Re “Ag industry is stepping up for safe drinking water” (Viewpoints, Aug. 18): Tim Johnson of the California Rice Commission seeks to justify more cost to all of us to rescue people without good drinking water in farm country. This is a request on behalf of the subsidy-enhanced agricultural industry. Problems for those communities without reasonable drinking water were brought on by Big Ag. Farmers should pay for the pollution they’ve caused. Senate Bill 623 is a feel-good measure to rescue disadvantaged communities while enhancing the fig leaf enjoyed by water consumptive agriculture. Let agriculture pay for its damage.
Bill Martin, Quincy
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We should all be willing to pay a few dollars to ensure that affected families have clean water. But the real problem is that the agricultural industry has grabbed onto SB 623 as a way to avoid all responsibility for its pollution. In return for a tiny assessment on fertilizer, agricultural operations will become exempt from the cleanup requirements that apply to other California business. Under this pay-to-pollute scheme, growers avoid all legal responsibility and can keep polluting with impunity.
Deborah Sivas, Palo Alto
Re “Democrats push another bill to change California election rules in their favor” (sacbee.com, Aug. 21): After bankrolling the GOP’s effort to deceive voters into thinking a recall petition would repeal the gas tax, it’s a shame, but not a surprise, that the California GOP Chair Jim Brulte is trying to deceive the public about Sen. Josh Newman’s record. A practical and principled person, Newman represents the people of the 29th Senate District with honesty, integrity and open-mindedness, putting public service over politics. He hasn’t authored a single bill to raise taxes. Instead, he championed issues his constituents care about: gang prevention, reducing homelessness, and supporting veterans. Brulte’s tactics reek of the partisan practices that alienate voters, the very same politics as usual Newman was elected to fight.
Julie Lautsch, Sacramento
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