Public domain should be discussed publicly

Regarding your Oct. 2 article "Critical US energy bill drafted in secrecy": There's no doubt that America's energy policy needed an overhaul. But since when do necessary revisions call for side stepping democracy? Desperate times in conjunction with the fact that last session's energy bill got bogged down in conference do not give Congress - or rather, the two Republican energy chairmen - carte blanche to handle the issue in secret.

When the bulk of their reforms are targeted at public land and public utilities, the irony of the situation is more than a little unsettling.
Jessica Potts

Fringe militia in the making?

Regarding your Oct. 2 article "Pistol-packin' citizens patrol Western parks": I've done volunteer rural biking trail patrols, ski patrols, and water patrols for parks and agencies. I've been punched and spat upon and cursed at many times in these roles. I also camp and hike in very remote areas. I understand a bit about the unique difficulties of wilderness law enforcement.

So I was primed to respect and even admire the Oregon Rangers Association - until I saw that it prominently features links on its website to major gun manufacturers and the NRA, but not to rescue-gear suppliers. Suddenly, the association seems less about serving others and more about liking to carry guns and wear badges. Indeed, it appears like any other fringe militia in the making.

Ideally, Americans exchange the authority given to police for the fact that officers are accountable to the public and their supervisors. Those who drift around the periphery of weapons, uniforms, and badges without being accountable are a danger to free civil society not to be underestimated.

Lest I be dismissed offhand as antigun, I have hunted and do own firearms. While I might feel a little visceral thrill at carrying a sidearm in my volunteering, the rational adult in me says that is simply not wise nor my place to do so. If the association's goal is really to improve the wilderness experience, they should be digging latrines and carrying medical kits, not deadly weapons.
Jim Justen
St. Paul, Minn.

Sea god makes waves in California

Regarding the Oct 1 article "It's aquatic. It's epic. But is it real art?": The proposed sculpture cum fountain certainly is epic and aquatic - but is it accurate? The Greek god Poseidon (aka, the Roman god Neptune) is credited in all studies on mythology I've ever read for having made horses from the foaming waves of his domain. Would it not be a little more prudent and mythologically accurate to harness a team of equine steeds to Poseidon, rather than killer whales?
Aurora Clark-Grohman
Little River, Calif.

The director of San Diego's Museum of Contemporary Art is myopic. When it comes to public art, such as architecture and large civic sculptures, the judgment of the elite needs to be balanced by public taste. In fact, public taste should be given higher weight. We're not talking about some art exhibit in a museum that people can choose to see or not, but a huge, permanent part of the city. The art elite has shown time and time again that it cannot be trusted as the sole arbiters of public art.

In this case, the art gatekeepers are reacting negatively to figurative art (how trite!), and in particular to a Greek god (how bourgeois!). Yet such art is often more meaningful to most people than the abstract or ironic stuff that makes art critics' hearts go pitter patter.

Let Mr. Davies experiment inside his own museum walls, and long live Poseidon.
Rob Steuteville
Ithaca, N.Y.

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