Letters to the Editor

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What do you do with the waste?

Remember that incessant harangue from the nattering nabobs of nuclear negativism? The truth is, spent fuel from nuclear plants is useful stuff — 95% can be reprocessed as fuel. If the nuclear industry or the Department of Energy had put a modicum of effort into educating the American people, we wouldn’t have such national hysteria about what is in fact a hazard that can be safely handled as is done with many other hazards in modern industry.

But when it comes to solar panels and windmills, it’s a different story. There, the sheer volume of junk becomes a monumental feat to deal with, as even Michael Moore has made vividly clear in his recent, depressing, documentary. Alameda Municipal Power’s plan to build an 11-acre solar farm here in Alameda doesn’t seem too smart or environmentally friendly, especially considering that it may well be cleaned out in 25 years.

Fortunately, there is a way to get rid of the waste on the horizon — fusion power! Advances in fusion research in the past few years along several different tracks make the prospect of viable commercial fusion, even in 10 to 15 years, very real. With fusion plasmas of millions of degrees, all kinds of waste could be recycled — turned into plasma and separated by atomic weight in a magnetic field. Landfills will become valuable resources and even junk windmills and solar panels will be put to good use!

For a greener America, let’s get a crash program for fusion power!

Hunter Cobb

As a Sherman Street resident who regularly bicycles, walks and drives through the intersection of Sherman Street, Central and Encinal avenues, I more than support the Alameda Transportation Commission’s (ATC) plan to replace the lights with a traffic circle (“New Central Avenue Plan Goes in Circles,” Nov. 26). I’ve wanted this for years. Kudos to them for moving forward.

But the dead-end/right-turn-only plan is a non-starter. It will divert northbound Sherman traffic to cross Central at Bay Street or, worse, both Encinal and Central at Morton Street.

The point of traffic circles is to smooth and thus calm the flow of traffic. Diverting traffic has the opposite effects, as drivers desperately maneuver to make up for perceived lost time.

I’m sure there is some limitation that causes the ATC to consider this approach. They need to work on that limitation.

— Christopher & Trudi Seiwald

I appreciate your ongoing series of articles and sometimes photos about the early days of Alameda. I live near Lincoln Park, and feel a small connection with the story of Ishi.

As the last of his tribe in Northern California, Ishi took the bold step of allowing a White man to approach him and then to teach that man — Alfred Kroeber, whose name is on the UC Berkeley building that houses the anthropology department — about the cultural and linguistic remains and legacy of his tribe, who had all died except for him.

I recall that a few years ago, when Alameda Magazine named the 100 most influential people of the Bay Area, the first person on the list is Ishi. I was pleased to see that.

Whenever I stroll over to Lincoln Park, I pause to walk through the “official” gate on High street, and to reflect on the plaque that was placed just a few steps inside that lovely entrance to the park.

When I learned from Professor Douglas Sackman at University of Puget Sound (he wrote a book about Ishi and Kroeber) that Ishi was one of the few people — and almost certainly the only Native American — present in commemorating a shell mound formerly centered on what is now Santa Clara Avenue and Mound Street. Sackman’s book includes a photo of Ishi standing within a small group of presumably Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) members.

There might be a whole other story about who or why it was the DAR taking the lead on acknowledging the native people who lived in what is now Alameda’s East End. But I’ll leave that question to another person with DAR connections or interest).

I do respect and enjoy your efforts to keep the Alameda Sun “in business” and also “in community.”

— Kathryn Sáenz Duke