California Forum

Death penalty, Trump’s agenda, Met’s plans

The death chamber of the lethal-injection facility at San Quentin State Prison.
The death chamber of the lethal-injection facility at San Quentin State Prison. Associated Press file

Death penalty as a deterrent?

Re “California’s broken death penalty system can be fixed” (Forum, Another View, July 24): Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert tells us that “experience and common sense confirm a deterrent effect” of the death penalty for serious crimes like murder. This misses the point.

The real question is whether the death penalty is a more effective deterrent than the threat of a lengthy prison sentence. She offers no evidence that it is. In fact, there is no national consensus on that question among the experts who study the data.

She also claims that it is just common sense that the death penalty is a more effective deterrent than, say, life without parole. If that were true, it is hard to understand why nearly half of the states in the U.S. have ended capital punishment, including New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

Clifford E. Anderson, Sacramento

What about the innocent?

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert uses the example of Clarence Ray Allen as justification for why life imprisonment is insufficient. What she omits is that Allen did not commit the additional murders – a third party did it while Allen was still locked up. Allen could just as easily have conspired to murder the witnesses against him even if he had been initially sentenced to death.

Schubert also omits the cost of the death penalty in innocent lives.

Since 1973, 156 people have been exonerated while on death row. Three of those were in California. A recent study has concluded that more than 4 percent of those sentenced to death were incorrectly convicted.

The cost of executing monsters is the risk of executing innocent people. So before you vote to keep the death penalty ask yourself: How many innocent people are you willing to execute?

Donald D. deRosier,


It is vengeance, not justice

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert praises the cult of revenge … er, I mean the death penalty, saying “Experience and common sense confirm (its) deterrent effect.”

But common sense says only stupid criminals with poor impulse control get jailed, not people who calculate potential costs before doing crimes. Despite Schubert’s assertion, experience does not say lower crime rates follow from harsher penalties. Thanks to the drug war, per capita, the U.S. incarcerates people seven times more often than Canada. Yet for 40 years Canadian and U.S. crime rates have differed insignificantly.

Mark Dempsey, Orangevale

Trump favors the establishment

Re “In Trump vs. Clinton, will fear trump facts” (Editorials, July 24): Donald Trump’s speech showed he’s owned by the big banks, Wall Street, the corporate elite: The Establishment.

Trump promised to repeal a law that bans tax-exempt status for nonprofits that engage in significant political activity. Billionaires won’t have to form PACs anymore; they can do everything through their own nonprofits with the ordinary taxpayer subsidizing them.

“We are going to deal with the issue of regulation … and we will end it very, very quickly,” Trump said. We’ll see more exploding air bags, rancid food and more cigarettes for the kiddies, but the rich will get richer.

Trump proposed large tax cuts. The rich have the most to gain, and with “nonprofit” political weaponry and the money saved through lower taxes, they’ll have the power to get the tax code they want.

Trump also showed he favors turning public schools into profit centers for private investors.

Kevin Coyle, Sacramento

Trump’s trumpery shows his worth

Donald Trump’s speech was delivered below an elephantine printing of his name. Like his buildings and airplanes, he marks all that he owns. He recited a laundry list of real and fictional dangers, delivered with his expected bluster, threats, made-up facts and, as usual, without any hint of fixes or solutions.

He pretends to be the protector of common people, but the Scottish documentary “You’ve Been Trumped” shows how he bullies common folk when given the chance.

“Trumpery” is an English word that means “worthless nonsense” and is a right-on description of the Trump campaign.

Frank Horowitz,


Trump supporters are not afraid

The way The Sacramento Bee keeps harping on the fear that Donald Trump displayed or invoked, you must be projecting yourself. Republicans and Trump supporters are not afraid. We’re disgusted and angry with the state of the country, but not afraid.

Neither do we, the Republican Party, or Trump hate anyone as the left slings this message with glee.

Joe Chasko, Sacramento

Right about Trump’s speech

Re “Comparisons between tyrants and Trump” (Viewpoints, July 24): I agree with Kathleen Parker’s characterization of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech as that of a fear-monger. He has nothing positive to say about any topic except his lying rant about being able to solve all the nation’s problems, neglecting to say how he will do so.

As a gay man, I do not believe Trump’s support of LGBTQ rights is sincere. I was appalled at the tokenism displayed at the Republican National Convention by the gay man endorsing Trump. He knows not what he does.

John R. Williams,

Rancho Cordova

‘The Apprentice’ becomes reality

When Republicans refused to acknowledge the facts in the National Republican Committee’s 2012 post-mortem and continued their “No” campaign against President Barack Obama, they guaranteed the absence of any beneficial achievement to highlight in 2016. Thus, the tryout team they sent to the field had nothing to show Republicans except the repeated failures to deliver, dishonesty and deserting citizens to drown in false efforts to repeal and replace.

The field of wannabes had nothing to convince voters they could govern or to merit their vote. Their electorate threw in the towel and decided to consider a third-party outsider masquerading as a Republican. He gave each bloc of voters something to like, stealing the nomination without any substance.

Now “The Apprentice” becomes reality.

Dan Fong,

Rancho Cordova

MWD won’t be farming

Re “Metropolitan Water District can be good Delta neighbor” (Viewpoints, July 24): More than 100 years ago, the precursor to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Los Angeles Water District, through guile and chicanery, bought much of the Owens Valley – a place of great natural beauty and agricultural productivity – and built an aqueduct to bring its water to Los Angeles. Even after Owens Lake dried up, L.A. reached farther north and began to starve Mono Lake, a process stopped only via litigation.

Mary Nejedly Piepho cannot be so naive as to really believe that MWD bought 20,000 Delta acres to farm, but that’s what her op-ed implies. Does a mountain lion set up a den near deer feeding grounds to be a good neighbor?

Harvey Swenson,



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