Re "Yes, California could suffer Detroit's fate" (Editorial Notebook, Dec. 7): Jack Ohman makes numerous claims throughout his piece warning of Detroit's demise, stating that California should take note. But Ohman fails to provide any substantial backing to the claims he is making or provide any evidence that California is already in decline.
Clearly Ohman has a connection to the city of Detroit and fears that California is headed down a similar path, but with nothing backing up his claim, he fails to provide anything more than a look at what Detroit has become.
If he really feels California is on a similar path as Detroit, then it would have been wise to provide some evidence or possibly a plan of action instead of focusing so much of his piece on his recent trip to Detroit.
Re Some Sikhs fear effect on religion (Our Region, Dec. 6): I oppose the sexy GAP ad featuring a Sikh man with an adoring woman. It disrespects the Sikh religion by showing suggestive body language. The ad is also a false image since the religion prohibits any body contract between opposite genders except within marriage.
The ad might try to show a break from religious hatred and ignorance, but there is a subliminal message focusing on racial differences and pulling people further from their moral beliefs to make them more westernized.
Re "Cellphones are easy prey for snooping" (Editorials, Dec. 11) A family of six is alive today because the authorities were able to find them through "cellphone snooping." On a similar note the Boston Marathon bombers were caught because of the many "snooping" cameras located in the heart of the city.
That our lives and activities are no longer private can be a boon or a curse. Cellphone tracking has saved many who were lost and could have died. In addition, many lawbreakers have been caught and convicted because their activities could be tracked.
As a society we have to decide whether the technology is beneficial or malevolent. Do we lose some personal freedom or take the chance of losing lives and property to criminals and terrorists?
I would rather know that if I am hurt or lost, I could be found because someone tracked my location through my cellphone.
-- Eileen Glaholt, Sacramento
Re "Yes, California could suffer Detroit's fate" (Editorial Notebook, Jack Ohman, Dec. 7): Jack Ohman accurately describes the myriad ills facing Detroit and its citizens. The mass exodus of manufacturing fueled by flawed job-killing policies like NAFTA has decimated many Rust Belt cities. Detroit's woes were magnified by corrupt politicians who badly mismanaged the city's finances.
Yet Ohman wraps up his piece by blaming Detroit's problems on police, firefighters and other public servants who stuck it out in a city in decline because they cared about their community.
Pensions, whether in Detroit or California, aren't the problem. It's time to start taking a hard look at the real economic challenges cities face, instead of scapegoating firefighters and others who put their lives on the line to keep our families safe.
Re "American teacher killed in Benghazi" (Page A10, Dec. 6): Benghazi has been much in the news since the attack at our embassy and a rallying point for those hoping to blame our president. This afternoon at a post office in Roseville, I saw that someone had set up a table with a big sign reading "Impeach Obama Benghazi." People were invited to sign an impeachment petition.
However, it should be noted that Rep. Tom McClintock and all Tea Party representatives voted to deny funds for increased security at Benghazi. The increased security that had been requested there was denied for lack of congressional funding.
Those votes may have sent a message to those who practice jihad that they need not worry that American interests in Benghazi would be protected.
If there is any blame to go around, let's make sure that we are putting it where it belongs.
Re "Yes, California could suffer Detroit's fate" (Editorial Notebook, Jack Ohman, Dec. 7): I agree with Jack Oman that California could share Detroit's fate. He concludes, "This isn't a political ideology thing; no liberals, no conservatives, just tables of numbers that add up to an inescapable answer: It can happen anywhere."
What Oman failed to mention, however, is that those tables of numbers, including high taxes, high public salaries and pensions racked up in Detroit, were accumulated under more than 50 years of Democrat rule.
Does anyone really believe that this wouldn't be "a political ideology thing" if those tables of numbers were accumulated by Detroit under Republican rule?
Re "State seeks release of killer" (Page A1, Dec. 6): Many Sacramento families would be put at great danger if Thomas Alvin Webster were released from the mental health institution where he is residing.
Dr. Robert Picker stated that Webster has not exhibited any psychotic behavior for years. However, Webster's mental illness came from the use of illegal narcotics. Once Webster is released into the general public, there will be a great chance that he can relapse and start using drugs again.
Even though Webster will be placed in a locked board and care home, he may be able to access and use illegal narcotics.
Putting a man capable of committing a homicide back into the Sacramento streets is absolutely wrong. It would take only one relapse for Webster to fall back into the heavy use of narcotics, and then what? Another homicide?
Re Obama makes wealth an issue (Page A1, Dec. 5): President Barack Obama maintains that it is not fair for the wealthy to be the haves and the poor the have-nots. His solution is redistributing wealth from the (mostly hardworking) rich to the poor.
Does no one in the US recognize that this is the path to Communism, as preached by Marx and Lenin? Communist Russia tried this after the fall of Tsar Nicolas.
We already have our ruling class: the president and congressional members are all rich and powerful, living the good life. Obama believes the wealth of the rest of us, the populace, should be redistributed, so everyone has a little.
Redistribution failed miserably in Russia, and it will fail in the United States. He who does not learn from history will see history repeated.
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 "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 "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 "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 "The world bids Mandela farewell" (Page A12, Dec. 11) As the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, we should pause to pay respect to the people of Africa, their history and cultures. This is an opportunity for Europeans and Americans to revitalize our efforts to redress past oppression and exploitation.
Many Americans routinely refer to Africa as if it was one nation, when in fact, it is a continent of more than 40 countries, hundreds of ethnic groups and dozens of languages. People from South Africa, Morocco, Kenya and Nigeria have rich but very different cultures and histories.
It is time Americans became more familiar with the countries, peoples and histories of African nations and paid them more respect
-- Jennifer Sommer, Davis
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.