Letters to the Editor

Letters: Oroville Dam, Carbon tax, pension reform

Water is released from the Oroville Dam on Monday.
Water is released from the Oroville Dam on Monday. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Money trumps dam safety

Re “Spillway’s unreliability was known for decades” (Page 1A, Feb. 14): The emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam should have been designed and built to work reliably and then tested to prove that it did, as part of its government certification when the dam was built in the 1960s. It should have been concrete-lined all the way to the forebay.

Where were the dam-safety experts and government certification officials in the dam design and safety decision-making, certification process, and inspection and recertification process? A thorough review of these processes needs to be made and the processes changed to make safety paramount, not money.

If the funders of the dam were unwilling to pay to do it right, the dam should not have been built.

Jim Kinchen, Volcano

Conservatives for carbon tax

Re “Dam makes it clear nature is in control” (Editorials, Feb. 13): We have caused this problem. We can reverse it. Last week a group of elder Republican statesmen came to the Trump administration with a plan to address climate change.

James Baker, George Shultz, Henry Paulsen, all three former secretaries of the treasury and Baker and Shultz former secretaries of state, proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax with a dividend paid directly to each citizen.

This plan is a job creator, and could make America a leader again. It is the best hope for ourselves, our democracy and our planet. Lets hope the White House and Congress will listen.

Bob Rodger, Los Osos

Location, location, location

I wonder if the Oroville Dam would have been kept in good working order if Hollywood was the town just below it.

Robert Molleur, Manassas, Va.

Get politics out of CalPERS

Re “Critics push CalPERS to re-examine role in pipeline project” (Capitol & California, Feb. 14): When will the CalPERS board stop playing politics and do the job they were elected to do, that is, ensuring the integrity of the billion-dollar pension fund?

They have stopped investing in gun and tobacco stocks, costing millions in lost profits. Now they want to pull out of the oil pipeline project because a few misdirected liberals show up and start crying at the board meeting.

What next? I assume that the folks at the meeting arrived on bikes or on foot and not by car or even light rail, both of which use carbon-based fuels, and their homes are heated by solar.

We get it, we need to move to alternatives, but you have to have something in place before you stop using it and we are not there yet. The CalPERS board’s job is to protect my retirement. These political decisions not only risk that but have the potential to extract more money from the public to make up for the revenue loss their political decisions create.

Bill White, Florin

The real pension issue

Re “Hiring spike chipped away at pension reform” (Editorial, Feb. 14): While the editorial on government agencies abusing the system with massive hiring just before the pension change deadline was newsworthy, I’d suggest investigating the real issue in all of this. Even after this so-called “reform,” the pensions that public-sector workers in California will be receiving will be much higher than that of the taxpayers paying for them. Real reform would be to require all new government workers to receive a pension that is equal to the average private sector pension or 401(k) plan. Cover the cake, not the icing.

Paul Bilek, Fairfield

Pension reforms are working

Re “State had last-minute hiring spree as pension cuts loomed” (Page 1A, Feb. 12): The Bee’s investigation of employees being hired at year’s end proves that contrary to the claims of so-called pension “reformers,” the governor’s changes to pensions are proving to be meaningful and significant.

According to the article, a public safety employee hired after the law was enacted would receive almost $30,000 a year less than before the law was signed. Pension critics cannot argue first that the reforms save no money, then that agencies went on a hiring spree due to the large cuts in pensions taking effect after the reforms.

Dave Low, Sacramento

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