Letters

Email your letters to: letters@pentictonherald.ca

Lawsuit claims debunked already

Dear editor:

Often, what Elvena Slump does not say in her letters is more important than what she does say.

In her recent letter, captioned “Personal agendas muddy science,” (Herald, Sept. 6) Slump visits two B.C. Supreme Court cases regarding climate change denier Tim Ball and a peer analysis of Michael Mann’s famous “hockey-stick” study.

In both cases, the co-defendants and publishers apologized and withdrew their articles regarding climate scientists Andrew Weaver and Michael Mann.

The first case regarding Weaver and Ball did go to trial. It was not an adjudication of climate science and the case against Ball was dismissed, in part to support free speech. 

The court also considered that Weaver’s reputation was undamaged by Ball’s article stating, it was “rife with errors and inaccuracies, which suggest a lack of attention to detail on Dr. Ball’s part, if not an indifference to the truth.” 

The court concluded “a reasonably thoughtful and informed person who reads the article is unlikely to place any stock in Dr. Ball’s views.”

The second case was regarding Michael Mann and defendant Tim Ball. There was no “win” or “loss” as there was no trial and no ruling.

The court terminated this lawsuit that originated in 2011 on application from Ball because of delay.

Perhaps Ball was influenced by the Weaver decision regarding placing any stock in his views. Despite unprincipled and unscientific statements to contrary, the court has not yet indicated that Mann will be responsible for Ball’s costs. 

Slump then implies that the University of Guelph debunked Mann’s “hockey-stick” in 2003. The adjustments suggested in the “peer review” by economics professor and Fraser Institute senior fellow Ross McKitrick proved to be statistically insignificant.

However the challenge led to more peer reviews of the Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1999 paper (MBH99) than for most science papers.

In 2006 the highest scientific body in the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences affirmed MBH99. 

A team of nearly 80 scientists from around the world extended the findings of MBH99 in their paper published in 2013 in Nature Geoscience, concluding the recent warmth is unprecedented in the past 1,400 years. MBH99 and the hockey-stick remain.

“Climate change is a fact,” but Slump’s closing should have said “ignorance of the causes has been waylaid in pursuit of personal political agendas.” 

David Flater

Okanagan Falls

Vacation rentals out of control

Dear editor:

Most of us give little if any thought to vacation rentals. It is not until one pops up in your neighbourhood that you appreciate its impact on your quality of life.

Your peaceful neighbourhood has become a quasi-commercial district and is now a community of transients. Vehicle parking associated with the vacation rental may overflow onto your quiet street because neither the city’s zoning bylaw nor regulations adequately address the problem.

The city’s major high occupant vacation rental category does not set a limit to the number of guests. So assuming the house has four bedrooms; you could see four couples and four automobiles that have to park somewhere with some parking on the street.

With four couples plus additional visitors, the vacation rental may become a party house with attendant noise and disruption to the quiet enjoyment of your property. And once again the zoning bylaw falls short in protecting you and your neighbours.

The property owner is not required to live on the property so right up front there is nobody to help you.

Your only protection is that the city requires the owner of a party house to “ensure that renters do not create any form of nuisance for surrounding residents.”

While there is a threat of a fine, I do not believe this will deter party goers.

But if they are better controlled, they might be able to better fit in. And that might be by following the city’s bed and breakfast model.

The zoning bylaw allows B&Bs to operate as an accessory use within a single detached dwelling. A key requirement is for the licensed operator to reside in the dwelling.

Limiting the number of persons who can occupy a vacation rental to four persons in two sleeping units and requiring the owner to live in the home will go a long way to prevent it from becoming a party house. And requiring one parking stall for each bedroom will help deal with the on-street parking issue.

Carriage houses intended to address the city’s long-term housing needs must not be allowed to become vacation rentals. Simple amendments to the zoning bylaw can handle this.

Vacation rentals are not suitable in a residential neighbourhood, but if the City Council will not ban them they should at least better manage them. To this end, there may be some hope since the city council intends to consider the issue. Only time will tell.

Don Cummings

Penticton

Make parties pay for sign pollution

Dear editor:

I went for a bike ride early Thursday and was surprised, horrified and angered at the unreasonable number of election signs in pockets of land around beautiful Penticton.

I will be taking all the parties to account for their arrogance and recklessness.

Patrick Longworth

Penticton

Big business owns election already

Dear editor:

Other than big business and “balanced budget” politics, what does Andrew Scheer and his party stand for? Fundamental human necessities are not their concern, judging by Scheer’s mentor, the thinly veiled theocratic Stephen Harper.

However, when it comes to doing the bidding of corporate interests (e.g. Big Oil) and the wealthy, the federal Liberal party (for whom I’ll not vote) has shown itself to be similarly servant.

Western (what I call) corpocracies such as Canada and the U.S. have governances in which either of the two established political parties always kowtow to big business’s crippling implied or explicit threats to relocate its headquarters, large numbers of jobs and even capital; or corporate lobbyists writing bills for governing representatives to vote for and have implemented, often enough word for word.

And almost all of our information is still either produced or shared with us by concentrated corporate-owned news media.

Indeed, I’d not be surprised if the federal NDP would be compelled to sooner or later also act corpocratically if elected to govern. And what about the Greens? It’s typically politically much easier to sit in the critic's or opposition's chair.

This corpocratic political reality may be why so many low-income citizens perceive futility in voting at all, let alone waiting in long lineups to do so.

Frank Sterle Jr.

White Rock

West Bank woes not so different

Dear editor:

I recently found out that my orchard property in Summerland was designated on an early 1900s map of the area as an “Indian Reservation” along with that of several my neighbours.

Now, I think all of us would be a little pissed if the Indigenous people in the area took it upon themselves to reclaim all their lost territory or demand the present worth of the land in lieu.

Perhaps you might understand the frustration of another Indigenous group, who have been facing the same situation for over 70 years, whose homes, gardens,

orchards and other property has been confiscated by a more belligerent and well-armed group against all international laws.

Such is the case of the Palestinians, whose property is now threatened in the West Bank for permanent confiscation by Israelis who have been gradually moving in, and in the process have been ripping up orchards and demolishing Palestinian homes. Fortunately for us, the Indigenous people of Canada didn’t have a god that promised them all the land between Newfoundland and Vancouver Island, or most of us would be in trouble.

Frank Martens

Summerland