Bee missed the point
Re “Odious initiative shows system’s pitfalls” (Page A1, March 20): I won’t rule out the possibility that Matt McLaughlin might be a horrible bigot. But I believe The Bee took the wrong tack here. Just as Swift didn’t actually think the Irish should eat babies in his “Modest Proposal,” I don’t think that McLauglin believes homosexuals should be killed.
It’s not a free speech issue; it’s political satire designed to get Californians to wake up to the fact that their initiative process has become hijacked by corporations with direct interests and lunatic fringe groups who want to impose their will. If you read the actual verbiage of the initiative, it is clearly sarcastically hyperbolic, and designed to be unconstitutional on at least three grounds: civil liberties, overriding federal and state legislation, and religion. He’s not serious.
But when corporations find it easy to fund initiatives, and qualify them by paying for signature gatherers, things like this can happen. And shouldn’t.
Daniel Westover, Sacramento
Not just free speech
McLaughlin’s odious initiative is not just free speech. It is action, including a $200 investment, made with the avowed intent to commit or make it possible for others to commit criminal acts. Would it be only free speech to pay for a classified ad seeking a killer for hire?
Edric Cane, Carmichael
Mr. McLaughlin’s proposed ballot initiative states “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification (would) be put to death by bullets or by any other convenient method.” It goes without saying I do not condone murder, but in the interests of free speech, perhaps we might amend this proposal by preceding the above with “any homophobic, morally deficient person who advocates that, etc.”
Victor H. Jung, M.D., Davis
Comcast hard to control
Re “Regulators must keep Comcast under control” (Editorial, March 20 ): The Sacramento Bee editorial board is right about the threat to Californians from a supersized Comcast. But regulators can’t protect Californians from monopoly power, high prices and bad services. After detailing the harms to the public for over 60 pages, the California PUC proposed 25 conditions to make the merger not so bad. Comcast objected to every last one of them. Comcast wants a condition-free merger. Under those circumstances, with regulators who can plan on being hauled to court for trying to do what The Bee asks, the best answer is no merger and no deal.
Tracy Rosenberg, Media Alliance, Oakland
Feds waste water
Re “Officials cobble $1 billion to fight drought” (Editorial, March 20): While we can’t make it rain, we can increase our usable water supply from the existing meager rain and snow by sending less water down our rivers in the winter. Watching reservoir data printed daily in The Bee on its weather page, it is obvious that although the state is attempting to conserve water in its reservoirs, the feds are not.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, controlling the operation of the Shasta and Folsom dams, has a very rigid policy centered on flood control, even though there is no danger of a flood. Therefore they dump a large amount of the inflow water during the winter to save space for floodwater that will never come. The available water could be increased by 30 percent or more by having the bureau modernize its operation to recognize the drought.
Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights
Re “New homes need water” (Letters, March 20): I support Deborah Rooney’s letter, and add to her list the Arden-Arcade area as an additional location where our county supes have decided to plant a drought-intolerant apartment complex. If the apartments are built, and if the nearby (nearly) abandoned shopping mall is revitalized, will our (probably) increased water rates provide access to more safe drinking water than we currently have?
Linda Hoganson, Sacramento
Thank you to Deborah Rooney and others who have pointed out the foolishness of allowing unlimited development during a serious drought. Other areas needing scrutiny are all fracking operations (millions of gallons of water for each well), golf courses and showering facilities in all health clubs. Is anyone monitoring them to make sure they all have low-flow shower heads? I would much rather cut such luxuries than hurt the farmers who grow our food.
Ann Rothschild, Sacramento
Folsom building unwise
Re “With reservoirs depleted, state must restrict use” (Editorial, March 17): I am certain that everyone appreciated the editorial on the need for water restriction as we face the dire reality of the current drought, but I fail to read anything about how Folsom is going to supply water for their planned 4,500 new homes and retail complex south of Highway 50. Is this a wise development at a time of such a frightening water shortage in California?
Donald Fried, Placerville
Enforce water laws
Re “Brown target of criticism on pollution, environment” (Page A1, March 19): Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is under fire for allowing oil drillers to inject wastewater in aquifers and for allowing a battery recycler to operate for decades while emitting hazardous waste. But Brown’s Water Resources Control Board also is being criticized for failing to take enforcement actions against those who pollute and illegally divert California water. Last summer, 24 California streams went dry, and some rivers were reduced to a succession of ponds. Yet state regulators refused to inspect those water bodies or take enforcement action against law violators.
Stephen Green, Fair Oaks
Fees stymie homeownership
Re “Housing squeeze divides state” (Dan Walters, March 18): Credit to Dan Walters for looking at escalating housing fees and their burdensome impact on future homeowners. In our industry, reasonable fees are part of doing business, and we’re certainly content to pay our fair share because we understand that we’re not just building homes, we’re building entire communities.
However, when those fees continue to rise, as they are prone to do throughout California, they have an impact on our still-recovering industry, as well as consumers. To put this in perspective, some areas around Sacramento maintain fees as high as $70,000 per unit. Ultimately, these fees are passed on to future homeowners. The resulting increases in housing prices simply serve as a barrier to homeownership for millions of Californians.
In a state like ours, I think we can and should do much better.
Michael Strech, Roseville
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