Solutions for California's power woes

Regarding your Jan. 19 article "How California lost its power": No mention was made of alternate sources of power.

If each commercial building was equipped with solar cells or fuel cells, businesses would be able to stay open during a blackout. Also, if every building in California, both commercial and residential, were equipped with solar voltaic cells or fuel cells, any excess power not used by the building occupants could be sent to the power grid to enhance the megawatts available for transmission.

Both businesses and residents could cut their electricity bills significantly.

Given the dire situation, I think government could play a role in getting business and residents off the power grid.

As the price of energy generated by traditional means continues to rise, the cost of generation by alternate means will become more affordable.

Ellen Skinner Forest Ranch, Calif.

For over 25 years in California, officially sanctioned interveners and militants have fought, successfully, to shut down existing nuclear power plants, deny operating permits to new facilities, and thwart new plant construction plans by a not-in-my-backyard attitude. Hydroelectric dams have been eliminated in favor of fish runs and restoring "natural" flow conditions.

Glassy-eyed dreamers have given us visions of rows of windmills providing our power needs at little or no cost. A reliance on water, fuels, and now electric power, all sourced from out-of-state, has been forged.

Regulations have been constructed to limit charges to consumers, enable inappropriate competition, and force artificial market conditions.

Then there is dismay on the part of the governor and shouts of protest from the militants when unlimited power is not available, with finger-pointing at "evil and greedy" big business.

Legislators cannot endlessly diddle with economic and political realities and not expect to incur unintended consequences. The lesson is clear; eventually the economic camel's back is broken by regulations trying to get free rides.

Rudolf Boentgen North Reading, Mass.

Big government is not the enemy

I applaud Jerry Landay's Jan. 10 opinion piece, "The last-minute liberal."

Americans believe too strongly that the federal government is oppressive and corporate America a champion of freedom. The misconception applies particularly when it comes to corporate "freedom" for profit at any cost to human and environmental well-being.

In a recent interview, David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said that his investigation of Big Tobacco revealed intensive focus-group work by the industry to determine how to swing pubic opinion of an industry on the legal ropes.

The idea of "big government regulation as the enemy" consistently emerged. It has become the battle cry of corporate zealotry.

Matt Orr San Francisco

Madeleine Albright's formidable record

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright established a formidable record in her years of service to our country.

Her unflagging energy as she visited different nations of the world, and her wisdom, courage, and grace as she represented our country during some difficult times have earned her an untarnished place in our nation's history.

Ms. Albright once stood before her peers - all men - and sought their nations' support in stopping the trafficking of women across national borders for the purpose of prostitution.

She proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that a woman can serve as successfully as a man in the very demanding role of secretary of State.

Mary Elizabeth Williams Redlands, Calif.

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