Getting real for Christmas

Come on, Solvang, you can do better than that spindly little pole with strings of lights in the park? For heaven’s sake, you can do better than Santa Ynez’s very tall real tree.

Maybe it’s the classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. However, just a few feet away to the south from the present, symbolic tree, and practically next to the pavilion, stands a magnificently tall and real, live Christmas tree.

It’s not too late to decorate that magnificent tree like Solvang deserves.

Lloyd Sorensen


Swamp just gets murkier

After the last national election, we were promised the “swamp” would be drained in Washington, and the undue influence of special interests would be history. Since January that swamp has grown into a huge cesspool. 

Many voters assured themselves, with naiveté and skewed logic, that anyone of extreme wealth cannot be bought, and therefore has integrity beyond reproach.

We have a government packed with individuals of such wealth, catering to this elite, and it is mean-spirited, insular and corrupt. It represents the buyers The concept of the public good or the general welfare is irrelevant and meaningless to these individuals.

The tax bill before Congress is the product of a wealthy elite, a minority who feel that, like the late billionaire Leona Helmsley gloated, “only the ‘little people’ pay taxes.”

Of course, the majority of Americans who do not have extreme wealth, are these little people, and we are the ones who will lose, and will pay if this bill is passed.

Donald Archer


Going solar, losing power

Regarding the editorial, ”Letting the Sun produce,” solar energy is not capable of solving the energy problem because it is not available to meet power demand 24/7.

To replace base power production with solar will require massive storage capacity, which is several years and many billions of dollars away. The Germans are learning this sad fact the hard way — 21 percent of German power production capacity is solar, yet solar only contributes to 6 percent of German power production.

What our schools should be really worried about is the pending closure of Diablo Canyon, which contributes over $30 million annually in local tax revenue, a lot of which goes to schools. Over a 20-year extension of Diablo Canyon’s operation this would amount to over $600 million. The proposed settlements would only address a fraction of this, leaving a loss of over a half-billion dollars in tax revenue over the period.

Our schools will suffer greatly if Diablo Canyon is closed. So, schools should refrain from investing in solar energy. They will need the money for more important things like books, paper, pencils, desks and teacher’s salaries.

Mark Henry

San Luis Obispo

Solar alone insufficient

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The editorial, ”Letting the Sun produce,” suggests the Sun can solve our energy problems when fossil fuel runs out.

The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows solar energy, after 35 years of billions in taxpayer subsidy, is a dud.

We'll never replace dirty, Earth-killing, unhealthy fossil fuel with this technology. Fossil fuel industry-friendly media push solar nevertheless, knowing it can never make a difference to sales of CO2 producing natural gas, coal, oil or other fossil fuels. 

Remember, solar has only a 20-percent capacity factor. That means it actually produces 20 percent of its theoretical maximum electrical output. It only works when panels have sun 4-5 hours out of 24 hours. Cloudy days reduce this maximum output further.

Global warming with hotter days each year is the real monster we ought to follow. After all, we're realizing capitalism itself is under threat from the hotter and hotter Earth, caused primarily by burning of fossil fuel.

Capitalism, corporations and even small business are already suffering losses. 

Solar energy is a novel thing. Home panels are fine. But we have a huge climate crisis to address and a $18.6-trillion economy demanding energy to operate.

All this calls for our urgent, serious attention to save polar bears, Pacific islanders, our children and grandchildren's future and capitalism itself.    

William Gloege

Santa Maria