Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reeb (the Dweeb) parrots GOP's Obama smear campaign

Desert Dispatch Letters to the editor - June 18, 2008

June 17, 2008 - 9:56AM

Reeb (the Dweeb) parrots

GOP's Obama smear campaign


Ira Gwin

It’s a temptation to refute Mr. Reeb’s latest sly and cunning smear against Senator Barack Hussein Obama point by point (”Obama a risky and cunning candidate,” June 11). The veiled reference to the Senator’s middle name is particularly despicable, especially from someone who reportedly taught journalism and therefore fully understands the impact of innuendo.

After all the revelation on the road to war, the lies from the Bush administration, the erosion of our liberties, the deaths of over 4,000 American soldiers, the murder of countless Iraqi civilians, and the cost of $12 billion every month that we are borrowing from our children and grandchildren, Mr. Reeb is upset that Senator Obama was against the war, does not support this government’s war policies, and has promised to end it and get our troops out as quickly as possible.

But a direct response to Reeb’s desperate defense of the worst Republican Administration since Reagan will not change his mind, or the minds of readers who still believe that another four years of Bush Lite in the guise of John McCain would be just fine. I believe most people have already decided between the two candidates and from now until the elections we will all be plowing the same ground and slinging the same mud.

There may be a few people out there who haven’t made up their minds, and both parties will do what they can to win them over. To help them decide, here are a few points to consider.

One: If you like our energy policy, or lack thereof, if you like paying $5 plus for gas, if you enjoy seeing your president on his knees begging the Saudi Kings for a little more oil, if you are happy that the oil companies are sucking your paycheck right into their pockets, vote for McCain.

Two: If you don’t think it’s really important how many Americans are still in Iraq, if you think we could and should be there for the next 100 years, if you don’t care if we have a plan for the vets and their continued health care, vote Republican.

Three: If you like giving tax breaks to the top one percent of the population, if you really believe that big corporations are your friends, if you don’t mind that your jobs are going overseas, if you believe that unions are un-American, then vote for John McCain. Four: If you really believe the only way to deal with foreign nations, including dictators, is down the barrel of a gun, then stay the Bush/Cheney course with four more years of McCain.

Or you could stand up, take your country back, and vote for change. You could vote for an administration that would honestly work to wean this economy from a dependency on foreign oil to survive. We could make a commitment to leave Iraq and bring our troops home as soon as possible, we would have to negotiate a pull-out with the neighboring countries so everyone would have a stake in a stable Iraq, and we would abandon our bases and imperial designs on the region. We cannot morally nor economically sustain an empire based on military might and fear. The Romans couldn’t, the British couldn’t, and neither can we.

The Republican slander machine is just getting started and in the coming weeks there will be many more articles like the one from Reeb. Karl Rove no longer openly soils the halls of the White House, but his dirty tricks playbook is still being studied by apologists like Reeb and the McCain Republican machine.

Ira Gwin

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Brad Mitzelfelt is BAD for Barstow !

Stop Brad Mitzelfelt's Environmental Human Sludge Disaster
No More Crap From Brad Mitzelfelt !
A Video by Larry D. Halstead

Letter to the Editor
Desert Dispatch

Outdoor Composting
Human Waste Sludge
Jeffrey Quillinan

I am very concerned about the proposed Hawes Composting Facility, slated to be built by Nursery Products LLC about eight miles west of Hinkley, just outside of Barstow, to process Las Angeles sewage into fertilizer. If such a facility must come this close to our shared community, I would certainly hope it is an enclosed facility and not an open-air facility. We have very high winds in the Hinkely and Barstow area throughout the year. These high winds can carry human feces particles in the dust all the way from this open-air composting facility to Barstow, thus contaminating our air above any reasonably acceptable levels. We Barstonians know this by dusting our homes daily.

I would only approve of this composting facility if it were an enclosed facility. An enclosed facility would be the only proven way to protect our entire town from unacceptable levels of feces contaminated dust in our air and in our homes.
I am very concerned about any level of human waste contamination in our air as well as our water supply. Is this composting facility going to be another problem such as the Soap Mine Road contamination of their drinking water by our sewer plant? If this is so, there should be a lot more studies done to protect the citizens of Barstow before this is built. Let's not forget, Barstow is downstream from Hinkley in our water supply.

Therefore I am asking every concerned citizen reading this to please write to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District at the following address: MDAQMD at 14306 Park Avenue, Victorville, CA 92392. Please address your letter of concern to Alan De Salvio. He is the supervising air quality engineer. Please urge him that if this composting facility is going to come this close to our community, be sure that they make it an enclosed composting facility.
The MDAQMD has extended the deadline for public comment on preliminary draft rules that would govern composting facilities until Aug. 8.

As a town we should all stand together on this highly important issue effecting us all. The more letters that get written, the more they will realize that the majority of us are very concerned about this situation and the health problems it may cause us.
So please write them before it's too late to prevent an open-air composting facility from coming too close to our homes and communities. Thank you.

Jeffrey Quillinan

Barstow railyard emissions seen as increased risk of cancer

Trains sit in the BNSF Barstow Railyard, which experiences
traffic of about 100 to 130 trains a day. The yard emitted
an estimated 27.9 tons of diesel pollutants in 2005.

Barstow railyard emissions seen as increased risk of cancer

Residents near yards in other cities worse off

BARSTOW — Barstow’s railyard emits more diesel pollution than any other yard in the state, meaning that people who live near by are at a heightened risk for cancer, according to a study.

The BNSF Barstow Railyard emitted almost 28 tons of diesel pollutants into the air in 2005, according to a risk assessment completed by the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board. It was the highest level of emissions found in any of the 17 yards that the air board studied. Air board and BNSF representatives presented the results at a meeting at Barstow’s City Hall on Wednesday night.

People living closest to the railyard face a 25 times higher risk of cancer from air contamination than people living a mile and half away, the study stated. However, Barstow residents are not at the highest risk of the cities studied.

The air board found that people living near the BNSF San Bernardino railyard are at the highest risk of cancer relating to diesel pollution even though the yard emits less pollutants than Barstow’s yard. About 3,780 people in San Bernardino have increased risk of 500 chances in a million or more due to the railyard pollution. That level of risk does not exist in Barstow, said the air board’s engineering evaluation section manager Harold Holmes. San Bernardino also has a higher level of underlying air contamination than Barstow.

Holmes said that the high winds in Barstow, which generally blow from southwest to the northeast, carry most of the air contamination from the railyard away from the residential areas of Barstow.

BNSF representatives said the company is taking measures to decrease its railyard emissions, including installing equipment to reduce the amount of engine idling and making a switch to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

Mike Stanfill of BNSF projected that with the current emissions-reduction plans, total emissions in the Barstow yard will be reduced by 28 percent in 2020, assuming a four percent growth rate in the yard’s operations.

BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said that freight trains create less emissions than semi trucks per ton-mile. In the Barstow area, the air board study showed traffic on Interstate 15 and other local roadways emitted about 26 tons of diesel pollutants in 2005. Barstow has one of the busiest railyards in the state, with 100 to 130 trains passing through each day, Holmes said. The locomotive traffic accounts for about 97 percent of the diesel pollution emitted from the yard, with the other 3 percent coming from off-road vehicles, trucks and other equipment.

Andrea Hricko, an associate professor in preventative medicine at the University of Southern California, believes that voluntary measures may not do enough to decrease emissions. Diesel emissions are associated not only with cancer but with asthma and other health issues, she said.

The Environmental Protection Agency lists one in one million as an acceptable level of risk for cancer due to lifetime air pollutant exposure, but cleanup requirements generally only expect contaminants to be brought down to a 10 in one million risk level, according to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Holmes said that pollution from the BNSF Barstow yard could become more of a concern as the population grows, especially if development occurs to the northeast of the railyard.

Marsha Weasma, who lives off Main Street facing B Hill, said she was not surprised to see that her house’s location puts her at a heightened risk of cancer, but the numbers still cause her some concern. Weasma was one of only four citizens who showed up at the air board meeting on Wednesday. She said more of her neighbors would likely have come if the event had been better publicized.

As for the pollution reduction measures outlined, she said, “It sounds good in theory, but it’s like, is it going to be put into practice? ... It’s probably 20 years too late.”

Holmes said the ARB will be accepting public comments on the draft health risk assessment for the next 30 days and will be releasing a final version of the assessment within 45 days. After that, another meeting will be held in Barstow to help the air board develop a plan for mitigating the health risks.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or

Tons of diesel pollutants emitted by selected California railyards in 2005:
• BNSF Barstow: 27.9
• BNSF Hobart: 23.9
• BNSF San Bernardino: 22
• Union Pacific Oakland: 11.2
• Union Pacific Los Angeles: 7.3
• BNSF San Diego: 1.7

Number of people experiencing a heightened cancer risk due to diesel pollution from the BNSF Barstow Railyard:
• Cancer risk heightened by 250 or more chances in a million: 860 people
• Cancer risk heightened by 100 to 250 chances in a million: 3,600 people
• Cancer risk heightened by 50 to 100 chances in a million: 5,000 people
• Cancer risk heightened by 25 to 50 chances in a million: 6,500 people
• Cancer risk heightened by 10 to 25 chances in a million: 6,100 people

Risk of cancer due to air pollution in Barstow, not taking into account the railyard: 120 chances in a million.

Source: Draft Health Risk Assessment for the BNSF Barstow Railyard, California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board.

Smith, angry at campaign tactics, suggests supporting Democrat

Smith, angry at campaign tactics, suggests supporting Democrat

Note-I know Bob personally and have always found him to be a respectful person. More than once I have told him that I appreciate his respectful treatment of me and how I see him as honorable. As the recently elected Chair of the 34th AD Democratic Committee, I am involved with our candidate, Desmond Farrelly. Desmond is an outstanding candidate and we were really looking forward to contesting this seat with Bob because he is someone we felt we could have an honest debate over the issues that are critical to the citizens of Barstow and the entire 34th AD. We need to do a lot more to protect our environment, create jobs through alternative energy, and improve our education, just to name a few.

Now Connie Conway has stooped to a new low in the level of sleaze politics that has hurt Republicans in the past and that has greatly diminished the quality of debate that voters desperately need in order to make an informed decision. It is sad that Connie has now set the tone of her style and what she is capable of doing.

With Bob Smith, I believe that he differs on many of the issues that stand opposite to what I am fighting for. But with Bob, you don't have to question his integrity.Had he become the Republican candidate we would never expect him as our opponent, to be capable of lowering himself or his ethics and engage in lies, deception, or other sleaze politics that we have seen demonstrated by Connie Conway in her campaign.

I called Desmond the morning after the election and found him totally outraged over the actions of Conway. He was still in disbelief at the scummy tactics that Conway would use against another Republicans. Desmond has been involved in supporting law enforcement and knows how devastating these lies can be to a past member of law enforcement like Bob.

Desmond and Bob have campaigned at some of the same events like the Rock The Vote event at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. Desmond, like me, found Bob to be a very like able person and feels like he enjoys a friendly relationship with him even as an opponent.

Desmond and I both support a complaint being filed and would like to see this kind of sleaze politics eliminated from an honest and straight forward debate on the real issues.

Larry D. Halstead
Chair, 34th AD Democratic Committee

Smith, angry at campaign tactics, suggests supporting Democrat

June 4, 2008 - 6:07PM

BARSTOW — Two Barstow area candidates blame low voter turnout, in part, for the disappointing results of Tuesday's election.

Both Bob Smith, a Yermo resident, and Ben Echols, a Barstow attorney who lives in Apple Valley, lost their races Tuesday. Smith, running in the Republican primary for the 34th District Assembly seat, received only 34.2 percent of the vote compared to Tulare County Supervisor Connie Conway's 43.1 percent. Echols, vying for a judge seat on the Superior Court of California, came in second with 24.46 percent of the vote behind Bridgid McCann, with 51.51 percent of the vote.

Turnout was low across Barstow and the county for the election. Only 16.46 percent of San Bernardino County's registered voters cast a ballot in the election. Smith was disappointed that so few of the registered Republicans — only 19.58 percent in San Bernardino County — chose to vote.

"Its unfortunate," Smith said.

Smith was, however, very pleased with his campaign team and their efforts.

"I had a good team; we did everything possible to win the seat," he said.

In November's election Conway will face Democratic candidate Desmond Farrelly for Bill Maze's Assembly seat. Due to term limits Maze cannot run again. Smith said that his first inclination is to back Democratic candidate Desmond Farrelly in the November election, due to a last minute negative campaign ad that he feels Conway made against him.

"I'd rather have a Democrat in office that's honest than a liar," Smith said.

Smith was upset about a mailer that was sent out labeling him as a disgraced deputy. This ad was authorized and paid for by Conway for Assembly.

Conway said that the mailers were sent out in response to negative ads made by Smith's campaign. She would not elaborate on the content of the ads. She was, however, happy with the results of the election.

"I plan on working hard between now and the campaign," Conway said.

Smith said that any negative campaign material used against Conway used direct quotes and cited sources of where the negative information could be found.

Desmond Farrelly said he was disappointed in the result of the election. He had hoped for a Smith victory. He said he was looking forward to working with Smith to make sure that Barstow was well-represented.

Ben Echols was happy with the results of the election, although he believes that if more people in the High Desert would have voted the results of the election may have been different. Echols said that although he lost this election, he may consider running again in the future.

"I love my practice in Barstow, for now I am going to stay here," Echols said.

While he does not know McCann personally Echols said she is well-qualified and thinks she'll do a good job.