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Sea Walls

May 14, 2000

* Re "Imperfect Armor on the Coast," May 9:

So a tiny number of beach-cliff homeowners are extracting millions from the public coffers and untold billions from the value of the state's natural endowments, the better to protect their "property rights." They should surely understand that ownership of anything involves risks, most especially the ownership of a house built on the top of an eroding beach cliff. And that private property should involve private risks.

Of course, the great genius of the American system is that whereas the Europeans devised to make socialism work for the many, we only seek to make it work for the rich. It was sad to see even our Democratic Gov. Gray Davis apparently colluding in this.

KENT SOUTHARD

Dana Point

* In Oregon, we think if people are stupid enough to build a house somewhere that it has a very good chance of sliding into the ocean, they deserve the half-house they will eventually end up with. If there are any doubts of this, look further into what happened in Oceanside. Some things are simply more important than one person's house.

Note also that most of the homes were owned by people from somewhere besides Oregon. How much longer are we going to expect our governments to protect us from our own stupidity?

APRIL SPRINGER

North Bend, Ore.

* We are not able to reliably predict long-term weather patterns, yet most conservative estimates put the rise in sea level over the next 100 years at a minimum of three feet. To pretend that a sea wall can succeed in protecting real estate and infrastructure along the shore from long-term wave impacts is absolute folly. The number of grains of sand on the beach tells us how many times the walls will lose and the waves will win. The coastal erosion implications that will result around the globe from global warming will have profound effects on all of us.

DANIEL WALDMAN, Publisher

Erosion Control Magazine

Santa Barbara

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