Letters to the Editor

Is our democracy in a failing stage?


Is our democracy in failing stage?

Re “In the Trump World Order, get ready for a wild ride” (Forum, Jan. 8): We find ourselves in what may be the failure, or failing, stage of our American democracy, where Congress has basically ceased to function, right-wing plutocrats have taken control of their bought-and-paid-for Congress members and many state legislators, and the election of a president under the control of one of our worst enemies.

There seems to be no way to stop this attack on our values and institutions. Even the FBI has interfered in our national elections. Nearly half of our voters unquestionably approve of this failure of democracy. The failure of democratic forms has left the door open for a dictator, a directorship, a universal party, a man on a white horse – take your pick. His motto: “Make America great again.” Now what, you ask?

Reginald Bronner, Lincoln

Trump, the ugly American

A man who appeals to the worst of human nature is about to be in charge. Arrogant and ignorant, a sociopath, pathological liar with an explosive temper who is easily provoked will occupy the most prestigious office in America in a few days.

He thinks he is above scrutiny.

He embodies every one of the seven deadly sins (except sloth): pride, greed, lust, wrath, envy and gluttony. His rude, crude personal attacks on minor critics reflect a very unstable character and demonstrate his lack of decency and respect for others.

He is an embarrassment to our great country. I can only hope that good Republicans will rise to the occasion and do the right thing in preserving our heritage. Heaven help us all.

Harry Cowan,

Mount Aukum

Another way of looking at Trump

Here’s another way of looking at Donald Trump. Ask his supporters to provide an undisputed example of anything he has accomplished that can be defined as honorable.

Jack Pelletier,

El Dorado Hills

Shubin inspires us all to be stewards

Re “Quit your bellyaching and restore the San Joaquin River” (Forum, Jan. 8): Farmer Walt Shubin inspires us all to step up and become active stewards of the rivers and land. It’s time to restore the San Joaquin River, and we are all part of the solution.

The latest Bay Delta Water Quality Plan will increase the flow to 40 percent. This will be a good start for a river that needs 50 to 60 percent flow to the bay to restore a healthy aquatic and wetland environment and improve water quality. As a Bay Area resident I support the plan, and I am doing my part by conserving water. I am willing to conserve more and to support water conservation measures in my city.

Virginia Tincher

Van Kuran, Palo Alto

Shubin a breath of fresh air

Walt Shubin’s opinion is a breath of fresh air from a real farmer. It is time to quit whining and use water wisely so that a healthy salmon-based ecosystem can be realized once again.

We can restore more, conserve more in cities, and otherwise be more efficient in our use of water. Look what we’ve done so far! We’ve reduced water use significantly in spite of more people living in California.

Militant farmers, Merced politicians who threaten public officials need to stop bellyaching and listen to the people who buy their food.

Martin Gothberg,


There is a sweet spot in restoration

While the headline is perhaps inflammatory, I couldn’t agree more. At one of the hearings when Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board said, “There’s no sweet spot here,” she was likely being respectful of the vocal minority of agricultural and other Central Valley water users that face change and uncertainty with the board’s proposal.

However, viewing the damage to the rivers and extinction risk to aquatic life from the perspective of future generations combined with our proven ability to innovate and adapt, there is a sweet spot: Restore the water flow to what the scientists recommend. From the view of looking back 100 years from now, there isn’t another choice.

Dave Warner, Palo Alto

Revive recreation on the San Joaquin

I love outdoor recreation. I was born and raised in Arizona, and most of the rivers I knew were a dusty ditch. California has allowed me to navigate some gorgeous riparian areas from my raft.

Unfortunately, the telltale signs are obvious. The San Joaquin River runs dry, the Merced and Tuolumne are reduced to only inches in depth, and they all get very warm during the summer.

Irrigation districts like to claim that the biggest problem for salmon is predation. However, bass are better adapted to the warmer water than trout and salmon. Invasive species choke the slow rivers, which impedes salmon runs. The low flow is triple indemnity for salmonoids.

What concerns me most, however, is the fact that citizens have a right to navigate these waterways. If we do not take a step in the right direction, we will further witness the suffocation of our waterways.

Elias Ruiz, Hughson

Make San Joaquin a river again

I am so glad Walt Shubin wrote this article, because he put in it all the data we need to take a 360-degree view of this once-great river. We all need to take responsibility for the limited supply of water Mother Nature gives us, and share it and husband it and respect its incredible value to so many facets of our lives.

Born and raised and still living in Palo Alto, spending summers in the Sierra, enjoying California’s fresh food, benefiting from Sierra water, and canoeing its rivers, I consider them real treasures. This is a team project, we all need to do our part. I conserve water however I can. We can all start with that.

Virginia Smedberg,

Palo Alto

Restore the flow of the San Joaquin

I am a lifelong outdoors enthusiast. I appreciate and want to preserve our state’s natural resources, such as water and wildlife. I hope that the proposals recommended by the Bay Delta plan can be implemented to restore the flow of the San Joaquin River and its three major tributaries.

Mary M. Buxton,

Monte Sereno

Balancing act for the San Joaquin

I fully support everything written by Walt Shubin on the San Joaquin River, and urge the State Water Resources Control Board to genuinely restore the river. All of us have for too long been robbing Peter to pay Paul, and the current drought shall have taught us that we cannot live in our environment in this manner.

Bill Hilton, Sunnyvale

Don’t protect legal pot growers

Re “Why state needs feds’ program targeting marijuana” (Forum, Jan. 8): Keith Humphrey’s plea to DEA to continue the war against illegal marijuana grows – illegal being defined as illegal under state, not federal law – so long as it is limited to federal lands, is an admission that legalization is not going to end illegal growing and distribution, just as decades of legalized medical marijuana failed to do.

Sure, legal growers under California law would love for the DEA to protect them from unwanted competition, even if they are also violating federal law. Too bad Humphrey didn’t use his knowledge and position to warn against the damaging effects of legalization on the brains of young people and others at risk, which will exceed environmental damage of illegal grows over time.

Harvey Swenson,


Ending abortion would end war

Re “Who pays for the war on Planned Parenthood?” (Editorials, Jan. 8): The Bee’s editorial board could have saved a lot of ink and paper if it would have brought it down to the main issue, which is abortion. If Planned Parenthood dropped its abortion practices and this country got right with God, and the Supreme Court struck down the right to abortion, I doubt if Planned Parenthood would even be an issue.

Michael J. Lamb,



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