Editor, Index-Tribune:

Thank you for the excellent op-ed piece by Mr. Hartley about the spare-the-air politics (“Our air does not need to be spared,” Jan. 7).

I don’t have his qualifications, but have been aching to protest about these unwarranted restrictions. You cannot convince me that a few thousand wood fires cause more harmful pollution than the hundreds of thousand of motor vehicles traveling daily on our Bay Area roads. Charging every gas- or diesel-powered vehicle an extra dollar in bridge fees on spare-the-air days would make more sense – and would reduce harmful emissions much more if traffic were reduced by just 1 percent as a result.

For that matter, when wood fires are not allowed, the extra energy production required of PG&E to heat homes probably also puts more harmful pollution into our air than the wood fires.

Of course, as long as a “docile population” doesn’t object, it’s much easier for the BAAQMD to continue this travesty than to face reality and the political storm from special interests and vehicle-bound commuters.

G.F. Simmel