Too much of state belongs to the feds
Re “Some sympathy for range protest” (Page 1A, Jan. 10): Northern California counties are going broke because of immense federal land ownership, leaving them no property taxes or commercial possibilities. Although these allowances are nowhere in the explicit stated uses in the Constitution, the feds refer to their powers in the “territories,” not mentioning that the “territories” included land not yet part of states.
Indeed, the original states have almost no federal land.
So why do the feds control so much land here? Because they enjoy the power and our politicians don’t care.
States won’t get public land back
The notion that the federal government will give back land in the West to the states is ridiculous. The government got the land in the first place by taking it, winning it in war and buying it. As states came into the union, the government gave states some land. It administers the rest for the good of all.
There’s no free lunch. If a rancher does not pay his shockingly cheap grazing fees, he gets kicked off the land. If environmental degradation calls for a dial-back in mining and timber harvest, that’s the price we pay for sustainability. Local control won’t change that.
Frank Blaha, Gold River
Feds never kept land from ranchers
The notion that land was “held back” by the federal government during the conservation movements of the 1800s isn’t correct. At the time, no one wanted much of the land in the West because it was isolated, so the government became a custodian. Once conservation values became stronger in the 20th century, some lands were reserved for grazing, logging and national parks.
Still, great swaths moved into the hands of private businesses, such as railroads and mines. But “public lands” were always meant to be managed in the national interest. “Federal lands” are our lands – the land of the people of the United States. Places like Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are owned by all of us.
David B. Rolloff, professor, Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration, California State University, Sacramento
Angry ranchers are really pretty lucky
It was frustrating to read about the ranchers’ desire to grab federal land from the people of the United States. If ranch life is so terrible, maybe they should move to the suburbs and spend half of their income on an expensive house perched on an eighth of an acre like most Americans. It is hard to feel sorry for them.
I have hunted in Lassen County, where private ranches were lightly grazed so that the ranchers could sell the hunting rights to the wildlife there. Meanwhile, the federal land the ranchers’ leased from the federal government was absolutely trashed. This land is meant for all citizens, not just those that think they have to make a living off of it.
Ken Stapleton, Douglas City
More funds needed for city’s homeless
Re “Homeless aren’t treated like criminals” (Marcos Breton, Jan 10): Maybe $13.6 million spent annually on homeless services isn’t enough for a city the size of Sacramento. If Portland spends $54.4 million annually on homeless services, isn’t it reasonable to consider that Sacramento could double its annual budget for homeless services?
I witness homeless urban campers nestled into sheltered storefront alcoves every day while the arena raises its unavoidable form less than two blocks away. Why is the city bent on creating a sports arena that only those with certain incomes will be able to attend, while homeless campers seek shelter in its shadow?
Erin Hauge, Sacramento
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