Mail & Commentary 

Meat This, Herbivore

Each of us has those pointy teeth in the corners of our mouths (, citydesk, "Human BBQ in Downtown Boise," June 25, 2009). They are called canines, and they are there for a reason. As a species, we have not worked our way to the top of the food chain in order to eat vegetables, nuts and seeds. The animals we eat dine on those things. Vegetables, beans, flowers and such are served as compliments to a meal, not instead of a meal.

If a vegan diet was the end goal, why would they spend so much time and effort trying to make tofu and vegetables taste like beef?

--Cyclops388, BW online

Plant Proud

What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks? According to the USDA's meat and poultry hotline, this year's top threat is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs lurking in hamburgers and hot dogs at millions of backyard barbecues. The hotline's advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, they don't bother to mention that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also forms lots of cancer-causing compounds.

Luckily, a bunch of enterprising food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious and convenient veggie burgers and soy dogs. These new foods don't harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don't even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs or pesticides. And they are available in the frozen food section of every supermarket.

This Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie burgers and soy dogs with our family and friends.

--Bradley Genna, Boise

Laws, not smoke,intrusive

At the June 9 meeting, Eagle Councilor Norm Semanko implored the Council not to pass this "solution looking for a problem." There is no material evidence that any Eagle employee has been forced to work in a secondhand-smoke workplace. This ordinance bans smoking in establishments where smoking has already been prohibited for several years (, citydesk, "City of Eagle Passes Smoking Ban," June 11, 2009).

The strongest evidence presented: complaints from people getting whiffs of cigarette smoke in outdoor areas of restaurants (which, as a nonsmoker, I agree is detestable). Stopping this is the responsibility of restaurant/bar owners. Complain to the manager. Or, "Excuse me sir/madam, this is a nonsmoking area." Most smokers will oblige.

Some people cannot, or will not, quit smoking. They are addicted to a legal commodity, and need encouragement to attend quit-smoking programs and support groups, not be treated as virtual criminals. Meanwhile, since we live in the real world, why can't restaurant/bars have the option to be licensed to allow smoking for those who, as yet, find it too hard to quit, so that they can have an outing, a drink and a smoke with their friends? Since 80 percent of a the population are nonsmokers, it's unlikely that many restaurant/bar owners would want to cater to only 20 percent of potential customers. But the odd one might go for this option.

The ordinance does not say who will report and enforce the fines. Parking meter ticketers? Citizen informers? Or will no-smoking inspectors eventually be employed, or do we just call a squad car? The ordinance is a piece of bureaucratic flimflam, has added to the iniquitous trend of government interfering in our lives, and has set a precedent for further similar rules--complete, of course, with fines.

--Michael Segerdal, Eagle

Crime by bike?

On June 5 at 4:15 p.m. while traveling on my bike east on the Greenbelt approaching the Broadway underpass, I sailed past a detour barricade and was pounced on by a bike cop. He wanted to know why I avoided the lengthy detour across Broadway car traffic. I told him that barricades were often left up long past their need and that I'd not have gone through the tunnel if it wasn't passable. Only one lane of the path was under water, (about an inch at most) and the barricades extended into the paved path only across that lane. I pointed out to him that both my bike tires were dry. None of this mattered to the cop, who proceeded to write me a ticket for a crime I didn't realize existed.

At the Ada County Courthouse yesterday, I was informed that I had to go to court for this criminal misdemeanor. I am currently in need of a lawyer, and I urge all cyclists and pedestrians to take care to not unknowingly violate any laws while on the Greenbelt. The bike cops you see are not there merely for your protection. Anyone with any advice on this can reach me at

--S. Vetter, Boise

Towed Priorities

So let me get this straight, David Hurley, Boise (BW, Mail, "Park Towing Unfair," June 24, 2009). You state "Wouldn't it be a little easier if they gave you a $25 ticket, or gave you 24 hours to move your vehicle? Am I supposed to drive drunk?" after lamenting about how you now "have no money for groceries" ... So you have money for booze, to "get drunk" and get yourself into this sad situation involving a tow but you can't afford food? Do I really need to say it?

--karcreat2, BW online

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