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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Dear Francine,

I live at the other end of the county from you, so you never represented me and likely won’t ever, not even if you pull off the biggest upset in county history and unseat a Republican in the 50th district. They say your feat of coming within four percentage points of Bilbray was quite an accomplishment. I suppose it was, but if we’re going to halt this trend towards jingoism and “pie-in-the-sky” politics, we’re going to need someone to win elections, not look good in losing. I can give you a quote by Leo Durocher that pertains.

In November, it’ll take a lot more than a tough stand against illegal immigration. Your opponent has that all sowed up by advocating the toughest laws possible. The only thing tougher would be to shoot any dark-complexioned dude walking north. Lots of American citizens named Garcia and Gonzales wouldn’t take kindly to that sort of stand.

You can be too tough in the 50th. Even Tom Metzger overstepped his bounds, and now he’s back home again in Indiana where he writes letters to the Warsaw Times- Union trying to revive the KKK in the state where it once flourished so well.

You should scare hell out of people, but choose a subject that really scares them even if it’s true. I have just the subject to do that: Earth Warming! Best of all you won’t even need to exaggerate. All you have to do is trust the smartest group of folks in the country, our top scientists. As recently as five or six years ago there were lots of doubts even among them. Today virtually all doubt is gone.

Even better, the ground work has been done for you. A movie is sweeping across the country. Although the subject hasn’t been completely appropriated by one party yet, the chief spokesman for the movie is on your side of the political spectrum. As late as 1992, he was derided as “Ozone Head” by the president. Today another president of the same name is trying to ignore him and his movie.

In “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore tells us about the horrors that await us or are happening now. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. So far the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled in the last 25 years. If the warming continues at the present rate, the ice packs in Greenland and Antarctica will melt and the oceans will rise 20 feet.

And much more.

Gore points out “There is no controversy about these facts. Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero.”

You can tell constituents in the 50th about those things while Bilbray is yammering on and on about immigration to folks who have two or three gardeners each. Just don’t tell it to the gardeners. Some don’t speak ingles very well.

But will those folks in the 50th care? They always claimed they did. According to an old associate and political opponent of Claire Burgener who represented that district from 1973 to 1983, Burgener acknowledged that the environment was at the top of every survey.

But this is politics and you will have to make it personal to your constituents. Some live in expensive homes on the beach. Point out how much of that beach they will lose and which rooms will be inundated at high tide if the water rises 20 feet.

Then to those in the really expensive digs in Rancho Santa Fe, you might remind them that the covenant will be ignored by folks who live on the coast and are up to their derrieres in water. It could get crowded in the high ground of the Fairbanks Ranch Golf Course.

For all that your task is daunting. Remember what Upton Sinclair once said: “It is difficult to get a man to support something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

And your job isn’t made easier by the media. Gore points out that although there is “100 percent agreement” among scientists, a database search of newspaper and magazine articles shows that 57 percent question the fact of global warming, while 43 percent support it.

Francine, I urge you to come down on the side of the folks who study these things, not those whose income would temporarily suffer if we did something about them. Even if the polls are correct and you lose again, you’ll be on the right side of this issue. Who knows? You may get something going that is of paramount importance.

And we’d damned well better get going on it. The scientists I know figure we have a mere 10 years to get our act together before the consequences are irreversible.

We owe much more to our grandkids than a charred earth!

Keith Taylor is a retired navy officer living in Chula Vista. He can be reached at Or write a letter to the editor.

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