Letters to the Editor

Letters: Farmers steal water from the future

Water is pumped on a field near Woodville School on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. Drive through roads bordering the town of Woodville in Tulare County with your window down and it doesn’t take long to hear a roar from all of the massive agricultural pumps sucking water out of the ground.
Water is pumped on a field near Woodville School on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. Drive through roads bordering the town of Woodville in Tulare County with your window down and it doesn’t take long to hear a roar from all of the massive agricultural pumps sucking water out of the ground. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Farmers are in a race to the bottom

Re “No apologies for groundwater overpumping” (Page 1A, Sept, 25): The overpumping of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley exposes a classic tragedy of the commons.

The well drilling is like a race to the bottom, in this case to the bottom of the valley’s groundwater aquifers. When pumpers get there, no more water will be left.

California’s new groundwater legislation to limit pumping to sustainable levels is too weak and is accelerating pumping in the short term.

But there is a way to rescue the situation, namely through use of the California constitutional prohibition against the unreasonable use of water. Mining water out of the ground at several times the rate at which it can be replenished naturally is unreasonable. The state should use the unreasonable-use doctrine to limit overpumping.

Craig M. Wilson, Carmichael

Farming practices waste water

An extremely important point was absent from the article about well drilling in the Central Valley: conservation. As I travel up and down the valley, I see water flooding fields and spraying into the air on 100-degree days. These are two of the most wasteful methods of irrigation.

Where are the drip-irrigation systems?

Farmers cannot get more water than there is. As the deep aquifers are depleted, they will not be naturally replaced. This short-sighted reliance on draining the aquifers instead of following sustainable irrigation practices is leading Central Valley farmers and residents to inevitable doom. We should look for inspiration to Israel, which is able to farm a desert because it knows how to conserve water.

Wayne R. Anderson, Sacramento

Climate change is the problem

Climate change is causing this drought. The most effective way to reduce emissions is to put a steadily increasing fee on carbon at its source and return that fee to all citizens in equal shares. Carbon fee and dividend will create an economic imperative to innovate while creating jobs.

We cannot ignore this changing world any longer. There is a solution.

Bob Rodger, Los Osos

Farmers are not being stewards

Farmers don’t care about their environment or the rest of California. They say it is their right to install larger and more powerful pumps and to deplete the aquifers that many people besides the few rich farming families growing nut crops depend on.

I used to think of the farmers as protectors of their environment. I no longer do. These farmers are thinking of only today and the money they can make now. I hope their kids don’t expect to be farmers like their parents.

Gregg Johnson, Antelope

State does its part on groundwater

The Bee writes: “The new groundwater law won’t kick in until 2020, and won’t become fully implemented for another 20 years.” The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act kicked in January 2015, and the Department of Water Resources began implementing it with a phased approach.

Some local groundwater sustainability agencies have formed ahead of the June 2017 deadline. Some basins are being managed under sustainable groundwater management plans.

Full sustainability may not be reached in some basins for another 20 years, but groundwater sustainability agencies will be expected to make immediate improvement to groundwater conditions starting in 2020. This means locals will be expected to immediately work towards balancing pumping and recharge. California isn’t waiting for 2020, 2022, or 2040 to address our critical groundwater situation.

David Gutierrez, Department of Water Resources, Sacramento

Force legislators to do their jobs

Re “Yes on Proposition 55 tax, unenthusiastically” (Editorials, Sept. 25): I couldn’t disagree more with the logic behind your endorsement of Proposition 55.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. As you pointed out in your editorial, the Legislature lacks the political will to overhaul the state’s dysfunctional tax structure. Supporting the passage of Proposition 55 would continue to enable legislators to avoid making the tough decisions that we elected them to make.

If we are ever going to solve the fiscal mess that California is facing, we must place the Legislature and governor in a position in which they are forced to address our tax problem comprehensively.

While I strongly agree with the need to support our schools, passing Proposition 55 simply allows the current dysfunctional behavior of our state’s elected leaders to continue.

Frank Apgar, Fair Oaks

Cops who shot Mann did their job

Re “Tough reporting forced cops to unveil Joseph Mann video” (Joyce Terhaar, Sept. 25): With all of the biased reporting by The Sacramento Bee in the Joseph Mann case, officers involved in this shooting will never be able to obtain a fair trial in Sacramento if they are ever charged with a crime in this case.

They should not be charged with anything other than maybe waiting too long to terminate the threat, not only to themselves but to the civilians who were anywhere near the man swinging a knife in a dangerous fashion.

Officers are trained to use deadly force in defense of their lives or the lives of others. They did so in this case. They should have fired earlier when other civilians were too close to this unfolding incident.

In any case, because of the overreporting of this incident, there would be a change of venue, if and when, heaven forbid, they are ever accused of a crime.

John Robinson, El Dorado Hills

Prop. 64 would protect kids

Re “Marijuana is toxic for teens’ brains” (Letters, Sept. 25): Letter writer Brian Lungren’s argument against legalized marijuana is actually a compelling argument for legalization of marijuana.

Drug pushers don’t care who they sell pot to or what their age is. They only care if you have the money. Legal dispensers will not want to risk their licenses selling pot to underage buyers.

I’m sure that the license to dispense pot will be expensive and hard to obtain. The parallel between liquor sales before and after prohibition and the sale of marijuana before and after legalization is going to be very similar.

Stan Shamitz, Folsom

Handle discarded needles properly

Re “Drug addicts leave parks stuck with discarded needles” (Erika D. Smith, Sept. 25): Thanks to columnist Erika D. Smith for her excellent health alert and research on the problem of drug addicts who leave their dangerous needles in some of our city's public parks.

As mentioned, this a problem with an easy, low cost solution that is already in place in many big and small cities but not yet here.

Yes, some child will sooner or later be curious and accidentally either step on a needle or pick it up and get infected. It's sad that needle disposal containers are needed in probably at least 10 or fifteen locations but it better spend the money now than put any people at risk, be they children, teens, city workers who clean them up, and even, yes, help the drug users themselves who are the children and parents of families everywhere.

Time for both the city council and county to put this project into a reality, pilot program isn't needed they already been done elsewhere. Getting the parks free from infected needles and installing 3 or 4 more restrooms with monitors for the homeless won't fix the big picture but it is a step forward for the public health of all who live in Sacramento county.

John Hammond, Sacramento

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