In Mary Cashiola's article, ("Power On," August 26th issue), she describes the efforts of some Memphis leaders to promote the use of electric cars. The article claims that "Electricity is generated using a diverse group of domestic fuels." However, before switching to electric cars, it is important to understand exactly where our electricity comes from and how it is produced. According to TVA's FAQ page, "Eleven coal-burning plants produce more than half of TVA's electricity."
Coal, like oil, is a fossil fuel that releases polluting emissions when it is mined or burned. Coal is much dirtier and more polluting than oil. The mining of coal in the Appalachian Mountains is most often done by mountaintop removal mining, which flattens the mountain and destroys all vegetation in the area. Chemicals used in mining and burning coal contaminate the mine sites, sludge ponds, and the area around power plants where coal is burned. A recent report published by the Sierra Club identifies heavy metal contamination in groundwater around three Tennessee TVA power plants. And many still remember the horror of the December 2008 Kingston coal ash spill, which released more than one billion gallons of coal ash waste into the East Tennessee environment.
Coal is not an acceptable alternative to gasoline. If MLGW wants to encourage the use of electric cars, they need to identify the specific sources they will use to produce the needed electricity. They need to make a commitment to lessen our dependence on coal and utilize more renewable sources.
The Mud Island biker who is concerned for fellow bikers' safety (Letters, September 2nd issue) should worry, as I do, about the liability the city takes on when it designates safe biker lanes. The implied "safety" will be an open invite to injured folks to sue the Bluff City. Oh, boy.
David F. Diamond
After reading a comment on memphisflyer.com from "rantboy" about blight along Poplar Avenue, I decided to do my own survey. Following the writer's advice, I drove east along the length of Poplar (seriously), starting at Front Street downtown all the way to Collierville. I observed my surroundings very carefully and discovered (drum roll, please) exactly zero, repeat zero, boarded-up buildings. To be fair, I did find four small, one-story buildings that were vacant and which had protective bars on their doors and windows, which should be technically counted as "boarded up."
However, four structures out of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of properties along Poplar seems not only slight, but a freakishly small number. Even the old Poplar Tunes building has a new tenant. So much for rantboy's blight assessment, but I'm starting to think I have too much free time on my hands.
Why does the MATA trolley stop running Sunday nights at 6 p.m.? I have seen countless people looking for the trolley on a Sunday evening, especially after a big downtown event. Instead, MATA has empty trolleys running daily at 7 a.m., clogging up traffic leaving Mud Island. Can someone please explain MATA's logic to me?
The Tea Party
Don't tell me the Tea Party movement has nothing to do with racism. A year and a half ago, before the advent of our first president of color took office, there was no Tea Party.
We all saw the white Tea Party agitators disrupting the town hall meetings on health care. The recent Glenn Beck rally, preaching values, had an overwhelmingly white crowd. The utter hypocrisy of the Tea Party movement is glaring.
A recent poll found that 88 percent of Tea Partiers had a profound dislike for President Obama. Other polls have found there is an all-consuming hatred of Obama among Tea Party members, and another poll found that a large majority of Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Christian. Aren't Christians the ones who proclaim Jesus is the God of love?
Nevada City, California
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