Letters to the Editor

Letters: Delta’s decline began long before dams were built

An aerial photo shows the facility near the southeast corner of the Delta’s Clifton Court Forebay near Tracy.
An aerial photo shows the facility near the southeast corner of the Delta’s Clifton Court Forebay near Tracy. Sacramento Bee file

Delta’s decline began long ago

"Delta's decline began long ago" (Letters, Dec. 27): I arrived in Sacramento 65 years ago, a young civil engineer a few years out of college. I immediately joined an engineering study of water demands on the Delta, and have kept current on mood swings on the Delta.

Contrary to letter writer Powell Svendsen’s assertion, the Delta’s problems originated well before the 1933 advent of the Central Valley Project. By the early 1900s, there was wide recognition that during dry years, salt water surging in from the ocean meant Delta farmers had to either irrigate with salt water or go out of business.

The incredibly dry year of 1924 and the filling of the Delta with salt spurred lobbying for the construction of Shasta Dam, the key Central Valley Project feature. Releases from Shasta for 70 years have kept the salt water at bay as far downstream as Antioch, thus assuring Delta farmers a perpetual fresh water supply. And also assuring that water sent South is fresh.

Further, so far we have not met too many fish who have a distaste for fresh water.

Seward L. Andrews, Sacramento

Get feds out of schools

Re "How many kids to screw in a light bulb?” Viewpoints, Dec. 27): Paul Hefner’s op-ed is further evidence of what happens when the federal government sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong.

Schools should be in charge in setting the curriculum for students, and it should be up to parents to decide what and how their children learn. When the government gets involved, there is inevitably going to be regulation creating a very large, very sticky wicket.

Keep the government out of education, and allow parents and their children to determine their own course of learning. Families will be more satisfied and the education system will flow more efficiently.

Teresa Mull, The Heartland Institute, Driggs, Idaho

Family leave costs too much

Re “All we want next Christmas? Better work-family policy” (Editorials, Dec. 27): Silicon Valley, as a whole, has some of the highest profit margins in the business world. That allows tech companies to offer benefits and perks most industries and small businesses can’t. Also, profitable large businesses usually have people who are cross-trained to take up the slack.

Small businesses don’t have that luxury and many would incur the cost of training temporary help. Stating this system is entirely funded by payroll deductions, doesn’t count putting a financial burden on small businesses. This editorial emphasizes why California ranks high among business unfriendly states.

John Hightower, 0rangevale

Implement a carbon tax

Re “U.S. is No. 1 peddler of world’s weaponry” (Page 1A, Dec 27): Making $40 billion worth of weapons is a waste of our energy and creativity and adds to CO2 emissions. Our enemy is not other people and other nations. Our enemy is climate change. We need a carbon fee and dividend, returning all that fee to citizens. We need awareness that climate change is our enemy, not other nations.

Bruce Burdick, Carmichael

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