The Public Voice
Letters To The Editor 8.09.12
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Life on Wheels
Honoring Chris Essert with Walter Ryce’s article was very kind and thoughtful (“Car-less Chris Essert is a diligent patron of all things cultural [and cheap] in Monterey County,” July 26-Aug. 1). I have crossed paths with Chris many times over the years, and though I wish I could say I was on a bike, I have at least witnessed that he truly lives a dedicated life. From Carmel to Salinas, each time I find Chris at a lecture, event or opening, I figure I must be in the right place. - Peter Hiller | Carmel
I would like to commend you on the article “The 40-Year Lunch” (Aug. 2-8), but of course I was one of the artists so…
But really, to have intern Amanda Zeligs come and make sense of what we told her is an amazing feat for her, and for you for publishing it. It gives me great pleasure to read about what appears to be a dying important part of our culture or an important part of all culture which tends to get run over by the “anything as long as there is big profit.” For most of the people that I know who make art work, it certainly is a “nonprofit sort of life, but a rewarding one.” A job well done, for culture and newspapers, thanks! - Steve Brown | Del Rey Oaks
Food for Thought
Thank you for bringing this to light (“Seafood fraud disguises farmed salmon as wild, tilapia as snapper and sole as sand dabs. What’s on your plate – and how did it get there?” Aug. 2-8). I’ve been a fisherman my whole life and spent a few years in my twenties working for a seafood wholesaler and fish market down in Morro Bay, and I know at that time nearly 20 years ago, mislabeling was even more rampant. For a time I managed a fish market. It was common place to sell locally caught rock cod as snapper; in the display case “rock cod” would be displayed flesh side up and “snapper” would be displayed with the shiny silver and red skin side up. It is common practice and I still see it being done at local grocery stores and fish markets here and elsewhere. I laugh everytime I hear someone order a pound of snapper and a pound of rock cod when I’m in the fish market and then freak out when the guy takes two pounds of fish from the same tray. I’ve actually had people argue with me that they are not the same fish, even when I am holding a right and left side fillet from the same fish. Again great story, would love to see more testing at our local restaurants, especially those on Cannery Row and the Wharf! - Bryan Flores | via Web
After reading your article about seafood labeling and local merchants, I feel compelled to respond. While exposing the very real challenges of accurate seafood labeling, the reporter failed to follow the advice of the professionals she consulted with. Based on their employer’s guidelines, “Oceana won’t publish the names of the markets and restaurants it samples because they may not be at fault. The mislabeling can happen anywhere from sea to plate… seafood can change ownership 30 times without even moving.” It seems irresponsible and downright un-neighborly to besmirch the names of local businesses based on such inconclusive “evidence.” It’s especially disappointing considering that you could have produced an investigative and revealing article without calling into question the integrity of the businesses you did.
Rio Grill buys only Loch Duart salmon from Robbie’s Ocean Fresh Seafood at (831) 212-0231. I suggest you call them for a more comprehensive perspective. Here’s the lowdown: “Almost all Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) on the U.S. market is farm-raised. However, not all Atlantic salmon is raised the same way or to the same standards. Loch Duart Salmon is raised in an environmentally conscious way, with ISO 14001 environmental certification and Freedom Food Certification, which certifies that the animals are provided a stress-free environment that meets physical and behavior needs. Loch Duart worked with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) to create stewardship protocols. Loch Duart Salmon is also endorsed by Greenpeace U.K.”
The Weekly is usually the first to report on controversial and important issues, and seafood labeling fraud is certainly one of those. Being a leading source of local and regional news brings with it the responsibility to apply rigorous standards of fairness, objectivity and accountability to your investigation and reporting. I feel that this article missed that mark. - Tony Tollner | via Web
(Editor’s Notes: Mr. Tollner is a managing partner at Rio Grill. A chart in last week’s cover story shows a menu item at Rio Grill sampled by a Weekly reporter was Loch Duart salmon. The DNA testing done by Oceana’s lab revealed it to be farm-raised Atlantic salmon, which is what Loch Duart salmon is.)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Hollister Field Office has extended the comment period for an environmental assessment for a proposed oil and gas lease auction scheduled for Dec. 12, 2012 (“BLM plans more South County oil and gas leases,” posted July 27). The public review and comment period has been extended to Aug.21, 2012.
The EA was prepared to analyze the environmental impacts of leasing the mineral estate for oil and gas exploration and development. The lands considered for lease auction are located in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties.
After the public comment period closes, the BLM’s Hollister Field Office may revise the EA based on substantive issues and concerns identified in public comments. If the proposed lease sale moves forward, the BLM’s California State Office will post a notice 90 days prior to the lease auction. A 30-day public protest period will begin the day the lease auction notice is posted.
Under an oil and gas leasing policy announced in 2010, interdisciplinary parcel review teams have been established in field offices to review lease sale parcels and ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other legal and policy requirements.
The effects of oil and gas exploration and development are analyzed generally in BLM’s EAs for proposed lease sales and then more specifically at the lease development (application to drill) stage. Using site-specific information provided in APD’s, the Hollister Field Office’s review team can identify best management practices including endangered species stipulations, no surface occupancy requirements, offsite mitigation and air quality mitigation measures.
The EA is available online at www.blm.gov/ca/hollister. - Sky Murphy | Hollister
(Editor’s Note: Sky Murphy is the planning and environmental coordinator in the BLM’s Hollister field office.)