Reserve death for cop killers
Re "Killer gets life term after top court cancels execution" (Page 4A, Aug. 1): The California Supreme Court was right to reverse the penalty phase of the murder trial of Paul Gordon Smith, Jr.
Shasta County District Attorney Stephen Carlton was right and courageous in refusing to spend $1 to $2 million to re-try the death penalty phase of the case.
Former Senior Deputy District Attorney Stew Jankowitz was right in describing the current California death penalty as "an illusion."
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Nobody knows this better than California's law enforcement officers. They are killed in the line of duty at an alarming rate. The answer is to repeal all provisions of the death penalty statutes except those applying the death penalty to "special victims," law enforcement officers, firefighters, judges, and prosecutors who are killed for doing their duty.
This would leave 50 people--not 750 people--on California's death row. We are never going to execute 750 people, but we could execute 50 people who have killed police or correctional officers.
Court of Appeal Justice Rick Sims, retired, Dutch Flat
Death Row isn’t so bad
Paul Gordon Smith, Jr. spent 13 years on death row for a 1998 murder, but his sentence was changed to life without parole by a judge who ruled he didn't have an expert witness during the penalty phase.
Ironically, Smith wants to be retried so he can stay on death row where inmates receive a private cell, private shower, private meals and other perks not available to general population inmates. Where is justice if the inmates run the asylum?
Dave Mulvehill, Rancho Murieta
Rule of law is breaking down
Re "Sanctuary cities are focus of new immigration fight" (Insight, July 31): We are supposed to be a democracy. But are we? The major problems of our country all involve the rule by the elites rather than by the people. Elites with vast wealth rule our politics. Elites with political power rule the enforcement of our laws with selectivity impunity.
From immigration, sanctuary cities, drugs, to business and environment, laws that do not meet their desires are ignored or subverted. When they speak of their ignoring laws as good, beware. Their voices are those of your rulers, not of your servants.
Laws are necessary to promote a stable, secure, and balanced society. We are a nation of laws, or a nation of insecurity, turbulence, disorder and confusion. Look around. Which do you think we are?
Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights
Black market in pot hurts kids
Re “Legal pot would be detrimental” (Letters, Aug. 2): Letter writer Regina Viani wants to keep pot illegal for the sake of the children. She doesn't realize that the black market puts our kids at great risk.
Drug dealers don't care about a child's age, and offer a wide range other illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine, and provide a product that could be laced with who-knows-what and contaminated with pesticides.
There will always be a big demand for marijuana. Kids report that pot is easier to get than alcohol and they will continue to buy on the black market. Regulation and taxation is the only way to protect children.
Jeff Meyers, Westlake Village
Pot’s water needs are modest
Re "Pot grown outside is a waste of water” (Editorials, July 31): Your editorial on the outdoor cultivation of cannabis is absurd.
The size of the cannabis plant will determine how much water she requires and how often she requires watering. I cannot speak to a plant that requires 5 to 10 gallons per day, as I have never come close to growing such a gargantuan plant.
Nine plants of modest size drink between 4.5 and 9 gallons every two days, depending on the temperature and their stage of growth. That’s a far cry from the 5 to 10 gallons of water per plant cited by your editorial. This amount of water can easily be recovered from one's shower or sink.
The alternative to growing cannabis outdoors is growing it indoors, which is a much greater waste of resources. Water is required, but one must consider the amount of electricity pulled off the grid to power grow lights and cooling systems.
I urge The Bee's editorial board to do further research before adopting the views of County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashlan, who has demonstrated personal animus toward the reform of cannabis laws.
Jason Miller, Sacramento
Take steps to ease climate change
Re “Obama worsens climate change” (Letters, July 31): In his letter, George Alger says “President Obama signed an agreement with China, the world’s largest economy and polluter, that allows China to pollute unfettered for the next 15 year.”
What can we do? Pass a carbon fee and dividend with border adjustments. Imported goods from countries without a carbon fee would have “border adjustments” that raise the price of those goods.
China would respond by passing a carbon fee and dividend of its own. Then fossil fuel would cost more in China and the United States, and citizens would have a dividend to pay those higher costs. The price of fossil fuels would go up, and renewable energy would be favored in the U.S. and China because renewable energy would cost less than fossil fuel energy.
Bruce Burdick, Carmichael
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