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Disagreeing with columnist

I must express my disappointment with Mark James Miller’s recent Looking Forward column, “Clean water, clean energy, clean planet.”

The piece appears to be little more than a wholesale endorsement of the nonprofit Food and Water Watch (FWW). I have followed FWW’s challenges to private water systems for several years, and more recently, their opposition to local energy development projects. Mr. Miller’s piece appears to be little more than a verbatim regurgitation of FWW’s standard dogma, rather than the carefully-researched piece I would expect from someone with his credentials and position.

While he repeats FWW’s oft-stated claim that they accept no corporate or government grants, he apparently never bothered to question the source of nearly $18 million in contributions and grants reported in their 2015 Form 990.

Mr. Miller’s one excursion from standard FWW boilerplate was when he ventured even farther afield to state “cyclic steam injection is otherwise known as fracking,” a misleading and false characterization that could have been easily disproven with just a few minutes of internet research. I doubt that Mr. Miller would find such academic sloppiness acceptable from one of his students.

In the end, I must say I would expect better from an English instructor and president of the Part-Time Faculty Association who accepts our tax dollars and is charged with the education of our local college students.

William Reed

Santa Maria

The wonders of good opera

Not knowing quite what to expect, I attended the January Noontime Opera program at the Wildling Museum.

What I found were three delightful, accomplished singer/actors with an accompanist. It was amazing to experience opera up close so one could fully experience both the performers' exciting music and their emotions.

The introductions for each number helped you understand the opera, its setting and the character or characters being portrayed.

I invite you to try something new, revisit opera in a different, more-intimate setting on Wednesday, March 14, at noon at the Wildling Museum.

Thank you to Santa Barbara Opera and the Wildling Museum for bringing us this wonderful opportunity.

Nancy Emerson


Settle arguments maturely, avoid vulnerability

It is ever more important that today’s American remembers that our country was made great primarily through our system of governmental checks and balances and that our custom of across-the-isle differences and arguments have been settled largely in a mature manner.

We need also be aware that the non-democratic Russian government, and even more so, the Communist Chinese government, have infiltrated our country through stealth and by open-ended measures. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into such vulnerability.

With this in mind, I would suggest that Americans who see themselves in patriot light, but indulge in pre-adolescent forms of name calling in public print and otherwise - like a sort of divide and conquer attempt at those who politically disagree with them - surely create the type of thing which would cause smiles to form on the lips of foreign national heads such as those of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and of Kim Jong-un of North Korea, if they ever hear of what must seem like such cooperative endeavors.

Al Thompson