July 9 letters: Value of playing basketball, climate-change deniers, red tape and housing

What is the true value of playing basketball?

There is something obscene about a basketball player being paid $40 million a year while the majority of people would find it difficult to save the down payment for a house in Toronto.

Kawhi Leonard’s salary even tops those of the greedy corporate CEOs.

Ron Knott


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Climate deniers should be denied

Re: “Climate scare is just flavour of the month,” letter, July 7.

At this stage in human history, the Times Colonist and all media should stop giving a voice to climate deniers unless the denier can show peer reviewed scientific evidence of their claims.

And, if the writer truly wants “viable scientific proof that it is indeed an emergency,” he should get off the Heartland Institute website and onto those of The International Panel On Climate Change and NASA.

Instead of listening to the Koch brothers, he should review the research and messages from Jason Box, Michael Mann, and James Hansen.

For those who think the letter has merit, he simply did what most climate change deniers do, he cherry picked one-off weather incidents.

Dave Secco


Cherry-picking stats is not the right way

Re: “Climate scare is just flavour of the month,” letter, July 7.

The writer has chosen to use a single average temperature statistic of Ottawa as his reason for climate change deniability. Climate change deniers choose only a specific stat that will support their view.

A reasonable approach would be to use global averages over the decades since 1900. Fact: The Earth is almost two degrees warmer than it was in 1951 to 1980. Fact: The permafrost is melting is in the north, as are the world’s glaciers.

Are deniers so certain of their beliefs that they want to bet the planet on their cherry picked stats? What if they are wrong?

I would rather give up fossil fuels and other pollutants than the planet.

Dale Read


In this election year, let’s talk about climate

Re: “Climate scare is just flavour of the month,” letter, July 7.

The author seems to think he knows better that the overwhelming consensus of the world’s climate scientists, who have been stating with increasing urgency that we only have a few years to tackle what another writer refers to as the “evil force” of climate change.

He might be a victim of the propaganda campaign from the fossil fuel industry, which is convincing some that oil companies should not be held responsible for the damage caused by their products.

Similar claims were made by tobacco companies using the same PR firms now employed by oil companies.

Wherever the blame lies, we need to move on and swiftly take what actions are still possible to preserve some kind of future for our grandchildren. Even if we don’t sue fossil fuel companies, we can at least stop subsidizing them.

It is unrealistic to stop all fossil fuel extraction overnight, but we can halt further expansion as we scale down and transfer fossil fuel subsidies and other job-creating financial resources to other sectors such as alternative energy.

A national debate is needed on the whole issue of how we are going to transform our economy to deal with the climate crisis. Canadians need to be clear where all our parties stand before voting in the election, now only three months away.

A separate televised leaders’ debate on the topic will be essential.

Judy Gaylord


Don’t miss the big climate picture

Re: “The evil that is destroying all life,” letter, July 7.

I see humankind’s dire situation as somewhat analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable traditionally marginalized person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line; and, furthermore, to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie — all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by Big Fossil Fuel, is burning and toxifying at locations not normally investigated.

As a species, we really can be so heavily preoccupied with our own individual admittedly overwhelming little worlds, that we’ll miss the biggest of pictures.

Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock


No doubt that the climate is changing

Re: “Climate scare is just flavour of the month,” letter, July 7.

The science is in, peer reviewed and published. It states in no uncertain terms that the world’s climate continues to warm up at an alarming rate. If it continues, unchecked, it will be the most catastrophic event since the original “big bang”!

John Stevenson


Human beings have failed our Earth

Two different but connected articles were published in the Times Colonist on July 7.

While I agree that fossil fuels are a cruel, destructive force, I would like to point out that the true evil destroying all life on Earth is actually human beings.

Fossil fuels would be happy to remain buried, and even though there are now better alternatives to fossil fuels, humans are still rushing to extract and ship them while they can still make big money. The environment, the animals do not matter to these uncaring, greedy humans.

Another commentary said that human narcissism is our problem, not the wild animals we keep hating and killing. That is 100 per cent correct. We and our livestock make up 96 per cent of all mammals on Earth and we are bringing our planet and life as we know it to the brink of extinction because of human narcissism.

Wild animals stand out and seem bigger than life but there are fewer of them each year. We have destroyed much of their natural habitat through pollution, clear cutting and building thousands of houses on their land.

Humans have created this mess through greed, indifference to all life, and a “devil may care” attitude.

I have looked after nature and wild animals on our property for more than 35 years. Nature is happy and in balance in this microcosm. We all must all do our part and not take our beautiful Earth for granted.

Liz Everett


Hard questions asked about housing issues

Re: “Council’s move will discourage new housing,” editorial, July 2.

The editorial is heavy on heated language, light on analysis. It continues an increasingly frequent refrain in these pages that some members of Victoria city council are simply “wishful” and “idealistic” — to put it otherwise, ideological — in pushing hard for more affordable housing by insisting that new developments over a certain size include a higher percentage of affordable units.

The Times Colonist allows developers to have the final word, based on scant evidence, about the viability of the new affordability rules. Accepting these claims without careful analysis does a disservice to readers.

Why not rather ask some of the hard questions that still are unanswered: What are developers’ current profits? How will these profit margins likely change under the new affordability rules? How valid was the methodology of the city-commissioned study of affordability that council chose to dismiss? Are developers really likely to favour other municipalities with fewer restrictions, and is this necessarily a bad thing? What have other cities our size done to improve affordability?

Readers need information, not heated words, to help us evaluate the viability of council’s decision regarding affordable housing in new developments.

Lincoln Z. Shlensky


Yes, red tape pushes housing costs higher

A recent letter said there was no proof cutting red tape would cut development costs. It was an astoundingly naïve statement.

A year ago, as I was building a project in Victoria, an inspector came to my job site. Instead of a framing inspection, and without a walk through, he declared that the project needed a Homeowners Protection Office (HPO) permit.

The job was shut down, after an approved permit and variance was issued by his own office, while he fought with another office.

After losing to them, he declared to me: “I’m going to challenge them again” for the third time.

So being shut down, losing subcontractors, paying mortgage and construction loans for an extra few months of red tape does actually cost more for building, and yes that’s after waiting two months just to get a permit.

Tim Murphy

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