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DEVELOPERS: OUR HEROES
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.
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.
NAPALM IS YOUR FRIEND
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
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.
Whether Jerry Brown is now as smitten with "Libertarian" nostrums as Doug Scribner and Mark Hilgenberg's letter suggests is of no concern to me (Letters, Oct. 2). But, if true, it's no surprise, either. I would advise remembering your Dylan: "Watch out for leaders." I was nearly charmed to hear that "Libertarian" Party-ers Scribner and Hilgenberg are not "uncaring, extremist, ultraconservative types" and that they believe "healing our world depends on caring, compassionate individuals working at the local level." I feel a chorus of "Kumbaya" coming on.
Nevertheless, I'm still cranky. "Libertarians," write Scribner and Hilgenberg, "don't believe in using force when cooperation, persuasion and incentives work much better." So what? Any tyrant could say the same thing. Tyrants refrain from cracking skulls unless, um, they have to. The carrot is just the stick by other means. The state mostly serves to conform society to capitalist needs. Adam Smith said that the purpose of the state is to "protect the rich from the poor." Still, government-free folk, say Scribner and Hilgenberg, will find "real solutions to real problems," such as teaching inmates "marketable skills." But that's exactly what the government wants. Forgive me if I'm less than excited by the "Libertarian" vision of a society freely submitting to the market relations the government now backs up.
However, in spite of Scribner's and Hilgenberg's liberal-stroking contention that the government is inevitably a preserve of corporate interests (my, my, how vulgar their Marxism!), the government is to some degree (and can be to a further extent) a buffer between capitalism and population. The extent to which the government is such a buffer is exactly the extent to which so many Washington and freelance "Libertarians" want to shrink it (partially accomplished). Worse than big government is government too small to help minorities, the working class and the unemployed but just big enough to enforce market relations. And stateless capitalism would be even worse, being the surest and quickest Road to Serfdom imaginable-no matter what "Libertarian" hero Friedrick Von Hayek says.
Until "Libertarians" are willing and able to recognize and denounce (at least) the coercive nature of the market ("a spook to which cowardly capitalists attribute responsibility for their actions," said L.A. Rollins) and the internal totalitarianism of the corporation, their libertarianism will remain the fraud that it is.
I think I'm losing the ability to see Rebecca Schoenkopf's sarcasm. Jack Kemp "truly is a Republican who cares about the poor" (Commie Girl, Oct. 2)? Rebecca, what are you up to? Forget about what the guy says; look at his actions. He's a rank capitalist, and capitalism, as you know, insists on rabid inequality and poverty for its very existence.
Sure, he's caring. If you're hungry, he'll give you a napkin. If you're homeless, he'll give you a cardboard box (just don't sleep in it near his property or anywhere anyone can see you; it might impact property values, don'tcha know).
"Trickle down" doesn't work on nachos, and it doesn't work on the street. And as long as that Clinton/Kemp "business-rules" elite has us believing their fairytales-and as long as our supposed "unions" act more like country clubs than vanguards of opposition-then poverty and the poor will always be. The only way we can resolve the contradictions and cruelties of present-day life is if democratic socialism eradicates poverty by forging workers' control of the means of production and exchange.
Okay, Rebecca, put the glass down. Halftime is over. Let's get back to the struggle!
-John R. Harris
Rebecca Schoenkopf responds: John, you know what? The whole column blew, and thanks for giving me the chance to say I'm sorry. But of all the Republicans out there, I do believe that Kemp (insane though he is) doesn't hate poor people or people of color. Here's why: when he was head of Housing and Urban Development, he directed that housing applicants could not be asked about their citizenship or immigration status. He believed everyone needed a home, "illegal" or not. Anyway, thanks for the ass kicking. I needed it.
STOP PAYING PIGNATARO
You really should read the baloney written by Tony Pignataro to see how demented he has become about El Toro (El Toro Airport Watch No. 81, Oct. 2). He says the proposed El Toro International Airport and John Wayne Airport (JWA) are too close, and all the experts say they can't operate together.
Of course, El Toro and JWA have been operating together for several decades. There are many airports that are close to one another and yet manage to operate together. The most famous pair is La Guardia and Kennedy; they're closer to each other than JWA and El Toro. The list of close airports is very long, and the FAA tells me proximity is no problem.
Methinks Pignataro sits up nights figuring out ways to badmouth El Toro, but, dear editor, do you have to pay him a salary?
Anthony Pignataro responds: A salary? You mean I could be getting paid for this? I was just doing it for sport.
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THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY
R. Scott Moxley's suggestion that Bob "Bow Wow" Dornan has a chance to win a narrow victory in a low-turnout election should be taken seriously, given Moxley's proven expertise regarding the Dornan saga ("Sanchez vs. Dornan, the Rematch," Oct. 9). Moxley lists two intangible factors that may impact the November results, but a third one also may come into play: the strong negative reaction that Dornan arouses (unlike, for example, a Lisa Hughes), a reaction compounded by his bullying posturing since his defeat in 1996. Isn't it a reasonable possibility that many otherwise low-propensity voters will be motivated to come out even in a non-presidential year in order to put an end-finally-to Dornan's career?
Perhaps Moxley's vision of a possible Dornan win will rattle some cages and dispel any complacency that may exist-much like "the ghost of Christmas future" in A Christmas Carol-and spur anti-Dornanites to even greater vigilance and efforts.
-Donald B. Delano