Re "Duck Dynasty patriarch ditched" (Names & Faces, Dec. 19): Many of us who have friends and family in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community completely support the suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson from the A&E channel.
Some may say that the reality-TV star was just exercising his freedom of speech by expressing his beliefs on homosexuals and blacks, but comments, such as those condemning gays as sinners, were bound to have consequences.
Controversial issues, such as homosexuality, shouldn't be taken lightly by public figures in interviews. Such comments will spread like wildfire through the media. A&E had no choice but to suspend Robertson because its network image was damaged. Without taking action, the damage could have become irreparable.
Re "Mental patients bused - and crime followed" (Page A1, Dec. 15): I commend The Sacramento Bee for shining light on local issues, but you've been unfair toward Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. The cause of the problem isnt giving bus tickets to the mentally ill. Its that they were discharged in the first place.
True, some of those discharged from Rawson-Neal went out and stole cars or committed other serious crimes. But some discharges from our local psychiatric institutions have committed similar serious crimes.
Patients rights now trump public safety. Thus, those with serious mental illnesses are being released into our neighborhoods daily before they are ready. We've no right to shame Rawson-Neal because we are doing the same thing just without the bonus of a bus ticket.
Re Lessons about mental health care from Sandy Hook (Viewpoints, Dec. 14): Dr. Gary Tsai identifies a problem of enormous importance to many mental health treatment professionals, families, consumers and other advocates. The current standards for treatment based on how much an individual poses a danger or has a grave disability are inadequate and only allow treatment after a tragedy has occurred.
He also identifies the solution, which is to craft a modern need-for-treatment standard that allows early intervention and speeds, instead of impedes, recovery from mental illness.
Rep. Tim Murphy recently introduced the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act in Congress to address these and other issues. A measure like this is long overdue. In fact, since our treatments standards were developed in 1967, it is 46 years overdue.
The pubic, state and local public officials and members of Congress need to embrace these reforms.
-- Randall Hagar, Sacramento, director of government affairs, California Psychiatric Association
Re "Downtown arena traffic won't snarl traffic" (Page A1, Dec. 17): Here are five solutions to congestion that the downtown arena traffic study overlooked:
1. Fans could be parachuted in by plane, or Amazon could deliver them by drones.
2. Sacramento Kings owners could build a landing pad on top of the arena and shuttle people in and out by helicopter.
3. The city could install airport-style people movers along J Street.
4. Fans could order pizza downtown and have the delivery drivers take them to the arena on their way back.
5. Gov. Jerry Brown could push to bore two tunnels into the area from the suburbs where there's plenty of parking.
Ernst W. Larson Jr. Sacramento
Re "Duck Dynasty patriarch ditched" (Names & Faces, Dec. 19): Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's views on gays and black people are horrific. He reminds me of the maxim, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
When I think of the duck guys, the banjo-guitar song from the movie "Deliverance" keeps popping into my head?
Re Lessons about mental health care from Sandy Hook (Viewpoints, Dec. 14): The unfortunate irony of Dr. Gary Tsai's excellent commentary is that we have not learned from Sandy Hook, nor apparently any other tragedy that has occurred before or after the Newtown massacre that left 28 people dead.
Our failure to learn has been so complete that it compelled the leadership in our government to write legislation that will, hopefully, lead us to do what we already know should be done. In no other area of medicine do we wait until calamity occurs before we act. In virtually no other area of our lives do we wait for disaster to occur before we take action.
When the tsunami warnings sound, do we wait until the waves have toppled over us before we seek safety? For the mentally ill, the warnings have been sounding for decades. They are now deafening.
Re "Arena vote just a wasted expense" (Our Region, Marcos Breton, Dec. 15):
Since twice as many voters signed the petition circulated by STOP (Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork) as attended a Sacramento Kings game, our elected official should save the $100,000 by automatically putting the matter to the vote of those of us who will have to pay the costs.
If the arena is such a good deal, then those who will profit should pay the total costs of the project. Why should 100 percent of city residents pay for a facility used by fewer than 1 percent?
I think the city Preservation Commission and the Public Market Building project team deserve recognition for their contributions to the planned redesign of the Sheraton Grand Market Hotel.
As a high school student interested in architecture, I observed their joint efforts when the Preservation Commission met recently to consider proposed changes to the historic hotel, located at 13th and J streets.
The commission and project team's work will allow designers to add to the building to meet modern needs while preserving its historic elements, such as its notable interior roof trusses. Architect Julia Morgan designed the original structure in 1923.
Re "Downtown Arena won't snarl traffic (Page A1, Dec. 17): The suggestion, even from a so-called study, that the arena won't snarl traffic is clearly politically driven.
Traffic in and out of the major interchange of interstates 80 and 50, including I-5 and the "W-X," is already at a standstill. If we add thousands of arena patrons, employees and vendors, along with the projected boom in area retail, the entire freeway system will come to a screeching halt from approximately 3 to 8 p.m.
The Orwellian suggestion that folks will be encouraged to use mass transit is baffling, since there is no meaningful mass transit to outlying areas.
While I support the arena, I think that a huge effort should be directed at improving mass transit far and wide. Phony studies do more harm than good in the long run.
Re "Arena vote just a wasted expense" (Our Region, Marcos Breton, Dec. 15): It appears that Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton wants it both ways when it comes to voting in Sacramento.
If you don't vote, he wants you to shut up as he wrote several months ago. And now if you want to vote on the city spending taxpayers' money to finance the downtown arena, he wants you to be quiet because it might cost money to speak your mind and vote.
The real issue for Breton and Mayor Kevin Johnson is that they know the arena financing hangs by a thread, and that, if left up to city residents, the thread would be cut and there would be no money.
City residents cannot afford to not vote on this important issue.
Re "GOP conservatives back 'Duck Dynasty' star" (Page A1, Dec. 20): It's ironic that conservative Ralph Reed bemoans a culture he calls increasingly intolerant and discriminatory toward his views. Those views, and the views of conservative Christians, are, by their very nature, intolerant and discriminatory.
If someone was openly racist and tried to complain that their views were "under siege," we wouldn't lend it any credibility by printing it in a newspaper as The Sacramento Bee has done with the equally outdated views presented here.
This kind of intolerance will only cease when we show it to be absolutely unacceptable in every situation where it occurs. The A&E channel understands that and suspended Phil Robertson from the "Duck Dynasty" show as a result.
-- Isaac Smith, Sacramento
Re "Downtown arena traffic won't snarl traffic" (Page A1, Dec. 17): If you have driven to a Sacramento Kings game and seen traffic in four or five lanes at each of the four entrance gates, you know this study of traffic congestion for the proposed downtown arena defies all common sense.
Re Find the next rock star chefs in our schools (Forum, Dec. 15): Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans nailed it with their article on terrific food service directors and school lunch chefs.
My mouth was watering at the description of Turlock Unified School Districts rotisserie chicken, sweet potato fries and barbecued grass-fed burgers and the jicama sticks served with lemon in Esparto schools. What a natural benefit to both children and local farmers to serve delicious mandarin oranges and other fruits and vegetables in season.
It is noteworthy to read theres a generation of school food service directors retiring in the next decade, providing excellent stable jobs for young people who will influence the health of our children. Thank you!
Re Let government run all health care (Forum, Letters, Dec. 15): The headline for a recent letter advocating a single-payer solution for our countrys health insurance problem perpetuates a basic misunderstanding of that insurance concept. The headline states Let the government run all health care. This could not be further from the truth.
As practiced in Canada, Taiwan and other advanced economies of the world, a government agency offers health insurance to the public, but not health care.
Actual health care is offered by a combination of sources, including private nonprofits like Sutter Health or Kaiser Permanente, faith-based nonprofits like Dignity Health, university-based nonprofits like UC Davis Medical Center, and community-based nonprofits, which exist in many smaller towns in the United States.
It is unfortunate that the single-payer solution, which has passed a statewide election in Vermont, is often misunderstood in this way.
Re "With visits up, libraries seek more money" (Editorials, Dec. 16): Under no circumstances should property taxes be raised for anything. Those of us who are on a limited income or on disability should not be penalized with more taxes on their property.
I can barely make ends meet. If the library parcel tax is raised, it would be more difficult. Please encourage voters to say "no" on any parcel tax increase.
Re "Baby, it's cold outside...but not in Sacramento" (Forum, Jack Ohman, Dec. 15): I loved Jack Ohman's opinion piece about the winters in Michigan he remembers, in contrast to the "very cold," balmy winter in Sacramento.
Having grown up in New York, I, too, hesitate when I tell anyone from back East how cold it is here. We get acclimated to our new environment, but I remember those frozen days in New York.
Other than "snow days" to get out of school, I don't miss that kind of cold one bit, but I appreciate the memories Ohman's column brought back.
Re "GOP conservatives back 'Duck Dynasty' star, (Page A1, Dec. 20): When Martin Bashir of MSNBC made a very offensive comment about Sarah Palin, the GOP conservatives called for his head. He was suspended and later resigned.
When Phil Robertson of the "Duck Dynasty" reality TV show made very offensive comments about gays and African Americans, he was suspended from the show. Now, the GOP conservatives claim that suspension is wrong and goes against the First Amendment.
How can the conservatives have it both ways?
Re "Trolley car plan: Who will pay?" (Page A1, Dec. 18): The Los Angeles Department of Transportation runs a small but successful downtown bus system called DASH. Since its inception, DASH has expanded from four or five lines to more than 25 lines. The cash fare is 50 cents and an unlimited monthly pass is $18. The five DASH downtown lines run as frequently as every five minutes, depending on the time of day.
Wouldn't this be more flexible and cost-effective than the trolley system proposed by the leaders of Sacramento and West Sacramento?
Re Unlikely candidate building his image (Page A1, Dec. 9): Former financier Neel Kashkari may be nice, but does he imagine that people in this region will have anything but distrust for anyone associated with Goldman Sachs, the U.S. Treasury and the $700 billion bank bailout known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program?
This region has been in a horrible slump for much of the last five years, as a result of Wall Street's shenanigans, and Kashkari seems like a Wall Street high roller.
When a candidate has real accomplishments, along with a vision and background we can respect, then maybe we'll take him seriously. Kashkari? Not so much.