To the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors:
I want to tell you about the biggest travesty in San Luis Obispo County and probably the state. The most horrific, devastating environmental disaster in recorded history, which has been caused by corporations and vineyards. Hundreds and hundreds of miles of food-producing land has been allowed to be turned into vineyards. How do they do this? First, they rape and pillage the land with a big front-loader dozer and scrape the land. Everything from old fencing, debris, fallen trees, live trees, shrubs, mounds, dens, burrows, nests, hollows, hives, and trap doors. Next, they rip the land with 6-foot-plus-deep rippers, straight across, then diagonally both ways, then straight again. Then they drag a giant roller with the same pattern to level. When this process is finished, they have killed almost 100 percent of all living things. There are no 100- to 0-legged creatures alive for hundreds and hundreds of miles. No foxes, raccoons, badgers, weasels, kangaroo rats, moles, gophers, ground squirrels, horned lizards, lizards, snakes, toads, frogs, amphibians, burrowing owls, road runners, pheasants, tarantulas, etc.!
What is even worse: They put up 6-plus-foot fences so any animals left cannot traverse to other grounds. So many deer and other animals are on the side of the road dead. Next, after the vines are up, they go up and down the rows on tractors with people on them in Hazmat suits. Big clouds of poison bellowing out behind them several times a year (bees?).
Then the water. What water? They are not good neighbors or shepherds of the land. As far as you’re concerned, neither are you, as the board of the super. You probably never served in the military. Good neighbors would not steal their neighbors’ water, pollute the air, kill all their wildlife, kill all the important critters, and ruin all the land around them. As for shepherds, you would never leave a lamb behind or a neighbor dry. As for being in the military, you would never leave a brother or sister behind high and dry.
Also, how can wine be considered agriculture? As my grandfather said, “Only people over 21 can use it, and the byproduct takes two to three years for soil additives and is toxic. Plus, they’re all winos.” How many of you are real locals? The tourist industry has always flourished here, long before the vineyards, because of the natural beauty, ranging animals, and wildlife. The vineyards are a fad and fake beauty and, according to tourists I have talked to, it is getting boring. Only a few wildlife or grazing animals are left.
P.S.: Several studies have shown that it takes to produce one glass of wine between 25 to 40 gallons of water.
P.P.S.: Where are Fish and Game, the water control board, soil conservation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Air Pollution
Kenneth L. Carpenter lives in Templeton and presented this letter to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on July 15, 2014. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.