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Letters to the Editor: April 18, 2018 

'The amount of beef I ate in my youth would send a modern vegan into cardiac arrest'


Napa's Last Hope

If the wine industry had stuck with agriculture instead of greedily cultivating tourism as well, it might not have to deal with a locals uprising in Napa. The Oak Woodlands Initiative (Measure C) is people-driven, born out of frustration with county supervisors who keep approving more visitors, events and wine production despite locals' objections about traffic and tourism in their supposedly semi-rural county.

The main opposition to the initiative is from the industry and county officials. No surprise. Aggressive tourism enriches the industry and government coffers. It also crowds the valley, consumes the water and degrades the semi-rural quality of Napa. Faced with a populist uprising, the opposition is fairly frantic. The argument they wrote for the ballot pamphlet was so filled with material misstatements that the court ruled they had to rewrite it and pay $54,000 in court costs as well.

The alcohol industry complains about Napa's strict regulations. It doesn't mention that enforcement of regulations is a fiction. It relies on—seriously—self-reporting. A few years ago the county did a spot check of 20 wineries: 40 percent were not in compliance with their permits.

Please vote yes. The Oak Woodlands Initiative is Napa's last hope.


Eat It All!

Lest omnivores become an endangered species, someone needs to raise a voice in their favor. I have appointed myself to fulfill this task (with all due modesty and abject, if insincere, humility).

Anyone who has ever trekked through a forest has come upon animals eating animals. Anyone who has ever grown a garden has found one plant trying to destroy its neighbor. Even a potted plant on a window sill tries to block the sun, sometimes from a cutting of its own tissue. I have to conclude that consciousness pervades all living things, and that all living things kill other living things to survive.

I feel bad for the pig that is butchered for my pork chop, but I love pork and eat it to survive. I feel bad for the carrot that is ripped alive from the ground, cruelly diced up and thrown into boiling water, but I eat it to survive. It's fine to decide to live solely on meat or solely on vegetables. Humans are omnivores, so we can adapt to almost any kind of diet we choose.

I was born at the beginning of the Great Depression. Our diet was very limited, of necessity, to meat and potatoes. But it was all fresh food, usually straight from the farms. Now I have more choices, so I balance fresh vegetables with locally raised pigs and chickens, plus a starch. Still the amount of beef I ate in my youth would send a modern vegan into cardiac arrest just to think about it.

This ode to the omnivore is not to start an argument. I respect the choices others make. I'm simply trying to right the balance, lest we omnivores be disdained and demonized. I would, however, be happy to share experiences with any vegetarian who has lived as near to 90 as I have lived and who has my mental clarity and vigor. If you need another 30 or 40 years to get there, I'll wait to compare notes with you then. Stay healthy!

Santa Rosa

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