Honor Findlay Abbot for seeking the truth
Findlay Abbott died recently. He fought a tireless fight against Exxon and the federal government to show Exxon lied about the true volume of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the government helped cover it up. So, whenever you hear someone say the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons, just know that Findlay did the dogged research needed to show the actual amount was easily over 20 million gallons, and probably closer to 30 million gallons.
Findlay taught us the importance of facts and science for a healthy democracy, which is more important today than ever. For that and many other contributions to our community, we owe Findlay our lasting debt.
A tale of two conventions
The Democratic and Republican Conventions are now behind us.
The Democratic Convention was primarily a virtual event in order to address and model behavior during a pandemic caused by a yet not fully understood and ever changing highly contagious virus, which to date has killed over 180,000 people in the U.S. Masking, distancing and not having crowds were in place following recommendations of the medical community and what science knows currently of the virus COVID-19.
The Republican Convention was held in multiple locations — South Carolina, Fort McHenry and the White House. The National Mall was utilized for a huge fireworks display spelling out in bright colors “TRUMP 2020.” Attendees sat close together, most without masks.
I mention this only because much of what occurred in the Republican Convention was illegal. Federal facilities such as the White House and National Monuments are not to be used for partisan politics. Employees (except the president and vice president) are under the Hatch Act which restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government, whose salaries are paid for partially or entirely with federal money.
Republicans proclaimed they were the law and order party. Yet they were, in fact, breaking federal laws in the way they were conducting the convention.
Vice President Pence gave a convincing but misleading speech. For example, he recognized an officer killed in California noting it was during the riots in Oakland. What he didn’t mention was that the officer was murdered by a far right white supremacist who was not part of the rioting taking place at the time.
Each vote is important. Don’t think that your vote doesn’t count. Our democracy is dependent on our informed participation.
We are in this together. Vote.
Pebble Mine not worth the risk to wild salmon fishery
The essay by Cindy Myers (Aug. 27, 2020) hit on a number of good points regarding Pebble Mine. However, I agree with Donald Trump Jr. regarding Pebble Mine’s impact. If the Pebble mine goes forward the mine will significantly impact a “fragile” ecosystem, and kill fish.
It is proven that mines such as is proposed at Pebble create acid discharge, and copper is toxic to fish (e.g. Butte, Montana). It is true that Pebble could provide year-round jobs as opposed to seasonal fishing jobs, and there is a worldwide demand for copper and molybdenum. What is missing is that the proposed mine would not provide large numbers of jobs, and the overall income is not comparable to oil and gas income.
Yes, jobs are jobs, but the facts are maybe 2,500 jobs, and unlike oil and gas there aren’t many spin-off industries. Do we need Pebble’s copper, molybdenum and gold? No, the reserves worldwide are currently large, and there is potential for more reserves in less ecologically sensitive areas. The big question here is the trade off of resources: is developing the mine worth possibly destroying the Bristol Bay fisheries?
Given that the Bristol Bay fishery is one of the world’s rare and last large wild salmon fisheries, I would argue it is not worth developing Pebble Mine. Mining could change the area forever. It isn’t just Pebble, as many other mines will sprout up in the area once Pebble gets developed. Once that path is followed it is hard to reverse course.
It’s not about the masks
With apologies to Shakespeare, “To mask or not to mask, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to wear a mask against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.”
Let’s cut to the chase here. It’s not about the masks. Not wearing them and denigrating those that do is just another ploy to usurp political power, to intimidate people and rational discourse, and to express enmity to gain control. It is dog-whistle politics using an object, symbol, or person to cause controversy.
“You can’t live together, you can’t live alone … It don’t make much sense/That common sense/Don’t make no sense/No more.” — John Prine, dead from COVID-19 complications, RIP. Maybe it never did, John.
Wear the masks. Keep the distance.
With respect for masks
In my life, one of my guiding principles is to have and show respect for anyone and everyone that I encounter. Respect for their safety and well being. Respect for their dignity, health and safety.
My point here is to say that I do not wear a mask during this pandemic for my health. I wear a mask out of respect for other people’s health.
I have to believer that everyone in our community has at least one person they love or respect.
I think Forrest Gump said it best when he said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Schroer Fund help appreciated
West Homer Elementary would like to thank the Dave and Betty Schroer Fund through the Homer Foundation for their generous grant allowing the purchase of a large digital display for our library. Students for many years to come will benefit from this tool allowing teachers and guest presenters to share content in a clear, vivid way.
Your support continues to help our school better meet the needs of students in an ever changing educational landscape.
Eric Waltenbaugh, Principal, West Homer Elementary