout person in the market.  Those positions involve interaction with people, which is what makes them attractive to those who hold them.  Most of these folks get pleasure from the connection with those they serve, face to face.  What you do when you talk on your phone and ignore them is take away this connection.  They become servants, robots, not humans in a line of work with the enjoyment of person-to-person contact.

Further, Mr. Rosenthal, what about the persons in front and in back of you in the line at Groundwork?  Maybe each is into his or her own space, which you may be disturbing by that phone voice level that people take on that seems louder than one’s conversational level.  Maybe not.  I’m suggesting that you, and all of us who use these great wireless tools, think about how our use affects others.

We are all pioneers in this wondrous wireless time, and as such, need to find our way through uncharted territory.  Some of our “old” guidelines can still serve us at this time, such as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Dolores Sloan

Santa Monica


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Is it getting hot here?  Earth’s atmosphere has just the right amount of carbon dioxide for life to flourish. Changes in carbon dioxide levels bring about changes in the climate. Global warming.

Unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide have been released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal, while the trees that eliminate carbon dioxide are being cut down at a record pace. The build-up of carbon dioxide has reached such a level that it is actually retarding the escape of solar energy into space. The heat comes in and can’t get back out, exactly like a greenhouse. Global warming.

Most of the Antarctic continent is covered by ice nearly two miles thick. These ice sheets help to cool the earth by reflecting the sunlight back into space like a mirror. As glaciers shrink more sunlight will hit the earth, further heating the planet. The ice cap north of Greenland has already shrunk by 30 percent. Global warming is accelerating.

Ron Lowe          

Santa Monica


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Just saw your “Glimmers in the Darkness” column. [Paul Cummins, Santa Monica Mirror, February 15-21]  Nicely done!

 Another reason for hope: A century ago, Americans faced a plutocracy far more entrenched than the plutocracy we see before us today. By fifty years later, that plutocracy had been sliced down to democratic size. We’ve already, in other words, overcome plutocracy once. No reason why we can’t do that again.

Please take care.

Sam Pizzigati

Editor, Too Much


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Thanks to the Mirror for showcasing Dutton’s Brentwood Bookstore on your cover, and to Beverly Cohn for taking such a cute photograph.

I just wanted to clarify for your readers that Dutton’s Brentwood has not lost its lease.  We appreciate everyone’s concern about the store’s future, but in fact, all that’s happened is the building’s ownership has changed hands and the new owner has indicated a desire to develop the property at some point.

Please let your readers and our loyal customers know that Dutton’s Brentwood had not lost its lease, and is continuing to serve the community it’s been part of for 21 years.  We will cross the “development bridge” if and when we come to it.  Until then, the best way to save your local bookshop is to shop at independently-owned bookstores, of which we are lucky to have a fine few in our area – including Dutton’s Brentwood.

Clara Sturak



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In regards to your Publisher’s Notebook of Vol. 8, Issue 36, why did you write “To be candid, the airport serves a very upper crust of society, and the land may be suited for a higher and better use” when I doubt that you would write about higher and better uses for a city facility simply because it serves the lower crust of society?  Instead of complain that upper class-citizens are enjoying a city facility (the horror), we should be supporting the return of the Museum of Flying, a facility that served all of society, rich, poor, resident and visitor alike.

Taylor Scott

Santa Monica


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Regarding Mr. Rosenthal’s beach day that resulted in his illness, as recounted in the recent Publisher’s Notebook, he should understand that the “Report Card” on the ocean is really only a literary   device intended to provide the appearance that government is concerned. This Report Card simply totals up the number of a particular bacteria that is often found in contaminated water.  This bacteria, in itself, is harmless.  That is why it is termed an “indicator.”

The Report does not measure viral contamination, chemical contamination, or bacteria and protozoa other than this one indicator bacteria. So whatever Mr. Rosenthal has been ingesting over the years, it may have caused slight upset, mild poisoning, or may be living in his body.  The issue is that California government is one of the most inefficient and convoluted systems for protecting the health of its citizens. What are missing are point source regulations that require inspection at the industrial site.  Industry has fought this for many years, claiming that the ocean dilutes all of the contaminants to minor levels.  Of course, now, Mr. Rosenthal may dispute this.

Industry regularly dumps its waste into the storm drains. Walking along the beach one can often see effluent pouring out from the storm drain outfalls on a sunny day.  These generally go unreported. The amount contributed by people is actually very small.  Your local newspaper should make an effort to report the story better.

William Firschein, AIA


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