Editorials

LETTERS Charlie Hebdo, autism, Gov. Jerry Brown, high-speed rail, etc.

We are Charlie Hebdo

Je suis Charlie: I am Charlie, Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French newspaper that dares to poke fun at the Islamo-fascists who wish to remake the world in their image. Like fascists everywhere, they use the weapons of murder and terror. The Sacramento Bee, and every newspaper, magazine, news website, etc., needs to print the “offending” cartoons, over and over again until their images are known the world over and we can see what frightens these fascists so badly. Nous sommes Charlie: We are Charlie. Take a stand for freedom.

Tom Funk, Elk Grove

Warning signs in bad behavior

Re “A night at the movies tests autistic boy’s family” (Viewpoints, Jan. 3): As parents of a young man with autism, my wife and I were impressed by the sensitivity and grace that Mr. Jones demonstrated in his article. Although our family has also experienced a few similar occurrences, fortunately they have been extremely rare and completely overshadowed by the kindness of total strangers. Most people understand that individuals with developmental differences and special needs are a reflection of our diversity and thus are treated with complete respect and dignity.

The inappropriate behavior of the “seething young man in his 20s” raises worrisome warning signs of anger-management issues such as bullying, road rage, domestic violence and other inappropriate behaviors. I hope that his “embarrassed parents” will monitor his actions and provide him with the appropriate professional counseling and assistance that may avert future potential tragedies.

Lou Vismara, M.D., Sacamento

Brown on climate: New taxes?

Re “For his final term, Brown charts an ambitious path” (Page A1, Jan. 6): Why is it that every time I hear Jerry Brown utter the phrase “climate change” I hear the words “new taxes”?

Paul McGrath, Cameron Park

California needs to end fracking

Gov. Jerry Brown made climate change a key part of his inaugural address this week. While Brown deserves credit for his leadership role in addressing global warming, he still finds himself at odds with many environmental and climate activists over his signing of SB 4, which allows hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in California.

Occidental Petroleum, in the business of hydraulic fracturing and the largest oil and gas donor to Gov. Brown, stands to benefit greatly from access to the estimated 13.7 billion barrels locked underground in the Monterey Shale Formation. Our problem, according to the IPCC and scientific community, is that these reserves (and others on the books) must stay in the ground in order to avert climate catastrophe. We need to stop hydraulic fracturing and sharply reduce all sources of CO2 emissions through a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend.

Ted Hamilton, San Luis Obispo

Use carbon tax for infrastructure

If the governor is really worried about infrastructure, then maybe we should redirect the new carbon tax to those items instead of the bullet train. I suspect $90 billion would redo lots of roads. Also, the water bonds could fix or replace the bad water mains that appear to be failing. An expensive train and two big pipes will not do much for our water and transportation needs today. If the governor is really serious, he could do some immediate things, but I suspect the two pet projects are more important.

Craig Hanson, Cameron Park

Rail critics ‘lie’ with statistics

Re “Bullet train pep rally and reality” (Dan Walters, Jan. 7): Mr. Walters belittled the expected reduction in daily vehicle miles due to high-speed rail by arguing that a savings of 10 million miles isn’t impressive because Californians drive 1 billion miles each day.

His apples-to-oranges comparison of a specific north-south corridor to mileage driven in the entire state is meaningless.

Rail critics may attack the project using statistics, but it’s worth noting that a book titled “How to Lie with Statistics” once was required reading in journalism school.

Doug Carlson, Sacramento

Climate policies can be improved

Re “Logic loses in California carbon war” (Dan Walters, Jan. 2): Unlike Dan Walters, I’m proud of our state lawmakers for making California a global leader in addressing climate change. I do have to agree, however, that including transportation fuels in the cap-and-trade system won’t increase fuel prices enough to encourage significant conservation and may disproportionately impact working-class people and people in rural areas without access to reliable public transit.

Our climate-change policies can be made more effective, and just by returning cap-and-trade revenues to every household. Higher fuel prices would still encourage driving less, but “energy rebate checks” could help folks pay for gasoline, home insulation, new appliances, or any number of energy efficiency improvements. As with our landmark climate-change law, California could show the rest of the country how to increase energy prices and have the public support it.

Eric Ettlinger, Berkeley

Why complicate cap and trade?

Re “Pump prices see slight bump,” (Page A1, Jan. 3): Oh my, the complexities of cap and trade blow my mind. Why, oh why, doesn’t Gov. Brown consider giving us consumers the revenue collected from the smokestack polluters instead of giving it to the government which is so complicated that we have to dig deep to understand it, if we can? Anyone reading about Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend can follow the simple, understandable trail which keeps the carbon in the ground. The plan helps all of us to pay for inevitable higher bumps in pump prices. Please go to www.citizensclimatelobby.org to get the whole plan.

Billie Hamilton, Sacramento

What if oil hadn’t been discovered?

Here’s something to ponder. What if oil hadn’t been discovered in the mid-19th century? Our modernization would have depended on coal, hydropower, steam, windmills, whale oil and farm animals.

We’d still have dirt roads (no asphalt), horse and buggies, and stagecoaches as transportation. Travel by airplane would not exist. The blessings of petrochemicals that are the basis of many modern pharmaceuticals would never have been developed. Kerosene, which replaced candles for illumination, enabled Americans to be productive after the sun went down, would never have existed. Central heat and air conditioning? Liberal resistance to modern technologies, oil and gas extraction, nuclear power, genetically modified food, etc., are antithetical to human growth and progress. When a jetliner takes off from Sacramento International fueled by green energy, I’ll believe in it.

Tony Rohl, Grass Valley

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