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Letters to the editor

Financial disclosure rules for L.A. gang cops; solar farms in the Mojave Desert; the fight against billboards

January 02, 2010

Something to hide?

Re “Policy thins the ranks in L.A. gang units,” Dec. 28

What are these officers afraid of?

In most government service, strict rules govern income from other jobs and basic financial disclosure.

Avoiding duty just to get around such disclosure seems akin to refusing drug and alcohol tests. It should be setting off alarms all over the Los Angeles Police Department.

Have we learned nothing since Rampart?

Ron Hardcastle

Los Angeles

The right way to site solar

Re “A Mojave power failure,” Editorial, Dec. 26

I was disappointed to read your editorial lauding Big Solar as the solution to the planet's problems and conservation as the enemy. Where was mention of the smart, proven, win/win proposition of siting solar panels within the existing built environment?

The Times embarrasses itself and does a grave disservice to its readers and our public wilderness by cheerleading wholesale ecosystem slaughter over democratic, sustainable, clean-energy solutions such as rooftop solar and efficiency upgrades.

Point-of-use solutions within the built environment are the answer.

Please start reporting on how these work and stop being the mouthpiece for Big Energy and big banks, which are the entire reason we are in these twin economic and ecological crises to begin with.

Sheila Bowers

Santa Monica

The writer is an attorney and environmental activist.

::

The reason many environmentalists object to some of the plans for solar power development is that facilities are planned for undisturbed land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

We don't need to impact undisturbed public land in order to develop solar power generating facilities. There is plenty of private desert land near existing transmission lines. This is particularly true in the vicinity of existing cities along transportation routes such as Interstate 15, Interstate 10, U.S. 395 and California 14.

Apparently, the reason green energy developers prefer public land is that they don't want to purchase the property first. Why suffer that expense if they can build on public land practically for free?

Allan Schoenherr

Laguna Beach

The writer is an ecology professor emeritus at Fullerton College.

::

Your editorial missed the mark in claiming that the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 is short on support for the development of renewable energy in California's deserts.

I tailored this bill so that the proposed monument impacts as few solar projects as possible while protecting the ecology of the desert. It is my understanding that the Bureau of Land Management is setting aside 330,000 acres for solar energy study areas where large energy projects could be built. This is more than twice the land needed to meet the state's goal of getting 33% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. This bill is not a roadblock to solar and wind development.

Your editorial went on to suggest that the bill would be better if it established special renewable energy zones. The original version of the bill sought to establish such zones, but that provision was deemed unnecessary by solar industry representatives and environmentalists. Instead, I worked with all parties to include other provisions to promote renewable energy: to establish BLM offices for permitting renewable energy projects; to reduce the delay time for permits to develop on private and public lands; and to allow for new power transmission lines to be built along existing corridors.

I have also introduced a bill with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to expand a Treasury Department grant program that provides affordable financing for capital-intensive renewable energy projects.

It is my hope that some of these projects will be built in suitable areas of the California desert.

I believe that conservation and renewable energy development are complementary goals, and the Desert Protection Act of 2010 strikes a sensible balance between both.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

(D-Calif.)

'Blade Runner,' then and now

Re “Homeowners fight the glare of digital billboards,” Dec. 27

Marin County, where I live, had the courage and foresight to ban all billboards. It has enhanced the quality of our lives and secured our property values.

Like Los Angeles, Marin County is a scenic wonder that should not be lost to commercial interests. As an ex-Angeleno, I am aware of the kind of pressure those interests have over the area.

Those digital billboards remind me of the film "Blade Runner," in which advertising blared from almost everything.

Can we afford that kind of future in one of the most beautiful places on Earth?

John Thomas Ellis

Kentfield, Calif.

Trouble with detainees

Re “Guantanamo at crossroads,” Editorial, Dec. 27

The Times asks "if six [detainees from Yemen] can go home, why not the rest?"

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