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<b>Grocery bags</b>

EDITOR: I bagged groceries for a large supermarket. Plastic carry-out bags were easily the most-efficient vehicle for meeting customers' needs. Placed on a rack, plastic bags are much easier to pack than "reusables" (or even paper bags).

Usually reusables don't stand on their own (if at all), obliging the bagger to use one hand to hold them open while packing with the other. Using reusables takes substantially longer to complete the bagging process; it's nowhere near as efficient and orderly as using plastic.

Reusables get dirty and aren't washable. Health-sanitation issues have multiplied with their increased use.

If the well-heeled environuts who push the schlep-your-own concept were serious, they'd spend some of the vast sums they and their lawyers get from lawsuits they're constantly pursuing to sponsor development of processes for converting plastic bags back to the petroleum from which they were made.

But they're less concerned with the environment than they are with their hatred not only for oil companies but also for petroleum itself — in the present era, civilization's lifeblood.

The packed-on-a-rack, plastic carryout bag revolutionized the grocery industry. Prepare now for longer, slower checkout lines.

MICHAEL BLACK

Santa Rosa

<b>Renewable energy</b>

EDITOR: I have tried following the new power agency proposal and end up feeling suspicious of the motives. To my way of thinking, PG&E has not been the big bad wolf in supplying energy. Many of its sources are renewable. It has provided reduced rates for customers who conserve energy and rebates on products that are more energy efficient. The only fly in the ointment is its SmartMeter program.

I would consider supporting the new agency if renewable sources were a high priority; the benefits of reduced rates were distributed to the customers, not some unknown investment stream; no high-paid consultants were hired to oversee the program; and the lifestyle of the people setting up the program reflected a goal of a lower carbon imprint.

ROB PARKS

Sebastopol

<b>A bad apple</b>

EDITOR: I'm eating Gravenstein apples as I write. I ate them while picketing the Paul Hobbs Winery on day and when addressing the Board of Supervisors about Hobbs' toxic practices Tuesday. Each of my 20 years here I've eaten Gravs.

How long will we have Gravs here? The 2011 crop report listed 600 Grav acres left; it's probably less than 400 acres now vs. 5,500 acres in 1957. Among the fallen Gravs were those on the 48-acre orchard around Apple Blossom School that Hobbs clear-cut.

Hobbs is a bad apple and a bad neighbor. Last week, the CBS evening news showed the orchard he cut and interviewed one of the mothers complaining about his practices.

After Hobbs illegally cut the creek-side vegetation, we got a stop-work order that shut him down for a month. Hobbs is a repeat offender who does not follow the rules. Neighbors have written to the district attorney suggesting she shut it down permanently.

Among the especially bad killers Hobbs uses are the fungicide Mettle, the herbicide Trigger and Monsanto's notorious RoundUp. They cause cancer and other diseases, groundwater contamination, developmental/reproductive damage, endocrine disruption and other problems.

Fortunately, there are sustainable grape growers here. I praise organic wineries, such as Porter Creek, Benzinger, Cline, Quivira and Topolos.

SHEPHERD BLISS

Sebastopol

<b>Fire BART workers</b>

EDITOR: I have a solution. If BART workers do strike, warn them that they have

72 hours to go back to work, and if they refuse, then fire all of them and start hiring new personnel and training them with experienced managers. No more union salaries but a fair salary. Have the new employees pay part of their medical and retirement.

President Ronald Reagan did it with the air traffic controllers, and most of them went back to work. I've had enough of these unions trying to make more money than the rest of us. A booth worker earning $70,000-plus? I never in my working career earned that much. And as for retirement, I don't get a package like these BART workers get. This is nothing more than greedy unions and employees. If they strike, hire willing workers, because there are a lot of unemployed people out there who would love to work for BART.

FRANCOIS P. JERINS

Windsor