Get ready for your date with E.T!

The Dec. 1 VC Reporter editorial compared \\\”one\\\’s chance of being irreparably damaged by secondhand smoke\\\”[in the open air] with the \\\”likelihood of being asked out on a date by E.T.\\\” Well, Reporter staff, get ready for your date. Had you done your homework, you would have found out that secondhand tobacco smoke is the number three preventable cause of death in the U.S. and is well on its way to being named by the California Environmental Protection Agency\\\’s Air Resources Board as a Toxic Air Contaminant outdoors.

The ARB\\\’s lengthy review process follows in-the-field scientific measurements that showed secondhand smoke could not reliably be counted on to move away from its point of origin, and its toxic products may indeed remain in the immediate area for 24 to 48 hours or more. Also in the CalEPA report (found at www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/ets/finalreport/finalreport.htm) are the wide range of conditions caused, or most probably caused, by secondhand tobacco smoke (known scientifically as environmental tobacco smoke). Secondhand smoke causes a long list of acute and chronic conditions — not just lung cancer. For example, short-term conditions known to be caused by secondhand smoke are asthma episodes, acute bronchitis, and nasal and eye irritation. And secondhand smoke, being one of the most toxic substances around (containing more than 400 poisons and more than 40 carcinogens), cannot be considered safe in any amount, according the U. S. E PA.

We\\\’re betting the Reporter staff is enjoying their smoke-free offices, visiting smoke-free restaurants and probably (after 1990) attending smoke-free schools. These smoke-free environments were only achieved through the actions of citizen activists demanding that the public places we all frequent be accessible to all. Smokers are most welcome.  They just cannot smoke. Many smokers don\\\’t use tobacco in their homes because they know it endangers their families.

The City of Ventura community park staff estimates it spends about $300,000 to clean up cigarette butts. Signs are much more economical and provide a clear message — No Smoking. Most smokers comply with tobacco laws because they want to quit. An estimated four out of five of them have tried to quit at least once. Fortunately, there\\\’s a lot of help for them. There are excellent quit programs, such the California Smokers\\\’ Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS); the American Lung Association\\\’s on-line program, Freedom From Smoking ( www.ffsonline.org/); and the Ventura County Public Health\\\’s \\\”Call It Quits!\\\” program (805-201-STOP), which even offers free nicotine patches and gum.

Smoke-free public places are a win-win situation for all residents, smoking and nonsmoking alike. So tell E.T. its time to phone home for a smoke-free date!

Dave Rodriguez

American Lung Association of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

Another conservative environmentalist

Many Republican environmentalists joined other environmentalists to help defeat LNG from coming into the Oxnard/Malibu community. Working with the Sierra Club and other individuals who are committed to creating healthy communities and quality living conditions for everyone was/is great — loads of work remains to be accomplished. Protecting our forest from oil drilling and our ocean from greedy oil companies remains a major challenge. The Energy Bill was/is the biggest mistake signed into law by Congress and President Bush. I am proud to say I am a strong Latina Republican Environmentalist.

Lupe Anguiano

Oxnard

Rest in peace, Tookie

Stanley T. Williams passed a few minutes ago, poisoned in the San Quentin death chamber by our own hands. I mourn our complicity in this most premeditated of murders.

Thank you for laying out so clearly and cogently the essential arguments against the death penalty in last week\\\’s editorial \\\”Save everyone!\\\” I agreed with all your statements except the last, which concerned Williams:

\\\”Chances are, he will maintain his innocence until his final breath. Of course, that doesn\\\’t mean he is innocent. In fact, there is more than a good chance he is guilty. But … what if?\\\”

Williams became a truth-speaker when he became a peace-maker. Any attentive person listening to his interviews in recent days would have heard the calm and serenity in his voice that come from speaking the truth. Why would he suddenly revert to his old lying ways after discovering that \\\”the truth will set you free\\\”?

And in claiming that Williams is probably guilty, you are suggesting that he is possibly innocent, thus acknowledging a reasonable doubt about his guilt, which, in law, makes him innocent.

I oppose the death penalty not only because it kills innocent people (which it does — the American Bar Association says that thousands of people, mostly poor, mostly black, are wrongfully convicted in this country every year, some of them being sentenced to death), but also because it turns us all into murderers. Murder requires premeditation and no killing is more premeditated than an execution.

One of your readers, Tim Hansen, claimed in a letter to the editor last week (“More on Tookie”, letters, 12/08/05) that I had failed in a letter the previous week to provide proof that DNA had exonerated Williams. If Mr. Hansen will re-read my letter more carefully, he will see that I make no mention of DNA evidence in Mr. Williams\\\’s case — there was none. I do refer to the lack of physical evidence and the questionable testimony of police informers.

Clive Leeman

Ojai