When government is life and death
Re: “Stepping up the fight” by Ana B. Ibarra (News, March 12):
With each passing day, the world faces a potential pandemic from the coronavirus that is already impacting millions as political leaders continue to dismiss valid science and disparage government’s role in society. In the United States, relaxed environmental regulations over the last three years may result in new cancers and chronic diseases years later.
And with the current inadequate and slow federal response to this threat, including a cut in CDC funding and $3 billion in support for global health programs, plus the dismantling of the Global Pandemic Task Force and the “Predict” program to monitor spread of animal-borne diseases to humans, the American public and the world in general may be about to find out first-hand the critical role a strong, far-thinking, efficient and effective federal government plays in protecting its citizens from existential threats.
John McCormack, Sacramento / via email
Re: “Will City Hall bite the bullet?” (Editor’s note, March 19):
Their website makes it clear in the first sentence of their description of “who we are:” “Management Partners has a management bias.” So how much money did the city of Sacramento waste in contracting for basic management-oriented analysis that virtually any city employee with six months experience could provide?
Is city leadership so incompetent that they could not reach these wrong-headed conclusions on their own? Simplistic contracting out of city work has proven more costly in the long run in hundreds of jurisdictions. Once private, for-profit companies take over any city service, cost controls are lost and costs inevitably increase more than they would with democratically elected decision makers. Savings on the backs of city workers is no solution.
William Campagna, Sacramento / via email
Support taxi drivers
Re: “Seeding success” by Foon Rhee (Editor’s note, March 5):
If Sacramento City Hall is serious about encouraging small businesses to thrive, it should help level the playing field for local taxi companies. Local taxis provide jobs in the city, keep spending local, reduce pollution and congestion on the road, encourage a sense of personal loyalty between driver and customer and uniquely serve those who because of choice or cost have no smartphone.
Seasoned drivers know the city and they help direct business. As a happy customer of local taxi companies, I value their service, reliability, friendliness and punctuality. Even though local taxis provide a money tree for the city, their value has been ignored and they are struggling under increasingly inequitable governmental restrictions and requirements. They are in fact discouraged by being repeatedly subjected to increased costs and to the influence of those who have the loudest political voice.
Evan Jones, Sacramento / via email
Protect the levee
Re: “Love on the levee” by Lacey DeVivo (Essay, March 12):
While I am glad that Lacey DeVivo had a good experience camping on Sacramento’s levees, the “respect for the land” she claims to have been shown by her fellow campers is belied by the many tons of trash volunteers and I have cleaned from abandoned camps, the hacked and chopped down riparian trees, the hazardous and human waste thrown into the waterways and the extensive excavations dug into the levees that protect Sacramento’s neighborhoods.
The levees are vital to our city. No one, homeless or not, has a “right” to damage them or to despoil our waterways with their filth.
Roland Brady, Sacramento / via email
Re: “Renters’ revenge” by Scott Thomas Anderson and Raheem F. Hosseini (News, March 12):
In District 4’s case, it should be titled “Gerrymander Karma.” The results weren’t about rent control, they were about redistricting. After 2001, the redistricting committee redrew District 4 into a schizophrenic territory. When you look at how the votes were distributed, it should be no surprise that the older incumbent, Steve Hansen, won long-established family neighborhoods, or that Katie Valenzuela won the votes of a youth-focused Midtown/downtown urban utopia.
Ten years later, she is the fresh new “disrupter.” A decade earlier, Hansen was the young, aspiring politician on the redistricting committee that made District 4 what it is today. At the time, it probably seemed like a good idea.
K.L. Rogers, Sacramento / via email
A bright idea
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Tom Steyer, I spend my retirement days sitting at the kitchen table reading. Yesterday the light bulb in the overhead fixture burnt out. I went to the cupboard to get a replacement, but the cupboard was bare of incandescent bulbs. The other house lights have long ago been replaced by mandated bulbs. I bicycled over to the neighborhood hardware store; alas, their cupboard was likewise bare. “Get some from Amazon!” my wife said. Indeed, Amazon had them. I ordered a small pack, but at checkout Amazon notified me that it was not allowed to ship this item to California.
Please, could you find it in your heart to each take, say, two fewer jet trips per year? My back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that this sacrifice will provide sufficient carbon offsets to legalize possession of one old-style light bulb per grateful senior citizen.
Dwight Freund, Sacramento / via email
The truth defense
Re: “A display of hate” by Reuven H. Taff (Essay, Jan. 23):
None of the statements Rabbi Taff complains about are false. They don’t say that Bethlehem is under Israeli authority. Bethlehem is ostensibly under Palestinian authority, but is still under Israeli military occupation, illegally. And Bethlehem’s people are increasingly isolated, suffering obstruction of their economy and a diminished future. Their land is being confiscated by Israeli settlers protected by Israeli forces.
Statements criticizing the state of Israel are not anti-Semitic because Israel is a political entity, not a religious or ethnic entity or person. If I criticize the government of Italy, or the mafia, am I being anti-Italian? No. It’s not anti-anything if it’s true. Most Israeli Jews are of European origin or ancestry and are about as Semitic as Elizabeth Warren is Native American. And yes, the First Amendment does in fact protect speech Rabbi Taff doesn’t like.
Jan Bergeron, Sacramento / via email
A reasonable law
Re: “A horrible law” by Gonzalo I. Vergara (Letters, Jan. 23):
The job of government is to promote the general welfare. In 1858, Henry Macleod coined “Gresham’s Law” which refers to a principle in economics: “Bad money drives out good.” The state of California under Hiram Johnson recognized the need to protect labor for the good of all. Hence, California has a rightful interest in defining employment relationships.
If he wants to be an independent contractor, he can get a business license and invest in modern computerized equipment for a home office. (A corner in the dining room will work.) He can obtain errors and omission insurance and advertise his experience in the local legal community. My experience with paralegals is that some of them were real assets to their firms. He then can work for a little as he wants.
Charles Donaldson, Sacramento / via email
A record store, please
Re: “Demolishing history” by James Peyton (Essay, Feb. 20):
They can make up the loss of those buildings by making sure a really great record store goes in the new one, since we don’t have any right now!
The inside of the Tower Theatre needs to be un-demolished also, restored back to its original big auditorium that was chopped up in 1974.
Jesse Skeen, Sacramento / via SN&R Extra