Mark Twain’s cautionary short story The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg is about a bag of gold rather than oil, about a man rather than a corporation and the underlings that speak in its behalf, and about personal relationships in a small community with a reputation for honesty and kindness. Twain had a masterful understanding of human cupidity and human dignity.

When I saw the newspaper photo of paid sign-carriers hiding their faces recently, I was sad for them rather than angry. When a board which needs money fails to call a public hearing on the vital question of the purity of our city’s and valley’s water supply, it’s irresponsible. When another organization is torn asunder because an unidentified group unilaterally reversed a decision of neutrality on Measure J, it is irresponsible, undemocratic, and likely self-destructive. Through all this, the corporate tempter keeps smiling. These are just a few examples of the negative social effects of that “bag of gold.” In Twain’s Hadleyburg, it proved to be a bag of lead!

Still need facts? The negative health effects of Measure J have been documented in the pages of the environmental impact report to which hundreds of Carpinterians contributed and which Venoco rejected. Make no mistake, if you vote for J you choose to sentence hundreds of your fellow citizens to entrapment in this vast industrial footprint of pollution, noise, fire, and blowout danger 24/7, for possibly 30 years.—John Schmidhauser, Carpinteria


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