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The Newport Back Bay exists because developers forgot it? Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is preserved because homebuilders somehow overlooked that parcel on the map? Nothing could be further from the truth ("Knock 'Em Down: Our 15 favorite places OC developers have missed," Sept. 25).

In the early 1960s, plans were on the drawing board to create in Upper Newport Bay a mirror image of the lower bay, with boat slips and bayside homes. The Irvine Co. dropped those plans, however, and sold the property to the state, so the Back Bay is the permanently preserved open space it is today because developers planned it that way.

The truth about Whiting Ranch is that this fabulous wilderness exists only because it was dedicated as permanent open space by the developers of adjoining housing tracts. That's why you see houses nearby. Is the land really an isolated pocket, as you reported? Hardly. It is part of the Nature Reserve of Orange County and is directly connected to Limestone Canyon Regional Park-which will open to the public soon, after it's gifted to the county by the Irvine Co. The Nature Reserve permanently protects 31,000 acres of prime habitat-that's 21⁄2 times the size of Manhattan-so lamenting the shortage of open space in Orange County has no basis in fact or in responsible reporting.

The OC Weekly also overlooked other fabulous wilderness areas that exist because of the contributions of the development community: Aliso and Woods Canyon Regional Park, General Thomas Riley Wilderness Park, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park within Crystal Cove State Park, and more than 8,000 acres dedicated for permanent preservation by Rancho Mission Viejo in the South County. Trading prime wildlands for housing tracts is a system that works, and it sets Orange County apart from nearly every urban area in the country. Houses for the human species and lots of land for all the other species . . . and for the humans who like to hike and mountain bike.

-Laer Pearce
Executive director
Coalition for Habitat Conservation

There you chumps go again, bitin' the hand that feeds you. When are you cry babies gonna realize that the developers know better than any of us what to do with this fine thang called Orange County? (Just wait till they get El Toro International Airport up and runnin'-you'll see.)

Then again, with your attitude, you'd probably call me a pimp just because I make my mother sell her ass to make me a living. Wake up, and get with the program. OC is some fine booty; 'be a fool not ta turn her out!

-Mitch "Silky" Faris

I was going to write and tell you how hilarious I found your article, but then I read James Kiger's letter about it, and I couldn't decide which was funnier (Letters, Oct. 9). James, can you say sarcasm? Let's just pray to God some idiot developer doesn't take the article as seriously as James did.

-Colleen Nelson


Matt Coker got his facts mixed up in the lead of his article on U.S. Representative Ron Packard ("Ron Packard, Military Whore," Oct. 2). The tragic accidental napalm burning of a South Vietnamese youngster was actually done by a pilot of the South Vietnamese Air Force. Some troubled American vet did "confess" to the error a few years ago, but he actually had no part in the accident.

With that error, Coker calls into question the quality of his perfervid assessment of the risk that the deactivated napalm bombs present. Considering the histrionic reaction that some people have had to the prospect of transporting the flammable material for disposal, one can hardly blame the Navy or the congressman for not overwhelming that resistance. Coker also fails to explain what, if anything, makes the napalm more dangerous than the gallons of gasoline that many of us ride around with every day. The "3,000 leaks" giving off fumes don't sound excessive, given that there are 34,100 napalm bombs weighing 22 tons.

Finally, Coker can't seem to decide whether he wants the bombs kept away from civilians or destroyed with alacrity and dispatch. Obviously, doing the latter would make the former impossible.

-Charles H. Brown II
Costa Mesa

Matt Coker responds: Mr. Brown is the one with his facts mixed up. I did not write anything about an American pilot being involved in the "tragic accidental napalm burning of a South Vietnamese youngster." I wrote that U.S. aircraft dropped U.S. napalm. With that non-error, I called into question the zeal with which Congressman Ron "Pro-All-Things-Military" Packard did anything about the 34,100 (U.S.) napalm bombs that have been rotting in his district for 25 years. Admittedly, I am not a chemist and cannot predict the winner of a Celebrity Deathmatch pitting napalm against gasoline. But I'll tell you what I will do: I'll gladly drive around with 10 gallons of napalm strapped to my compact for as long as Mr. Brown keeps 34,100 22-ton tanks of gasoline in his back yard. Come on, Tiger; they'll only be springing 3,000 leaks.

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