Re "City arena subsidy faces new debate" (Page A1, Dec. 6): The Sacramento Bee incorrectly calls the city's monetary contribution to the new downtown arena a subsidy. The dictionary definition of a subsidy is "monetary assistance given to someone else in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest."
Why is the city of Sacramento's contribution to the new arena not a subsidy? Simple. The city will own the new arena, a very valuable asset from which the city will derive massive financial returns.
The city's monetary contribution should rightfully be called a smart investment, not a subsidy.
Re "Kings center to aid pit bulls" (Our Region, Dec. 4): The news article giving credit to DeMarcus Cousins for his efforts to save pit bulls was interesting and well written.
However, why should NFL quarterback Michael Vick be mentioned in the same story? Vick did not raise dogs in a loving atmosphere. He only changed his methods when required by the courts.
Obviously, DeMarcus Cousins has worked to provide his pets with the training and love that they need.
Re "FDA is correct to halt genetic tests from 23andMe" (Editorials, Dec. 7): The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is busily expanding its power over medical drugs and equipment to include the practice of medicine by individual physicians. The agency's obsession is to make sure that no one is allowed to get well without its permission.
One glaring example is the FDAs legal action against physicians who remove stem cells from a patient to treat that patient. A person's own stem cells are a chemical that only the FDA is permitted to regulate is what the agency is saying in court.
For years, the FDA has tried to prevent journals from publishing information about the effectiveness of certain drugs. Now, the FDA pulls the plug using a person's own genetic information. This is about bureaucrats defending their own power, not health care.
Re "Sorry, but it's not a wonderful musical" (Marcus Crowder, Dec. 3): Despite Marcus Crowder's review, I found the Sacramento Theatre Company's production of "It's a Wonderful Life - The Musical" to be delightful.
I don't know whether to think of Crowder in this review as the Grinch or Scrooge, but the performance that I attended received a standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience.
In my opinion, the musical, which plays through Dec. 22, is well staged, well cast and well done.
-- Donna Lane, Sacramento
Re "Arena vote petitions arrive" (Page A1, Dec. 11): Shame on Mayor Kevin Johnson. Those of us who question the wisdom of the arena subsidy and financing plan are not the "outside interests" he decries. We are residents concerned about Sacramento government's fixation on the arena while we lack basic city services, such as timely recycling and yard waste pickup and prompt police response to property crimes.
We are concerned about piling on debt while infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines need replacement, and while we face increasing retiree health and pension obligations.
We don't want to share the fate of Stockton and my home town of Detroit. Those who attack the supporters of an arena vote do so because they have no answer for our arguments.
Re "FDA approves hepatitis C drug" (Page A6, Dec.7): Yes, a new less invasive and more effective method is needed to help those with hepatitis C, but $84,000 for a 12-week program, really? And the bill would be $168,000 for those with a less common version of the disease who need longer care.
Now if I had hepatitis C, there is no way I would be able to afford that. I would personally rather live with my condition until my time came to pass. How are all the baby boomers expected to pay for this?
My granddad is 68 years old, sick and in no shape to continue working. The benefit he gets is not enough for him to live worry free, yet alone buy a drug for $168,000. A program that subsidizes the cost of the drug would be very helpful to those who need it
Re "Health site users get sales calls" (Capitol & California, Dec. 7): The pilot program blocks access to state customer service representatives. It is no longer possible to access any customer service representative by calling the state 800 number. Clicking on the website buttons refers you to insurance agents and nonprofit organizations or a county Health and Human Services representative.
However, the website's HHS referral generated an error message, so I searched online to find an HHS office and did reach a knowledgeable customer service representative. But she and I were unable to resolve my issue because the Covered California website crashed.
It looks like California's website has joined the ranks of the states unable to enroll customers effectively.
Re "Arena vote petitions arrive" (Page A1, Dec. 11): The people who are part of Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) and the citizens who signed their petition have insulted some very knowledgeable people at City Hall, who have gone over this arena deal with a fine-tooth comb and have deemed it a good one for the city.
In the long run, it will provide a lot of money to the city.
Re "City Arena subsidy faces new debate" (Page A1, Dec. 6): When in doubt, you'd rather not? There are plenty of ongoing issues with the starting of the construction of the Sacramento arena in downtown.
The new debate is whether the city of Sacramento would be able to pay off a debt loaned by private investors. This new arena could provide more employment opportunities for residents, yet it could lead to a $36 million debt.
Is it a good idea to risk that amount of money? Usually, a majority of residents tend to choose one option more than the other, but opinions on this issue could be evenly divided.
If there is any question about debt, then there should be broader and more detailed research before making a decision. This research would provide Sacramento residents, including those critical of the proposed arena, with a sense of security for their city.
Re "Mandela set a powerful example for the world" (Editorials, Dec. 6): Nelson Mandela certainly helped end racial bias in South Africa. But the
government there has always been an authoritarian regime.
South Africa is ranked as only "partly free" by Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom worldwide, according to its website.
South Africa's constitution, in Section 36, even gives the government the general power to limit most any right granted to its citizens.
Let's all hope South Africa will throw off more reigns of oppression on its people and be truly free.
Re "Engineers' dissent blasts Bay Bridge safety report" (Page A1, Dec. 8): This eastern span of the bridge was built to replace the weaker old bridge that's been a concern since the earthquake of 1989. Taxpayers paid $6.4 billion, including a $20 million bonus, to the engineers for finishing the bridge project early.
After 15 years, the bridge is finally open, but it still has many safety problems. Caltrans will spend another few million to fix the current problems left by the engineers, who took the bonuses for finishing early.
After the costly safety checks, engineering issues shouldn't be present. Bonuses should not be given if the product was not delivered as advertised.
We already paid for a safer bridge. The engineers should be picking up this tab, not us.
Re "Time to bring immigration reform to a vote" (Editorials, Dec. 2): Allowing non-American citizens a quicker process to get their green card would only hurt the people of America. More immigrants would want to come to the United States, which would create more poverty here and also take away more jobs for native-born citizens.
Limited immigration is good for our nation, but allowing an excessive number of immigrants would hurt the economy. Some immigrants would struggle to get jobs and have trouble maintaining a quality life.
Some immigrants would turn to welfare and cause more debt in California. If we have to spend much more on welfare in our state, taxes would be increased dramatically, further harming the economy.
Re "Time to bring immigration reform to a vote" (Editorials, Dec. 2): President Barack Obama wants to change the U.S immigration policy, while Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wants to bury the issue.
I think Boehner is wrong. Discussing and approving immigration reform would open a wide range of economic benefits. Allowing immigration reform also would bring back together families who have been deprived of their loved ones for so long.
Republicans need to realize that an agreement on immigration reform would lead states, such as California, out of debt by increasing consumer spending and investing.
I agree with the president's views: If the issue of immigration isn't dealt with, then we are undercutting our own future.
Re "Delta details unveiled - in 34,000 pages" (Page A1, Dec. 10): Please, who has time to read 34,000 pages in a year? I doubt any of our elected officials who will vote on this proposal involving two giant water-diversion tunnels will accomplish this task.
How can we expect a fair and unbiased outcome to this proposal if the average person cannot read the details in the time allotted to be fully informed on this matter?
Re "Man shoots himself after police chase" (Crime reports, Dec. 3): This article made me think of police brutality, an issue I've been looking at for years. This issue has had serious consequences ever since the Rodney King incident involving Los Angeles police in 1965. More recently, we had the Fruitvale Station killing involving a BART police officer in 2009.
These kinds of cases involving injury or death of citizens at the hands of law enforcement keep happening.
Yet, in almost all of the incidents, the police don't need to be so violent toward their subjects. They don't need to use physical force, guns, tasers and batons to restrain them. They're using excessive force.
Re "Adrift: Sac Metro Chamber Chamber wanes as regional force" (Editorials, Dec. 1): Our three nonprofits, Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA), NextEd and the Northern California World Trade Center, have independent boards of directors and are also affiliate organizations of the Metro Chamber.
We work closely with the chamber to advance shared economic development priorities in the areas of emerging technology, education and workforce and international trade, respectively.
Collaboration requires coordination across business plans, budgets and individual personalities. That said, the Metro Chamber has worked effectively and consistently to advance our shared objectives, especially as it relates to the Next Economy, the Capital Region's shared economic development strategy.
On behalf of all three nonprofits, I can say we look forward to 2014 as our organizations, in partnership with the Metro Chamber, SACTO, Valley Vision and others, work together and individually to promote economic prosperity in the Capital Region.
Re "Health site's users get sales calls" (Capitol and California, Dec. 7): Being initially thrilled with the prospect of long-awaited health insurance, I was disheartened when the California Covered website revealed that my monthly payments would nearly match my rent.
I am now further disheartened to realize that my discarded application has probably resulted in my contact information being passed on to insurance firm sales agents who are eager to earn their 10 percent sales commission.
If California Covered simply wants to make me aware that my application is unfinished, couldn't they just email me themselves?
In light of the continuing privacy invasions of the National Security Agency, the contact information policies of California Covered seem to demonstrate yet another government institution's severe lack of sensitivity for customer and citizen privacy at a critical time for public acceptance of the Affordable Care Act.
Re "Health watch" (The Buzz, Nov. 26): I recently wrote about the health issues related to fast-food consumption by youth and young adults, and I agree that unhealthy eating is a national problem that needs to be solved. If our unhealthy eating pattern isn't changed, it will continue to cause major health difficulties, such as obesity.
I believe that the first step is to educate the parents and guardians of children. Since children tend to look up to adults as role models, teaching the the parents to make healthy eating choices will encourage kids to do the same thing and develop a healthy lifestyle.
Re "Agency denies Elk Grove's plan" (Our Region, Nov. 8): Regarding the news article about the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission turning down Elk Grove's request to expand its boundaries, I believe that the people who live in the Sacramento area need to be made aware of how bad the suburban sprawl issue has become for this region. Sprawl has caused the loss of agricultural land and environmental damage.
Elk Grove is a perfect example of how suburban sprawl has destroyed a once-economically stable town and turned it into a wasteful, environmentally devastating, money-hungry city.
If the public was more aware of the benefits of proper city and regional planning, it could change their minds on key issues that may come up to a vote concerning the future of the area we all live in.