Opinion

Coastal Commission, Yosemite, middle class

“The Damming of Yosemite Valley” by Sandow Birk
“The Damming of Yosemite Valley” by Sandow Birk

Ex parte is Latin for fix is in

Re “A murky bid to block coastal transparency” (Editorials, Aug. 7): Your editorial Sunday rightly blasted “ex parte” communications in which special interests wanting to develop coastal land try to influence members of the Coastal Commission through private discussions.

Earlier columns criticized ex parte communications in which utility executives tried to influence members of the California Public Utilities Commission on major issues like the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant and the San Bruno gas explosion.

Is ex parte Latin for “the fix is in”?

Ex parte communications ought to be banned for decision-making bodies in the executive branch. At least the various commissioners ought to be required to wear body cameras so we know what deals and promises were made.

Michael J. Saxton, Davis

Help consumers, help corporations

Re “Campaign’s focus on middle class has Wall Street worried” (Forum, Aug. 7): According to the economist Arthur Laffer, cutting taxes when the tax rates are greater than the theoretical optimum tax rate will invigorate the economy, while cutting taxes will hurt the economy when the tax rates are lower than the theoretical optimum tax rate.

When Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush cut the tax rates, the American economy bloomed. By the time George W. Bush came to power, the tax rates were lower than the theoretical optimum tax rate and his multiple tax cuts did not help the economy. Besides most tax rates for the rich show up as higher levies, fees, traffic fines, poor infrastructure and cuts to schools and services, placing a higher burden on the poor and the middle class.

I agree with Milton Friedman who said the sole goal of the corporations should be to maximize shareholder value. However, protecting, nurturing and growing the consumer market in the long run will bolster corporate sales, profits and shareholder value.

Narendra Khilnani, Lincoln

Skeptical about Yosemite Valley dam

Re “Legacy of ‘Cadillac Desert’ stresses severity of water crisis” (Forum, Aug. 7): Eric Skindrud’s article on California water issues is certainly calculated to grab the reader’s attention by saying Los Angeles water baron William Mulholland badgered Yosemite National Park Superintendent Horace M. Albright with a proposal to dam Yosemite Valley.

That Mulholland seriously suggested this is highly improbable, however. Unlike the park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley, which had lately been dammed, Yosemite Valley was heavily developed for public use.

Any plan to inundate this development and displace thousands of visitors would have been wholly unrealistic. Skindrud later admits that there’s no documentary evidence for Mulholland’s alleged proposal. So why play it up?

Barry Mackintosh, Lincoln

Clinton has faced unrelenting attacks

Re “Why a Trump loss could still be destructive” (Forum, Aug. 7): Syndicated columnist Dana Milbank claims that the GOP will declare the system is rigged if Donald Trump loses.

The GOP has tried to delegitimize presidents before. The Arkansas Project tried it with Bill Clinton and now Hillary Clinton. John Kerry was described as a coward. The campaign against President Barack Obama reached the nadir of filth with the attempt by the GOP to delegitimize him for being concerned, brilliant, cool, thoughtful, witty, but, most unforgivably, black.

The campaign against Clinton follows this familiar pattern. The campaign to delegitimize her through fear-mongering and lies is in full swing. This time around, I hope the American voter will sort lies from truth. I doubt it, but one can always hope.

John Garon, Placerville

Republicans are in deep trouble

Republicans are ignoring the obvious: Their party is in crisis and needs to act to protect its long-term viability.

The party has been captured by Donald Trump and his supporters who have shown no understanding of its principles. Too many of them are ignoring the realities of their situation; they will simply vote for their party’s nominee when they should be demanding immediate action by its leaders to reinvent the party.

Answers are needed to such questions as: How well is our party aligned to the nation’s diverse population; what can be done to reduce the anti-Washington establishment syndrome; why are younger Americans distancing themselves from the party; and why are educated voters unhappy with the Republican Party.

Tyrus Ross Clayton, Rocklin

All sides should respect the fallen

Re “Three words that should have said it all” (Jack Ohman, Aug. 5); It seems so un-American, and unfortunate, for the death of Captain Humayun Khan to become politicized. The parents who have suffered this loss have the right to speak of their feelings, and they deserve nothing but our sympathy and respect.

Donald Trump’s response to Khizr Khan’s comments were inappropriate, lacked empathy, and were disrespectful. For a week, organizations and the media have hammered this message home to Trump. We are now hopeful that he will continue his campaign in a presidential way.

Equally inappropriate and disrespectful, if not worse, is to further a political cause from the death of a fallen soldier. It’s plausible, but unlikely, that Jack Ohman would take the opportunity to write the words in his very poignant piece, “Three words that should have said it all,” in response to Khan’s convention speech. And, if he did, and had simply left any reference to a presidential candidate out, that would be wonderful.

But by writing it as an opportunity to just further disparage Donald Trump, it becomes inappropriate and disrespectful to the fallen soldier. Surely, he would not have wanted his death used this way.

James Peace, Sacramento

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