Most of the coastal anti-LBAM pheromone folks have given up on me (Western Farm Press, Nov. 15), but Mary Ann keeps writing (next). Plus a few e-mails from the other side (versus the dark side).
Harry — Why do people like you defend your way of life even when it is poisoning people, including your own families? You have this attitude that only those from the Central Valley are knowledgeable and that people from outside that area are dunces. Not true, Harry, but if your egos are so in need of bolstering ... You know it has been in the international news quite a bit lately that the type of farming called monoculture is no longer viable and that the chemical companies will be the end of our food supply if we allow them to continue as they are. I believe that many farmers already know this, but are afraid to voice it for fear of said companies. I have also heard that many in the Central Valley are having health problems because of the poor air quality. When do you extend your focus to see that people are calling for a more wholesome way of living; a way of living that doesn’t cause kids to get asthma and other immune diseases? We are not “living better through chemistry” as that old commercial said, we are slowly dying from the overuse of poisons in our air, in our water and on our food.
Surely you can see this is about money for those who run the system and not about quality of life. These same chemicals that you defend are the beginning of the chemical companies’ plan to own our food supply. What could be worse for farmers? Perhaps you live an insular life and don’t care about people in other countries who are already dealing with chemical companies controlling their food supply. These people are finding that the new “wonder seeds” are giving them much smaller yields and causing them to lose their farms. The chemicals are making them sick as well. Maybe it’s fun for you to keep a closed mind and heckle people or maybe somebody is paying you to keep up this chatter. Whatever it is, Harry, I hope to God that you finally open that mind of yours and see that we are rapidly destroying the beauty and bounty that was given to the human race to use and to protect. We don’t just have ownership, but also, and more importantly, we have stewardship. — Mary Ann Gaskins
Dear Harry — Congratulations for your efforts. There’s no logic that the true believers won’t ignore in pursuit of their prejudices. Forget the 15 years or so that these very pheromones have been routinely applied to crops in New Zealand and Australia — at far higher dosages, with much longer durations. Where are the dying and maimed farmers and field workers? Where, in fact, is even one documented and validated medical claim resulting from the pheromone, encapsulated or not. You cited the case of Maxina Ventura and her litany of health woes from being exposed to pheromone Delta traps at a public meeting — reminds me of the public meeting in Sonoma during which twist ties in a double-bagged, sealed ziplock were shown and people fell to the ground, seemingly with convulsions and asthma symptoms. All very fine, I suppose, until the audience was told that the twist ties weren’t treated with the pheromone by a qualified individual from the county public health department.
Keep up the good work. Even a single candle in the darkness is appreciated. — Best, Robert J. Dolezal, Executive Vice President,California Association of Nurseries & Garden Centers (CANGC)
Harry: I’m so happy that Patricia Kiraldie and the rest of the 10 million plus Bay Area loonies are moving! We should extend LBAM to Southern California and perhaps the rest will go, too! A third generation native California farmer. — Michael Finch, Yolo County
Hello Harry: Living near the Central Coast (between Salinas, Monterey, and Carmel), after growing up in the Valley and living near Sacramento for another 25 years has illustrated that coastal populations represent some of the most selfish, narcissistic, self centered, ignorant, rude, and condescending groups in the Western Hemisphere. They don’t know much and they don’t know or care that they don’t know. They believe every wacko, liberal, extremist, and propagandist they encounter as long as it is consistent with their core beliefs regardless of basis.
I do, however, believe that they are masters of psychosomatic induced illnesses. They are so unable to analyze or process information due to stupidity and/or ignorance and the unwillingness to educate themselves that they can conjure up just about any symptom to fit the situation, all the while convincing themselves that they are the only informed people in California.
These are the same people who use antibiotics (pesticides) on themselves and their children, Advantage (imidacloprid - Admire) and Revolution (avermectin - Agri-Mek) on their pets without a second thought.
What this area is in dire need of is a significant crisis for which they suffer greatly as a direct consequence of their behavior.
A good example of this happened several years ago when the people around Portola fought the DFG who were trying to eradicate northern pike from Lake Davis. They acted much like the Central Coastees did when Rotonone was proposed for application to the lake. They made a big stink and filed all kinds of lawsuits and medical claims and “taught DFG a good lesson.”
A few years went by and the fishing in Lake Davis went to nothing due to the pike and so did the local economy. Last year, DFG again proposed to finish the job on the pike and instead of a protest, the now informed and much poorer populous could not have been more helpful and respectful. It was amazing what a little reality did to folks’ attitudes. — Cheers, Dale
Hello Harry - I have been reading your column regarding the deployment of LBAM pheromone with great interest and many laughs, and this latest one was hilarious. Imagine changing colleges for no better reason than some misinformed panic attack. And this other letter, about all these weird symptoms brought on by being in the same room as some pheromone, that one brought back a memory that I wanted to share with you. The following is an absolutely true story.
Some years back, a woman brought into my lab a Mason jar. She claimed that it was full of little bugs that were biting her, and these bugs were all through her house. She had called an exterminator out, and had set off multiple “bug bombs” that she had purchased at the hardware store. Interestingly enough, these bugs were responsible for killing off the fish in her fishbowl! And would I be so kind as to identify them, so she can tell the exterminator that she really did have a problem. The Mason jar was in fact empty, and remained empty after two more attempts. We finally told her that she would be better served by explaining her problem to the County Public Health Department, and they would be in a much better position to help her out. We never heard from her again.
I was telling this story to some people in the Entomology Department at UC Riverside, and one of them had a very similar story to tell. It turns out that there is a name for this affliction, it is called delusitory parasitosis and is a real psychological phenomenon. Some people can actually will themselves to have symptoms based on a perceived threat, such as imaginary bugs or the idea of a toxic chemical being present.
One of the unfortunate outcomes of tales like these is that the less responsible media outlets will run with a story like this, even embellish it to make it more, um, newsworthy. And the public eats it up, which just fuels the cycle further. The best we in the industry can do is provide facts and try to damp down the hysteria when it flares. — Greg Montez, University of California, Kearney Agricultural Research Center