Serving Plastics for Dinner?

The answer is ‘yes’ more often than you might like.

By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
Special to the Surf City Voice

What do breast milk, food cans, microwave popcorn, and fast-food French fry boxes have in common with meat, fish and dairy products?  They’re all avenues of human ingestion of potentially harmful chemicals associated with everyday plastics.

Although the jury is still out on what levels of exposure are unsafe, it is indisputable that we are all literally consuming chemicals from plastics daily.

Biomonitoring projects – like the 2005 BodyBurden study of cord blood in neonates and the Mind, Disrupted investigation of blood and urine in adults representing the learning & developmental disabilities community just published in February 2010 – consistently find neurotoxic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in common plastics among the substances routinely tainting human tissues.  Although diet is not the only route of exposure, it is considered a major one.

Continue reading Serving Plastics for Dinner?

Debbie Cook: Why a Vegetarian?

By Debbie Cook
Special to the OC Voice

When asked to write about why I am a vegetarian, I was initially reluctant. Years ago, in an OC Register editorial, I was gratuitously referred to as a “strict vegetarian.” Potshots come with the territory of public office but what a person eats seemed to cross the line. But I accepted this assignment, in part, to clear the record.

There are many reasons people choose to be vegetarian. They run the gamut from environmental to social to moral to health to religion. My primary motivation comes from a long held belief that the only solution to our calamitous collision course between growing populations and shrinking resources is for the individual to be the change that is needed.  There is a transition coming and it is better to act forward than re-act in the rear-view mirror.

This past March, the Chief Scientist for the UK warned that, “shortages of food, water and energy will come together in a ‘perfect storm’ by 2030.” Good for the UK to have a Chief Scientist willing to connect the dots between these interrelated issues and warn the public, but 2030?!!

By 2030 it is projected that the world population will be 8.3 billion. By 2030, just to keep oil flowing at current rates of consumption, the world will need to find and exploit another 4-5 “Saudi Arabias.” World oil discoveries peaked in the 1960s; even finding one more “Saudi Arabia” is highly unlikely, some might even say delusional. Those two ideas cannot be held simultaneously—population growth with diminishing energy resources.  Something’s got to give. Continue reading Debbie Cook: Why a Vegetarian?

Guest Column: Buying a Solar Electric System for Your Home

By James E. Strachan
Special to the OC Voice

1. Investigate and if necessary improve the energy efficiency of your home. There are several ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Some improvements cost nothing, some cost less than the energy they save and some are more extensive but always cost effective. Energy efficiency is the least costly method to reduce your electric bill. It is never cost effective to use a solar electric system to generate energy used inefficiently.

Follow common sense to save energy overall and do your research before installing your home solar system.

The no cost method of improving energy efficiency is simply being prudent. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, be conservative when setting the thermostat, and don’t fall asleep with the TV turned on. The list is endless but even modest changes can have an appreciable effect on your usage profile.

Next make sure your major appliances are energy efficient and if possible Energy Star rated. Replacing an old energy hog refrigerator with a modern energy efficient model can result in dramatic energy savings. There are rebates and tax credits available for making various energy efficiency improvements to your home, for more detailed information visit

2. Get Three Bids. You don’t need to get more than three bids. Getting too many bids can lead to confusion and the failure to make a decision. Three bids will be sufficient to know if your pricing is competitive and the recommended system size is consistent. Continue reading Guest Column: Buying a Solar Electric System for Your Home

Joe Shaw Runs for City Huntington Beach City Council

Joe Shaw announced his candidacy for the Huntington Beach City Council on Oct. 24, 2009 at the home of former mayor and city council member Debbie Cook. The OC Voice was there to record the event, joining a house full of supporters, including another former mayor/council member, Connie Boardman, League of Conservation Voters representative, Gus Ayer, HB city planning commissioner Blair Farley, who is also running for city council (with Shaw’s endorsement, and others. Shaw has lived in the city a relatively short time but wasted no time in getting involved in the thick of the city’s most important issues, starting as a founding member of the Downtown Business District and providing the initial idea and inspiration for Surf City Nights, a Tuesday event (4-9 p.m.) that closes off downtown to auto traffic and offers a farmers market and a wide variety of street entertainers, a welcome change for HB residents who have avoided the beer mall atmosphere, complete with bull-riding, barfing drunks, brawling drunks, urinating drunks, and drunks who drive recklessly at high speeds through nearby residential areas (including, in full disclosure, right outside of this writer’s home on many occasions) that occurs generally after 9 p.m. every night, especially on weekends and during the summer. Shaw has also been an on (when not campaigning) and off-again columnist for the OC Voice. He also served as a city planning commissioner and currently serves on the city’s charter review committee. More information is available on his campaign website at:

Never Ending Cycle: A green and healthy way to get around in Surf City

By David J Keulen
Special to the OC Voice

Old fashioned bicycle
David Keulen tries out an older version of bicycle riding. Photo: Dave Keulen

Riding a bicycle can be fantastic in Huntington Beach. The city has all the right ingredients for a pleasant ride….lovely weather, wide roads, and almost exclusively flat terrain.  Plus the recent economic downturn has illustrated the advantages of changing to a means of local transportation that is convenient, healthy, and low-cost, in other words, cycling.

Of course, there’s just one problem, namely the mega-ton four-wheeled vehicles that also course over the same roads that lead to the beach, the store , the schools. Virtually everyone who has ridden a bicycle anywhere other than on the beach bike paths has experienced a potentially life-threatening near-miss with a car. As an experienced bike rider, unfortunately one begins to take this for granted and hopefully learns to be extra cautious, learning to anticipate dangerous situations in advance in order to avoid a collision that will inevitably injury the bike rider more than the driver of the car.

But it doesn’t have to be so dangerous. All across the United States numerous cities have begun to see the value of bicycling for both transportation and recreation, and have incorporated cycling access, parking, and education into their municipal infrastructure. These aren’t bicycling fanatics, but are city planners and transportation engineers involved with issues such as public safety.  And, of course, it is a public safety issue, not a private safety issue that can be solved by wearing a helmet , a reflective vest, and using a special kind of bicycle. If the city environment is engineered with cycling as a defined part of the transportation package, it becomes safer and more viable. Continue reading Never Ending Cycle: A green and healthy way to get around in Surf City

Tea Party Rage in OC Sheriff’s Race: “Most of the queers are liberal…Fuck you!”

A local Tea Party enthusiast wants to “tea bag” liberals, denies homosexuality exists in the Tea Party movement and says “fuck you” at a campaign rally for Orange County Sheriff’s candidate Bill Hunt. Hunt was joined by Sheriff Joe Arapaio from Arizona, who is famous for using police state tactics against immigrants and others. Hunt has said that he wants to be like Joe Arpaio if elected to office in November.

Commentary: Are HB City Council Members Doggone Hypocrites?

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

If coyotes can no longer prowl our city streets and parks for fresh cat and people meat with impunity, why should dogs be allowed to?

In fact, a city ordinance requires out-and-about dogs to be on a hand held leash six-feet or less in length.

The ordinance is clearly posted in every city park, but maybe a lot of dog owners don’t read. Whenever I walk Sappy, my small but ornery Mini Pin, to the local city park, he is usually the only dog on a leash.

Ten or more dogs are often frolicking about—always without leashes—but usually doing nothing more offensive than mutual butt sniffing. Sometimes, however, you find out why the city’s leash law should be enforced, as I did on two memorable occasions.

The first incident was several years ago. I rode my bike on the street that circles the park when a large unleashed Doberman ran for me at full speed, like a wolf chasing a caribou. I barely escaped.

Are our city parks going to the dogs? Photo: Surf City Voice

The dog’s owner sat on a park bench watching, but did nothing to stop her dog. What would have happened if one of my young children had been on that bike instead of me?

I called the police and the dispatcher said to call Animal Control, which I did, but AC said that it was unlikely that an officer would arrive on time to deal with the dog and its owner.

My next dangerous dog encounter was about two months ago while I was walking Sappy, on his leash, at the park.

Sappy gets very irritated by frisky puppies or larger dogs. Usually, he snarls a bit at the other dog and it goes away or I just lead him the other way by his leash and everything is fine.

But this time two very large and powerful pit bulls, probably well over 100 pounds each, which ran free with leashes dangling behind them, didn’t like the idea of being shooed away by an upstart Mini Pin a fraction of their size. Continue reading Commentary: Are HB City Council Members Doggone Hypocrites?

News Flash: Dog bites man, man gets pissed at coyote

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

The coyote is the predator de jour in Huntington Beach and some of the city’s residents at a recent city council study session were howling mad that city officials hadn’t done enough to stop the crafty predators from invading their neighborhoods to eat their cats and dogs and stalk adults and children.

There were over 2,000 complaints to police about stray dogs last year in the city of Huntington Beach.

A retired police officer who spoke out at the meeting even hinted at vigilante action. “I don’t have a weapon,” he said, explaining his reaction to seeing three coyotes on his street, “but you know what I feel like doing.”

Local politicians, police, Fish & Game and county officials alike got the message and have launched an action plan to help protect the people from coyote attacks.

Councilmember Don Hansen called the issue a “public safety problem” that “we need to deal with and get to the level of eradicating these coyotes, killing them, whatever it takes with the problem ones. I think we need to do that immediately.”

The conflict between coyotes and people in Huntington Beach is real and was outlined in detail recently in the Surf City Voice (Monster vs. Coyote, April 14). As noted in the article, there were 80 complaint calls to the police about coyotes in 2009, a steep rise from previous years. Continue reading News Flash: Dog bites man, man gets pissed at coyote