I lived in California's Bay Area for seven years spanning the '80s and early '90s, and the area has to import most of the water they have. There were no true "lakes" where you could swim, but bodies of water of any significance are designated as "reservoirs." The state, among others, continues to struggle with the issue. Coming first from the state of Maine, which has water everywhere you look, to Washington (in 1976), which has less water, but certainly an abundance, California was a real eye-opener.
When my wife and I were seeking another home a couple of years ago, we had two considerations: We wanted a reasonably small home, and we wanted a reasonably small yard, both for energy efficiency, but in a nice, new development. What we found instead was the resistance by the developers to build anything but a huge, and in our opinion, inefficient home in their developments. Certainly, while some do, not every family requires five bedrooms and three bathrooms, along with a three-car garage and two acres of lawn to water. We decided to stay put and remodel our small '50s home. Particularly now, I feel it was a good decision for many reasons.
In any case, there is one simple thing that I believe everyone can do today to reduce the impact on the aquifer. Typically, when you turn a faucet on in your home, the water volume is much higher than need be. Every faucet in every home has a corresponding shut-off valve under the sink. Turn your faucet on full-blast, then adjust the valve below to a volume that is more efficient, but still useful. If that were to be done to every faucet in every home, the water savings would be significant.
Rian and Wendy Lothrop
Appetite for Change?
Anyone who read Ari Levaux's "The Perfect Food Shortage" (5/8/08) now knows that world starvation is caused by "land and produce being allocated away from human food, and toward animal and vehicle food."
Knowing this, how can we continue to eat meat and zoom around racetracks wasting gas? It's time to ask ourselves if we care about other people enough to make changes, or are we proving we really don't care?
Liberty Lake, Wash.
I was shocked to read Robert Herold's editorial ("Citizen Birthrights," 5/8/08) personally attacking Don Barbieri and his efforts to protect and restore our city's greatest natural resource -- the Spokane River. Rather than focusing on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we have as a community to restore our downtown falls by demanding that the public interest be considered in the operation of Avista's small dams, Mr. Herold chose to focus his attention on attacking Don's motives.
While I would agree that we need a better community vision for development of our waterfront, I do not agree that Don is to blame for poor choices made along our river corridor. To the contrary, Don has been a strong advocate for restoring our falls, cleaning up the pollution in our river, and even bringing back the long vanquished salmon. These are goals shared by river advocates, our local tribes, average citizens and, yes, even business leaders and developers such as Don. We certainly should commend and support business leaders, like Don, who put their voices and money to restoring our river. We should also commend business leaders, like Don, who have figured out that a clean and healthy river can actually be a benefit economically to our community.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Herold finds so much time to attack Don while ignoring the fact that Avista is the one blighting our river by sucking it dry for an insignificant amount of power (less than 1 percent of its generation). I sincerely hope Mr. Herold took as much time and effort to put pen-to-paper in his comments to the state demanding that our falls be restored, as he did to attack a true community asset.
Good For Us, Too
For a state senator and elected official, Chris Marr ought to use better math. His critique of Dino Rossi's transportation plan ("Panacea or Pandering?" 5/8/08) uses distorted numbers to try to score political points, but it's just plain wrong.
He says that Rossi's plan ignores Eastern Washington, but I checked his numbers and found that they were way off. He subtracts the North Spokane Corridor, the tax relief for people who buy hybrid and electric cars, and the 1,600 salmon-blocking culverts around the state from his numbers. All of these add up to $3 billion for Eastern Washington.
Sure the Puget Sound projects are expensive -- but Rossi uses various Puget Sound funding sources to help pay for them. Eastern Washington truly only helps pay for the $10 billion that come from half the tax on new and used vehicles, and from the state halting the ridiculous practice of charging itself sales tax for transportation projects.
The reality is 30 percent of the money in Rossi's transportation plan benefits Eastern Washington, while Eastern Washington makes up about 23 percent of the state's population.
Enjoying the View
I am not one of "a few multimillionaire condominium owners," but I do occasionally patronize what Bob Herold dismisses as "that nondescript, invasive building now occupied by Anthony's" for a glass of cold white wine, a bucket of steamer clams and a spectacular view of water thundering off the rocks below. I'm sure that thousands of other ordinary citizens and thousands of additional visitors likewise enjoy this jaw-dropping scene of rugged urban beauty. An important, once-in-a-lifetime federal dam relicensing process is now underway, and Don Barbieri should be thanked for being a vocal advocate on behalf of the river and its future.
After devoting a measly two paragraphs to endorsing Mr. Barbieri's position, Bob Herold's commentary ("Citizen Birthrights," 5/8/08) collapses into a mean-spirited, inaccurate and poorly sourced attack.
Herold comes across as a bitter old man, railing against enemies real and imagined, rather than helping focus the attention of citizens on an opportunity to do something positive about restoring the falls. The Spokane River needs all the friends it can get, including Don Barbieri.