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02.16.11

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The job they were hired for

Regarding the letter from Prunuske Chatham Inc. (Letters, Feb. 9): Not being familiar with their work, I wouldn't presume to judge. I have, however, done considerable archeological work in Santa Barbara, and am not unfamiliar with how these "studies" work. The writers state, "The scope of our assessment was not an exhaustive biological study of the impacts of all land used on all of the Cornell properties in the Mark West watershed. It was intended to provide an evaluation of the proposed winery development on one parcel on botanical and wildlife resources. . . ."

This "assessment" leaves considerable wiggle room. How close was this "assessment" to the Mark West watershed? Then, they write, "In fact, PCI did not state in our report that we saw no steelhead in Mark West Creek, but rather that no steelhead habitat was present on the parcel in question. Mark West Creek does not run through nor adjacent to the property we were asked to evaluate, and thus we did not survey the creek as part of our assessment."

Cornell is permitted to pick and choose what pieces of the property are assessed? What about Fish and Game determining what parcels need to be assessed, beginning with Mark West Creek?

Companies hired by developers, and who write assessments favorable to the developer—they get the work; those doing a realistic assessment are not hired. (And by the way, where is the archeologist in the EIR? There are likely sensitive Native American sites on the property. Santa Barbara County requires, by law, that an archeological assessment be performed before development of a piece of land.) Not surprising, this assessment is not a requirement in Napa County, where money makes all the decisions. Shameful.

Richard Huber

Novato


Careful Reactions

It was very interesting watching our politicians try to figure out how to respond as Hosni Mubarak's rule was challenged. He's been a loyal ally for 30 years, after all. We've given him and his regime lots of money, military hardware, training and other good stuff. Hillary Clinton touted him as a friend. Some suggested he should stay or at least be involved in helping transform Egypt into a democracy. And yet there had to be praise for a movement to establish freedom and democracy. That's what the United States wants for the rest of the world, isn't it?

Let's take a look. Here are a few of the democratically elected leaders our government has helped overthrow: Mohammad Mosaddegh (Iran, 1953), Jacobo Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Patrice Lumumba (Congo, 1961), Salvador Allende (Chile, 1973), Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Haiti, 2004).

Here are a few of the many dictators and brutal regimes we've supported: the Shah of Iran (Iran), Fulgencio Batista (Cuba), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Anastasio Somoza Debayle (Nicaragua), P. W. Botha (South Africa under apartheid), Mobutu Sese Seko (Democratic Republic of Congo), Augusto Pinochet (Chile), Saddam Hussein (Iraq) and Hosni Mubarak (Egypt).

After Mubarak acceded to protester's demands, President Obama spoke glowingly of the uprising and the new day dawning for Egypt. After.

Moss Henry

Santa Rosa


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