Letters to the Editor:

I think maybe the end of the world won't be caused by weapons technology, biotechnology, or computer technology. The end of the world will be brought about by the stupid idiot activists that don't understand any of it and are too lazy to do the research for themselves.
Daryl Salm
Valley Farm Management
Soledad, Calif.

Editor:

Who paid you to write it? Monsanto?
Russ Wollman
Raleigh, N.C.

(Editor's note: I offered to send him the cancelled check, but Russ declined my offer.)

Editor,

Did Harry Cline actually attend any of the events on the farmer tour he most recently criticized?

Did Mr. Cline cover the kick off event of the opposition's campaign to stop the GE initiative? Were any of their speakers critical of this technology? Was the program fair and balanced?

Mr. Cline states that there are serious issues involved with this technology. Are these being debated at industry sponsored events? Should farmers also be protesting the venues where these one-sided events are being held?

Many farmers have legitimate concerns about GE and there is no disputing the well-documented loss of export markets for those who have been growing these crops.

Bringing up these issues in a free public forum hardly equates us with Nazis or the KKK. As someone whose family perished in concentration camps I find this comparison repulsive and unacceptable.

If Mr. Cline doesn't like our point of view we encourage him to criticize what we have to say, not who we are (or who he thinks we are).

If in fact Mr. Cline had bothered to attend the event in Chico he would have witnessed the lengthy debate which took place between the panelists and Farm Bureau representatives who attended.

A vigorous public debate around the GE issue in California requires a strong look at the facts, not savage and untruthful name calling.
Simon Harris
Californians for GE-Free Agriculture

(Editor's Note: Simon, I sincerely apologize for offending you with my comments about Nazis. It was uncalled for. As for covering the anti-GE meetings you advertised in your press release. I did not attend because I felt like I was already hearing about how terrible GE is in many of the e-mails I have already received.)

Harry:

I am a board member of Butte County Farm Bureau. Our County Farm Bureau is 100 percent in opposition to the GE Free Butte County ban. We are devoting all our energy and financial resources to defeating this November Initiative.

It was recently reported in the Chico Enterprise Record that those in favor of a total ban had scheduled several forums in Chico. The six forums are to be held at Butte College, CSUC, or the City Council Chambers. Of the six forums, five are sponsored by the either the Earth Peace Project or Environmental Advocates, a legal advocacy group at CSUC. These five forums include “experts” from either out of the area or out of the state. They normally bring a recently authored book to sell whenever they make a presentation.

The one of the six forums that had balance was sponsored by the Center for Applied Professional Ethics at CSUC and actually included scientists from the State University and the University of California. They didn't even bring a book to sell after their presentation.

Thank you for your very important and timely coverage on this issue.
Les Heringer Jr.
Butte County, Calif.

Editor:

I have noted your reference of permitting advocates and speakers of bans of genetically modified organisms and crops to utilize our facilities for an educational program. At the Sonoma County Farm Bureau we are committed to fully assessing and evaluating the benefits and risks of such proposed ordinances before formulating a position based on facts. In order to do that, we must hear from each side to make such determinations. Our board of directors and members welcome differing views. As a result, we independently conduct our business and make our own decisions based on the needs of our community. If you have further questions about the professional decisions of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, please do not hesitate to contact me first before drawing an unfounded conclusion.
Sincerely, Lex McCorvey
Executive Director
Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Santa Rosa, Calif.

(Editor's Note: I asked Mr. McCorvey if there were people on anti-GE group's program representing both sides of the biotech issue.)

His response: “That program was not designed to have a pro and con approach. It was designed to have a single perspective. Subsequent programs will have speakers providing the science and other programs will address specific risks and benefits or points. We want to hear the facts, not get into a futile, inefficient mudslinging debate in a public forum.”

(Editor's Note: I asked to let me know when those “subsequent programs” will be held.)

His response: “Well, we have already had some of those meetings and we are coordinating a tour to talk with growers of conventional and GMO crops and the science based community sometime next month. We also communicate with our membership with a new biotech section in our monthly publication.”

(Editor's Note: I asked for names of those who had spoken at those meetings and where the tour was going. I am still waiting on a response)

Hi Harry,

It would seem appropriate for stakeholders across these United States (as the land grant colleges call their local ag clientele) to ask their particular Land Grant University for immediate help in educating people about the benefits of biotechnology to consumers as a wise way to protect our food source from pest damage. It's certainly a bigger issue than California or for that matter the whole USA. I think we're agreed food and fiber are a worldwide issue where the USA could demonstrate leadership in teaching consumers which way is up — particularly over the long haul.

Perhaps you/your news media expertise could facilitate getting stakeholders' unified voices together and talking in unison to the right university people about educating the public about appropriate biotechnology methods.

I continue to value your articles. Keep up the good work, Harry!
Sincerely, Rudy Neja
Farm Advisor, emeritus

Dear Sir,

As a long time teacher of college English, as a writer, as an editor for both academic and popular writers, and as a N.C. farmer for most of my 65 years, I must tell you that your editor, Harry Cline, has written the purest of garbage in an earlier article.

I really don't care about Mr. Cline's prejudices for or against one product or another, one idea or another, but I do care that his writing present a fair and balanced view of the chosen (or assigned) topic and that he use language with the care and precision which it deserves. Does he consider all farmers stupid or just the ones who read your publication? Does he think slinging mud somehow furthers the understanding of his ideas? I think you should retire this troll back to the shade under his bridge and find a genuine writer for his position. (See, anyone can engage in name calling. If I weren't such a nice guy, I'd even call him an corporation sucking a_____.)

Name calling stimulates no thought, brings no reason, encourages no thinking, and I find myself at a loss to understand why a national publication would present such poorly crafted material to its readers.

Let me put this a different way: It is one thing to host a legitimate debate on genetically modified crops. It is entirely something different to allow some ignorant, reactionary, non-farming a__ with s__ for brains whose avowed goal is to suck up to advertisers and wipe out small farmers in this country to use a national publication for propaganda purposes. (Now, is that any worse, really, than what I've modified: “It is one thing to host a legitimate debate on genetically modified crops. It is entirely something different to allow a group whose avowed goal is to wipe out production agriculture in California to use a Farm Bureau facility for propaganda purposes.”?) What about it Harry ? Does that make you think or does it just p___ you off ?

Using slanted words such as “crowd,” “spews,” “lies,” “traipsing,” “hiding,” “socialist,” anti-human,” “supposedly,” “travesty being palmed off,” and many, many more in such a blatant and heavy handed way does nothing to further the understanding of his subject or to further any kind of genuine discussion or understanding of the issues.

Perhaps it makes you proud to know I will use this article in my classes this week as an illustration of distorted and slanted writing of the type used by propagandists of the most clumsy sort. Mr. Cline tosses out junk in the very way he alleges to criticize. By publishing it under your logo, you engage in the very same activity.

Surely you guys can do better than this. Surely your readers deserve better than this. Meanwhile, literate readers shake their heads and snicker. Perhaps both of you might benefit from reading George Orwell's, Politics and the English Language.” A review of Strunk & White's “The Elements of Style” wouldn't hurt Mr. Cline either.
Tom Jackson

PS: I hope you don't mind my sending this along to some other writers so they can laugh at you too.