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Letters to the Editor:

$1.50 /GALLON GASOLINE?

[It’s possible, and here’s how.]

The Western Desert of Iraq is basically an extension of the Saudi oilfields, the richest in the world.  The Western Desert has been extensively explored and huge reserves are known to exist.  Extraction cost is estimated at a $1.50/barrel.   Optimized output has been estimated at four or five million barrels/day.  Just the thought induces oil cartel kingpins to break out the drool buckets.

The plan would be to have our government develop the oilfields and turn conditional ownership over to the Sunni Arab tribal confederation, which is the principal political force in the western and northwestern provinces of al-Anbar, Salahuddin and Nineveh. (Together, these three provinces comprise about half of Iraq.)  After the oilfields are developed, the U.S. Government buys the oil directly from the Sunni confederation, transports, refines and makes the gasoline available to independent dealers in the U.S.  Our government would manage the oilfields and purchase the entire production at a predetermined contract rate (i.e., $50/barrel).  Continued Sunni ownership of the oilfield improvements would depend on a successful working relationship.  There would be no oil companies, no consultants, no investors, no oil futures, no oil stocks, and no hedge fund managers.  The bulk of the profits would remain in Iraq.  All management functions in the U.S. and Iraq would be in the hands of administrators chosen by a select congressional committee for their integrity and working knowledge of oil production.  The entire process would be monitored by the United Nations.

Naturally, many other safeguards would have to be in place.  The oil profits would have to reach down to the village level, quickly. Once the common people of the region see the benefits of the plan, and are given hope, al-Qaeda in Iraq would be eliminated since the misery, hopelessness, and hate that feeds militant Islamism would be missing.  Oil revenue would also empower the Sunni tribal confederation in the fight to eliminate terrorism.   For an example, the Sunnis could look to the Kurds.  The Kurds have been selling oil independently of the Baghdad government and are benefiting from their newfound wealth in many ways.   

Self-rule and productive oilfields might well be the enticement for the majority of Sunnis to give up their obsession to regain control of all of Iraq.  So the plan could also have the added benefit of ending the Iraq war since the Sunnis are the main group leading the insurrection.

Richard Parr

Santa Monica

 

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To: Editor

Because of the dramatic increases in water and wastewater rates that Santa Monica homeowners (and, indirectly, renters too) are facing, I sent the following letter of protest to our City Council.  I feel now is the time to let those governing our town know that we are not happy with constant increases in taxes and fees for basic city services, especially when we have little or no say in the matter.

 

July 6, 2008

TO:  SANTA MONICA CITY

COUNCIL

RE:  WATER & WASTEWATER RATE INCREASE

Dear Councilpersons,

I wish to protest the egregious rate increases being considered by the City.  I think rates should be considered on a year-by-year basis, and reflect the actual cost of water and wastewater services rather than projections, which may or may not be accurate. 

I also wish to protest the way in which this has been handled.  Because so few people know about it — after all, how many people actually read the stuffers in their utility bills? — I doubt you will get more than a handful of letters, whereas if you were to put this on a ballot, everyone would have a chance to make their voice heard.  Even opening the door to email, phone or in-person protests would make the process much fairer to the citizens who have to bear the burden.  It’s not like we have a choice, either.  One can go without food, gas or shelter, but not water. 

I feel the City Council has let its constituents down by slipping these increases through without an adequate public forum to find out what those who pay the bills really think.

Sincerely,

Phil Harnage

Santa Monica

 

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Hello,

I’m a Santa Monica resident and have been learning more about living a “greener” lifestyle.  I try to recycle more now and properly dispose of things like batteries.

My wife and I have some old sunscreen and miscellaneous cold medication, aspirin, etc., cluttering up the medicine cabinet.  After learning about groundwater and drinking water contamination from pharmaceuticals, I decided I would like to dispose of these items “properly.”

The articles I read online all said the same thing:  Contact your local pharmacists for information about proper disposal.

I called the Rite Aid on Pico near Cloverfield, the CVS on Santa Monica Blvd near 26th and the Walgreens on Wilshire near 17th.  I spoke to a pharmacist at each location.

CVS and Walgreens said they didn’t have a disposal program for old/unused medication and had no information to give about where or how to properly dispose of the drugs.

The pharmacist at Rite Aid told me to tear the label off the bottle and throw it in the garbage.  I laughed and said “Shouldn’t I at least recycle the plastic bottle?”  The pharmacist answered “Sure – whatever.”  I asked if she or the manager had any information about the levels of pharmaceuticals discovered in our water supply.  She said no.

These are three of the biggest pharmacies in the country.  They have thousands of stores and pharmacists and apparently NO information or training in disposing of drugs.

Thanks,

Scott B.

 

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Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the hygiene issues recently raised at the Santa Monica Swim Center.

 

Dear Mr. Brown,

Thank you for your e-mail. I appreciate the time you took to write to me.

We do make an effort to educate swimmers to shower before they swim. Our general rules posted at each pool advise swimmers to shower before they enter the pool. We also have this information in literature that is given out to the public. The Swim Center has a welcome packet with the facility rules, which includes shower before they enter as well as flyers for Healthy Swimming from the Center for Disease Control. These are located in our flyer rack at the front entrance.

In addition, the children in our swimming lesson programs are taught and do shower before they enter the pool as well as the many kids camps that come to swim.

You may have noticed in the last couple of weeks that we have added additional signage on the pool decks to continue to educate the public and encourage them to shower before they swim.

It is important to us to maintain clean healthy pools and we will continue to strive to educate and encourage swimmers to shower before they swim.

Thank you for informing me about your visit to the Swim Center. We encourage suggestions from our customers.  Please contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Amy Thomas

Principal Supervisor

City of Santa Monica

Santa Monica Swim Center

310.458.8700

amy.thomas@smgov.net 

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